Roman: Remembering that rookie feeling


The other night I was working a patrol shift when I was sent on a call with a new cop. I had met him once or twice when he was in training and didn’t know anything about him.

We handled the call and then talked next to our cars. I guessed him to be 21 or 22 years old. He had a baby face and probably shaved once a month. His youthful appearance and wide-eyed expression gave him the unmistakable look of a new cop.

“How long have you been out of training?” I asked.

He thought for a moment and replied, “Four months.”

After a few minutes of talking, I could sense an energy and enthusiasm about him that reminded me of myself when I was his age. I stood there and remembered when everything was new.

Every call was an adventure and I would’ve done the job for free.

I stood there and wondered what I looked like as a “Boot” with my shiny new badge pinned to my chest with absolutely no idea what I was doing in the new world of police work. After reflecting, I thought back to this new guy, who still had 30 years ahead of him.

He didn’t have the look of a cop who had seen dead babies, dismembered body parts, or who had sacrificed family time for the demands of the job. He also didn’t have the look of a person who had seen and done things regular people only saw in movies or read in books. He still had his “innocence.” The job hadn’t changed him yet.

After talking with him for a few minutes I asked, “Would you do the job for free?”

He got a huge smiled and said, “Yes.”

He went on to tell me how he couldn’t wait to go back to work from his days off and how fun it was to be out here on the street. I listened and silently remembered saying the exact same things when I was his age.

“Enjoy that feeling,” I said. “When I was new, I would’ve done the job for free too.” After he laughed I added, “I still like coming to work, but I want to be paid now.”

You can’t beat getting paid for what you love doing.

Read more from John Roman at