I really do need to start eating slower.  And I actually do not have to jog to the restroom every time we take a pee break.

It all began March 22, 1998 when I began training in the Michigan State Police 116th Trooper Recruit School.  I was fresh out of college with the world in front of me.  The trouble is that I had no idea what lay ahead.

"Secure your gear!" bellowed the mountain of a man who would be my recruit school sergeant.  "Keep your eyes forward!  No eye-balling.  Look straight at the back of the person's head in front of you."  My heart was pounding as I carried my heavy bag up the steps and into the academy hallway.  Those 2 hours would be the slowest we EVER moved during those hellish 18 weeks of training.  The rest of the time was strictly controlled.

Rise and shine at 5:00 am...quickly get dress for physical training, clean your room, make your bed, brush your teeth, shave, etc.  Be lined up, ready for PT at 5:30am...not a minute sooner, not a second later.  "IF YOU THINK YOU CAN YOU WILL; IF YOU THINK YOU CAN'T YOU'RE RIGHT!" we shouted in unison on the "ramp" just prior to "filing" in to the gym for PT.

Now, "filing in" any time in recruit school means RUN!  "You better move with a purpose, recruit!"  Everything in life was structured, and from that time forward, we were on strict time limits.  We had brief minutes to shower after PT, minutes to wolf down a meal, moments to prepare for inspections, to clean, to get to class, to take a break, etc etc.  Everything, and I do me EVERYTHING, was strictly controlled.

It was there that I developed a bad terrible habit of inhaling my food and rushing through everything I did.  I'm still Charlie Hustle whenever I have business to attend to, whether at work or home.  I need to get it done NOW!

Well, one of my goals for 2013 was advancement in my career.  I finally reached a point where I could comfortably and honestly say, "I'm done troopin' the road.  I'm ready for change and challenge." 

I found that change and challenge when on March 3rd I was assigned as a forensic examiner in the crime lab.  I began my 2-year training program to become a firearms and toolmarks examiner.  Upon successful completion, I will be promoted to sergeant.  But one thing I'm already learning is that hurry hurry hurry doesn't work in a crime lab.  Instead, it's slow slow slow. 

Be careful.
Be methodical.
Be particular.

I still find myself -- if not jogging -- hustling to the restroom whenever we take a study break.  I still find myself wolfing down my lunches, although there's no hurry.  Our training supervisor admitted that he has to "pull back the reins" on us because the three of us newbies have been ingrained with the road trooper lifestyle that we learned from our first days of recruit school.  We think we need to learn 2 years worth of expertise TODAY! 

But it doesn't work that way.  It CAN'T work that way.  This will truly be a learning curve and culture shock to me, and I think it's going to take time to unlearn bad habits.  Therefore, I'm going to start by intentionally walking much slower wherever I go.

Unless you call me over for dinner...


  1. Congrats on the transition and impending promotion! The lab is one of the most fascinating places I've ever seen. What an outstanding opportunity. God bless you as you study and prepare, and may he give you patience as you learn the meticulous details about your new area of service!

    1. Thank you, PJB! Although I've only been there a month, I'm learning a ton...and I've only just begun to scratch the surface of firearms examinations.