Everyone should have a plan for everything. Maybe that’s a little extreme, but think about it. You already do this to a certain extent with many little things. What will you do if you hear someone breaking into your house? When the electricity goes out? What if your car breaks down on your way home from work? You’ve probably at least given these things some thought, as you should. Hopefully you’ve gone beyond this, and have a plan for a worst-case scenario situation. This article is about that subject from the position of a law enforcement officer.
I like to call it a “reset button event”. Something that essentially decimates the familiar, day-to-day workings of our society. I may be preaching to the choir, but here’s my angle.
It’s a matter of fact that the various local police departments and sheriff’s offices across the nation maintain a degree of peace and order in the community they work in. Federal agencies have little or nothing to do with this in most places.
However, the condition of our society today hangs on the balance of many things. It hangs on groceries sitting on the store shelves whenever people want to go get them. It hangs on gasoline coming out of the pump when you want to fill the tank in your car. It hangs on the lights in your house working when you flip the switch, and a cell phone working when you dial a number. The list goes on.
My point is, if society sufficiently deteriorates as we have seen before in the event of natural disasters and civil unrest, this balance of peace will be broken. There will not be personnel or resources to handle the fallout. This has also been demonstrated in the situations we’ve seen as mentioned: additional people and supplies have been brought in from other areas to handle the problem. If a calamity occurs across large portions of the nation or all of it, there will be no backup from neighboring cities or states because they will have plenty of their own problems.
In light of this, I need a plan. Other law enforcement personnel need a plan too. And, it would be beneficial to the people they serve to understand a little more about the position of officers and deputies in their community.
The priorities of law enforcement officers on the job can be summed up in a few sentences. We are concerned with protecting human life, and property. Keeping the peace is an extension of these two. The way we do this is by enforcing laws.
But you must understand, doing my job is not my first priority. Yes, that is correct. My first priority is my family. Providing and protecting them is my main purpose in life. Just like anyone else, I currently do the former by working my job and bringing in a paycheck, and the latter through normal means. But that is under societal conditions as we know them now.
If we experienced a reset button event, my expectation would not be to stay on the job and fight a losing battle while leaving my family to fend for themselves. Make no mistake, this is something I have put a lot of thought into. I take my job seriously, and what it means to the community I work in. But I believe that a man who does not care for the needs of his family is worse than an unbeliever, as the Bible states.
So you must understand, if it comes down to taking care of your family or mine, I will choose mine. From my perspective it almost seems cruel or cold to make a statement like that. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I hope if it came close, I would be able to take care of my family, and also help others. But at the end of the day, I have a God ordained responsibility I must fulfill.
That being said, how would this affect you? Hopefully it won’t. I hope you have taken steps to prepare yourself to provide for and protect your own family.
But if you haven’t, perhaps this will help you make that decision. Or more likely, if you know someone who hasn’t prepared, it may help them do the right thing.
My Wish List
In light of all this, there are some things I as a law enforcement officer would hope people in neighborhoods and communities are doing to be prepared.
If you live anywhere near people, you should at least know who they are and what their preparedness level is. Preferably, you will have talked to your neighbors and put together at least a minimum plan on how you will work together in the event of a disaster or serious event. If they are like-minded, all the better.
How like-minded they are will probably dictate the depth of your mutual plan. Are they in to stocking up on food, water, and ammunition supply? Or will they only consider buying some extra flashlight batteries or a seventy-two hour kit? It’s important for you to know this for two reasons. One, if you need some kind of supply or assistance, could you ask that person for help? Second, what will they be asking of you? If their preparedness stops at some extra cans of soup in the cupboard, they may be asking for a lot of things. Are you ready to take on that extra responsibility? If not, how will you address that?
Additionally, how close your neighbors are will play a role in how you plan. If you live in a rural area and your closest neighbor is half a mile away, you’re not going to set up a block patrol where two or more people can keep eyes on more than one house. Instead, you’ll probably want a way to communicate back and forth in case one of you needs assistance. If the situation warrants one of you relocating to the other house, you will need to have that plan in place beforehand for supplies, defense plans, and so forth.
Depending on the population density, the neighborhood network would be a localized group, with a fairly small geographical application. In other words, a neighborhood network has its limitations.
When it comes to serious threats to you, your family, and neighbors, there needs to be a more robust option. I’m talking about bands of looters, escaped inmates from local jails or prisons, gang activity, and other similar threats. Something like a serious weather activity could also fall into this category, which may require multiple people who are physically fit and have tools for things like clearing fallen trees and debris or snow.
This group obviously isn’t going to include seventy year old Mrs. Jones next door. I hope Mrs. Jones is prepared to fend off an attack if someone tries to invade her home, but she’s not going to be on an armed two-man perimeter team on the lookout for roving bands of looters. Therefore, the organizers of such a group will want to come up with a certain standard of physical fitness, and other things like moral integrity and level-headed thinking, for sure.
What are your local police, fire, and disaster management personnel’s plans for a catastrophic event? Do they have one? It’s possible there hasn’t been a major incident in recent memory, and if there is a plan it’s written on yellowed paper somewhere in a file cabinet. Conversely, other communities are still trying to clean up from the last disaster, and know all to well how effective or ineffective their disaster plan actually was.
Ask specific questions about issues unique to your area. What’s the plan if the dam breaks? Where is the high water level going to be? What major supply routes into the city or area does this effect? If you don’t get a satisfactory answer from the people who should know, you may have to do some research on your own. The more information you have the better. How much or how little local agencies prepare can dictate some of your own strategies.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to receive training and education in important skills. There are many quality training programs and schools available for everything from rifle and handgun use, to first aid and combat medicine, to how to preserve your own food. Most of these cost money, and if knowledge is power, it’s money well spent. But there are many alternatives if you aren’t able to afford training at the moment. While there isn’t anything quite like a skilled and focused instructor, training you in a specific skill, information in this day and age is available everywhere. Many books, articles, blogs, and videos provide valuable information. My only caution is that you vet any source you find for accuracy, particularly if it’s on a subject you’re new to.
I spend much of my work week observing the effects of human depravity. Whatever your perception of God or religion is, I believe anyone can agree our world today has many problems, and those problems originate with human kind.
I believe the state of our world today is a direct correlation to the sinfulness of man. I believe the remedy to this is a restoration of the relationship between each man, woman and child, and their Creator. I believe this can only be accomplished through the acceptance of the blood sacrifice for sin provided by God’s Son Jesus Christ, and relationship with him.
What does this have to do with the subject of this article? Well, everything, really. Faith in God Almighty during terrible times is what will provide the basis and backbone for individuals and society as a whole to reach the other side and rebuild in the aftermath, whatever the challenge. The lack of this faith is what has led us to where we are today.
Therefore, I encourage you to look into these things if you are not already a born again believer.
About the Author: Elijah Williams lives on 20 acres in the northwest with his family. They grow, raise, and hunt much of their food. When he’s not on the job as a law enforcement officer, Elijah practices and pursues knowledge of firearms, defense tactics, primitive technology, wilderness skills, food independence, forging, knife building, and metal working methods. His passion is to help others be prepared for every eventuality they can.
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