Police, Public Affairs, Professionalism

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jonathan Lane
  • 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In the vast realm of career fields, most people would not associate the occupation of the police with the profession of public affairs. However, these two paths are more similar than commonly thought of by society.

A law enforcement officer and an Air Force public affairs specialist are both associated with the presentation of a professional image, the keeping of standards and the consistent messaging and representation of a large government authority.

As an Air Force Reservist and a 12-year law enforcement officer, I have received the opportunity to work in two career fields that are different, but yet the same.

At the police department, I am tasked with upholding the laws and city ordinances that have been set in place, while being a constant professional who can never have a bad day or anything other than a “neutral” opinion. I stand and listen as citizens attempt to persuade, project and provoke their will or agenda on us as public officials in order to get their way.

We are not robots. We are not immune to emotion. We are professionals.

A professional uses their developed skills, traits and abilities to navigate through complex situations and put the needs of many over their personal thoughts, desires or preferences.

As a police officer, we put the mission first and make sure that society members are all protected by, and held to, the rules that our legislators have set in place.

As an Air Force public affairs specialist, the mission, in regards to the public, is not much different than that of the police.

We are held to a higher standard of excellence due to the fact that we are the face, voice and image of the Air Force.

We are tasked with being informative, relatable, advisory and professional in order to increase public awareness and global deterrence.

In the event of tragedy or chaos, we are charged with being rock-solid in our stance, appearance, and demeanor so that our Airmen, our community, and our enemies know that we are steadfast and unshaken.

Whether I’m working as an officer with the police department or as a PA for the Air Force, I have to believe in my organization and help others understand the message and intention of what our leaders expect of us.

The citizens of the city that I serve, as well as the American people, must never question my integrity, my words or my professionalism. For this reason, the job of the police and public affairs is a daily task to keep first impressions and our messages clear, positive and fair, while still completing the mission.

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