January 29, 2012

A New Road

So so sorry for the slight absence. Rest assured it's not because I have not been training, quite the opposite in fact. I am now training like the dickens. More on that later.

I have decided to reveal a few specifics about myself, as I have just embarked on an..adventure, yes adventure, at work. An adventure I want to document well. Writing about this will also give my husband a short burst of a break from the being the sole person who listens to me go on and on and on and on about it; additionally I will not be able to be honest in my writing unless you know the details.


I have hinted around that I work in law enforcement. I do. I am a police officer in San Diego.

I am in patrol in a busy command in a busy area. I love it. The greatest part of police work? Well, it beats working for a living! I get to drive around, meet fascinating characters, do fascinating things, and occasionally (forgive the cliche') scratch out a positive influence into the world.

One of the more popular career routes in my line of work is to work patrol for a few years, then move into an investigative position, or promote up in the ranks. When I started this gig, I always assumed I would be perfectly happy moving into investigations. A few years ago I had the opportunity to work investigations as an "Acting" detective. What an eye opener. For the first time in my life, I was in an office environment. After 10 years in restaurants and (at the time) 7 years in a patrol vehicle, the office environment was...well, an office environment. For a woman who relishes rock-em sock-em physical activity, the forest of tables and chairs and partitions and the office-y culture was, in retrospect, downright miserable.

To add insult to injury, the team I was assigned to was something akin to a horribly dysfunctional family, a fact I simultaneously discovered and was told about after being there for a couple of months. This was an upsetting situation, as this team was supposed to be a fun, sought after position, but in reality it was a pit of doom. For the first time in my law enforcement career, I had a supervisor who was not a good fit for the work we did, and two co-workers that were,.. oh what a long story this could be,...you know I'll keep it short, they were simply awful. Most of you have not met me, but I am an easy person to get along with, so to be in constant conflict with TWO people on a small team was agony.

Needless to say my first experience in investigations was not what I expected. But there was a short respite! After my first assignment ended, I moved to a different team with great people and a great supervisor and I thought, okay, NOW we can move this career along. I had an okay time, but it was just that, just okay. I would listen to the busy bustling radio from my quiet, polite desk and long to be out in the car. Out in the street. Out in the thick of it.

When my "acting" detective rotation ended I went back to patrol, and not a moment to soon. I plunged back like a dehydrated succulent into water. Soon enough, the testing process for a permanent detective position came around and I studied. and. studied. This is what you do right? My mentors all told me, "You have to do this! You are a great investigator!" Yeah so I studied, albeit without passion. I thought, well, even if I make the detective's list, I won't have to worry about being promoted right away (it's a slow process), which I considered a good thing, because I still loved patrol!

My score on the detective's test was so so. In the middle. About the level of my interest in spending time in an office. Selections were made. I was not. And I didn't care! But I was also still thinking, gosh my mentors have all told me I should be an investigator...blah blah blah..

Fast forward 6 months------The proverbial straw upon the camel. I was on patrol one night and a "cover now" call came out, meaning an officer was calling for emergency assistance. Off I went! Lights on! Sirens on! Gas pedal on! Rip roaring through the streets! I could not wait to get there in the middle of the fire fight. Let me be clear, this was a radio call in which gunshots were fired and I could not wait to get there. I remember thinking, I should really pay attention to this. This is what I love, being out in the street scrapping it up at 3am.

Fast forward again 6 months to mid-2011----Another round of tests were announced and I decided some new direction and sharp focus was needed. I asked myself, do I want to devote all those hours to studying for this damn test for a job I am not dying to do? I realized that much like the urge to have children has never materialized for me, the urge to be an investigator was just not on the horizon right now. I examined my life's activities. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (and BTW training is going really well) Eskrima (just received my first promotion), running, fitness, new eating habits. I realized I relish the warrior's path.

I am going out for SWAT.

The test will require that I dig like never before. A minimum of 30 push-ups in one minute. A minimum of 30 sit-ups in one minute. A minimum of 6 pull-ups, no time limit. A 440 run in under 85 seconds. An obstacle course that switches rapidly from arm work to leg work, in under 4 minutes. I will need to do better than the minimums to be competitive. The test also requires proficiency in shooting, of course.

I had designs on SWAT many years ago but forgot about it because the physical requirements were so great. And lord, what a whiny statement! Oh it's really hard to do! The last couple of months of soul searching I thought, "because it's difficult" is a rotten excuse to not go for something. And it was decided one night, this is my path.

I can do the sit-ups. I can do the run. The push-ups and pull-ups are my current improvement obsession. The shooting part is matter of practice and practice and more practice. I am using the Armstrong program as a guide for my pull-ups, and I am doing 3 sets of push-ups 3 mornings a week. I started with sets of 10 a week and half ago, and am now up to sets of 18. I just ordered resistance bands which I will use to strengthen my pull-ups and push-ups.

I am going to write about this process here but I am also going to log my numbers on Fitocracy. The Tabata Protocol app on my I-Pad has been an invaluable tool, as you can set the "work" and "rest" for any amount of time. Last Tuesday night I was nearly nauseous after the Tabata workout...:))

On a more metaphysical note, the week I made this decision I told a few people at work and was immediately inundated with pages of information packets from a SWAT officer on my watch, emails from two other women who are going to test for SWAT, and excellent advice from sergeants I respect. It was like the road had been sitting next to me the whole time and the moment I opened the gate, the flood washed in and carried me through.

I have a ton of writing to do on BJJ training but I have now occupied this restaurant table for toooooo long, so I'll sign off.

Train well!



  1. Oh my gosh, Dagney! I am so excited for you, and so inspired. I'm looking forward to reading about this process!

  2. Jen, thank you. Husband and I want to put a pull up bar in our house, but are still debating build VS buy. If we build, we might refer to your pull up bar construction directions, so thank you for that post!

  3. This is so great! Congratulations. It sounds like this is perfect for you. I know you can do it!

  4. So Shark Girl, is that whole "not being anonymous" thing catching? ;p

    As ever, I still can't get the feed to work, which makes me even sadder given the exciting developments in Dagney world. :(