There’s a lot going on in the law enforcement community with the current events in Baltimore. It’s terrible -for both sides. Loss of life is always a heartbreaking thing. But so is rioting and violence. This post is not about that. In light of these events, it’s nice to see so many people are in support of officers, but they are often very misunderstood. My husband is an officer, and he often has to do things that people don’t understand. For example, my husband was telling me a story the other night about letting a guy out of a tough situation. The guy reached to shake his hand. He had to decline. “Sorry man, I don’t shake hands.”
This may seem like a rude move, but apparently, it’s pretty common for police officers not to shake hands. They aren’t being rude, they’re staying safe. In light of the current events happening all over the country, I would like to share with you some things that are always on the minds of the law enforcement officers that we may never think about. When you think they are being rude or on a power trip, they are just being safe. Here are some reasons why a police officer may not shake your hand.
The main issue is a safety issue. Even when it’s you or me. He has to assume safety first in all situations.
His shaking hand is his gun hand. If you shake that hand, you are tying up that hand. If you’re a “bad” guy, you could suddenly over take him. He (sadly) has to think like that. All the time he has to imagine what you, yes even you, the soccer mom or the man in the suit on his way to work, might do to him in the worst case scenario.
His shaking hand is also his dominant hand, so offering it to you could leave him vulnerable. I want him to return home to me, so I don’t want him leaving himself open to you by shaking hands.
If you’re inside a car while shaking hands, you could grab a hold of his hand, floor the vehicle, and drag him along.
And let’s not even think about all the germs he would encounter if he shook hands with everyone he came in contact with in a 10 hour shift. Ick. I don’t want him bringing THAT home.
So, while it’s sad that in today’s world he has to be more concerned with his safety than polite courtesies like shaking hands, it’s true. He wants to shake hands, especially when you are grateful to him. But when he says “Sorry, I don’t shake hands”, please understand. And maybe offer him a fist pound instead. 🙂
I’d love for you to share this post and help people see that officers are not being jerks, but instead trying to keep themselves safe. It’s sad that a few people are out there trying to harm officers, but it’s those people keeping them on guard and making them be extra alert, even for things like shaking hands.
*note: I was responding to all comments, but this post became much more popular than I ever anticipated. I appreciate your feedback and encourage you to keep comments productive. I wish I could respond to every comment, but with a full time and part time job, I just don’t have the time to answer everyone individually. I’ll respond as I can. Thanks for understanding!*