Editor’s note: This article, reprinted with permission, originally appeared in the winter 2023 issue of The California Narcotic Officer, the official publication of the California Narcotic Officers’ Association (CNOA). Tim Kennedy will be the General Session speaker at CNOA’s upcoming 59th Annual Training Institute this November in Sparks, Nevada, with a presentation on “Passion, Commitment and Service” based on his life experiences. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/4mzf67bh.
To be a sheepdog is to have the desire and responsibility of preserving human life. This title requires an endless pursuit for physical, mental and spiritual strength so one is always ready in any situation that may arise. Those who cannot protect themselves need our protection most urgently because they simply do not know how to do so for themselves anymore.
When it comes to preparing to protect and physically preserve human life, high-intensity training at the gym, combative training and weapons training all have roles to play. High-intensity training helps someone physically prepare to face a dangerous situation. This training builds strength, endurance and agility, which are all useful in a combat or self-defense situation. Combative training helps someone learn how to fight and defend themselves against an attacker. This teaches both offensive and defensive techniques and how to use various weapons effectively. Finally, weapons training gives someone the skills to use firearms or other weapons safely and effectively. In short, all three types of exercise can help someone be physically prepared as a sheepdog to protect others from harm.
The mental aspect of being a protector means having the knowledge and wisdom to defend one’s ideals. This preparation comes from continuous learning and growing as a person. It is about thinking clearly and making decisions quickly in difficult situations. The purpose of education has always been, in essence, to give people the tools they need to develop in an orderly, sequential way into members of society. Strong teaching and being articulate gives someone the most extensive weapons in fighting injustice and those who intend to destroy what is good and virtuous. There is nothing more formidable than verbal competence.
The spiritual aspect of being a protector is helping to heal broken spirits. Helping others can be done through acts of kindness and compassion. When it comes to spiritual development, one of the most important things you can do is to be there for others who have experienced trauma or have suicidal thoughts. Additionally, reaching out to help others who are struggling is beneficial for both people. Helping someone struggling with trauma or suicidal thoughts helps protect them from harm and strengthens your spirit. By reaching out to help others, you are not only showing them that they are not alone, but you are also helping to build a stronger, more compassionate community.
Lastly, being a sheepdog is about being a virtuous citizen who puts others first. Being an honorable citizen means taking an active role in the community and working to make it a better place for everyone. Virtuous citizens do not just sit back and complain about their community’s problems but take action to make a positive change. These actions can mean volunteering their time to help those in need, working with local businesses to improve the economy or running for office to ensure those in power are meeting their community’s needs. Virtuous citizens understand that they are responsible for improving their community, not just for themselves but for future generations.
Being a protector is not easy, but it is meaningful and fulfilling. It is a calling that draws people from all backgrounds. If you desire to help others and make a difference in the world, being a sheepdog is a path to finding one’s purpose for protecting and preserving human life.