In fact, that’s kind of the whole theme of this blog: It’s YOUR knowledge. No matter the source you get it from or the schedule you absorb it on, YOU are responsible for growing it. Some of it will undoubtedly come from “the street.” Some of it will come from senior/veteran officers. Some of it will come from lessons learned in court. Some of it will come from in-service and other training. That’s all good stuff, but recognize that some of it will come from the effort(s) YOU make to learn outside of all those venues. What makes it good is that what YOU choose to learn about doesn’t necessarily have to be work related. The even better news is that no matter what YOU choose to learn about, you may well end up using it in your law enforcement career.
It’s easy to see how learning about white water rafting might be applied to search and rescue work. It’s easy to see how learning how to rappel might be applied to special operations (SWAT) work. It’s not necessarily as easy to make the connection between an interest in modern art, classic literature, architecture or some other seemingly abstract topic and a segment of law enforcement. Let me tell you though, I can give you an example of how each of those items popped up in police work and that same piece of seemingly disconnected knowledge became invaluable.
The bottom line is this: Learn something new every day. Pick a topic you have a vested interest in and study it as a hobby. Make it something you enjoy and master it to the best of your ability. There may come a day when you use it in connection with your law enforcement duties; there may not; however, pursuing it will help you manage stress, distract you from “the job” every now and then, and help you become a more well-rounded individual. Pursue an expansion of your education both in a structured (as required or manageable) fashion and a completely flexible fashion. The acquisition of new knowledge is one of the sure signs of life and improvement. Keep it as a part of yours.