Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Monday, June 26, 2017
An estimated 10 to 30 percent of first responders will have some type of traumatic stress injury during their careerHere’s what we need to be aware of: Like every other system in your body, the mind will do what it believes is necessary to maintain itself. Unfortunately as the brain tries to protect itself, the manifestations can have some adverse effects. The backlash from the traumatic incident may result in anger, memory issues, sleep disruption, depression, or any number of other stress responses.
If you are bleeding from a GSW, do you want to see a doctor now or a month from now? Rapid assistance from a professional counselor or peer support team members is more likely to lead to more rapid recovery.
Knowing the signs and symptoms can help us identify traumatic stress injuries in ourselves or others. We need to recognize that something is wrong before we are aware that we need help.
We wouldn’t let our supervisors, subordinates, or co-workers, take on an armed subject by themselves if we had the option of being there, even if we were never requested over the radio. Someone dealing with the fall out of post-traumatic stress needs us to be there even if they didn’t call for us.
What works for me may not work for you. Each of us manages stress in our way and while some may benefit from one type of therapy others may need a different kind. The key is to handle the stress and not let it control us.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Resisting officers is becoming more prevalent and socially acceptable by certain groups
Monday, May 22, 2017
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Friday, May 12, 2017
- Remember your training. No traffic stop is routine. When conducting a stop, consider when and where to initiate the stop and the best location for the driver to stop.
- Notify the dispatcher. Make sure that the dispatcher knows your location and the stopped vehicle’s license, make and model before making contact with the driver.
- Create a safety lane for yourself. Be sure to offset your vehicle behind the stopped vehicle to create a safety lane. Turns tires out and consider a passenger side approach to contact the driver.
- Communication is critical. Remember that the first words spoken by an officer may very well determine the tone of the encounter and even the eventual outcome. Similarly, the last words are also very important and may be the basis of a lasting impression of the officer and agency.
- Stops at night or low light conditions: Use your takedown lights, and/or spot light to light the interior of the stopped vehicle. Placing the spot light directly into the rear view mirror of the stopped vehicle can help cover your approach.
- Pay attention to the verbal and physical cues from the driver. Excessive repetition of requests or instructions by the driver can be an indication of a problem, as is taking a long time to find documents such as driver’s license, registration or insurance card.
- Control the stop. You control that vehicle and its passengers for the duration of the stop. If you feel it is necessary, request assistance. Review case law for Brendlin V. California and Maryland V. Wilson as they relate to what an officer can and cannot do during a traffic stop.
Courtesy National Law Enforcement Memorial
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
1. Be a spongeRecognize you’re new and everybody else will almost certainly know more than you. Accordingly, ask as many questions as you need to before entering your final phase of training when your FTO will merely be shadowing you and is no longer a resource for answering your questions.
2. Be eager to learnIn addition to asking a question, it’s probably more important to be the type of employee that wants to learn and challenges themselves to constantly be learning in our ever-changing career. For instance, if you take on a case where the investigation requires a search warrant, tell your FTO you want to pair up with a detective and help write the search warrant. Don’t wait for somebody to ask you, take the initiative.
3. Don’t get cockyFew things are more frustrating than a new officer who thinks they know everything when they’ve been an officer since breakfast. Humble yourself and make your bones during field training without bragging or pretending you’re Supercop.
4. Accept criticism and praise without being defensiveYou’re new and you’re going to mess up, often. The purpose of the FTO criticizing you is not to merely inform you, but to improve you so it doesn’t happen again. Making mistakes is expected. The key is to not make the same ones repeatedly. When you’re criticized, your FTO is letting you know you didn’t meet an expectation, which is extremely valuable for you to be informed of so you know exactly where the bar is set. If you’re able to offer a mere explanation of your actions, without being defensive and while remaining receptive to the criticism you just received, that may be appropriate. Similarly, if you’re given praise, don’t gloat or let it go to your head … say thank you and know that’s the expectation from then on.
5. “Look sharp, act sharp, be sharp”The all too familiar line from the TV series “Southland.” There are documented interviews in the FBI’s LEOKA (Law Enforcement Officers Killed in Action) report which state numerous felons imprisoned for murdering law enforcement officers did so simply because “they knew they could.” Some felons specifically stated the officer’s uniform and/or boots appeared unkempt, which caused them to assume the officer was lazy and cared about their job as much as their uniform. This is of course untrue and no excuse for the felons’ actions, but it’s important to note that something as menial as the creases in your uniform shirt can have an impact on how a suspect responds to your command presence.
On a lighter note, your field training evaluation will likely have an “appearance” category, so press your uniforms, shine your badge and polish your boots often, if not daily, because that’s an easy category to score points in. A former Recruit Training Officer once told me the academy is where the best snapshot of you will occur. You’ll be fit, focused and non-complacent. As officers, we tend to let ourselves slip, however gradually, after we leave the academy and there’s no longer academy staff keeping us in line. I personally challenge you to stay fit, know your stuff and remember that complacency kills.
6. Be respectfulSimply put, everybody is “sir” or “ma’am” unless you are told to call them something else. Even then, maybe let them tell you a couple of times before you stop. Respect both seniority and rank. Understand the senior guys with a few years left before retirement are not lazy, in fact they’ve likely spent the last 25 years doing exactly what you’re hoping to. Let them have their coffee and respond to their beat calls; you can go chase “Johnny Troublemaker” over fences and know the senior guy will still be there to help. Respect rank, regardless of your opinion of the person.
7. Switching FTOsWhen you pass a field training phase, you’ll get another FTO. One of the most frustrating things you can do is tell your current FTO that you did something a certain way because your last FTO told you to do it that way. There are a million ways to do this job and achieve the same result, count yourself lucky you’re going to experience a mere three to four ways of doing it with your FTOs. The point is to expose you to different ways, so that if you pass the program, you can take what you liked and add it to your bag of tricks. So if your current FTO tells you something different than your last FTO, that’s fine, do it.
8. Roll with the punchesCoworkers may have fun at your expense. As the new guy who enjoys pranks and comedy, I always found it amusing. In fact, I’ll humble myself with a quick story and maybe it’ll foreshadow the shenanigans you may encounter as the new guy. I was fresh off training and took a burglary where the suspect defecated in the victim’s toilet and didn’t flush it. Knowing (mostly) excrement doesn’t contain usable DNA, I photographed it and left it alone. My sergeant, after reading my report, called me into the office, where he and a former Crime Scene Investigator spent the next 20 minutes convincing me I had left valuable evidence in the toilet. Even worse, because my department was out of “collection kits,” I’d have to make due with a plastic bag and a plastic spoon. I got halfway back to the house after calling to tell the victim not to flush her toilet before my sergeant called me, nearly in tears, telling me I didn’t in fact need to scoop poop out of a toilet with a plastic spoon. If you’re thinking “Wow, what an idiot!” that’s fair. When I got back to the station, my sergeant wrote “Doo Doo Collection Bag” on the bag I took and placed the plastic spoon inside. That bag still hangs from my locker today, even at my new agency. So, roll with the punches and see the humor in things, even if you’re the victim!
9. Keep your FTO happyThis one comes at the end of the list because it was more important for you to retain the above items first before I tell you to keep your FTO fed and caffeinated … but do it. Find out how your FTO likes to ease into their shift or wind down. Whether its food, coffee or tea, find out and if possible, get your FTO what they need. Some FTOs don’t care about any of those frills and just want you out there doing your job. If that’s the case, pack a Red Bull and stay busy.
What if you’re a lateral transfer? As somebody who has lateraled to a different agency, I can tell you my approach was nearly identical to what it was when I was a new guy. I did just about everything the same way, but if my FTO, a senior guy or a supervisor told me to cut it out because I wasn’t a “boot,” I’d oblige and silently appreciate their gesture. I was fortunate enough to land at an agency where my lateral FTO experience was great; they treated me like an experienced officer and respected my time on the job. If you find yourself having a different lateral experience, try embracing the “new guy” way again because things like “be respectful” and “Keep your FTO happy” will never lead you astray.
Often times, trainees leaving the academy feel as if they know everything because they’ve conquered the academy experience. Do not fall into that trap. The reality is the police academy prepares you to enter a field training program, it doesn’t guarantee you’re ready to succeed in it. That responsibility falls on your shoulders. Strive for success and embrace being the new guy; be humble, be hungry and be the hardest worker in the room. Upon completing field training, take pride you’ve landed amongst the closed ranks of law enforcement because it’s the greatest job on Earth.