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08-06-09, 12:38 AM #1
The Countybear Rant - Do you have what it takes?
When charged with helping to train a new member of our department, I try to relate some of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that help carry the professional law enforcement officer through the in's and out's of such a career, tactics for various calls for service and public contacts, at least a basic knowledge of commonly-used terminologies, and basically create an understanding of the system under which the candidate is expected to operate within. We closely cover the policy, the expectations, and the standards of the department for its personnel. We aren't generally given a very long time to ride with these recruits, although the time that we do work with them we are expected to maintain a constant gauge of their grasp of the subject matter, their competence, demeanor, and then report their progress to our superiors. Recently training a young recruit, I was asked by a shift officer if I felt this new guy had "what it takes" to succeed in law enforcement... I began to ask myself, what does it really take?
It takes an abiding, unfailing, and omnipresent level of common, God-given sense to be a street cop. No, its not rocket science and it really doesn't require an advanced degree from an Ivy League university. In fact, the street educates the officer far better than any classroom setting ever could. People, their environment, and how they impact one another are a very large part of "the subject matter" which the law enforcement officer must endeavor to truly master, and only personal, direct contact with large numbers of them -- often when they are at their absolute worst -- will inform, educate, enlighten, thrill, chill, endear, and annoy an officer enough to grasp the concept of them effectively. The public's expectations of the police are generally a constant, but learning how to meet, or more importantly, exceed those expectations requires learning them from experience, not from a book. People are often the police's harshest critics, and the officer must understand the root of their criticism to effectively look beyond it and put things in proper context. Across any class, social strata, economic level, race, culture, religion, or creed, the officer must understand them and their motivations; what makes them who they are, and perhaps more importantly, why they do what they do. That takes time observing, contacting, and getting to know them, and the difficult part of rests in the fact that perhaps the ones that the officer has to know best of all are those who have no desire whatsoever to interact with law enforcement.
Granted, in most communities, people love to get to know the police, at least at arm's length. Cops are useful (given certain conditions), but treated apathetically, generally speaking. They are the folks most people love to see when in need, and hate to see when they aren't. The police are a constant reminder of the ills of society, the trophy of our failure to reach "Utopia", and a seemingly ever-present warning of the trials and frailty of life itself.
Philosophically, the officer must understand that people are products of their own environments and perceptions, however he is not always granted the luxury of being that himself. He must function free from the encumberance of predispositions and prejudices. He must respect the individuality of every person in order to maintain objectivity. While he learns, he also must forget. Such is perhaps the greatest irony of law enforcement.
A deeply ingrained and constant sense of reason is on the list of cherished skills for the street cop, but that can be the most fleeting, given his environment. I once had an academy instructor congratulate his class of recruits on being officially recognized by the evidence of their hiring as pure examples of "the reasonable man", the "ordinary citizen", and the "prudent person" so often fabled about in the annals of law. Years later, I more completely understand what he meant by saying such a thing. It is an officer's judgment that matters when the rubber meets the road, and his perception which must be clearly articulated in order for anything he does to bear the scrutiny of litigation over literally years of time. Throughout, the overriding consideration will always be, was this officer "reasonable" in his perception and response? In order to competently reach that conclusion it takes a quorum of individuals, when very often the incident itself involved the judgment of only one - the officer himself.
A deep sense of honor certainly claims the top of the list on qualifications for a successful law enforcement career. The honor to know the weakness, but not take advantage of it; to walk amongst temptation and depravity, but not fall into it; to see the shortcuts, but not take them; and to live without tarnishing his credibility or reputation. He must be straight in his step, strong in his actions, deft in his perceptions, tireless in his endurance, and true to his word. He must live as an example, love deeply, hate with righteous indignation, and feel but never show it. He must be respectful of life and liberty, and vigilant in his defense of both. He must know most of all that his lot is never wealth in such a career, nor advantage, nor popularity, nor perhaps even peace and stability in his personal relationships. His stress is palpable, but his triumphs are personal and usually uncelebrated, and he must fully understand and accept that.
There are those who think that the model law enforcement officer "is a mythical beast..." however given the exhausting analysis of professional law enforcement officers who fail to uphold the oath versus those who do, I'd say he's real, and he certainly represents the vast majority of the those on the job.
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.
08-06-09, 12:47 AM #2
another good rant. I've failed a few recruits over the years, I think it boils down to a few things, can they be trusted (will they back you, fight with you, etc). Are they honest. Do they have common sense, and can they write reports'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly
promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
holds forth the proposition that it is entirely
possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'
“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” Sigmund Freud
08-06-09, 01:26 PM #3
08-06-09, 02:28 PM #4
CB plain and simple..., and again awesome!!!Swamp Mafia
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and like it, never really care for anything else.
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Disclaimer: The opinions given in my signatures DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are MY PERSONAL OPINIONS and I accept sole responsibility as such.
08-06-09, 03:34 PM #5
Wonderful as always, CB.
08-06-09, 06:05 PM #6Corporal
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