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Thread: But I just want to help people

  1. #1
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    But I just want to help people

    Here's a bit of free advice to departmental interviewers. I'm not sure all of you know just how important your job is. How many of you have “the” question on your interview questionnaire? What answer are you expecting? Before you make your next decision on the future of your next applicant think about this. If you are an officer first and interviewer second,why did you want to be a cop? Was it difficult for you to answer that in your own interview?Answer your own question, remember how you felt in your interview and take a different look at your applicant.
    I have been asked several times in my career why I wanted to be cop. My career has been a special love hate relationship but 21 years later I feel as if I have been somewhat of a success at it. It's also a good thing that I still love going to work.
    Looking back on it I did not really know why I wanted to be a cop. If I were asked back then that was the reply. I don't know. I'm glad now I never had to answer that question for an interviewer. That would have been a very empty answer. It was as if I were drawn to it. No one in my family have ever been full time law enforcement officers. In fact my step father once told me if I were ever to become a cop he would kick my ass until my nose bled. Some were military but no cops. I say that, but my biological grandfather was once a Special Officer with the City of New Orleans. Special Officers were a division of NOPD that is usually reserved for armed security officers. As far as cops were concerned that was as close as it got. I'm the first.
    There are some lines that are not meant to be crossed. Some rules that are not meant to be broken. I was blessed with some family members that instilled that into me. I was also blessed with a step grandfather (I was not able to meet my biological grandfather) that also told me that I should try do things that would fix the broken rules and get people back over the lines they've crossed. After looking at my life I believed law enforcement was the proper way to do those things. I work in a fashion that I believe gives my life purpose. That does not mean that any other job is menial compared to mine. It simply means that I saw my job as a fit for my life and the principles that I was gifted as a youth. I now have a front row seat in seeing how some do not have that and are not interested in learning it either. Those people are why we are here. Articulating that is not always an easy process.
    The “standard” answer to the why question is “I want to help people”. I have watched interviewers cringe at that answer. The strange thing to me is that's why we want to do this. In my opinion that is the proper answer. It seems,however, that answer is just to stock. To plain. Interviewers and administrators want more. They desire a more complicated answer. Well I hold most at arms length if a post college level, algebraic doctoral answer is given. Wrong? Maybe, but not for me. I've been pretty good so far at looking past the “standard” answer and glimpsing the character of the person giving the answer. There is a difference in a person who wants a cop job for the benefits and one who just wants to walk the line. It's not shameful to want a cop job for benefits for needing to provide for one's family. People need jobs and provide. As long as any officer properly handles their business motivation is secondary. However, finding someone that just wants to walk the line and may not realize why...well, that might be your diamond in the rough.
    Some desire to be cops because they were blessed. Blessed in being given some form of upbringing that supports doing something positive for their community and maybe righting some wrongs along the way. It takes the right person to maneuver through the danger, repetitive calls and watch as the court system throws out and pleas case after case and still want to do our job. Through it all they still stand the line and some may not ever realize why.
    Even someone who has had a poor and or abusive upbringing may want to do this. The person that knows firsthand what being a victim looks like can bring a lot to the table in digging through the BS and finding the actual issue at hand. They also know what wrong looks like. They didn't like when it was them and they know other victims don't like it either. A mirror is sometimes quite a proper reflection.
    A majority of people that say “they want to help” and really don't can be ferreted out with proper background checks, probation, listening to and having good field training officers, and evaluations. As I recently was informed, good interviewers are supposed to be professional assessors of BS. They should be experts in finding the posers. In the end interviewers should not be judgmental just because an applicant says they want to be a cop because they “want to help people”. Careful. You may very well be staring straight down the barrel of the next best person to wear a badge. It would be a shame to boot them because they don't yet understand their need to help people.
    Jks9199, conalabu, Jenna and 5 others like this.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

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    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  2. #2
    Jenna's Avatar
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    What a beautiful sheepdog reflection!
    IMGreat101 likes this.

  3. #3
    IMGreat101's Avatar
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    *speechless*

    Could someone rep lew for me? my rep button is requesting spreading more often.
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    McCrackhd's Avatar
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    "I want to serve my community" is the standard answer because you're scared that if you say, "Because I used to watch COPS while stoned and thought it looked like fun" would probably disqualify you.
    pac201 and IMGreat101 like this.
    YOUR ATTENTION, DO I F@#%ING HAVE IT?


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  5. #5
    Captain America's Avatar
    Captain America is offline Reed and Malloy were my FTOs
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    Quote Originally Posted by IMGreat101 View Post
    *speechless*

    Could someone rep lew for me? my rep button is requesting spreading more often.
    Done.
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    Ryan701's Avatar
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    What a great statement! Thanks lew! I have answered that question with the "standard" answer many times. I know that interviewers don't like it, but I'm not really sure how else to answer that question. Your statement is exactly how I feel! Thanks for putting it into words!
    IMGreat101 likes this.

  7. #7
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    Wonderful, lew.




  8. #8
    Rhino's Avatar
    Rhino is offline Meat-eater & Fire-breather
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewisipso View Post
    In fact my step father once told me if I were ever to become a cop he would kick my ass until my nose bled.
    Very similar story here. My step father hated police. Probably because he had been arrested a few times. I had my own reasons for being a cop, but there was a part of me that wanted to do it just to piss him off.
    McCrackhd likes this.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton

  9. #9
    SteelCityK9Cop's Avatar
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    I became a cop cause calculus in college was too hard.

    TBH... I took a two day ride along to get some filler credits with a suburban Philly department... 3 hours into the first day I was hooked. 18 years and three magic stripes later I still love crushing the nutz of evil.



    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  10. #10
    gopherpuckfan's Avatar
    gopherpuckfan is offline I'm from the government and I'm here to help
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain America View Post
    Done.
    And done
    The views expressed in the above post are the sole opinion of the author and do not reflect any official position by the author's employer and/or municipality.

 

 

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