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Old 03-29-2012, 16:58   #1
TexasFats
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What Can I Do To Help You?

While I know that this is for cops to talk shop, vent about administration, and that sort of thing, I would like to pose a question that I have never seen before on this forum. Let me make it clear. I am 100% civilian, and I have never been a LEO; although, I have known several LEO's over the years.

Here is the question:

What can I, as a private citizen, do to help you guys? I mean besides being polite and cooperative if stopped on a traffic stop and such.

What say you?
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Old 03-29-2012, 17:16   #2
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Call for real problems, be a good observer and a witness.
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Old 03-29-2012, 17:35   #3
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Be an informed citizen. Vote for intelligent city and county elected officials who want a decent community. Hold them accountable when they screw up and when something needs to be said, go to a city council meeting or county board meeting and speak out. That alone would help immensely.
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Old 03-29-2012, 18:09   #4
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Don't make negative assumptions based on confusing things you see, but for which you don't know all the background details. There is usually a method, a cause, a reason for an officer doing something that might appear odd. Don't rush to judgement and don't call to complain; you'll look like a fool.

An officer shopping at Walmart might be buying office supplies for work out of his own pocket.

An officer who is given a free cup of coffee at a convenience store might not be able to take his wife to most restaurants in the area that he work/live area because many of the people the officer has arrested over the years works in at those eating establishments....and hold grudges.

An officer who fails to pull over a vehicle for an obvious traffic violation might be on his way back to his station after clearing a scene.... 4 hours after his shift officially ended; or, he might be on his way to a call for service or to a court hearing.

Four police cars parked at a coffee shop might belong to officers getting the only 15 minute break that they'll get during a busy 12 hour shift.

An officer who conducts a traffic stop on an off-duty police officer and let's them leave with a warning has given hundreds of such warnings to complete strangers who are not cops and who he will likely never see again.

An officer who is exceeding the speed limit by 10 miles per hour might be trying to approach a suspect vehicle without alerting them to the fact that the police are nearby. Likewise, a police vehicle that is exceeding the speed limit might be approaching the scene of an active crime and the officer has just turned off their lights and sirens so as to not endanger the victim by alerting the subject that the police are coming. Someday that victim might be you.

A police officer on a cell phone might be talking to a complainant/victim who requests an officer to call them.

The list goes on and on.
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Old 03-29-2012, 18:13   #5
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I've said time and again that if people would just act like civil adults, we'd have 90% fewer cops on the job. Try to put those cops into a different line of work, and please spread the word to others to do so.
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Old 03-29-2012, 18:58   #6
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Be a good person. Don't put yourself in a bad situation, or make poor decisions, then get upset that we can't solve your problems in our short time together.
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Old 03-29-2012, 20:27   #7
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Raise your kids right.
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Old 03-29-2012, 20:49   #8
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Old 03-29-2012, 20:52   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzergrenadier1979 View Post
Don't make negative assumptions based on confusing things you see, but for which you don't know all the background details. There is usually a method, a cause, a reason for an officer doing something that might appear odd. Don't rush to judgement and don't call to complain; you'll look like a fool.

An officer shopping at Walmart might be buying office supplies for work out of his own pocket.

An officer who is given a free cup of coffee at a convenience store might not be able to take his wife to most restaurants in the area that he work/live area because many of the people the officer has arrested over the years works in at those eating establishments....and hold grudges.

An officer who fails to pull over a vehicle for an obvious traffic violation might be on his way back to his station after clearing a scene.... 4 hours after his shift officially ended; or, he might be on his way to a call for service or to a court hearing.

Four police cars parked at a coffee shop might belong to officers getting the only 15 minute break that they'll get during a busy 12 hour shift.

An officer who conducts a traffic stop on an off-duty police officer and let's them leave with a warning has given hundreds of such warnings to complete strangers who are not cops and who he will likely never see again.

An officer who is exceeding the speed limit by 10 miles per hour might be trying to approach a suspect vehicle without alerting them to the fact that the police are nearby. Likewise, a police vehicle that is exceeding the speed limit might be approaching the scene of an active crime and the officer has just turned off their lights and sirens so as to not endanger the victim by alerting the subject that the police are coming. Someday that victim might be you.

A police officer on a cell phone might be talking to a complainant/victim who requests an officer to call them.

The list goes on and on.
Thank you Panzer. Heck of a good post. It should be a 'sticky'.
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Old 03-29-2012, 21:53   #10
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Blueiron, your answer is the type of stuff I had in mind. So, whom should I ask to find out who are the good candidates from a street cop's perspective? How can I find out what pending legislation might be important to you guys on the front lines? For what it's worth, I know that brass and you guys on the street may not see things exactly the same way. How do I get your perspective?I'm tired of seeing officers scorched by the media for defending themselves against an attack by some street goblin with a gun or knife.
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Old 03-29-2012, 21:58   #11
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Say "Hi" in public, don't scream "I didn't do it."

Slow down and try to move over a lane if you see us on a traffic stop on the side of the road. Any minute can turn into a wrestling match, so we don't want to get squished.

Traffic stops can be anyone from a soccer mom speeding to an armed robbery suspect - so please don't come up and ask for directions while we are on a stop.

Know your directions, North/East/South/West. If you see something suspicious, get a license plate, good clothing and physical description, and last known direction and address. Call early...quicker we get it dispatched the quicker we can respond.

Get involved with your local PD with a citizen's police academy. You really get a chance to know a lot of the guys personally and do some ride-alongs. You will be surprised the stuff that is going on in your town you didn't even know/think about. It's going to make you more aware of your crime trends and what to be on the look out for even for your self protection.
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Old 03-29-2012, 22:13   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasFats View Post
Blueiron, your answer is the type of stuff I had in mind. So, whom should I ask to find out who are the good candidates from a street cop's perspective? How can I find out what pending legislation might be important to you guys on the front lines? For what it's worth, I know that brass and you guys on the street may not see things exactly the same way. How do I get your perspective?I'm tired of seeing officers scorched by the media for defending themselves against an attack by some street goblin with a gun or knife.
Along that lines, keep your mind open to police pensions. Lots of the general public are being misinformed by political propaganda lately.

At least in my state, all local police officers pension fund is NOT being paid for by the tax payers. Police officers generally pay around 10% of their salaries towards a pension fund. As part of their salary, their city employer matches that 10% into the fund as well. Think of that the same as a 401k matching program.

So if a police officer makes 50k a year, they actually only take home 45k a year.

The pension payments are paid for out of these privately run pension funds. They are NOT paid for by tax money.

The problems some towns/cities have run into is that they have failed to pay the matching portion. Dirty politicians have failed to honor their contracts and have used the money for their other pet projects. This began even before the recent 07' economy problems. Or some states have tried to acquire local gov pensions. In Illinois, Gov/Inmate Blago took over the teacher pensions and then borrowed against that fund using it as his piggy bank for state projects. Those are the reasons pensions are having problems in some areas - it has nothing to do with having to raise taxes to pay for these pensions. The payments come directly out of the pension funds which are built into the existing salaries. The funds are privately managed and grow similar to a really big 401k.
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Old 03-29-2012, 22:37   #13
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Originally Posted by TexasFats View Post
Blueiron, your answer is the type of stuff I had in mind. So, whom should I ask to find out who are the good candidates from a street cop's perspective? How can I find out what pending legislation might be important to you guys on the front lines? For what it's worth, I know that brass and you guys on the street may not see things exactly the same way. How do I get your perspective?I'm tired of seeing officers scorched by the media for defending themselves against an attack by some street goblin with a gun or knife.
There are a couple of ways to go about it. One way is to attend a citizens' police academy if a nearby agency has one. You'll learn some of what goes on and who is who inside of the PD. Network with the officers and learn what problems are in the community.

Perhaps your agency has volunteer positions, if you have the time. There are plenty of things that you can do to help and find out what needs to be done on the political level.

Another option is the contact the local police union/guild/association and offer to help in fund raisers for injured officers or those killed on duty. Networking here will show you all the behind the scene problems like not enough money for body armor, a needed canine officer, or similar issues. CLEAT can probably help you out in this regard and if you help at this level, you can learn a lot about Texas state LE issues. I did some volunteer work for my community's PD union when it was time to get rid of their moron of a police chief and it worked well.

Good luck with this endeavor and I wish more people were like you. If you want to run something past me, PM me.
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Old 03-29-2012, 23:45   #14
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call 911 before you call your mother when someone breaks in your house, assaults you, or sexually assaults you.

I cant tell you how many third party complaints I get 20 mins after the incident from the victim's mother. Needless to say, the info from mom is outdated and vague when officers are trying to choose an appropriate response to the situation.
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Old 03-30-2012, 00:44   #15
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Originally Posted by TexasFats View Post
What can I, as a private citizen, do to help you guys?
Stop watching your local news channels, and cancel your newspaper subscription.

It won't just help US... it will help you, society, and America's collective IQ.

Do it for America.
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Old 03-30-2012, 14:40   #16
TexasFats
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Quote:
Originally Posted by articulate View Post
Stop watching your local news channels, and cancel your newspaper subscription.

It won't just help US... it will help you, society, and America's collective IQ.

Do it for America.
I'm way ahead of you there. I believe about 5% of what I see and hear on the local news. For national news, the belief quotient is < 1%.

My gripe is how, everytime a local officer has to shoot some misguided child who was shooting at the cop, the local news immediately puts the family on, and the litany starts:

"They murdered my baby. He was a good boy who taught Sunday School in the Prison Chapel every single time he was in the joint. And, this time, he had actually been on parole a whole month before he tried to do a robbery. He was just turning his life around. Boo Hoo!"

And, even if the Grand Jury no-bills the cop, the media try to ruin his career. It makes me sick, and I'm not an officer. I cannot imagine how a police officer feels about that sort of stuff.

I guess that my main thing is how to let you guys know that a few of us civilians know at least part of how it really is and to let you know that some of us really appreciate what you go through to try to keep the peace in our society.

Even if I weren't an old geezer, I could not do what you guys do, and I know it.

Thanks to every one of you for putting up with what you have to go through.
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:06   #17
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What I am about to say will not be viewed by some as a popular opinion.

Not all prisoners will be staying behind the secure perimeter the rest of their lives. They get out. Nine times out of ten we're going to have someone at least be tempted to go back into crime. Out of those tempted it seems about half of them do it. Help those who want help to become law abiding citizens. Sometimes a few of them getting out are not only salvageable, but contribute to their societies; pay taxes, and what have you.

So, how does this help cops? It helps by giving cops a little bit of a breather, perhaps. If a former bad guy is actually turning his life around for the better it helps in that this guy becomes a tax paying citizen who in turn helps to pay for government labor, to include law enforcement.

Basically, although rehabilitation; reformation of the human is not the most popular subject it is something that we in society have to deal with, or pay someone to deal with.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:11   #18
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Go on a ride along...I think you'll have an eye opening experience about modern, politically bogged down law enforcement.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:15   #19
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I'll add a couple things to what's already been said. Do a ride along. You will typically see a boring day when you do a ride along as opposed to an action packed day (just the way it works) but you will see it from the cop's perspective. I didn't mind ride alongs if they were interested. I hated doing ride alongs when they were students who were getting a CJ degree and it was required and they had no desire to be there. Use the time on the ride along to ask questions.

Do the Citizens academy as well.

I would say, don't bring food to a police station because most of the cops won't eat it anyway. Not unless they know who it's from and trust that source. Instead, if you're in a restaurant and you see some cops eating, buy their meal. It can be anonymous or not. I've had that happen to me and it is a very humble experience. Knowing that someone just paid for our food because they wanted to express their appreciation. I'm not saying to do it all the time, but when it happens, it's a good feeling. Kind of recharges the batteries. We had it happen once after a rough day and it put a spring back into our steps knowing the entire world didn't suck.

But mostly, it's the simple stuff. Know where you are when you call 911. If you see something suspicious, go ahead and call and give as much detail as possible. If you see an accident and it might look like someone is hurt, stop and see if you can help. Basically, just be a good person. We sometimes forget that people are good because we only deal with the bad so when we do encounter a good person, it reinforces why we do the job.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:02   #20
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Try to get your friends and family involved in the citizens academy or ride alongs.
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