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Old 01-07-2013, 06:49   #1
RussP
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What is least understood about being a cop by those not in or close to LE?

Or, what would you like people to know and better understand about 'the job'?

I read so many posts here and on other forums, in comments to news articles, on Facebook that clearly indicate ignorance is at an all time high about what it takes to do the job, why people get into the business, why they stay in, why some get out.

Yeah, there are no simple answers or explanations to any of those and other questions.

But, seriously, what needs to be understood that might lead to better relationships with the public?

If non-LE GT members want to ask questions, serious questions, please do. However, confiscation, donuts, JBT comments are off the table.

There'll be zero tolerance for trolling. Doing so will earn reward-points, not the good kind.

Thanks
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:15   #2
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While whatever interaction you are having with the police is probably the biggest, most life- changing event you will experience all year and possibly for the rest of your life, for the responding officers or detectives it probably won't even be remembered a week from now. Unless there are bodies on the ground, preferably bodies who have been sodomized to death, your call for service is just... routine. And likely a little annoying, because most likely there is no actual crime involved.

FWIW, this is one of the hardest things for me to remember from day to day as well.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:20   #3
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For me;

I have a profound need to right wrongs..

Thats it, I was always a big kid for my age, I was never a bully, I always stood up for those that had problems standing up for themselves.


My sister has a club foot and wore a brace for most of her childhood, she was constantly picked on and made fun of, I grew up defendeing her as I walked her to school.

I still have no patience for bullies or those that would cheat the system or take advantage of someone else.

I have a sense of service and will protect those around me, I have been this way since childhood and I wont likely stop.

I have met bullies that get involved in Law Enforcement, I dont like them and the don't last long around me,

Most career officers (30) and counting for me, do it for the sense of pride and accomplisjment when you can truly help someone or take that really evil or harmful person off the street and bring them to justice.

I do not suffer smarmy know it alls who how have no idea what the job entails and want to criticize every move made by law enforcement with the clarity of 20/20 hindsight they all seem to have.

If they are so sharp maybe they should man up and strap on the armor, gun and symbols of authoring to try it out, lets see how long they last when guys like me get to look at what they are doing and critique their performance.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:41   #4
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I will try with one. Whatever your situation is may seem completely new, novel, and never before encountered to you. However it may be fairly familiar to the officers including not only the (faulty) decisions made that got you there but the likely results of the (faulty) decisions that you appear to be making to solve the problem. Sometimes the officers really are not disinterested as much as they have seen the same problem, know what the solution is and the likelihood the solution will not be implemented just with different people.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:45   #5
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I'm probably taking the action I'm taking against you, your family member, your friend, or whomever of my own free will because I think it's the right thing to do.

For the most part, I don't HAVE to write anybody a ticket or arrest anybody. There is no quota, no monthly free toaster contest, nothing. In fact, the only two mandatory charges in my state are Domestic Abuse Assault and Passing a Stopped School Bus. The word "shall" does not appear anywhere else in the code when defining the action an officer can take.

You could theoretically get a verbal warning for murder, but if I have probable cause to believe you passed a stopped school bus (or that your vehicle did and I cannot determine who was driving), then I shall write you a ticket.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:19   #6
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You are just one of 20,000 people living in my beat, and you only have me and a deputy coming from an adjoining beat 10 miles away to handle things. You aren't the only person living here and you aren't the only one with a problem.

Along those lines, I am not your personal servant. I work for the community as a whole, and have a lot to do. I will give personal, and personable, service whenever possible, but all of us have a dozen other cases racing through our minds at any given time.

The same goes for detectives. Sorry, the caseload is too fricking high to handle a case with no suspect information and no leads at all any time soon. Homicides take precedence over property crimes. Evenif there is a suspect, we have three years to begin prosecution.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:21   #7
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My wife still gets upset at me because I can't pull over a vehicle that is speeding, changing lanes without a blinker and cutting off other vehicles on the highway in her minivan.

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Old 01-07-2013, 08:25   #8
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Also you do not pay my salary. I'm a reserve.

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Old 01-07-2013, 09:02   #9
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:06   #10
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Quote:
What is least understood about being a cop by those not in or close to LE?
Let's see, I'd go with:
1. The law (especially constitutional law)
2. Who makes the law
3. Crime
4. Criminals
5. And...LAW
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:08   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dukeboy01 View Post
While whatever interaction you are having with the police is probably the biggest, most life- changing event you will experience all year and possibly for the rest of your life, for the responding officers or detectives it probably won't even be remembered a week from now. Unless there are bodies on the ground, preferably bodies who have been sodomized to death, your call for service is just... routine. And likely a little annoying, because most likely there is no actual crime involved.

FWIW, this is one of the hardest things for me to remember from day to day as well.
That is a good one. From that comes the part where you later have to argue with somebody "No, I don't know you and we're not friends."
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:42   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dukeboy01 View Post
While whatever interaction you are having with the police is probably the biggest, most life- changing event you will experience all year and possibly for the rest of your life, for the responding officers or detectives it probably won't even be remembered a week from now. Unless there are bodies on the ground, preferably bodies who have been sodomized to death, your call for service is just... routine. And likely a little annoying, because most likely there is no actual crime involved.

FWIW, this is one of the hardest things for me to remember from day to day as well.
This is a big one.

Also, no matter how hard I train, I just can't seem to be able to shoot knives out of other people's hands. Also, as much as people have a constitutional right to live, they don't have the right to threaten police with deadly force (sane or otherwise). This has always been that way. Why is it that these ideas are changing? Because police have those same rights as well, they are just volunteering to stand between you and that suspect.

This became apparent when I had to have a conversation with my mother about why a teenager was shot by a police officer in my hometown. The teenager came at the cop with a rifle affixed with a bayonet. The teenager kept coming at the cop with the "unloaded" rifle and the cop kept trying to retreat away, and around his patrol vehicle before finally shooting and killing him. The police officer had puncture holes through his uniform shirt and in to his vest. My mother asked me why the cop (nobody she knew) would shoot him. I asked her if the cop were me (someone she knows), to tell me how many times she thinks I should get stabbed before I shoot them. Conversation quickly ended.

Enacting more laws won't change a criminal's behavior, but it may extremely hamper the rights of law abiding citizens. If that were the case, then we would be out of jobs. Crimes like beating up someone , killing them, using/selling drugs, etc. has been against the law for a VERY long time, yet it still exists in a huge way.

If you see me at a convenience store, restaurant or whatever while on duty, there is a good chance I'm not "wasting you tax money" but may actually be on a break. We get those too.

Probably a thousand other things to write, but it's hard to explain if you haven't done this job.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:50   #13
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Not a cop:

I think people forget all the time, that the cops are doing the job they were hired and sworn to do for our (the public) benefit, even when we think that our special circumstances may obviate that public trust.

Without the police, what is the alternative?
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:53   #14
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I think that because of the nature of law enforcement, police officers become guarded and quiet. This can come off as insensitive, uncaring and rude.

We deal with people who dislike us for various reasons- they got a ticket they deemed unfair, their dad was arrested in front of them, they misunderstand the law and think we enforce it unjustly. Because of these things, we may not be as quick to walk up, shake hands and offer to be best friends. Many of us officers have had bad guys follow us home or threaten our families because of legal action we took. So, understand that sometimes we may come off calous, guarded and unfeeling. I am not justifying or complaining about the realities of this job, just stating the facts.

Also, just like your doctor may seem underwhelmed by your case of abdominal pain because you are the millionth case of it he has seen, we may be underwhelmed in the same way about your car accident or vehicle burglary. That doesn't mean we don't care or aren't going to do our job, it is just that, like in every job, things become routine.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:59   #15
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TV is fiction or, at best, a representation of some facts.

If you are tempted to say the words, "I know the law" or "I know my rights", what we really know is you have no clue and are about to profess something stupid.

Call things in, but consider why your word should be better then theirs when we get there and everyone is acting propper.

If you run off criminals that we would have otherwise caught in the act, even out of ignorance, you are part of the problem.

When we don't make it in a timely (our definition, not yours) manner, we are more dissappointed than you are.

Fingerprints are extremely hard to retreive properly and rarely make a match. Even when we get good prints, they only prove that person touched that object, at some point. If there are no fingerprints, it doens't prove they didn't touch it.

We usually know the problem, we often agree with the complaintant on how to fix the problem, and we are usually just as frustrated (if not, more) when we can't fix the problem, legally.

Your anger at LE, over people being freed, should most likely, by a large margin, be directed at a District/County Attorney and/or a Judge. I have seen a case where th Judge watched a video of the crime occur, said he didn't believe it, and dismissed the case. Not much more a cop can do that get the crime on tape and arrest the guy. Go ahead and add juries to the list of people to blame. I give every jury trial a 50/50 chance, regardless of crime or evidence. There is rarely rhyme or reason as to what verdicts come from those six or twelve. It's been said, "the innocent man takes the plea, the guilty man takes it to a jury trial."
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:01   #16
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In one of my past jobs, I was talking with Dr. Lellehei, the Heart Surgeon pioneer,(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Walton_Lillehei) about our respective work.

He said he cannot think in terms of a patients impending or occurring death. If he did, he would not be able to do the work he does.

This happens to all professions where you deal with major life threatening events. It's normal self protection to ensure you can function as required, when required.

Do not confuse "detachment" with lack of Empathy.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:08   #17
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In KS, we canot take someone in custody for a misdemeanor unless it ocurred in our presense, we can articulate the person may be hard to find/identify later, or evidence may be irretreivable lost. However, we have to arrest for domestic battery and DUI.

Therefore, when some guy stops at your house and asks directions, randomly decides to fondle your breasts, and admits to it after we catch him an hour later, we have to let him go and long form the arrest. Yes, it's BS, but that's what the legislators have provided.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:29   #18
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There is no 'conspiracy' or secret world of LE. Take everything you see or hear from a LEO at face value, because it really is as simple as that.

Oh yeah, and it's normal for people to not like being told they screwed up....so no, I am not picking on you. Don't take it personally.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:29   #19
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If you think the police only show up after the fact to take a report - you have been reading too many posts by mom's basement forum warriors.

We deal with a world that you don't want to live in. That's fine with me, that's why I signed up. But, it is offensive to us when you are naive and claim that world does not exist.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:38   #20
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Television is nowhere near the equivalent of a Master's degree in Criminal Justice, much less completing the first day of the academy.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:41   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dukeboy01 View Post
While whatever interaction you are having with the police is probably the biggest, most life- changing event you will experience all year and possibly for the rest of your life, for the responding officers or detectives it probably won't even be remembered a week from now. Unless there are bodies on the ground, preferably bodies who have been sodomized to death, your call for service is just... routine. And likely a little annoying, because most likely there is no actual crime involved.

FWIW, this is one of the hardest things for me to remember from day to day as well.
I opened this thread thinking along the same lines as you.

Whatever is happening to you is the most important thing in your world, that doesn mean it is the most important thing in THE world.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:43   #22
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BTW, it is true, you pay some measure of the funds that put me on the streets as and LEO....but so does everyone else and they paid me to stop crime. While looking everywhere for a crime, I saw you do what you did.
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Whenever you get mad as hell about it all, grab your rifle and head outside. If you are the only one there...it's not time yet

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Old 01-07-2013, 12:46   #23
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- Just because you saw it done that way on NCIS, doesn't mean that's how it happens in real life. I'm not taking the pieces of broken bottle that was thrown at your car overnight to the lab to be "fumed".

- Just because you're mad at the officer for writing you the ticket/arresting you and he didn't make you feel loved and you have a (friend/cousin/friend of a friend) in LE who told you otherwise, doesn't mean the officer did anything wrong for your complaint to be sustained.

- It is sometimes difficult to hide the aggravation when you're taking your fourth burglary to a motor vehicle report that happened in this neighborhood overnight and everybody swears they locked their car doors, but there's no damage to any one of the cars indicating forced entry. And since you were in a rush in the morning to go to work, drove your car all day, cleaned it up and called in the evening when you got home, no, there's nothing that our evidence detective is going to process.

- Yes, I am a public servant, but I am not your personal servant. I will do my job the correct way and to the best of my ability but I'm not going to do what you want me to, even after I explain that legally, I can't but you still want to argue with me.

- I respect elected officials and realize I have to work professionally with you, but I am not your gopher or step and fetch. My career has already outlasted 4 mayors (2 are already deceased) and several incarnations of town councils.

- Yes, I may write you a summons for a minor traffic violation, but I have also locked up drug dealers, wife beaters, burglars, robbery suspects, etc...If you want me to look for those drug dealers and rapists that I should be arresting rather that writing you, 1) don't do that in front of me, 2) please provide me with some credible information and I will gladly look into it...
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:54   #24
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The last thing we want to talk to you about is a time that you believe you or someone you know was wronged by the police. Especially when you are a friend of a friend and have just met me in a social setting.

Everybody lies to us on a regular basis. If you try to lie to us, or stretch the truth we will know, and will be less likely to believe anything else you say.
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Old 01-07-2013, 13:01   #25
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For me, I wish people knew LEOs are really just people. We like the same foods, we like nice cars, we have families, etc. So often people are quick to talk down to us for no reason at all or at the same sense be scared of us for no reason. I also agree with the above post about the "routine" calls. A lot of folks think we can dedicate a months worth of work into a case that should be handled in civil courts. They just dont realize the radio never stops and there is a pile of reports on our desks.

Edit* One more thing, I dont think its "Cute" when I walk into a restaurant and the first thing you tell your 4 year old is "You better watch out, that officer is going to taze you" and then start giggling. That has got to be the most annoying thing I have to deal with.
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