7 Things Cops Should Never Say

September 29, 2009

This is a summary of a really great article by Dr. George Thompson that you can read here.

7.  “Hey You, Come Here!”

You have just warned the subject that he is in trouble. “Come here” to the subject means, “Go away-quickly!” The words have provided a warning and possibly precipitated a chase that would not have been necessary had you, instead, walked casually in his direction and once close said, “Excuse me. Could I chat with you momentarily?” Notice this question is polite, professional, and calm.

6.  “Calm Down!”

This phrase is a criticism of their behavior and suggests that they have no legitimate right to be upset!  Better, put on a calming face and say, “It’s going to be all right. Talk to me. What’s the matter?” The phrase “What’s the matter?’ softens the person up to talk; where ‘Calm down’ hardens the resistance. The choice is yours!

5.  “I’m Not Going To Tell You Again!”

This phrase is almost always a lie. You will say it again, and possibly again and again!  Parents do it all the time with their kids, and street cops do it with resistant subjects, all the time! The phrase is, of course, a threat, and voicing it leaves you only one viable option-action! If you are not prepared to act, or cannot at the time, you lose credibility, and with the loss of creditability comes the loss of power and safety!  If you want to stress the seriousness of your words, say something like, ‘Listen, it’s important that you get this point, so pay close attention to what I’m about to tell you.’

4.  “Be More Reasonable!”

You will never have anyone run up to you and say, “Hey, I know I’m stupid and wrong, but here’s what I think!”.  Make people more reasonable by the way in which you handle them.  Use the language of reassurance-“Let me see if I understand your position,” and then paraphrase back to them their meaning, as you see it, in your words. Using your words will calm them and make them more reasonable because your words will be more professional and less emotional.

3.  “Because That’s The Law!”

If ever there was a phrase that irritates people and makes you look weak, this is it!  If you are enforcing laws that exist for good reason, don’t be afraid to explain that! Your audience may not agree with or like it, but at least they have been honored with an explanation. Note, a true sign of respect is to tell people why.

2.  “What’s Your Problem?”

This snotty, useless phrase turns the problem back on the person needing assistance. It signals this is a “you-versus-me” battle rather than an “us” discussion. The typical reaction is, “It’s not my problem. You’re the problem!”  Substitute tactical phrases designed to soften and open someone up, like “What’s the matter?”, “How can I help?”, or “I can see you’re upset, let me suggest . . . .”

1.  “What Do You Want Me To Do About It?”

When you say, “What do you want me to do about it?” you can count on two problems: the one you started with and the one you just created by appearing to duck responsibility.  Instead, tactically offer to help sort out the problem and work toward a solution. If it truly is not in your area of responsibility, point the subject to the right department or persons that might be able to solve the problem.


Remember, insult strengthens resistance and shuts the eyes. Civility weakens resistance and opens the eyes!

It’s tactical to be nice!


Inside the Department

September 24, 2009

There have been 2 main developments at my department in the past month.

First, we finally hired a new chief of police.  He is a veteran chief that comes from a larger department than ours and I am very excited to see the changes he implements here.

Secondly, one of our officers has been AWOL for about 2 months and the brass either does not know where he is or is not at liberty to tell the other officers.  This particular member of the department was not the most popular or likeable fellow.  He rubbed a lot of the officers the wrong way, and to be totally honest, much of the department wouldn’t shed a tear if he never came back.  He is a very experienced cop and brings quite a bit to the department, but the other guys just don’t like to deal with the other crap that he brings as well.

Moral of the story is two-fold.

1-  Don’t be a jerk.

2-  Don’t focus on the negative in someone else.

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18

Ninjas and Permission Slips

September 4, 2009

I got the opportunity to ride out with the Sergeant on deep nights yesterday.  (I’m still in training as a cadet).  The first two hours were extremely slow, we couldn’t even get a traffic stop.  But that gave me some time to pick his brain on various topics relating to policing and our department.

First traffic stop of the night —  No headlight.  Serge walks up to the vehicle and the kid (20) immediately tells him that he got a warning for this same violation yesterday and just hasn’t had time to take care of it yet, but he needed to go get some tea.  (It’s about 1 am at this point…tea?)

Serge wants to double check his story with our local records and also run his ID through the MDT (mobile data terminal) in the Tahoe to see if he has any warrants for his arrest.  He comes back clean.  Serge is back out with him to give him a verbal warning, again, and to suggest that he go get tea during the daytime until he can find the time in his busy schedule to fix his headlight.

In the middle of Serge’s warning, the kid sticks out his hand with a hand-written note asking Serge to sign it.  While serge was in the Tahoe, apparently the kid had written up a permission slip to go get some tea without a headlight.  Complete with blanks for the Serge’s name, the date, signature.

It was classic.

Serge didn’t sign his permission slip.

About an hour later, dispatch calls in a Suspicious Persons report at an apartment complex nearby.  Another officer is routed to the call and the Serge wants to let them handle it so they can learn.  He tells me that if the suspects flee, I am free to get out of the car and get in a foot pursuit, just stay on the radio and tell the other officers where they’re going.  (Sweet.)

The other officer calls Serge over in a few minutes for a supervisor’s advice.  We roll up and they have 5 college kids dressed in all black with black masks (removed at this point), and an impressive assortment of samurai weapons.  Nunchucks, bow staff, throwing star, samurai sword, etc.  As soon as Serge sees the weapons he says, “No question. Hook ’em up.”

Apparently the kids were on their way to a friends house to play “ninja”.

One kid, 19, claims ownership of all the weapons so he is the only one arrested.  Rough night for him, he is charged with a 3rd degree felony that comes with a 2-10 year prison stint and up to a $10,000 fine in our state.  All the officer’s felt bad for him, but you can’t just let a felony walk, someone has to go to jail for it.

Moral of the story, you can’t get a permission slip to break the law and don’t play “ninja”.

Playing Ninja

Playing "Ninja"

2 Product Reviews

September 1, 2009

I have 2 products that I hope to be able to review in the next few months.

One is a Bible Study designed specifically for LEO’s (law enforcement officers) and the situational stresses that come in this line of work.  I encourage you to check out this site for more info on the book, and continue to check back here for a complete review when I finish the study.

The other product is P90X.  If you watch any sports channel on TV during non-prime-time hours, you know what P90X is.  It is “a revolutionary system of 12 sweat-inducing, muscle-pumping workouts, designed to transform your body from regular to ripped in just 90 days.”  Here’s the official website.  And here is a video of a guy with a similar body type to myself and the transformation he experienced with this program.

Wish me luck!