Police Brotherhood: Where is it?
New Police Officers need to realize that there's a brotherhood, or die
Just last night as I was leaving work, I saw a new officer walking into the station. I had no idea who he was, never seen him before, but seen he was suited up and realized he was new. As I was passing him, I said "How you doing?" and he responded "I'm good," and just kept walking. Now many people wouldn't think twice about that, but I was thinking "aren't you going to ask how I'm doing," like "Good, how are you?" But it got me thinking about something I'm seeing a lot more of in some new officers, almost a new generation of police officers who have a somewhat "me" attitude. They don't realize this is a profession where you need your brothers and sisters in uniform. They seem to only be concerned about themselves, because its not the first I've seen it and it seems to be getting worse.
But this story doesn't mean much in and of itself, in fact, its something I never would have thought twice about in the past. A lot of new officers (not all) seem to have this attitude that they don't have to show respect to veteran officers, and a have a know-it-all attitude.
I can remember just a year ago training an officer. It was obvious from day one that we were going to have problems. I remember on one call, the officer was telling a person who we had issued a ticket to how to take care of it. The officer simply forgot to mention something important, so I added (after the officer was done speaking) "Also, make sure you ask the court..." and I remember seeing this new officer roll her eyes at me in front of the person. I couldn't believe it. When we got back in the car, I told her "Don't ever roll your eyes to me when we're in front of someone." But this wasn't the first incident with this officer. This officer knew it all. She would ask me to look over her reports (which is actually required as an Field Training Officer), and every time I did, she would be on the defensive explaining and defending why she didn't say something. Finally I stopped reviewing them, and can remember her asking if I wanted to on a particular one. I said "I'm sure its right, just get it approved by the sergeant." The sergeant pulled me in his office and had me look at it. It was horrible. The elements of the crime were never even listed in it until the last paragraph, and the reader didn't even know what the story was about until the end. It was very bad. I explained to my sergeant the deal, and the report basically turned into a red kill zone (red ink explaining everything that's wrong with it). Believe me, there were more incidents with this officer, and I finally refused to work with her.
Another example of an officer I worked with (and was training) a few years back was a young man who "knew it all." I can remember thinking so many times "What did I do wrong to get this guy?" If he didn't open his mouth, you'd think this guy was completely squared away, and almost a perfect officer. But working with him and getting to know him was a completely different deal. In fact, there were so many incidents with him, I can't even recite them all. But his work ethic was to screw other officers daily, purposely trying to get tied up on things that would allow him to avoid things he didn't want to do (i.e. any report calls). I remember driving by a location that told dispatch that he was on a traffic stop, only "after" he was sent to take a report. I drove by just to see if actually was on a stop and he was sitting on the side of the road talking on his cell phone. His lights were on, but no one was in front of him. But this was typical of him. On another deal, dispatch was putting out a fight call (or something important), and couldn't find any officers to send. While dispatch continued to search for officers (i.e. asking them if they could clear the call they were on), this officer was seen at the car was putting Armor-All on his tires!
And aside from attitudes, there's the officers that simply don't care or don't listen to their radios when other officers need help. I can't tell you how many times I've heard an officer on a traffic stop and ask for another car, and the officer that gets sent (by dispatch) doesn't even know where the officers are. That's pathetic as far as I'm concerned. Police Officers should be listening to their radios ALL the time, and know where their brothers and sisters are. I can understand now and then, but if you're on the road, your main job when not doing something is monitoring your radio to know what's going on.
Don't come into this job if you're not willing to take a punch for a fellow officer
And then there's the officers that don't want to fight with their brothers and sisters. I remember a situation where an officer was in a fight for his life, and was calling for back up. A female officer was around the corner, and simply pulled down the street and waited for more cars to come, while her fellow officer was getting his butt kicked. When a third officer was running hot to the call and pulled up to the female, he asked "What's going on?" she responded with "I was just waiting for more officers before I went up." The officer couldn't believe it and raced to help the officer.
By no means do I believe officers should be cowboys or hero's, but when it comes to protecting each other and looking out for each other, that's the #1 priority. We help each other, we protect each other and we look out for each other, period.
What can veteran officer do to help make new officers understand?
I'm a firm believer (now) that being a "nice guy" to new officers is no longer the correct approach. I mean, I will be nice as long as they respect me, but they need to know the rules up front. Once an officer gets out of line or shows a lack of respect, its up to a superior officer to put the officer in their place, immediately. Simply ignoring it is no longer the correct approach in my opinion. I remember hearing of a veteran officer who chewed out a new officer, and I commend him for it. The veteran officer was training a new guy, maybe 6 months on or more. The officers were checking in service, and as the new officer was telling dispatch their cruiser number, who was in the car, etc., the veteran officer told him "Make sure you tell them we have to go to the yards," the new officer waved his hand at the veteran, like putting his hand is his face (but not literally), and said "Just hang on" (to the veteran officer). Needless to say the veteran tore him up telling him you don't EVER talk to me that way or wave your hand to me like that. Who do you think you are?
But I think that was absolutely the right response. I remember when I first started, new officers were told to "sit down, shut up and don't say a word." Now I don't necessarily agree with that, but the point is, there's a different attitude out there now, on both the new-veteran officers and the brand new officers.
What does all this mean?
In my opinion, it can mean your life, a fellow officers life or a citizen's life. Why? A new police officer who doesn't understand brotherhood can obviously get you hurt or killed. But their attitude can also get them hurt or killed as making enemies within the police department can slow, minimize or even remove any backup that they get. Now I will never not backup a fellow officer whom I don't care for, but I know there are officers out there who will simply not answer their radio. In fact it happened one time at my department. An officer who almost no one liked asked for backup one time and the radio was complete silence. Dispatch then came over the air and asked for any available cars to assist the officer, and again there was complete silence. How would like to be that officer? Finally a supervisor came over the air and ordered cars to go. But who's to say how fast the cars ordered to go drive, or the route they take? Not a good situation to be in.
Show respect to fellow officers, especially veteran ones. They're you're backup. Again, they're you backup! Not Joe Smo on the street. Don't make enemies within the department unnecessarily. Again, these people are you backup. When you need them, you need them. Lose the attitude and stop thinking only of yourself. This is not a job that's based around YOU. Its a job that you are needed by others, and you need to be there for them. Pay attention! This job requires you to know what's going on around you, not talking on your cell phone and not paying attention. Stand by your brothers and sisters, or die.
Dumb Criminals - The Dumb Criminal showcases some of the dumbest crooks on the net. Some of these dumb crook stories are literally hard to believe.
Police Training Books - Police Training Books are without question an incredible asset when trying to become a police officer. Experienced officers know that failure to prepare for the position of police officer can literally mean getting the job or not.
Police Departments: Indiana - List of Indiana Police Departments and links.
Common Stress - Understanding the hidden stress factors, the results from those stress factors, and learning to deal with them is the key to success.
Police Opinion - These are old "opinions" that we posted several years ago. Reading back through them has proven interesting, so we figured we'd leave them up.