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Old 01-09-2014, 03:16   #1
ancient_serpent
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What is the measure of a good officer (or deputy)?

In the military, you were doing your job if you were accomplishing the mission at hand and taking care of your people.

Now that I'm an officer, I'm a little confused.

What is the measure that we should judge ourselves by?
I've seen a lot of officers work to get a lot of arrests, I've seen many that write lots of citations. Some go for drug stuff and some just kinda sit back and do little.

How do we know that we're doing a good, moral, ethical job?

Caveat: If you're not an officer or deputy, please refrain from responding, or, at the least, make it clear you are not in L.E. Please don't be offended, I'm just wanting to hear from fellow L.E. primarily.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:13   #2
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I will give it a go;
Always do your best, if you like traffic that means writing tickets ethically and investigating accidents and helping your fellow officers reach their goals by lending your assistance.
It means taking calls in your zone or beat, not milking them but actually handling what comes in your area and not ducking the tough calls .
It means going directly to fight calls and other calls for service where you may be in danger, if you delay going to these type calls we don't want you.

During down time stay busy, on night shift it may mean pulling over those suspicious cars that weave if have a tag light out, not to cure them, but to see what's going on and see if further scrutiny is warranted.

Don't need a bad attitude always griping about how stupid the bosses are, don't agree with them, do a good job and get promoted and show them how it should be done.

Don't lie to your fellow officers or supervisors , not once, don't falsify information or reports not once.

Keep yourself and your gear in good shape and be proficient in what you do, if you need help ask and always be available to lend a hand when it's needed.


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Old 01-09-2014, 04:54   #3
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Don't duck or milk calls. Answer the calls you're assigned, volunteer to assist other officers. Don't always be the cover officer. Don't always be the one who "circulates" looking for the robbery suspect so they don't have to take a statement or take the report.

Always write good reports, that's how investigations will view you.

Learn from everything. Don't think you will ever stop learning and don't think you know it all.

Know the law and handle your business. Be the one that others rely on. Keep a cool head. I'd rather talk someone down than wrestle with them. Sometimes you have no choice but to be in a use of force. But that shouldn't be the first option unless circumstances dictate it.

Don't complain. Not saying that I've never complained, but do try to keep it at a minimum. I got most of my good stuff by being proactive. And a lot of that was because I was bored at the time. Don't just sit in a parking lot and do nothing. Drive around, do residence and business checks.

You'll know what to do. The same things that make you good in the military, make you good in law enforcement. You just don't usually get any positive recognition in law enforcement.

Also, don't believe for an instant the bus won't run you over or think that you won't get thrown under it if someone else thinks you need to be. Don't let it affect how you do your job, but understand the job will move forward with or without you.
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:52   #4
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Originally Posted by merlynusn View Post

Know the law and handle your business. Be the one that others rely on. Keep a cool head. I'd rather talk someone down than wrestle with them. Sometimes you have no choice but to be in a use of force. But that shouldn't be the first option unless circumstances dictate it.
Very important inside the fence as well. Ethics are important, as is your reputation. That includes a reputation for honesty.
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:56   #5
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Do the right thing, always. Obey the law and the Constitution, follow policy, treat others the way you expect them to treat you.

Help your partners - cover them on calls, take paper when they're slammed, pick them up when they're down.

Treat suspects with respect, but not deference. Never make a threat you aren't going to carry out or a promise you won't keep.

Tell the truth.

Practice with our weapons until excellence is automatic. Keep a combat mindset at all times, but you don't have to always show where your head is at.

Be the positive, always-up guy on your shift who doesn't ***** or whine about anything.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:22   #6
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Originally Posted by ancient_serpent View Post
In the military, you were doing your job if you were accomplishing the mission at hand and taking care of your people.
And why would you think it's any different now?
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:38   #7
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In addition to the things previously mentioned:

Always continuing to improve your skills and abilities.

As others mentioned, not *****ing about things... come up with a way to improve on it.

Being able to balance confidence and humility.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:48   #8
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Excellent post from everyone. I should share these with my trainee.

Keep your boots shined and uniform squared away. People notice, from the turds to the public to your admin and coworkers.

Answer your calls and handle your stuff. Investigate and follow up as much as you can before sending stuff off to the detectives. I'm a firm believer in "you catch it, you clean it".

Help out your buddies. Don't be the blue falcon! Be the guy that they want coming if the SHTF.

There is nothing wrong with having a particular interest, like drugs, traffic, investigations, etc. However, don't pursue one at the expense of all others. That's what specialized units are for. As a patrol officer you've got to be a jack of all trades.

Be right. Always, always, always work within the confines of what is legal, just and ethical.

Doing these things won't necessarily get you promotions or the admiration of the admin. However, it will get you something far more important; the respect of the real cops you work with on a daily basis. I like to call it "good ****** status".
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:55   #9
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According to many in my department tickets, arrests, reports, kickback, and FIs.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:31   #10
ancient_serpent
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All great and expected answers. Thanks for the advice. Pretty much what I was thinking, particularly in upholding the Constitution.
Sam Spade: I'm not saying ti should be any different, however, there seem to be many…quantitative measures that I've seen quite a few officers doing. As in, focusing on numbers of this or that.
That was my main concern. I'd much rather hear what I did from officers from all over the US than just base my opinions on my own experience and observations at one department alone.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:37   #11
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Originally Posted by ancient_serpent View Post
Sam Spade: I'm not saying ti should be any different, however, there seem to be many…quantitative measures that I've seen quite a few officers doing. As in, focusing on numbers of this or that.
That was my main concern. I'd much rather hear what I did from officers from all over the US than just base my opinions on my own experience and observations at one department alone.
(By the way, I'm an Army veteran...)

One of the great things about LE is that there are so many areas where you can make an impact.

More people die in traffic accidents than in murders; more property is lost in collision than in burglary. Make a difference, work traffic.

Repeat offenders commit way more than their share of crime. Make a difference, work probation/parole violators.

Every theft translates into a loss of personal treasure. Hours of work product taken, hours of life wasted. Make a difference, work pawn shops, fences and burglars.

Gangs terrorize the helpless, and turn huge swaths of public space into prohibited ground. Make a difference and lock those guys away.

Obviously, I can go on and on. There are metrics to measure your work in all of those areas, but the numbers don't tell the whole story. The real story is usually hidden from us and we get tiny glimpses from the taxpayers who let us peek into their lives on rare occasion. If you have *good* supervision, they'll let you self-initiate activity and recognize the contribution that all of it makes. At least, they'll know the balance between the secretary with a gun aspect and the solver of root problems aspect of the job.

You have a commission now. There's an implication there of a certain level of independent action within a larger framework and of discretion and judgement. Keeping peace and order in your corner of the world; enforcing the law as needed; providing general service to those in need all play into your responsibilities.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:58   #12
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http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/show....php?t=1454135

To quote one of my posts, from the quoted thread:

"At the end of my career, I don't care about the paperwork, the politics or what happened at the Courthouse, I've always cared most that the guys who were go-getters and out kicking ass and taking names wanted me to be by their side when the SHTF; that when things were at their worst, I was an asset. And, not afraid of making a decision and acting when things are bad."
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Old 01-09-2014, 16:45   #13
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Seems to me that the OP is starting to recognize that there's a difference between what the bosses say is the department's mission and what they actually want the troops to do.

Always a fun time, watching the new guys getting the scales ripped from their eyes.
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Old 01-09-2014, 17:26   #14
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Lots of intangibles, lots already covered more succinctly than I could.
Get a few co-workers to give you honest feedback... where they feel your strengths and weaknesses are, and improve your weaknesses.
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Old 01-09-2014, 18:15   #15
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Don't be a dumbass...

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Old 01-09-2014, 20:29   #16
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Seems to me that the OP is starting to recognize that there's a difference between what the bosses say is the department's mission and what they actually want the troops to do.

Always a fun time, watching the new guys getting the scales ripped from their eyes.
The bosses so often define the job with a trendy mission statement. Hard to know what the hell you're supposed to really be doing when the mission is defined as delivery of customer service within a dynamic paradigm of collaborative partnerships between diverse stakeholders.

Did I miss any buzzwords?
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Old 01-09-2014, 20:34   #17
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Originally Posted by merlynusn View Post
Don't duck or milk calls. Answer the calls you're assigned, volunteer to assist other officers. Don't always be the cover officer. Don't always be the one who "circulates" looking for the robbery suspect so they don't have to take a statement or take the report.

Always write good reports, that's how investigations will view you.

Learn from everything. Don't think you will ever stop learning and don't think you know it all.

Know the law and handle your business. Be the one that others rely on. Keep a cool head. I'd rather talk someone down than wrestle with them. Sometimes you have no choice but to be in a use of force. But that shouldn't be the first option unless circumstances dictate it.

Don't complain. Not saying that I've never complained, but do try to keep it at a minimum. I got most of my good stuff by being proactive. And a lot of that was because I was bored at the time. Don't just sit in a parking lot and do nothing. Drive around, do residence and business checks.

You'll know what to do. The same things that make you good in the military, make you good in law enforcement. You just don't usually get any positive recognition in law enforcement.

Also, don't believe for an instant the bus won't run you over or think that you won't get thrown under it if someone else thinks you need to be. Don't let it affect how you do your job, but understand the job will move forward with or without you.
Good stuff right there.
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Old 01-09-2014, 20:39   #18
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be in the know, do the right thing.
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Old 01-09-2014, 21:42   #19
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The bosses so often define the job with a trendy mission statement. Hard to know what the hell you're supposed to really be doing when the mission is defined as delivery of customer service within a dynamic paradigm of collaborative partnerships between diverse stakeholders.

Did I miss any buzzwords?

Nope, covered them all I think. Get that from my policy manual and mission statement did ya?

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Old 01-09-2014, 22:45   #20
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When you are home all exhausted and feet hurt after the shift from hell... Then you think back to what you did and what a difference you made for some people, and you smile and you can't wait to get back out there to do it again... That's when you know you are a good cop.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:36   #21
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Treat the people you come in contact with the way you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed whether they are a victim, suspect, coworker, supervisor, or subordinate.
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:06   #22
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Common sense.
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Old 01-10-2014, 16:41   #23
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Common sense.
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Old 01-10-2014, 18:22   #24
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+1 to everything said here.

Build your guys up, don't tear them down. Promote positivity any way that you can.

And of course, if you have to stop and ask yourself if something is wrong, it most likely is.

If YOU look bad, we ALL look bad.
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Old 01-10-2014, 20:26   #25
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I see too many Officers trying to see "what they can get away with" and not figure out "what's the right thing to do."
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