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Learning the streets..


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  • Learning the streets..

    I have recently been hired onto a local Sheriff's dept, and will be starting the academy in a few weeks. Any advice on learning where things are at in the county? My sense of direction is ok, but I just don't want to be caught wondering how to get to a call. Is this a common worry before going on the road?

  • #2
    I still have the same problem. Couple of things you can do. If you dont live far or if the dept allows you take one of their unmarked cars, drive around town, bring your radio. When a call comes out, think for a couple of secs and go to that call, but dont use the radio since your off duty.

    I laminated a couple of maps of my town. I always have a map on my visor. Call comes out, I take 10 secs to look it over just to know where I need to make my turns. I do it on hot calls too. Is it bad? Maybe but at least I know where I am going rather than driving the wrong way, or cant find my way around a subdivision because i didnt look at a map. It may look foolish when you have your FTO with you and you use a map. But trust me, he/she will appreciate it that you looked first rather then drive around aimlessly.

    If you have a GPS unit, you can have it in the car BUT dont use it so much that your useless without it. My FTO, til this day, will not allow me to use my GPS. Maps and mind only.

    The more calls you get, the more the street names you will remember. Ive been to 2 domestics on the same street. That street name is branded into my brain and I know exactly where it is when I hear it. It takes time.


    • #3
      happens all the time if u don't have gps like our units right now..just do what i did when I started..on day shift just drive around aimlessly so you get to learn the area..get lost..unlost urself
      "What the problem is?"


      • #4
        I pull up the map book real quick on the computer right when I'm dispatched. I've also noticed that once I've been sent to a specific address on a call, it's been really easy to remember that specific street and the streets I used to get there. I'm starting to feel confident heading to some calls without pulling up the map book. Even if I know where a specific address is, I'll still pull up the map to see how many houses down a specific house is. Once I park I can just count houses instead of looking for addresses while I walk.

        Also, similar street names are often grouped together. For example, maple street is next to elm street which is next to ash street, etc...

        I have found that even if I've never been to a certain street I can often guess the general area of town it is in. I'll start heading that way and double check the map book as I'm driving / stopped at lights (if the call type permits). For example... the "state" streets are in the SE part of my town, and they are in alphabetic order. So if I'm in the NW part of town and I'm dispatched to Colorado Avenue I'll start rolling that way and pinpoint the target address while enroute. Obviously this won't work for certain types of calls.

        ChgoPaintball is right on with laminating maps. I have my mapbook in a binder in case my computer goes down. I laminated one map that has all the parks in town, and another that has all the schools in town. I know most of them by heart but a few just won't stick.


        • #5
          What I did was memorize major street splits. For example Street A splits the 9500-9600 block and runs North/South, so If I get a call thats at 9734 Smith St I know I can get to it from Street A and I know Smith St is an East/West street. I work in a major municipality though, not sure if it will work in more rural areas. Also, use a mapsco for a while even if you have a computer map/GPS. I used a MAPSCO my entire FTO and after I got off training I could drive to a lot of calls with out help from any mapping system.
          "Out of every 100 men sent to battle, 10 shouldn't even be there, 80 are just targets, 9 are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a Warrior and he will bring the others back." -Heraclitus


          • #6
            I am not native to the county where I work and when I started I knew where the academy was, where the jail was (right next to the academy) and where the range was. I used to get lost all of the time and it was one of my biggest hurdles during field training. My FTO made me drive from day-2 of field training so it forced me to learn the area. Your FTO will accept the fact that you dont know the area as he does, and if it is a hot call he will tell you how to get there. One of the things I did was just to study a map book of the county. As nerdy and boring as it may be I took a highlighter and traced out the districts, sectors and beats on the map. It is no substitute for actually driving around but it will at least teach you where the major roads and features of your area of responsibility are. If a map book like ADC Haagstrom, or Thomas isnt published for your area, go to the fire depatment, or highway department they usually have excellent maps. Eventually you will get to the point where you rarely, if ever, look at your map at all.


            • #7
              drive, drive, drive! Get a mental picture of your patrol. Get lost and find your way back


              • #8
                I just had to memorize the streets in the jurisdiction I work at. What helped me was to split the area into NE, NW, SE, and SW and memorize the streets separately by area according to a map. It made it easier for me, but I work in a smaller area. I would recommend learning the major roads first and go from there.


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