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Accepting Mistakes and Learning From Them

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  • Accepting Mistakes and Learning From Them

    I'm wrapping up FTO now and while 2nd phase has been difficult, I've improved a lot. Going into the end, my FTO was telling me he thinks I'll be fine and just slow down. Worked great until I arrested a homeless DIP, and when I searched him I didn't realize his pants had back pockets. The jail ended up finding a lighter in one of them, and I was understandably chewed out by my FTO.

    I haven't screwed up a search so far, and my FTO pointed that out himself, but it's been 4 days and I'm having trouble getting past the guilt and shame. I have second hand knowledge of other cops missing stuff so I know I'm not the first or last. My FTO also told me he doesn't think I'm actually a **** up and I just need to work on a couple things; but I feel like accepting it and resolving to learn from it is somehow letting myself off too easy. Any advice on how to mentally approach this?

  • #2
    In FTO you’re rightly judged against a perfect standard and by the book.

    However, nobody is perfect and you will screw up. Take the @zz chewing and drive on.

    If you live constantly in the past, if you’re thinking about past mistakes, your attention won’t be in the present and you’ll make more mistakes…. It starts to snowball.

    If a lighter is the worst thing the jail finds that you missed you’ll be lucky…. Ask me about the Bowie knife and bottle of pills we found on a guy one night in booking, the road deputies missed TWICE. It happens.

    Two lessons to learn here: 1. Be more careful. You know how to search, so do it.. 2. You’re going to make mistakes. Let it go.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

    "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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    • #3
      Everyone makes mistakes.

      I’ll again share one of my worse, raw rookie stories.

      Pulling up to a gas station on a call of customer harassment, I’m instructed to go check out three guys standing by the corner, while he goes inside to talk with the store clerk.

      I meet with these three, ask them what’s going on, and they tell me they’re crossing the street and haven’t seen anything. I thank them, then go inside to confer with my FTO.

      I tell him what their story is, and he comes unglued,….”and you just believed them, are you serious, WTF?!” He walked me back outside and showed me how to properly get to the truth. It felt like being in elementary school, embarrassing!

      Pretty stupid mistake, but being very young, fresh from the academy, and from a solid, honest family environment, I had no idea that as an LEO, you really have to question Everything and Everyone.

      Trust your FTO, he’ll give you an honest evaluation, you’ll be fine.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Historian View Post
        I'm wrapping up FTO now and while 2nd phase has been difficult, I've improved a lot. Going into the end, my FTO was telling me he thinks I'll be fine and just slow down. Worked great until I arrested a homeless DIP, and when I searched him I didn't realize his pants had back pockets. The jail ended up finding a lighter in one of them, and I was understandably chewed out by my FTO.

        I haven't screwed up a search so far, and my FTO pointed that out himself, but it's been 4 days and I'm having trouble getting past the guilt and shame. I have second hand knowledge of other cops missing stuff so I know I'm not the first or last. My FTO also told me he doesn't think I'm actually a **** up and I just need to work on a couple things; but I feel like accepting it and resolving to learn from it is somehow letting myself off too easy. Any advice on how to mentally approach this?
        That may have more to do with your personality, than the actual situation.

        Some of us hold ourselves to an extremely high standard of performance, and have a much harder time dealing with our own mistakes.

        And safety stuff like that is obviously important.

        But this is FTO, and you're gonna make mistakes- your FTO knows this, and is there to ACTIVELY supervise you, to keep everyone safe.

        So like has already been said, take your ***-chewing, and the figure out how to move on. You can't let it cripple you- we're expected to continue performing even after making a mistake.

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        • #5
          I took a prisoner from another guy when I was new. He was wearing two pair of pants like must ghetto dwellers do. Transported him into jail. After doing his search, Booking Deputy walked over and grabbed my hand, dumping a bunch of rounds into it. He whispered “don’t do that again.” Lesson learned.

          Let it go. We ALL screw up. No one hurt except your feelings.

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          • #6
            Sounds like you won't forget that incident, which is a good thing!

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            • #7
              Thanks for the feedback guys. I've found it's easier to forgive other people than forgive yourself; but you guys have helped put it in perspective, and it helps to have other people say it.

              Especially like tank said: I need to be able to get past it otherwise it'll snowball into new mistakes.

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              • #8
                There is not a soul working who has not made plenty of mistakes. Learn from it and move on. It will be an example that you can use if you become an FTO.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Historian View Post
                  I'm wrapping up FTO now and while 2nd phase has been difficult, I've improved a lot. Going into the end, my FTO was telling me he thinks I'll be fine and just slow down. Worked great until I arrested a homeless DIP, and when I searched him I didn't realize his pants had back pockets. The jail ended up finding a lighter in one of them, and I was understandably chewed out by my FTO.

                  I haven't screwed up a search so far, and my FTO pointed that out himself, but it's been 4 days and I'm having trouble getting past the guilt and shame. I have second hand knowledge of other cops missing stuff so I know I'm not the first or last. My FTO also told me he doesn't think I'm actually a **** up and I just need to work on a couple things; but I feel like accepting it and resolving to learn from it is somehow letting myself off too easy. Any advice on how to mentally approach this?
                  Crap happens!

                  If that is the only mistake you make in your career .........well it won't be!

                  In this case you can consider yourself lucky it was only a lighter that was missed. In the 45 some years I have been working in this profession (both on the streets and on the prison / jail block ) you have no idea what I have seen come into a jail. SOMETIMES even the booking officers miss things and they find items in the actual jail cells.

                  There are a number of good video's out there of suspects pulling guns out and shooting themselves in the back seats of cars, jail entrances, and interview rooms

                  Again it happens. You move on and TRY to make sure it doesn't happen again. HINT--- it probably will. Hopefully not in the same way, but you will miss things in a search GUARANTY it.
                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                  • #10
                    you have no idea what I have seen come into a jail. SOMETIMES even the booking officers miss things and they find items in the actual jail cells.
                    Was working in Control one night, had an inmate's baby momma call and say she got an email from him.

                    Turns out somebody snuck a cellphone AND charger thru a strip search. Eww.
                    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                    "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post

                      Was working in Control one night, had an inmate's baby momma call and say she got an email from him.

                      Turns out somebody snuck a cellphone AND charger thru a strip search. Eww.
                      Calling on The Butt Phone…

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post

                        Was working in Control one night, had an inmate's baby momma call and say she got an email from him.

                        Turns out somebody snuck a cellphone AND charger thru a strip search. Eww.
                        Could be worse- during my first academy in 1991, they showed us an X-ray of a male prisoner carrying a loaded revolver and a handcuff key, in a place that a man shouldn't carry a loaded revolver and a handcuff key.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Aidokea View Post

                          Could be worse- during my first academy in 1991, they showed us an X-ray of a male prisoner carrying a loaded revolver and a handcuff key, in a place that a man shouldn't carry a loaded revolver and a handcuff key.
                          Meh. A REAL Convict would have carried a semi auto .40.

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                          • #14
                            FTO should have searched the guy after you. It's on him also. Would have never just left a search by the recruit to be the only one. And the feelings of "guilt and shame," are a little deep. Learn from it and move on.

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                            • Aidokea
                              Aidokea commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Maybe first phase, but he's second phase.

                          • #15
                            OP, what are you struggling with during second phase?

                            How did first phase go?

                            How many phases of FTO does your agency have?

                            FWIW, I was an FTO.

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