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  • Getting the civilian out...

    Last night my FTO (also my Sergeant) mentioned to me that he would like to "get the civilian out of me." This stemmed from him pointing out three different groups of people (at zero-dark-thirty) that I didn't see. I asked how he and, it seems, the other officers can pick up on every little detail they drive by... yet I'm missing people??

    I generally pick things out pretty well, and have spotted my own things that the FTO's didn't see... but when they pick something out, it seems like I miss it. I'll look and scan a particular area, and miss 3 people standing by a car in a dark parking lot (ie... last night). Or, I'll be looking at one side of the street and miss what's on the other side... yet I try to go 50/50 with the sides of the street and scan them both on my way at some point. But... I also need to maintain control of the car... and not drive into a living room. I'm sure they would dock me if I did that..

    He said that when he works, he's in a state of "hyper vigilance" and that's how he picks that stuff out.

    So... if I could, I'd like to surprise him, tonight at least, and get on a board with noticing more of the things he'll later point out.

    Any pointers you folks can provide? What's a good way to get a good look at the surroundings/people/etc AND maintain the vehicle?
    sigpic

  • #2
    Use peripheral vision and be movement sensative.

    Learn to dismiss things that dont matter. I like the line they use in the show Generation Kill. "See everything, admire nothing." For example dont stop your eyes to look at a cool car.

    The guys I have worked with that did military jungle training tell me that they learned to look at whats not there. Meaning dont look at the branch of the tree look between the branches. Its about focus, does that make sense?

    Also know where to look. Criminals arent in the bright places. they are hiding from your marked car which they saw long before you saw them. Look very hard at dark places.

    Dotn look at cars as much as drivers of the car.

    Look to see who is looking at you or worse treying hard to not look at you.
    Originally posted by FJDave
    GM, you have just set the bar that much higher for the rest of us in our witty, sarcastic responses. I yield to you! Good job, kind Sir!

    District B13
    "We are not cops nor Feds." yet he still poses as an officer Hmmmm


    Grant us grace, fearlessly, to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression.--WWII memorial

    "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

    Pope Gregory V II

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    • #3
      There is a prep drill alot of people do before work. On your drive in look at every intersection and note evry car that could run a light pull out in front of you etc. pick out a specific car like a red car to key in on. Then look for specific people like all men with moustaches etc. Sounds weird but you will be more alert and catch more. Remember to keep your head on a swivel.
      The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Garbage Man View Post
        Use peripheral vision and be movement sensative.

        Learn to dismiss things that dont matter. I like the line they use in the show Generation Kill. "See everything, admire nothing." For example dont stop your eyes to look at a cool car.

        The guys I have worked with that did military jungle training tell me that they learned to look at whats not there. Meaning dont look at the branch of the tree look between the branches. Its about focus, does that make sense?

        Also know where to look. Criminals arent in the bright places. they are hiding from your marked car which they saw long before you saw them. Look very hard at dark places.

        Dotn look at cars as much as drivers of the car.

        Look to see who is looking at you or worse treying hard to not look at you.

        Good response and advice from both Garbage Man and Monkeybomb. If its any comfort or consolation it gets better w/ time and experience. Till then just remember he's not having to multi task and can see more things.

        Did the situations you spotted that he didn't happen during the first few weeks of FTO when you were not driving and he was ?

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        • #5
          Garbage Man, I tried out some of those tricks... I picked out a couple new things tonight and my confidence went up a bit. Although, it's rather hard to get a good eye on the drivers when it's 2:30AM. Good advice, nonetheless. Thanks.

          Originally posted by katseiye View Post
          Did the situations you spotted that he didn't happen during the first few weeks of FTO when you were not driving and he was ?
          As a matter of fact, I was driving in week 2. The instances I mentioned in my post happened a couple of nights ago while driving... and while still trying to get used to the new "third shift environment." Everything looks so much different at night.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Guams View Post
            Garbage Man, I tried out some of those tricks... I picked out a couple new things tonight and my confidence went up a bit. Although, it's rather hard to get a good eye on the drivers when it's 2:30AM. Good advice, nonetheless. Thanks.



            As a matter of fact, I was driving in week 2. The instances I mentioned in my post happened a couple of nights ago while driving... and while still trying to get used to the new "third shift environment." Everything looks so much different at night.

            Good for you. Most of our trainees dont get wheel time till @ week 4, after they've observed the FTO handle calls, FI's and veh stops and while learning policies and jurisdictional boundaries. Those w/ prior experience are fast tracked by FTO's if their sharp and p/u quickly.

            Obviously your observation skills are already increasing. I think your just frustrated about being called on the ones you missed. Dont sweat it. Listen, learn, ask questions, do as your instructed and don't get baited into an argument. It's just part of the process. Stay safe and good hunting

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            • #7
              One things for sure, once you start "scanning" inadvertently when riding around in your pov, you will know that its second nature.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by katseiye
                Good for you. Most of our trainees dont get wheel time till @ week 4, after they've observed the FTO handle calls, FI's and veh stops and while learning policies and jurisdictional boundaries. Those w/ prior experience are fast tracked by FTO's if their sharp and p/u quickly.
                In week 3, I was making my own stops and taking smaller complaints like gas drive-offs or other small theft complaints. In week 4, I began taking 70-80% of the workload from my FTO. Here in week 5, I'm at about 85-90%... WAY ahead of where I should be. I suppose I'm falling into the "fast-tracked" category... but my training period is still 14 weeks.

                I'm happy with it... but you're right, there are still some things (mainly the small things) that irk me a little bit...

                Originally posted by CityCopDC
                One things for sure, once you start "scanning" inadvertently when riding around in your pov, you will know that its second nature.
                I try to do that when I'm driving around town... just for practice. Running routes through my head. Hell, sometimes I'll follow a car at a distance and practice running a pursuit over the air...
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  Your doing fine, Adam. Just wait - today, I can't go for a drive, now 5 years retired, without unconciously always still knowing exactly what milepost, landmark or place name I am near; what street I just passed; the address / block; what peoploe were standing on the sidewalk or in their driveways and what time it is......

                  ALL WITHOUT LOOKING!


                  Others have said ignore the stuff that doesn't matter. Guard against dismissing things as not mattering, ie:

                  Aw..he's probably just washing his windows
                  Wa...he probably does live there
                  Aw, he's probably just BSing. not selling dope on the corner...

                  Never give ANYONE the benefit of doubt. YOU GET THAT - USE IT. Be insatiably curious and never satisfied at the explainations you get.

                  Also said, time, is really the only thing that will refine these skills. Be patient.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Guams View Post
                    I try to do that when I'm driving around town... just for practice. Running routes through my head. Hell, sometimes I'll follow a car at a distance and practice running a pursuit over the air...
                    No. What I mean is, you will "scan" at work soooooooooo much that when you are in your personal car, you will be doing it and not even know it.

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                    • #11
                      Your FTO sounds like a complete TOOL! "get the civilian out of you"? its an 8 hr job not Iraq. From my experience the FTO's that talk and act like that are the biggest sleds when it comes to actually taking thier jobs or covering their sectors. We have a couple "tough" FTO's here, we constantly bust thier stones that if they actually practiced what they preached they would actually start to pull thier weight!! NOTHING is worse then when a FTO is training a guy who transfers in and has twice as much time on the job as the FTO and they try to treat them like a rookie.

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                      • #12
                        As a training officer I will say it is easier to see things when the trainee is so locked on doing the right thing.

                        It is a learned skill but I think what your sarge was trying to say is he thinks you are not in-tune with working nights and seeing what is out there. It takes practice and time, but you will get it and show him up.

                        The best thing to do is to see something (if he does not) and turn on it real fast until he goes "what you got???" and tell him...what you didn't that see that?
                        "Don't play dumb with me, you're not as good at it as I am"

                        Col Sam Flagg

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by simplyacop View Post
                          The best thing to do is to see something (if he does not) and turn on it real fast until he goes "what you got???" and tell him...what you didn't that see that?
                          Now that I've got a week of midnights under... I think I'm -starting- to pick up on it. By no means will I see everything... but I've been picking out a few things my FTO hasn't seen.

                          Yankee_1, he's actually a very good FTO... and pulls his weight too. So far, I've been exceeding his personal standards, which I've found is a very tough task. And like I said, he simply mentioned that one line, so I wanted to ask about it.
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            A key to spotting things on patrol is to "slow down". This includes your driving. Even more important to spotting suspicious behavior "what are you gonna do about it". by that I mean make sure you have a knowledge of what you can and can not do when you leave the car. What are some of the search and seizure issue's you can work on, when do you have pc for an arrest and even more frequent when do you have reasonable suspicion to detain based on your inexperience and knowledge compared to it...Your FTO is there, use him and his knowledge. Ask him when he notices things you miss 'Ok so now what? You only get answers you want from doing and asking or a combination of both.
                            "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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                            • #15
                              I had been working nights for a few months when I started to notice that all the highway/street signs were a little blurry and that I had to be right up on a car before I could read the license plate. I guess it had been a gradual thing over the period of a few months and I hadn't even noticed it. It took running off the road during a pursuit for me to really realize my eyes weren't what they used to be.

                              Night vision can be a tricky thing. I see just fine during the day and have 20/20 vision, but at night all the lights turn into sparklers and the signs and license plates go out of focus. I wear the lightest prescription there is for contact lenses, but it makes a HUGE difference. I only wear them at night.

                              If you haven't been to an optometrist in a while, it's worth having eyes checked. You could be missing things out there because you're really not paying attention, or it could be that your eyes just can't see them.

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