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  • Dealing with negative perception of LEOs.

    Hello all,

    I've been following the forums on O.com for some time now, and first off I want to thank you all collectively for helping me to get a better understanding of the career, and helping me to re-affirm that I am making the correct career choice. I can't explain why, it just feels like my calling. Anyway, I have a question that's been on my mind since I first got the idea I wanted to become an LEO. A lot of folks seem to have a distrust or dislike for police, for whatever reason. In the course of your work do you ever make an effort to get folks to see you're not so bad? I'm not talking PR-type programs put on by a department or a city, just normal (whatever that means) day-to-day interactions with people. I guess my question is, is it enough simply to be professional, courteous, and objective, or do you ever need to go above and beyond that to make folks understand why you do what you do?

    Here's the reason I ask. There's a ton of emphasis in the academy I'm in about community oriented policing, building positive relationsips, etc etc. I feel my own biggest weakness as an LEO would be that I would really try hard (initially anyway) to make every encounter into a positive one, as unrealistic as that may be. I'd like to make a positive impact on whoever I can, but I'm not naive enough to the point that I am going to try to change the world one traffic stop at a time.

    Anyway, thanks in advance for any input. Oh, and Happy Easter! Take care.

    -TheBuch

  • #2
    In our profession, you are never going to have 100% of the public like you 100% of the time. There are people in this world who have dedicated time, energy and resources towards the specific goal of killing police officers. Understand that this isn't a profession where you will become rich or popular. Yes be courteous and nice to everyone you meet but be prepared should you have to use violence. Always remember, diplomacy is saying nice doggy while fetching a large stick in case the dog should attack.
    "Naw officer, I was hanging with my cousin"

    "Sooo, real cousin or play cousins ?"

    Originally posted by JasperST
    I'm thinking a battalion of menstruating bearded women could kick some serious booty!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by USMARINE View Post
      Always remember, diplomacy is saying nice doggy while fetching a large stick in case the dog should attack.
      I'll remember that one. Reminds me of the sheepdog analogy.

      Comment


      • #4
        I always match the demeanor of the person I'm contacting. For example, the other day I stopped some teenagers who were trespassing on school grounds after hours for the purposes of skateboarding. The security guards didn't want them arrested, and they were all cooperative. They weren't jerks, and they were polite and respectful towards me. Therefore, I was polite and respectful towards them. I ran them for want/warrants (negative) advised them that skateboarding isn't a crime, but trespassing is, and that it's OK to skateboard but they can't be stupid about it or it's going to get them into trouble. I never talked down to them or yelled at them.

        I could have put on a big chest-puffing display and given them the whole song and dance about how I could take them to jail if I wanted to, etc., but that would have served no purpose except to make myself feel like a big shot and for these kids to walk away having a negative view of the cops. Now, if and when any of these kids has an encounter with the po-po in the future, they're going to remember the time they were treated respectfully by the cops, and hopefully won't give the coppers any problems.

        Now, had they started mouthing off from the get-go, we would have been having a different conversation and the situation would have definitely ended differently.

        So my advice is this: YES, try to make every encounter a positive one. But remember, sometimes you're going to have to knock some idiot's teeth out. And when the time comes to do that, it's time to put away the Officer Friendly persona and turn into Officer S**tkicker.

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        • #5
          You would be suprised at how far you can get by just treating people like people. In this job talking to people is about 80% of what you will do. Learn to read people and be able to talk to that kind of person in a way that will be effective. For alot of people it is just trial and error, find out what works for YOU. I am lucky and have a kinda natural gift that seems to make people relate to me.

          The other night I got called to assist on a barricaded suicidal where some other officers had been trying to talk te guy out for a while with no luck. Their Sgt. asked if I wanted to give it a try and I had him outside and smoking a cigarette with me on the hood of the squad in about 3min.

          With that said you can be respectful but NEVER let your guard down. My academy instructor phrased it better that anyone else. "Be polite, respectful, and curtious to everyone you meet... and always have a plan to kill that MF in an instant."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by areardon892 View Post
            You would be suprised at how far you can get by just treating people like people. In this job talking to people is about 80% of what you will do. Learn to read people and be able to talk to that kind of person in a way that will be effective. For alot of people it is just trial and error, find out what works for YOU. I am lucky and have a kinda natural gift that seems to make people relate to me.

            The other night I got called to assist on a barricaded suicidal where some other officers had been trying to talk te guy out for a while with no luck. Their Sgt. asked if I wanted to give it a try and I had him outside and smoking a cigarette with me on the hood of the squad in about 3min.

            With that said you can be respectful but NEVER let your guard down. My academy instructor phrased it better that anyone else. "Be polite, respectful, and curtious to everyone you meet... and always have a plan to kill that MF in an instant."
            +1

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            • #7
              Here it is, and it's been around for years. Ready? Simply treat people as you'd like to be treated. It's not in the Perfect World Play book, it's not in Hillary's Village, it's just the good ole Golden Rule.

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              • #8
                Happy Easter All,
                I had a couple FTO's and my current Supervisor let me know that the criminal element see kindness as weakness and will laugh behind your back. After 10 years with a more urban agency, I know to keep my opinion to myself, but think it's the "us vs. them" mentality. The small talk is a tactical advantage, it disarms and de-escalates while I work my way into "consent to search". My officer safety is always 100% regardless of who I'm dealing with. I'm not taking any of my contacts home with me, so I really don't care if they laugh behind my back. You never know who is watching (recording), but at the end of the day I can look at myself in the mirror and know I treated every contact properly (most people prefer courtesy, but there may be a few that get the mean face if they ask for it).

                I remember a traffic guy who said two things, "Kill them with kindness" and "The best traffic stop is one where you can write someone a ticket and they say 'Thank you'".
                Tac Six One


                "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." ~Romans 13

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by USMARINE View Post
                  Always remember, diplomacy is saying nice doggy while fetching a large stick in case the dog should attack.
                  Never heard that before, but very profound and true!
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    I, like others here, simply match what I'm given in ordinary encounters (interview not included...whole different world). However, when attitudes start to turn, I am very quick to jump verbally on someone. This is what works for ME after 13 years. It's my own style of aggressive verbal judo (if you will) and it's highly effective FOR ME. Why do I stress the 'for me' part? Because I have taylored my style around where I personally work and the culture I personally live in and around. Should one of my male counterparts copy my style, it would create a fight...no doubt...seen it happen to many times. I have seen culture and expectations play a HUGE role in our roles in LE. What works for me in my area probably wouldn't fly in other cultures in this country. I think all of us adapt ourselves partly due to the area we live in. It makes sense to me. I'd love to keep chatting (as most of you know) but I'm due to work in 45 and I'm still sitting here in my robe and hairs all over the place

                    I very much like that quote about the dog...Have to remember that.
                    sigpic

                    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
                      Here it is, and it's been around for years. Ready? Simply treat people as you'd like to be treated. It's not in the Perfect World Play book, it's not in Hillary's Village, it's just the good ole Golden Rule.
                      +100000....

                      My old crusty FTO once told me 'never start off your contacts with 'hey ***hole, come over here'.....it doesnt leave you with anywhere else to go in the contact.

                      I made sure to pass that along to all of my trainees as well.
                      The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

                      "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

                      "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

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                      • #12
                        Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned attitude adjustment?
                        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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                        • #13
                          you wanna be loved? be a fireman.
                          Originally posted by crass cop
                          Just do it in front of a camera and try not to get a boner and you shoudl be fine.

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                          • #14
                            You can read all the books (Verbal Judo) etc, but it all comes down to treating others how you would like to be treated. Even while having a bad day I can turn it off and put on the nice guy face,.......... sometimes.

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                            • #15
                              Just think about this, too, treat all your co-workers as-equally-well-to-way-better than you treat the public...don't pass on a dirty car with an empty gas tank, don't pick on the other cops who aren't considered as being in "the club," don't spread inter-office gossip, don't make a mess in the report or locker room for someone else to have to clean up after, don't dodge EOW calls, buy calls so the other unit can eat, and provide cover to all.

                              If and when you advance in rank, make sure you praise in public and scold in private. If you make the upper ranks, give away all the credit for the good outcomes and take the blame when things go wrong. If more LE folks shared this view, every police agency would be a good one to work at,
                              "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

                              Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

                              Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

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