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Being Spotted as a Rookie

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  • Being Spotted as a Rookie

    First off, I'm NOT a cop yet, and not claiming to be one. Just looking ahead, and had a question.

    I just got done with a week of role playing on traffic stops. We had a bunch of FTOs as our actors, and they did a great job trying to rattle us and distract us as we tried to do our job. One thing they hit me with repeatedly was "How long have you been a cop?" or "Are you a rookie?" I imagine this is something rookies really encounter on the street. So I'm wondering how some of you have responded to that question or suggestions you have for how I should respond on my next roleplay or my first real traffic stops after I graduate, especially during FTO.

    Also broadening it a little more, how conversational are you with suspects/contacts during a stop, especially if you're the backup officer? I had a lot of trouble finding a good balance. Obviously my primary concern is officer safety. But if a suspect is asking dumb*** questions and being a pain while your partner is running them or writing a ticket, would you just ignore them, tell them STFU, or play along with their little game?
    "No one can make you feel like a turd without your permission." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

  • #2
    I don't talk much as a backup officer. My job in that role is to keep everyone safe. If I see something the primary officer might has missed (such as paraphernalia in the car) I'll point it out or if I have a question for the suspect, I might pipe up. But 95% of the time I just silently observe.

    As for taunts. Actually doesn't happen too much on the street. The academy tends to throw very unlikely scenarios at you. It is designed more to see how you react under stress. I just ignore it, don't get into a debate. Just do your thing and be safe. If someone is being disruptive and is not important to the case or call (the academies like to have those in the scenarios), make them leave. Someone starts jumping around or gets in your face, throw some cuffs on them. If you want them to do something and they rather taunt you, just remember "ask, tell, make". Otherwise if it's not disrupting the call too much, ignore them.
    Last edited by Dingo990; 05-27-2011, 08:37 PM.

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    • #3
      I've been a cop for 17 years and still get asked if its my first day on the job. I usually tell them "No, its my second."
      Originally posted by kontemplerande
      Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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      • #4
        The thugs that taunt you will normally be those who have a lot of quality time behind bars....................or the drunks.

        I always tell them I was born at night------------it just wasn't last night.
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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        • #5
          As a back-up officer, your conversation should be from zero to minimal. You are not there to chat or gather misc information. You are there to observe and deal with potential safety issues.

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          • #6
            I find talking to them keeps their mind off the crap they may be facing. I'll talk about the weather, sports, whatever. It seems to make them more comfortable when it's time to put the cuffs on (however, they can also do a 180 and fight like h***). Just be careful they are not trying to cause you to relax, too, as they are not your buddy. As for the rookie question, it definitely goes away when your hair starts turning gray. Another benefit of getting old is they figure you won't take any crap from them, so the job gets a little easier.

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            • #7
              The thugs will be able to tell you are a rookie from a mile away. The rest of the general population is too oblivious to care or notice.
              What is Perseverance?
              -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
              -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
              -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


              BOP - BPA - ICE

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              • #8
                You can try and try and do everything to prevent it, but people will know you are a rookie, even if you are 50 years old and have scars and a bad attitude.
                Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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                • #9
                  Good stuff. Some different opinions, as I expected. Even during the past week, I had different FTOs tell me different things. One told me I was standing their like the Terminator and to lighten up and act like a person. Hahah..
                  I know the thugs are gonna spot me as a rookie. I've heard some of the gangs in my area have actually been doing recon on rookies out with their FTOs.. trying to figure out what's being taught. Supposedly they were even caught doing surveilance of an academy firing range.
                  But anyway, I just anticipate getting the rookie question. I can easily tune it out, but I feel like if I don't say anything, the guy thinks he's really getting in my head.

                  One of the reasons I thought I was maybe supposed to talk to the suspects while I'm back up is that it would distract them somewhat from what the primary officer was doing. Is there anything to that?

                  Also, if I'm in any way discussing tactics too much on a public forum, please someone tell me to STFU.
                  "No one can make you feel like a turd without your permission." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ozarkslawman View Post
                    As for the rookie question, it definitely goes away when your hair starts turning gray.
                    Haha.. I have no hair to turn gray.
                    "No one can make you feel like a turd without your permission." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by just joe View Post
                      As a back-up officer, your conversation should be from zero to minimal. You are not there to chat or gather misc information. You are there to observe and deal with potential safety issues.
                      + infinity
                      #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                      Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                      RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                      Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                      "Smile" - no!

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                      • #12
                        I look extremely young and I have only been asked "how long have you been a cop?" a couple of times in the past few years. Since I wear a "serving since...." plate under my name tag I usually just tell them to do the math or give them a straight answer. Once in a blue moon I will give a smart a55 answer of "I'm set to retire in 8 days" or "does the academy count?"

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                        • #13
                          IF people are decent, they get treated the same. I'll chat with people when I'm primary. As for the rookie thing, when I was new and I got asked, I had no problem admitting it. A lot of the aholes will recognize the usual coppers and will know you are new anyways. Didn't bother me to tell the truth about it. Why lie?
                          For the cops out there: You are an adult. If you want to write someone, write them. If you don't want to write someone, then don't write them.

                          "Jeff, you are the best cop on this board"-Anonymous Post

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                          • #14
                            I get asked a lot. I look young though. I'm almost 26, been on the job over three year and I'm sort of starting to grow a little facial hair.

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                            • #15
                              A number of years ago I transferred from one prison to another(I had 6 yrs as a CO and 5 yrs as a deputy experience). On my first day out of orientation, the shift supervisor assigned me to the rec yard....................one problem was I was in a shirt and tie rather than uniform (hadn't been issued one yet)

                              I noted some misconduct and walked over to address the issue---------------one of the idiots took an attitude and said something about "that rookie" I smiled as another inmate walked up (he had been a "guest" at my former facility) and told the idiot--------------------------"Watch out----Mr Iowa has more time on the crapper in prison than you have in here"

                              I was in my mid 30's................and I didn't look young.
                              Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                              My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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