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  • Is policing what you expected it to be?

    Going into the academy I'm sure everyone had their own thoughts on how day to day police work might be like. Did it turn out how you expected and if it differed, how so?

  • #2
    Out in the real world, I learned that a lot of people don't give a **** about the badge and you have to have the gift of gab. Also that there is no black and white, only infinite shades of grey.

    What I confirmed, and still find true after over 26 years, is that this job is an absolute blast.
    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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    • #3
      Patrol was pretty much what I thought it would be. I came in to it a bit older than most, had worked as a dispatcher, and had a decent idea of what to expect.

      Investigations was more of a surprise. I thought a lot of my time was taken up with paperwork on the street, but its WAY more paperwork as a detective. You do get to do the interviews, the occasional stakeout or GPS trail, etc. but that's about 15%. The rest of the time is fighting crime with a phone, tape recorder, or laptop and documenting, documenting, documenting.

      The biggest surprise I had was how few people wanted to cooperate with pressing charges when they were the victim of a major crime. They lie about where they were shot, hide that they know the shooter, etc. Why? Because most people who get shot were doing something they shouldn't have been doing.
      I miss you, Dave.
      http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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      • #4
        It's somewhat what I expected. However, I figured I'd be much more activity doing police work followed by a lot of paperwork. I have found there is a lot of boredom and making stop after stop only to occasionally uncover something worthy of arrest (followed by the paperwork). Very few foot chases, no pursuits, and only as many arrests as I can dig up. And I'm extremely proactive!

        So I guess what caught me by surprise is how boring it can be. I know some big cities make multiple arrests per night, but I'm doing good making 5-8 arrests a month. Some guys who aren't as proactive only make one a month.


        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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        • #5
          I grew up around policing and after a dozen ride alongs *thought* I knew what the job would be like. In the academy I thought I would be getting in pursuits all the time, and that after I locked someone up for what I and the rest of common sense America would consider a serious crime, they would go to prison.

          In the real world, My dept. has a strict pursuit policy so only been involved in a few of those. I never realized how many stupid and non-police issue things that people call the police for. Not speaking for the True Victims but the majority of people call the police for any and everything they either A: don't want to handle on their own or B: Don't have the balls to handle on their own.

          I also realized very quickly that there are A LOT of bad people in the city. The average citizen would be extremely surprised to know what kind of criminal history so many people walking around them and driving through their neighborhoods have. The criminal element is larger than I expected coming into this career. I also realized that criminals have to commit multiple felonies and receive slap on the wrist type penalties before they actually get sent away to prison for however long, until then they are left to blend in with society and continue to be a drain.

          Also I never expected the level of violence / mistrust / hatred toward police officers, especially within the last couple of years ,before I got on the street. I love my job, but there are few times that I wonder, why am I doing this. Then a hot call comes out and I get to do what I signed up for and it makes it worth it.
          "Its not what you know, its what you can prove."-Training Day

          "Game on, bitches. Whoop whoop, flash the lights, pull it over."

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          • #6
            You have to accept very fast that it's all a big game and that you can't take any of it personal unless someone is trying to hurt or kill you. Bad guys try to do their thing and then try to get away.... that's their job... and yours is to catch them. That's it.. nothing more. The good criminals, like good cops, turn it off when the game is over.

            You learn fast that there are a small bunch of people you work with that have no business being police... you stay away from them. You find the good, older cops and learn from them. You learn that you make things happen, the radio doesn't do that for you.

            You learn fast that it's about customer service... about leaving people feeling good about their dealing with you and your department because they will tell everyone about their incident with the police....even if it's just calling about a bat in their living room.

            Sadly... you learn that you don't get to help people every day like you thought you did when you sat at all those interviews. But you try to make a positive difference in everyone's life.

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            • #7
              I very much agree with the last few posts. During my FTO phase my actual FTO had a day off and I rode with an officer who actually wasn't FTO certified (don't tell anyone) and he was the most proactive officer I worked with during those few months. His goal was/is three arrests per shift to feel like he's earning his pay and he made a lot of traffic stops as part of that strategy. Our first or second stop we ran the passenger and she had a warrant. I was like, wow, imagine that.

              And yes, people call the police for anything and everything. I can go two days in a row responding to at least half a dozen calls per day, feeling like I'm super busy and at the end of those couple days I have to stop an say to myself, "I didn't write a single report in those two days." Sometimes that's a nice thing but it sure is a lot of time and money spent driving around playing babysitter.

              As a "civilian" it's certainly true how clueless one can that there are A LOT of bad people out there. The city I work in is pretty large but only one main area would be labeled as "crime ridden." Victim and suspect alike, when I "run people" to find their criminal history I'm surprised when I don't find something. The majority of people we end up in contact with have pages of entries, some in the hundreds for past criminal offenses. And guess what, they're out on the street doing what they do.

              In regards to what I expected, I knew better than to expect an episode of COPS on every shift. Some days if I choose not to make traffic stops I can go two to three hours without a call. One think I really don't like, responding to property damage accidents. Even the most minor fender bender and people call and will sit in traffic for an hour waiting if our call load is heavy. It's really a waste of time and energy when most people could just exchange information and be on their way.

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              • #8
                There's a lot more dead bodies and naked fat chicks than I expected.

                The latter is harder to deal with.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AppState View Post
                  There's a lot more dead bodies and naked fat chicks than I expected.

                  The latter is harder to deal with.
                  Oh man, you're right on the money with that. There is a ton of nudity in this job, and its 98% people you'd pay to put their clothes back on. Usually the mentally ill, the very drunk, or the high who's core temperature is rising due to the drugs. If you're REAL lucky, they've defecated on themselves, too.
                  I miss you, Dave.
                  http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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                  • #10
                    I expected group showers after shift. There is not.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by steelcityk9cop View Post
                      You have to accept very fast that it's all a big game and that you can't take any of it personal unless someone is trying to hurt or kill you. Bad guys try to do their thing and then try to get away.... that's their job... and yours is to catch them. That's it.. nothing more. The good criminals, like good cops, turn it off when the game is over.

                      You learn fast that there are a small bunch of people you work with that have no business being police... you stay away from them. You find the good, older cops and learn from them. You learn that you make things happen, the radio doesn't do that for you.

                      You learn fast that it's about customer service... about leaving people feeling good about their dealing with you and your department because they will tell everyone about their incident with the police....even if it's just calling about a bat in their living room.

                      Sadly... you learn that you don't get to help people every day like you thought you did when you sat at all those interviews. But you try to make a positive difference in everyone's life.
                      I Truly Love This Reply. I couldn't have said it better.
                      MDRDEP:

                      There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

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                      • #12
                        The most annoying part of the job is the office work environment. I don't get excited with or upset with people on the street. I expect them to be dumb dirtbags and I never let them drag me down to their level. That said, nobody gets me angrier than my fellow Officers. One turd in the pool and the party is over. When you and the 10 other people who are working take 20 calls on a slow day, its a bit frustrating to take 30 when that one Officer decides to take on the city and arrest as many people as they can for those minor crime-against-the-state offenses. Or seeing the Officer who takes himself out of service for supposedly being "buried" in paperwork playing on facebook or trying to talk with whoever is foolish enough to walk in about whatever dumb non-work topic they have.

                        I really don't want to hear about that new fifth-wheel camper you bought when I'm trying to investigate a sexual assault, which-by the way- was in your area anyways. You can thank me by shutting up and at least pretending that you're working.

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                        • #13
                          Policing was everything I expected it to be when I STARTED policing-----------38+ years ago.

                          I had extensive experience in "ride alongs" before my getting hired ( I was pretty much a passenger anytime I wanted to be in my home sheriff's agency----and later my city PD as an "auxiliary" so I knew what was going to happen

                          Oh, it was different back then as opposed to what it is now--there have been so many changes in procedure, equipment (OMG the equipment changes ) and attitudes of people.

                          I left street policing many years ago and came back into uniformed LE about 4 yrs ago. I don't patrol but am uniformed as a deputy, work with the public and occasionally will back up an officer on a call when no one else is available

                          I am not sure if I would want to line police today-------but I am saying that as an old semi retired curmudgeon


                          What steelcity says below is very true



                          Originally posted by steelcityk9cop View Post
                          You have to accept very fast that it's all a big game and that you can't take any of it personal unless someone is trying to hurt or kill you. Bad guys try to do their thing and then try to get away.... that's their job... and yours is to catch them. That's it.. nothing more. The good criminals, like good cops, turn it off when the game is over.

                          You learn fast that there are a small bunch of people you work with that have no business being police... you stay away from them. You find the good, older cops and learn from them. You learn that you make things happen, the radio doesn't do that for you.

                          You learn fast that it's about customer service... about leaving people feeling good about their dealing with you and your department because they will tell everyone about their incident with the police....even if it's just calling about a bat in their living room.

                          Sadly... you learn that you don't get to help people every day like you thought you did when you sat at all those interviews. But you try to make a positive difference in everyone's life.
                          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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                          • #14
                            Hell, I had so much fun I did it for thirty eight years.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by steelcityk9cop View Post
                              Sadly... you learn that you don't get to help people every day like you thought you did when you sat at all those interviews. But you try to make a positive difference in everyone's life.
                              WADR, I have to slightly disagree on this statement. On the surface, it can be true. But it doesn't take much to step back and see what you may not see. That crappy welfare check where you find the DB of a man who had a heart attack? Yeah, that sucks - and you didn't help anyone there. Except the family, who can deal with what they have to deal with and begin to move forward. It sucks, but you are still helping them. Or the guy that was about to break in 3 doors down that decided to pass on by because your car was there. He may be back tomorrow - but tonight those people are safe. You can build a scenario to make every crappy day an important day to someone. You never really know, but if you think that you are wasting your time - its a short road to burn out city. Of course I am just rambling, I am only 4 years in so I am still learning the basics.

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