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  • Controling your natural fear response...

    I am just curious how you LEO's control your natural fear response. I guess my best example of this would be doing something such as a high risk traffic stop, or a really violent Domestic. Also, how do you deal with someone yelling at you, and constantly threatening you. I am thinking that you would try to hide your fear, especially with someone that has the potential of really harming you. I just often think that it would be really hard to do. Also, when you do traffic stops, does the average Joe seem really nervous when you approach him/her? I know that I everytime I got pulled over, my heart just about drops when the lights go on. This is not because I have anything illegal on me, or I did anything awfully bad, it just seems like it's a natural reaction. I'm just curious how other people seem when you pull them over.

  • #2
    it's hard if not impossible to control your fear response. it all comes with experience. when i started, my adrenaline went up the roof on my first code 3 run, first felony car stop, first everything. lol.

    dealing with people that yell at you? you get that a lot in the academy and from your wife, so it shouldn't be that much of a problem. don't take any criticism personally and patience is the key. they are yelling at the uniform, not you. if you lose control, then you lost the game. and usually you'll end up on the news for excessive force. you never know who's video taping you. yes , sometimes i wanna smack some idiots around, but i'd lose my badge and possible be in jail.

    it is natural for people to be really nervous and scared when getting pulled over by cops. it's not an everyday thing. i was scared and nervous when i was pulled over in college. the lights and sirens scare people. cuz it means they are in trouble. i pulled over an old guy, who was shaking and stuttering real bad. i thought he was having a medical episode, but turns out he told me he was real nervous. i told him to relax and the reason i pulled him over was a broken tail light. so i checked his DL , registration, insurance, etc... he was clean so i let him go with a warning. and then he was all relaxed and calm.

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    • #3
      You breathe, and intentionally sound like you're bored on the radio.

      Works for me at least...

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      • #4
        Cops do get into situations where they get scared or fearful, but it's what we are trained for. What I mean by that is when you're staring down some "big ugly" that you may have to go hands on with and back up is still a few minutes or more out your sympathetic nervous system takes over and your hands shake a little and it's "fight or flight". We know the risks we take every time we suit up. Every time we put our body armor on we know there's a chance of "getting a hole in it" that day. Bravery is being scared and still going to the fight. Any body that suits up knowings these things is brave!
        "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!"-Wyatt Earp

        "You never know when crazy will show up!"-Irishdep

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Traffic_82 View Post
          You breathe, and intentionally sound like you're bored on the radio.

          Works for me at least...
          Traffic hit it dead on. I copy all my chases onto my personal video and keep them for myself. Everyone who watches them makes a comment about my voice. They say I am more excited on an "everyday" car stop then I am in a 32. Also, when I am "bored" and just driving around, I run every kind of scenereo I can through my head and I actually practice my reactions to them. It sounds wierd, but I have also been known, of course on nights when no one can see me , I will even take my mic and pretend to do the communication through the incident I am thinking of. Call me wierd, but it has worked for me so far. No over reaction and no supervisor has ever called me off of a chase. They will do it in a heart beat if the officer sounds like he has lost control.
          "In God we trust, all others we run NCIC"

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          • #6
            I dont know anyone who works in LE who was never scared. It takes bravery to face fear face to face and still go to work everyday and deal with more calls and not let it get to you. Fear is a common and a good sign to be more alert and cautious. In the academy the instructors constantly yell at the recruits to create a stress enviornment so the recruits get used to being verbally abused. You learn in recruit training not to take things personally and still get the job done.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JLH81 View Post
              I know that I everytime I got pulled over, my heart just about drops when the lights go on. This is not because I have anything illegal on me, or I did anything awfully bad, it just seems like it's a natural reaction.
              LoL- I've got pulled over a couple of times since I came on the job and still get that sinking feeling when I'm getting pulled over, even though I've got nothing to worry about. Its the OH S#IT factor.

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              • #8
                Actually, you will never loose that shaky hand or voice when dealing with scum; it tells them and reminds you of the role you each play. And, remember it is nervousness - not fear.

                I never feared some scuzwad knowing I was nervous- in fact I would often tell them so in so may words, warning them not to do something stupid that I may overeract to. Something which may cause me, in my "nervous" state, to believe they meant to hurt me when they really didn't. Who knows what I might do to them.

                Be nervous, not scared. Nervous is good. It keeps, you on edge and on your toes.

                Having a true faith always helped me as well. Knowing if the lights went out I would be with God - a God who loves cops - gave me incredible calm when logically, I should have been looking for the toilette paper.
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                • #9
                  Marine Corps Recruit training aught me self control. To be honest though, we had to go arrest a violent individual with a known history of Battery on LEO's.....I was scared ****less and hyped about it. I had just about every scenario playing out in my head before we got there. I think the suspect saw it, cuz he knew I would have put up a helluva fight if he tried anything dumb. I think that fear and adrenaline kept me more alert than I usually am.
                  You have the right to remain silent, but apparently you lack the skill to exercise that right.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by signal1 View Post
                    Traffic hit it dead on. I copy all my chases onto my personal video and keep them for myself. Everyone who watches them makes a comment about my voice. They say I am more excited on an "everyday" car stop then I am in a 32. Also, when I am "bored" and just driving around, I run every kind of scenereo I can through my head and I actually practice my reactions to them. It sounds wierd, but I have also been known, of course on nights when no one can see me , I will even take my mic and pretend to do the communication through the incident I am thinking of. Call me wierd, but it has worked for me so far. No over reaction and no supervisor has ever called me off of a chase. They will do it in a heart beat if the officer sounds like he has lost control.

                    Word. Mental rehersals are the thing to do. I run scenarios through my head throughout my watch and it truly helps. Especially in vehicle pursuits.

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                    • #11
                      Training, Training, Training, Training and more Training.

                      A trained response to any given situation will cause you to react without having to think about fear. The fear - ADRENILINE RUSH - will come about shortly after your training has taken over and you will still be able to function with a relatively clear thought process. The Flight or Fight response is controlled with good, applied training.

                      You can train physically and mentally. Create scenarios in your mind and constantly go over them using your mind to aptly overcome the threat. It works!!!

                      The fear never leaves, but it can be controlled.
                      Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

                      [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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                      • #12
                        As SgtCHP said, the fear never leaves but it can be controlled. I'd like to add that the fear must never leave. I do not want to work with "macho" officers who claim to have no fear of the bad guys. They might either cut and run as the sh*t goes down or use their macho demeanor to get themselves and others injured.

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                        • #13
                          ...intentionally sound like you're bored on the radio
                          So I'm not the only one who does that...

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                          • #14
                            As previously stated, training, and then more training, Think about what your response might be in a given situation until it just comes natural.

                            Like I told David Cannon with Clayton County PD.
                            He was in a chase with a stolen van.
                            They opened the back doors of the van and started with an AUTOMATIC weapon.
                            Shot out his tire, windshield, and most of the front end of the car, along with his right eye, but he kept up until the troops caught up and they were captured.
                            While he was in the hospital we talked about it.
                            He said that during the whole thing, he wasn't scared.

                            Do the job
                            You get scared and nervous later.

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                            • #15
                              You just fall back on the training and the task at hand. Hell, the bad guys are more scared of us, even those who try us the most. Yeh I've been afraid but you're the cop and you HAVE to be in charge, or get there as fast as possible. Change the fear into caution and get the job done.

                              Like the man said, "We work for God". What more can you ask?

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