Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

"Inflammatory" interview question

Collapse

300x250 Mobile

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • "Inflammatory" interview question

    I don't mean to troll for scripted answers to interview scenario questions, but this one has been bugging me for a while...it has been asked by two different interviewers and I have the impression that I gave a stupid answer.

    Question: "You are called to the scene of a house party attended by what appear to be many college-age students. On the lawn of the house is a large group, including an individual with what looks like a molotov (sp?) cocktail in his/her hand, preparing to throw it toward one of the windows of the house. What is the first thing you do?"

    My answer: First, I'd order the person to set it down on the ground (not drop it!) and to move away from it quickly.

    Their follow-up question: "If he/she doesn't comply, then what?"

    My answer: I wouldn't have much choice but to try to physically restrain the individual from throwing it into the house, even if it meant that I risk my own safety in doing so; in a crowd of people I can't very well use deadly force because if I open fire on this person I might take out some innocent people in the process -- so the only option remaining is to try to wrestle the device away from him before he throws it.

    There was no additional follow-up, but the facial expressions and "mood" among the members of the panel implied that these weren't good answers. I have no prior LE experience and none with incendiary devices, so I'm really flying blind on this one.

    As I say, I'm not looking for a canned, all-purpose answer; if you don't want to be specific, that's OK. But I'd appreciate it if someone here could tell me if I'm on the right track, missing something or just plain dumb with the way I've been answering this question.

  • #2
    Molotov cocktail is a deadly weapon, I'd be shouting commands and dropping him like a bad habit. You don't want to fight someone who has a bomb in their hands. You go up and grapple this guy, you're screwed if that bottle gets on you, and you can't help anyone if you're dead or seriously injured. And that bottle is going to get on you, I just can't see it not happening.

    Now I'm not involved with hiring so the following is just my personal take - your answer isn't very decisive. I just had my firearms shoot the other day and something the instructor said to me may apply - "If you see a deadly threat, for god's sake, take it out". His point was there isn't time to hesitate when you come up on someone trying to kill someone - and hurling a molotov cocktail at an occupied structure certainly applies, IMO.

    And if you don't feel you can make that shot, hit the range. That shot, the one in the crowd, the one with a hostage, the one on a stop - that's what we train for.

    Now don't use what I've said, but think about it. I hope others reply as well.
    For every one hundred men you send us,
    Ten should not even be here.
    Eighty are nothing but targets.
    Nine of them are real fighters;
    We are lucky to have them, they the battle make.
    Ah, but the one. One of them is a warrior.
    And he will bring the others back.

    Comment


    • #3
      +1 to (S)Sgt Elmer... a Molotov cocktail is a deadly weapon, especially when it's about to be thrown into an occupied structure. Deadly threat = deadly force. Nothing less.

      I hope this simplified version helps you to prepare an answer before you're asked this question again.
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        Is the Molatov cocktail lit, or is it a bottle with a rag in it? If it's lit, I agree with all of the above. If it's a bottle with a rag in it, but no fire and no source of ignition, probably not going to shoot him.
        "We're not in this business for the money. We're not in it for the excitement, and moments like this. Duty, honor, country, service, truth, and justice are good. But you can do that from behind a desk. In the end, you carry a gun and shield out into the field for the sole purpose of confronting the bad guys. The enemy. There is no other reason to be on the front lines." ~Nelson Demille

        If your story involves Peanut Butter and an animal - give up now!
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi, seeking clarification (per sticky at http://forums.officer.com/showthread.php?t=33463):

          I'm curious about these kinds of questions. Is it expected that applicants coming in off the street will understand the use of force continuum and a department's policies and procedures?

          I can understand the need for questions that help identify candidates at extremes, such as being trigger-happy or too timid to ever use necessary force, but the question above seems very specific.

          I think when they ask "Then what?" I'd have to answer "Why then I'd do exactly what you taught me at the Academy."

          I see why the answer could be wrong, but I'm surprised that they'd appear disappointed when someone with no training or expertise couldn't come up with the right answer (unless their reaction is a prelude to follow-up questions, which didn't seem to be the case described here).

          Not being critical, just curious as to how one could prepare for these sort of questions (as opposed to common sense or ethical dilemmas like "50Gs in a cigar box," which life prepares you for).

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the replies so far...

            S Elmer & Guams --

            Okay, I see where you're coming from. And I guess I gave a pretty dumb answer. [Sigh.]

            I know a Molotov cocktail is a deadly incendiary device but I guess it didn't trigger the same response in my thought process as if they had said that the subject was pointing a gun at me or holding a knife to someone's throat. I think what threw me was the way the question was phrased, with the emphasis on the words "what would you do first?" Of course, I'd start yelling at the guy/girl first.

            cgh6366 -- yes, the way it was asked, the thing was lit. So again..."duh" on my part.

            ezwy --

            At this agency (and others -- I've been on more police interviews than I can count at this point) -- the scenario questions are usually preceded by some statement such as "We realize you have no LE experience; we just want to see how you think and what kind of judgement you might use in a stressful or unfamiliar situation". I've tried adding what you said about "I'd do exactly what you taught me at the Academy" and I get the same frowny expressions implying that they think that's sort of a weasel answer. Or they'll come back with "Well we can't teach every possible scenario in the academy".

            Comment


            • #7
              Hey, don't feel bad about your answer. They used something like a Molotov because they are looking for you to identify a different kind of deadly threat.

              Something to think about: It's not just guns and knives you're looking for, you're constantly scanning everyone for threats of ANY kind. This question gets at that.

              And it also gets at the question: Is this guy, when confronted with a deadly threat to himself or others, is he going to be able to use deadly force himself?

              They ask that question because if it ever happens it's going to happen FAST. And you've got to be ready.

              Ezwy - I see your point, but "I'll do what you train me" isn't a good answer. They're not asking what they think, they want to know what YOU think. The process is about getting to know how you make decisions. They know they'll train you in their way, but push comes to shove you're going to operate off of instinct, so learning what those instincts are is important.
              For every one hundred men you send us,
              Ten should not even be here.
              Eighty are nothing but targets.
              Nine of them are real fighters;
              We are lucky to have them, they the battle make.
              Ah, but the one. One of them is a warrior.
              And he will bring the others back.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think it really comes down to common sense.

                With a weapon such as a molotov, it is so unique and so unpredictable, that if you just tilt it or turn it upside down, it till set off flames.

                Common sense would definitely not tell you to try to tackle the guy holding the molotov down. If you do that, the alcohol will spill everywhere igniting flames on the guy holding it and yourself.

                And one thing to remember is Officer safety first.

                By the way, i am not an officer, but i have been to a couple interviews and i am pretty sure what sgt elmer said above is pretty close to the "right" answer.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks TheBoxer, SgtElmer and LanJai--your answers make perfect sense.

                  In this case it's a deadly weapon that's been "activated" and there seems to be one clear solution if the subject is refusing to cooperate. [Can't I just use my lasso? ]

                  I guess I was thinking that departments are so liability-conscious now that maybe they'd rather see a candidate err closer to the "civil" end of the spectrum and be taught the correct answer at the academy, than move to lethal force prematurely (even though that clearly isn't the case in this situation).

                  Speaking of lethal force, I was watching one of those "Wildest Videos" shows last night. Did anybody see the guy fleeing from police in Brazil?

                  He jumped 60 feet off a bridge into a river and started swimming away. Apparently their laws permit the use of lethal force in that situation, and you could see the water all around him being hit with rounds. He lost.

                  Imagine that situation here!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yeah, there's a lot of that liability concious crap going around now, but if I was at a department and they said "don't shoot the guy about to throw the lit molotov cocktail at an occupied building" I'd start looking for another job.

                    Fear of liability or not, you see a threat you have to protect yourself and others - THAT is the job before anything else.
                    For every one hundred men you send us,
                    Ten should not even be here.
                    Eighty are nothing but targets.
                    Nine of them are real fighters;
                    We are lucky to have them, they the battle make.
                    Ah, but the one. One of them is a warrior.
                    And he will bring the others back.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I take it that most US departments codes place the protection of life and property above all else?

                      If so; you need to match that threat with equal force.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ForegoneReality View Post
                        I take it that most US departments codes place the protection of life and property above all else?

                        If so; you need to match that threat with equal force.
                        Actually, law enforcement can go one level above.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ezwy View Post
                          Thanks TheBoxer, SgtElmer and LanJai--your answers make perfect sense.

                          In this case it's a deadly weapon that's been "activated" and there seems to be one clear solution if the subject is refusing to cooperate. [Can't I just use my lasso? ]

                          I guess I was thinking that departments are so liability-conscious now that maybe they'd rather see a candidate err closer to the "civil" end of the spectrum and be taught the correct answer at the academy, than move to lethal force prematurely (even though that clearly isn't the case in this situation).
                          The liability angle was one of the things that was running through my head when I was trying to answer this question. I was thinking that part of their reason for asking it was to determine if I was the trigger-happy type who would blow someone's head off immediately when some other alternative might have been available.

                          And at the first interview, the context in which it was asked threw me, too -- they had preceded this scenario with a lot of "what does it take to get you angry" types of questions.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You answered alright, don't knock yourself out about it. Your answer just shows a lack of training in the police field, not a lack of common sense. That's why there are HazMat and ED/WMD sections of training.

                            That question is out of place to ask a non-leo applying to be taken into training. There are too many factors including bystanders, the contents of the IED, the weapons you have present, if you are able to secure an EID (tazer, etc) to neutralize the threat, if you have negotiators on duty, etc. Situations change very quickly in a critical incident and take a lot of training and analysis to manage. Asking a possible recruit something along those lines is asinine.


                            A proper interview is just that, an interview about the person with one or two very basic scenarios thrown in like the guy you stop for a moving violation who "whigs" out and starts screaming "I know the mayor, I'll have your job, I didn't do anything wrong." In questions like that, common sense is more a parameter of success versus the above listed situation where prior training is important.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lawman17101 View Post
                              Actually, law enforcement can go one level above.
                              I like that. It would be interesting to see how a US interview panel would react to scenarios I've dealt with..in a force with nothing but an ASP to my aid.

                              ..Possibly terror? And I wouldn't blame them!
                              Last edited by ForegoneReality; 09-25-2008, 08:28 PM.

                              Comment

                              MR300x250 Tablet

                              Collapse

                              What's Going On

                              Collapse

                              There are currently 3491 users online. 144 members and 3347 guests.

                              Most users ever online was 158,966 at 05:57 AM on 01-16-2021.

                              Welcome Ad

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X