Saturday, January 9, 2010

FAQ, Part 3

What is your most frequent call? What is the worst kind of call?

The most frequent calls I've handled are civil disputes. Family (normally between parents and their precious little snowflake), neighbor, business and domestic (everything from dating to married couples to ex-couples) are some types that come to mind. They can be clear or they can be mind-numbingly pointless.

The worst kind of call is a bad domestic violence call. I'm not talking about the boyfriend who puts his girlfriend in the hospital, we arrest him and she shows up in court to testify against him and she lives happily ever after.  If domestic violence calls played out like this even 51% of the time, no copper would have problems handling these calls.  I'm talking about where the victim doesn't even call you, a neighbor or someone else not even involved calls the police. Once you show up you witness righteous domestic violence where one spouse has inflicted visible injuries upon the other - and the victim is uncooperative. These are so bad because you have to arrest the batterer, and when the victim is uncooperative, RARELY will this case go to trial. You're in a sense doing something that is completely pointless.

Are you proud of any particular thing you have done?
I'm most proud of putting bad guys in jail. There is nothing better as a police officer than conducting an investigation, gathering your evidence and then making an arrest and seeing it through to trial. I write traffic citations because I'm told to and studies show that issuing tickets to people who commit moving violations make for safer drivers. But what I really love doing is good old fashioned cops n' robbers, chasing bad guys and putting them in jail.

How many donuts do you eat a week?
Ha ha. I really love donuts.  I can say I've never been seen buying or eating one in uniform.  A few years ago I ate so many that I almost became a donut, so I had to stop eating poorly. I haven't had a donut since June 2009.

Do you ever feel bad for someone that you had to take action against?
This doesn't happen too often, most people through the choices they make choose to break the law and thus suffer the consequences. In these cases, it personally isn't up to me or any police officer of whether or not they get arrested, the fact they broke the law puts them in jail. In cases of possible domestic violence, if one of the parties presents with injuries that are consistent with domestic violence, you have to take the other person to jail. Even if your instincts tell you that the injury was not caused by domestic violence, if you have no exculpatory evidence you must make an arrest for felony domestic violence. I'll cover this more in an upcoming post.

What makes you let someone off, as opposed to busting them or giving out that ticket?
If I pulled someone over for a moderate traffic violation like going 5 or 10 mph over the speed limit, and they full on copped to it, said they were sorry and gave me a reasonable alibi then I would be inclined to let them off with a stern warning. However, lots of officers are all too eager to cite you once you admitted to breaking any traffic law. Time is a factor. If I'm on my way to the station to go home and I pull you over I basically did that to save face. It looks bad if I just ignore someone who committed obvious traffic violation in front of a lot of witnesses.

How do you feel about cop haters? Do you take it personally?
Most people who hate the police are either entitled people who weren't able to get their way at one time with the police or someone who was arrested. When I say entitled people I'm specifically thinking about a celebrity or sports figure who wants something like the paparazzi arrested when they haven't actually broken a law - then turns around and gets pissed at the police when they can't act as their muscle and do what they say. These people have a hard time realizing your job is to enforce the law, not act as their employee. If someone hates the police because they've been arrested then that is on them. I'd be an idiot to tell you that people never have a good reason for hating police. Some people have had bad experiences with badge heavy officers who are bullies. I don't take it personally. Ever. If I did I wouldn't have made it six months out of the academy. All any officer can do is the best job he knows how.

Do cop haters ever change their mind after they get to know you?
I'm not really sure. Not everyone wears their disdain for you on their sleeve. I just try and do the best job I can, whether it's working the desk and answering the phone, normal patrol duties or making a death notification. If I do my best job as an officer, I contribute to that badge on my chest shining just a little brighter. The best evidence I have is that I get lots more "citizen commendations" than I do personnel complaints.

Describe the ideal perfect day on the job, and also the worst kind of day ...
The most perfect day on the job would be to make an arrest based on intelligence and evidence you've gathered right at the start of watch, break that arrestee down for more intelligence on other, bigger crimes and have something of substance to work on for the next few days you work, then to go home safely with all your tools and all your body parts where they're supposed to be.

Any day you get hurt obviously is a really bad day. Next in line would be a day with any kind of administrative discipline. Nothing ruins a whole month faster than finding out you may be facing a penalty of taking days off without pay. You can recover quickly from the dumbest day, dealing with the dumbest people and usually an injury if it isn't too serious. But the bad taste from facing the discipline process lasts a long, long time.

Do thugs usually change their tune when you come around, or do they still try act macho and give you a hard time?
Most do. Most thugs are cowards deep down. Most have a size or strength advantage over everyone in their neighborhood. If you show you mean business and act boldly and without hesitation you can do a lot to neutralize a suspect's bluster.

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