The #1 Stress in Law Enforcement and How to Mitigate It

Nobody will argue that criminal justice professionals face unique challenges and stress associated with the job.  Things like shift work, missing holidays and family events, the physical effects of the hypervigilance rollercoaster, the danger of being assaulted, killed in a car accident, being forced to utilize force (and the resulting political fallout), and of course the possibility of being murdered just for wearing a uniform and many many more, are obvious realities.  I previously wrote about some of the things that can be done to combat stress in law enforcement, but right now, I want to focus on what I feel is the number one stress in law enforcement: Continue reading “The #1 Stress in Law Enforcement and How to Mitigate It”

Five Post Officer Involved Shooting Considerations

According to a study cited by Law Officer Magazine, more than 80% of the population believes the average officer has been involved in at least one shooting in their career. In reality, the true number is roughly 27% of officers have EVER fired their weapon outside of the range. Without seeing the raw data, I don’t know if that covers having to put down injured animals. I know I have probably killed more deer than most hunters.

Regardless of the numbers, all law enforcement officers have to live by the adage, “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” Continue reading “Five Post Officer Involved Shooting Considerations”

Responding to Police Use of Force Misinformation

A few months ago, I read the article: What Ever Happened to the Police Baton? The author contends it is unreasonable for police officer’s to use lethal force against suspects armed with knives. Instead he feels when faced with a knife wielding suspect, law enforcement should instead attempt to subdue the suspect using nothing more than a baton. This is something I have a serious problem with and wrote a detailed reply to the post and copied it here: Continue reading “Responding to Police Use of Force Misinformation”

The New Officer’s Guide to Handling Stress

Handling stress in law enforcement is critical. There is no quicker way to achieve burnout and get fired or sued than by failing to manage stress. Here are some of the tips, I give new officers for dealing with the stress associated with working the road.

First is that you should already have an innate ability to handle stress. High strung people who don’t handle stress well don’t make good cops and they rarely last long. The repetitive crushing weight of the horrors seen day in and day out wear them out quicker than those who already come to the table with excellent coping skills. Be honest in your self assessment of how you handle stress. If you feel your coping skills may need a boost, don’t worry! There are lots of things you can do to help.

Continue reading “The New Officer’s Guide to Handling Stress”

Patrol Rifle: Personal or Dept Issued?

There is no quicker way to drop a small nuke among a group of law enforcement officers than to bring up the “best” patrol rifle. It is like asking a bodybuilding forum what protein powder is best. Scroll through any law enforcement forum or magazine and you will see a wide variety of discussions on law enforcement patrol rifles. “Gun guys” will discuss at nauseum what caliber, brand or configuration is best. I’m not going to attempt to recreate these discussions. Instead I want to focus on a decision that many new officer’s will face upon leaving the academy and starting their career on the road. Whether to carry a department issued or personally owned patrol rifle? Continue reading “Patrol Rifle: Personal or Dept Issued?”

Midget Ninja Strippers & Improvised Weapons (Part 2)

In part 1 of the Midget Ninja stripper tale, I described the amazing domestic disturbance between 6’3″ Cameron and “Desarae,” his unusually violent, diminutive, stripper girlfriend. My rider and I were greatly amused by the unusual situation and the mishmash of stereotypes. Usually the tale would end there and these two amazing individuals would be relegated to a funny story and a report sent to the Prosecutor’s office for charges. The “fire and forget” report was not to happening that night however. Desarae was not done with her short, but powerful reign of terror! Continue reading “Midget Ninja Strippers & Improvised Weapons (Part 2)”

Midget Ninja Strippers & Improvised Weapons (Part 1)

Working patrol almost guarantees an officer will eventually become jaded. Calls that amuse, annoy or amaze you as a new officer simply become “Tuesday” after a few years on the job. The bar gets higher and higher before it becomes something that stands out in your mind. One of the quickest ways to realize this is to have a Ride along with you during your shift. Riders are like having children. Sometimes Riders can remind you just how amazing and hilarious the job is when seen from an outside perspective. One of my riders learned two very valuable lessons during one of these forays… Continue reading “Midget Ninja Strippers & Improvised Weapons (Part 1)”

Christmas on Patrol: Carving turkey and stabbing boyfriends

This is a post, I intended to write before Christmas. After visiting family, eating my bodyweight in holiday pie and slipping in and out of a tryptophan induced coma, it has been somewhat delayed. You know what they say…better late than never!

The Christmas holiday season is a time of giving thanks and spending time with your family. It means meeting with family you only see once or twice a year and enjoying a turkey drumstick, stockings full of goodies and the magical twinkle of Christmas tree lights…and maybe using the serving fork to stab your boyfriend during a Christmas domestic! Continue reading “Christmas on Patrol: Carving turkey and stabbing boyfriends”

The civil problem: What to do when it isn’t criminal

New graduates from the police academy are very well equipped to handle a masked criminal climbing out a bedroom window with a pillowcase full of loot over his shoulder or a felony stop of a stolen vehicle. Graduates can usually recite the elements of a crime and are up to date on all the latest case law and patrol tactics. What the academy does NOT prepare a new officer for is also one of the most frequently dealt with incidents…the infamous civil problem.

Continue reading “The civil problem: What to do when it isn’t criminal”

The commute game: A powerful tool for passing FTO

FTO can be an extremely stressful time in a young officer’s career. Most law enforcement academies could easily be twice as long as they are and still only begin to scratch the surface of what an officer should know. After the Academy the FNG is supposed to be able to seamlessly recite off the elements of a crime, know the best tactical way to handle a situation, have excellent radio traffic, know where you are at all times and be able to provide a detailed description of a suspect or vehicle. Continue reading “The commute game: A powerful tool for passing FTO”