My first few posts were fairly professional and dry. And it pained me deeply. I have decided not to try to pander to any particular audience and just do what I enjoy doing. Babbling about law enforcement, corrections, martial arts and things I find useful, such as my favorite law enforcement products. With that being said, lets talk about something near and dear to my heart…the word fuck.
Fuck is a very versatile word. It’s a noun, pronoun, adverb and verb. If you are having a conversation and can’t figure out how to throw in an f-bomb, you aren’t being creative enough. The f-bomb and all it’s amazing varieties is also a very effective Use of Force.
All use of force models recognize officer presence as the first level of force in any interaction. Just by standing there in my pretty little costume, I am exerting force on a situation. The next step is verbal force. This is an often misunderstood aspect of force. People believe cops need to always speak in a stilted, clipped professional tone in everything we do. This is not always the case. Any good cop knows that a carefully placed f-bomb or telling someone to “Shut the fuck up” can be the difference between having to fight with someone and gaining compliance.
The situation is twofold. The first is that you often have to talk in a manner your audience understands. If you stand there like a perfect academy robot and call some deep south county redneck or hardcore gang banger “Sir” every other word, they’re going to look at you like you have a dick growing out of your forehead. If you interrupt them when they’re trying to feed you a line of bullshit and tell them to shut the fuck up and stop lying to you…they do. You called them on their bullshit and they often respect it. Of course you can’t get away with this until you have enough years on the job to know when it is needed and when it is going to inflame things.
The second aspect of this is shock factor. You can talk to some regular “citizen” until you are blue in the face about why they should probably turn around and drive the other way, as you’re standing there with a rifle pointed at their neighbor’s house, or you can yell a few f-bombs at them. I will give you an example of just such as a situation:
When I was a new guy freshly off FTO, I responded to a call of a suicidal subject walking down the road towards the local hospital. He was contacted by a neighboring agency less than a half mile away from the hospital. His wife had called and advised he had threatened to walk to the emergency room and shoot himself. He wanted the doctors to harvest his organs. I arrived a minute or two later and found the male walking towards me with a large .357 revolver pressed to his head. There were two officers on the other side of him, following him and trying to talk to him on the PA. He would pause and give a thumbs up sign and shout, “It’s okay, I’m an organ donor!” and continue walking towards the hospital…and me.
For 8 minutes, I was the only person between him and the hospital. I drove backwards away from him in a sort of rolling roadblock trying to keep any citizens away from him. During that time, citizens would pull out of driveways and side streets in their cars. Now anybody who has ever directed traffic can tell you about a particularly unusual phenomenon that happens whenever people get into their cars. Their brains somehow liquefy and dribble right out of their asses to pool somewhere under the driver’s seat. If you ever want to lose all faith in the intelligence of humankind, just try directing traffic. Truly. It is spectacular! Anyway back to the f-bomb.
As these cars would pull out of their driveways or side streets, they would just STOP in confusion. Directly between me and the guy with the gun. I could see business people, little old ladies. It didn’t matter. They all stopped and stared in slack jawed confusion as the suicidal and possibly homicidal subject with the gun walked towards them. I had my rifle across my lap and handgun resting on the steering wheel in case I had to shoot through the windshield. I would have to quickly pull up next to the drivers and yell at them to leave the area right now. As a proper new guy, I would yell things to the effect of, “Sir you need to leave right now!” The people would continue to stare stupidly, completely unable to comprehend anything outside their ordinary routine. I would yell louder for them to leave as they stuttered that they needed to head to work or whatever they were blathering about. In frustration I yelled at the next one to, “Get the fuck out of here!” This seemed to snap through the miasma haze of confusion and send them scurrying away as fast as they could.
Now I am not the sharpest monkey in the shed, but I had a sort of light bulb moment. People would sit and stammer stupidly as the armed suicidal subject walked towards them when I spoke in the traditional law enforcement fashion. When I rolled up and yelled, “Get the fuck out of here!” the slow and lethargic hamster in their head would sigh and get back on the treadmill and they realized…”Hey…if a COP is screaming for me to get the fuck out of here…maybe I should get the fuck out of here!”
So next time you hear a cop tell you not to act like a fucking idiot, or something similar, just realize it is almost always a tactical use of just another tool, no different than a taser or beanbag shotgun. Our mouths can get us into trouble, but at the same time a good threat at the appropriate time will end a conflict before it begins!
Also published on Medium.