Police Officer

Police Officer


10 Years Experience

Around the Way, FL

Male, 40

Cheating death and fighting communism: that is how a fellow officer once described our job. It was meant to be funny, but as time went on it seemed all too true.

I spent more than ten years in law enforcement, all of it on the street in uniform patrol. I've been a patrol officer, instructor, sergeant and lieutenant.

Do not report crimes here. Nothing here should be considered legal advice. All opinions are my own.

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615 Questions


Last Answer on October 29, 2014

Best Rated

When cops pull over an off-duty cop for speeding, is it understood that just flashing your badge will get you out of it? What if the off-duty cop is doing something really bad, like 100+mph or driving drunk?

Asked by Oren1 over 11 years ago

It is situational and individual dependent. The examples you gave are crimes, so "flashing a badge" would not save you. Often, the consequences are worse for an officer since he/she has a sworn oath to uphold the law, not break it. In some jurisdictions, that opens the officer to an additional criminal act of violating the oath of office. But, yes, off-duty officers sometimes get consideration that others do not. (Don't ask me to defend the ethics of such activity, because I cannot. It is what it is.)

Would you encourage or discourage one of your children to become a police officer?

Asked by Jamie K over 11 years ago

Interesting question, and one I have considered before. Frankly, I'd rather my kids do something that was much safer, was less likely to result in a wrecked marriage, didn't put them in regular contact with the ugliness of humanity and that paid better. However, if they express an interest, then I will make sure they understand what they are getting into. If they wish to continue down the path, then I will encourage them to be the best cops they can possibly be.

Do cops become cops to protect people, or because they enjoy the power? (Funny movie scene to illustrate the point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGfYX7NmYnU.)

Asked by Kooomar over 11 years ago

Generally, cops are alpha personalities. Think about it: passive people don't seek out the most violent criminal elements in society and try to stop their anti-social behavior. Some officers are more "touchy-feely" than others, but at the end of the day, you have to be more "hunter" than "nurturer" to do the job. In fact, an FBI study illustrated the more easy-going an officer was, the more likely he would be killed. I think it is very rare for officers seeking power to actually get into police work. Most people craving power are the bully-types, who are ultimately cowards. Cowards don't make it in this profession. Instead, many officers got into the job because they had a fundamental desire to try to help their community. No doubt, there are some unqualified people who seek employment as an officer. Most of these get weeded out in the pre-employment testing. At virtually all law enforcement agencies in the US, candidates have an extensive background investigation plus must pass a polygraph and psychological examination. Even with these safeguards in place, a few idiots make it through. Most of these get weeded out in the training process, but a few do make it into the ranks. As they say, there are bad apples in every profession. Unfortunately, officers have a great deal of power and bad apples in police work can cause major problems.

What was the most horrifying scene or situation you ever had to respond to? (Sorry, the Miami cannibal attack is still kinda fresh in mind...)

Asked by Brooke-lin over 11 years ago

I've been to a lot, but I hope you will forgive me for not talking about them.

Have you ever been shot or seriously injured on the job?

Asked by Jonah J over 11 years ago

Shot, no. Shot at, yes. While I have been injured, thankfully, all of my injuries have been relatively mild. Only one required any kind of "light duty," meaning that I had to work a desk for a few weeks until I was seen and cleared by a surgeon due to a knee injury.

Is a "citizen's arrest" a real thing? What's the correct way to actually make one?

Asked by Mahoney!!! over 11 years ago

Each state varies, but yes a citizen can make an arrest of another citizen in certain circumstances. Typically it is limited to felonies that happened in the citizen's presence, but vary from state to state. Some states allow merchants to detain/arrest shoplifters, for example. Other states have no provision for a citizen's arrest. Generally, you have no civil or criminal liability protections if you attempt to make a citizen's arrest (even if it is legal in your state.)

My friend rants about how talking to the cops is ALWAYS a bad idea, even if you don't think you've done anything wrong. You're probably biased, but isn't there truth to that? Have you actually ever NOT arrested someone because he was cooperative?

Asked by samsam over 11 years ago

Yes, I suppose I am biased in this. But, here is what experience (from my side of the badge) has shown me. Talking to the cops is generally a bad idea if you have engaged in illegal activity. However, being honest with the officers can help lessen the seriousness of the situation. I have genuinely worked to help out people who have committed crimes when there were mitigating circumstances and they were honest about what happened. For example, I worked a property crime recently where the accused called me because he wanted to do the right thing. Based on his honesty and willingness to turn himself in, I asked the jail to give him a lower bond (bail) and talked to the prosecutor about reducing or dropping the charges. I wouldn't have done any of that if he had not been up-front and honest. Yes, I have not arrested many people who talked to me. A perfect example is when I responded to an assault recently. The complainant advised the accused beat him down for no reason. There were marks on the complainant consistant with being attacked. A passerby advised the accused hit the complainant. So it sounds like the accused should go to jail. However, against your friend's advice, the accused talked to me and explained that the complainant had just stolen his bike. The accused advised he approached the complainant to get the bike back, and the complainant spun around to hit him. The accused said he then defended himself and was able to get back his bike. Eventually, I was able to confirm his story based on some of the particulars the accused gave me. The end result was the accused did not go to jail, but would have had he not talked to me. (FYI, the accused chose not to prosecute the complainant for theft. He felt justice had already be served.) Not talking to the cops is a personal choice. I talk to people all day; it is my job. How can I know what is going on in my patrol area if I don't talk to people, and they talk to me? Not talking to each other does nothing good - it just reinforces mistrust and barriers. I'd much rather work WITH the community than against it.