Police Officer

Police Officer

BlueSheepdog

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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Last Answer on October 29, 2014

Best Rated

When you pull over or arrest a minority, does race cross your mind? Do you worry that you might be accused of racism?

Asked by astutegoose over 9 years ago

Race is merely a descriptor to me when looking for someone. For example, if a white male just robbed a store, I will be looking specifically for white males. Beyond that, I don't care what you look like, where you are from, etc. All people are capable of good and evil. I'm looking for what people are doing, not what the look like. Every cop, no matter their own race, is accused of racism. Criminals don't like being arrested and can make all sorts of outlandish claims in an effort to "get back" at the cop who arrested them. It is annoying, but part of the world in which we work.

Have you ever shot and/or killed anyone?

Asked by Amy S. over 9 years ago

No.

Is it true that cops' benefits and pension are really top-notch?

Asked by SD joe over 9 years ago

Depends on the area of the country where you are doing the comparing. Where I started my career in Georgia, no. Our benefits, pay and retirement were significantly below what was available in the private sector. At my current position in Florida, my benefits are on par with much of the private sector, with a better retirement plan than many in the private sector. Other areas of the country, benefits and pensions vary - some significantly better than others.

Regarding immigration laws like Arizona's that give police the right to stop people and demand proof of immigration status, do you think it's possible for cops to apply that without regard to race?

Asked by Maria over 9 years ago

I don't work in Arizona, so I am not an expert on their laws. However, two things: 1. Police officers cannot just "stop people and demand proof of immigration status." I've heard a few people state this on various news programs, but it is a statement made for political ends or out of ignorance. The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution governs the seizure of persons, and various cases (Terry v. Ohio, et al) have clarified the legalities of investigative detentions. Investigative detentions are short-duration stops of a person where the officer has reasonable, articulable suspicion that the person is engaged in unlawful activity. For example, a subject wearing a ski mask and carrying a crowbar at the back door of a business at 3 am can be lawfully detained as the officer can articulate specific facts that would lead him to believe the subject was engaged in a burglary. Absence reasonable, articulable suspicion, officers may not lawfully stop people. So to stop someone and check his or her immigration status, the officer must have already established facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe the subject being stopped was a foreign national inside the US illegally. 2. Being an illegal alien has nothing to do with race. Being an illegal alien is about nationality. Don't be fooled by politicians with personal agendas. Citizens of other countries are (generally) not allowed to visit or immigrate to the United States without permission of the federal government. Permission typically takes the form of a visa. Absent that permission, the person is violating federal law. The funny thing is law enforcement is already required to determine the nationality of all people who are detained or arrested for the purposes of conforming to international treaty. The US is a signatory to various treaties regarding consular notification and access. Officers are required to determine if someone is a foreign national, and offer to contact their consular officers if so. By treaty, we are required to notify certain foreign governments even if the arrested subject declines. You can read more about consular notifications here: http://travel.state.gov/pdf/cna/CNA_Manual_3d_Edition.pdf It would seem that if someone was arrested, and they advised they were a citizen of another country, that INS would be able to tell law enforcement officers if the subject was in the US legally. If not, it would seem INS should get involved and address the issue. Of course, I have arrested many felons in the past who were in this country illegally and the feds failed to take any enforcement action. Probably the worst case was a subject I arrested once who was a member of an international gang, and who was a known drug trafficker. I arrested him for rape. He plead to a lesser charge and INS decided not to deport him. Bottom line: race isn't part of the issue, except for people using immigration as a political football.

Have you worked with any openly gay police officers? If you have, do they get a hard time from or get snubbed by other cops?

Asked by JSB over 9 years ago

Yes, I have worked with several officers who are openly homosexual. No, they are not given any grief about that from the other officers. Most people/officers don't care about your sexual preferences. How you are treated by other officers comes down to the content of your character. Are you a hard worker? Are you honest and honorable? Are you effective as a police officer? These are the things that cops care about when evaluating their peers.

Do you and other cops actively avoid donut shops given all the stereotypes and jokes?

Asked by johnson22 over 9 years ago

Some officers avoid the places, while others don't mind. For a lot of areas, these are one of the few places open if you are working midnights. So if you need a cup of coffee, the local Dunkin Donuts might be your best bet. I'm not a huge fan of donuts or coffee, so I don't generally have cause to stop in.

When you approach a situation where a lot of people have guns drawn, how do you determine who the bad guys are? e.g. if you show up and one guy's pointing a gun at another, how do you know he's not a plainclothes cop?

Asked by barryschiller over 9 years ago

It is very situation dependent. What information has dispatch relayed to us? Is there someone that is displaying a badge or other identifiers? What are the circumstances? Do we have prior information about undercover officers working in an area? Misidentifying a good/bad guy is always a problem, and shooting an off-duty or plain clothes officer is a very real possibility. There is no simple answer to this question and the circumstances will offer responding officers "context clues" to the nature of the incident.