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

Do you wear a bulletproof vest at all times on the job?

Asked by Kev-Lar over 11 years ago


In your opinion, should having a 4-year college degree be a requirement to be a police officer? Does your department require it?

Asked by ironeagle over 11 years ago

Every department is different on degrees. Some require 4 year degrees, but most do not. A college education is ok, but other than giving you general knowledge, it isn't of much use as a street cop. For promotion, it is requirement for many positions. Frankly, the problem with many new officers is their sense of entitlement and lack of worldly experience. Generally, I have found that new cops that were in the military are far better equipped to be police officers. Most of them have had life experience beyond sitting in a classroom and partying all weekend. At the end of the day, officers are required to seek out the most dangerous elements of society and confront them. When someone starts shooting, everyone runs away except a police officer, who runs toward the danger. Most colleges don't prepare people for that action.

You mentioned that you'd hate being a detective, but why is that? What kind of cops are drawn to detective work?

Asked by watson over 11 years ago

I enjoy working in uniform patrol as I am responding to crimes and emergencies as they are happening, not merely following up on a case later. A detective's life is fairly routine, whereas a patrol cop's day is completely unpredictable. It isn't a simple matter to quantify who wants to be a detective. Some officers make the move because they like taking a major case and running it to its conclusion no matter how long it takes. Other guys make the move simply because of a pay increase or they want the weekends off. A lot of officers transfer over just as a change of scenery. There are a lot of perks for being a detective, but its just not a job thats interested me.

Is it true that any time a cop discharges his firearm, the objective is to KILL? In other words, are you ever trying to merely wound or incapacitate, and if not, then why?

Asked by pete over 11 years ago

The short answer is no, police officers are not trying to kill anyone when they are forced to shoot them. The long answer: A police officer is authorized to use deadly force only when confronted with an imminent deadly threat, or to prevent/stop a forcible felony (armed robbery, rape, etc). The use of a firearm is deadly force. So, any time a police officer is authorized to shoot someone, it is an emergency situation where the officer or innocent citizen is in immediate danger. The objective is to stop the threat as quickly as possible. Or, in other words, to get the bad guy to stop whatever he is doing to create the dangerous situation. Shooting is a very precise activity. In a stress situation, with people moving and other variables, putting a bullet that is a fraction of an inch wide into any specific location is virtually impossible. So, officers are trained to shoot for the torso, which is the largest target. Additionally, wounds to the torso can cause rapid incapacitation due to blood loss. Wounding someone in the arm is not realistic as it is a very hard target to hit, and it is not likely to stop the violent behavior of the suspect. So, officers are trained to shoot to stop the threat. Death is sometimes a byproduct of that, but it is not the goal.

If you're off-duty with family/friends and you see one of them doing something mildly illegal, do you act as a cop in that instance? E.g., your 19-year-old nephew has a beer at the family BBQ, or your poker buddy drives home after he's had a few ...

Asked by Darren S. over 11 years ago

I'd never allow anything that puts the public at risk to happen in my presence. So the idea that I'd let a friend/family member drive if he/she is intoxicated is alien to me. I deal with the consequences of other people's actions all day, and I don't tolerate stupidity around me. The family and friends I associate with aren't involved in criminal activity, so it isn't typically a problem.

If you ask to search someone's veihicle and they refuse, do you assume they've got something to hide?

Asked by Slam J 74 over 11 years ago

Not really. Chances are I'd decline to give consent to an officer for search my vehicle as well. Of course, I wouldn't ask for consent to search a vehicle without some suspicion of criminal activity to begin with. So, the mere act of declining consent wouldn't affect my suspicions one way or another.

What's the talk been in your precinct about the Colorado Batman movie shootings re: the police response, what they did well/poorly, etc?

Asked by eric about 11 years ago

There are too many questions and not enough facts for people to comment much. But a couple of things have been discussed by my fellow officers: 1. The media coverage sucks. The media seems more interested in banning guns than they do in reporting facts about the incident. I'm pretty tired of reading ignorant articles that use terms like "high powered magazine" or refer to four guns as an arsenal. The rush to get the bloodiest photos and information (incorrect is ok) on the air is disgusting. 2. Just one off duty cop or lawfully armed citizen sitting in the theater could have stopped the killing. Sure the guy was wearing body armor, but when he is now taking rounds (which will still REALLY hurt), he is going to stop killing the defenseless to either retreat or focus on whoever is shooting at him. Too bad the theater's no gun policy only applied to people who follow the law - not murderers. 3. The Aurora PD had an extremely fast response time. As far as just how the officers handled the situation - they ran toward the shooting rather than away from it. Not much else needs to be said. As the department debriefs all of the officers involved and evaluates the overall response, we may get a feeling of what could have been done better, but I doubt there is anything different they could have done.