Law Enforcement Technology

JUL 2015

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Page 44 of 63 July 2015 Law Enforcement Technology 45 a coffee, and if it can wait for a cooler moment, then do it. Nobody wants to go to the 3rd precinct or whereever your time-out location is. It is not the new policy we care about; we want to know who screwed up. This is a police fact of life. Most all of our poli- cies, procedures, and directives just don't fall out of the sky. Somebody somewhere did something and during the aftermath it was decided there should be a rule about prevent- ing this from ever happening again. Most of the new rules get the name of the guilty: the Harvey rule for example. Never, ever have a rule named after you. This leads us to the next one. Police departments don't run on gasoline and electricity but on rumor and innuendo. This is a locker room fact. I no longer speak of how any group of people gossip; police officers are the professionals when it comes to rumors. Why do we refer to rumor control if we don't do this? On a midnight shift, you and your next beat over buddy are parked driver's door to driver's door (Patrol Car Spooning) and you are not talking about the stock market. It is who did what and why Harvey got a rule named after him. Come on, this is supposed to be a profession; act it and knock off the ill-conceived chatter. More police stress is created by our own drama than the actual event. When I became a buck sergeant in the US Army, my first sergeant would take time after 1700 with us young- sters for professional development. It was often covering the mission of becoming a leader and learning to become a better soldier. One thing he drove into us was that leader- ship is 10 percent telling and 90 percent checking. In other words, don't hover over the soldier; give them clear cut direction and follow-up on their progress and then give direction and support as needed. He was a brilliant leader and he later retired as the Regimental Command Sergeant Major of the US Army MP Corps. (Thank you CSM Roland Gaddy for all you did for me and hundreds of other young sergeants.) This also serves as a reminder to all of us. When was the last time you sat down with one of your young sergeants to give them that sage advice they clamor for? Have a late meeting over coffee with that up-and-com- ing star. Pass on the knowledge. When I was a young copper I had just lost a case. The other side was composed of young rich political self- important kids with lots of old family money which paid for their legal bills and their victory. I was very angry about the loss. Sgt. John White, a storied member of my old Savannah department, sat me down and asked me a question. What is the most powerful instrument that you carry? I immediately thought of the handgun (even though it was a .38 Special) but he corrected me. The most powerful instrument you carry is a pen. For with it you can change lives in how accurate and pow- erful you write the police reports. A sloppy report will lose the strongest case. Learn to write your police reports like it is the most important letter you ever wrote. Great life lesson and no truer words, our reports are our true signature on the case. One day I was watching (soon to be refereeing) two instruc- tors who were both Type A+ personalities. Who can do this better or faster and so forth? They continued this until one became so angry at being outdone by the other he nearly burst into flames. After the dust settled, I was asked what had happened. My response was that Testosterone is a flammable substance, which it is! I do not believe that a medical dosage of testosterone would even burn. However if there are copi- ous amounts of testosterone pulsating in your male police officers, stand back—you are in the blast zone. Check the Circle 60 on Reader Service Card A sloppy report will lose the strongest case. Learn to write your police reports like it is the most important letter you ever wrote.

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