Over a decade of law enforcement work has given me great opportunities. Great disappointments and great friendships. I would like to share some of my experience with you so that you can learn from my mistakes and benefit from my successes. You may not agree with everything that you read, but given a long enough time, you will see that only truth is listed here.
1. Be nice, until there’s a time not to be nice. When that time comes, be mean, but appear to be nice.
2. When you pull over a person and are going to write a ticket, that person has the amount of the fine worth of grumbling permitted. When he / she goes over that limit, see rule number 1.
3. If you catch another cop speeding, give him a warning. He may save your life some day.
4. If you catch another cop drunk at the wheel, he’s not a brother any more. The life you save may be your own. If he’s armed and drunk, he’s a criminal. Treat him as such.
5. Never give a ticket to the person who delivers you pizza. It’s okay to slow him down, but remember, the next pizza may be yours. Would you like spit with that?
6. Firefighters are cops without guns. They run into a building that you want nothing more than to run out of. Treat them as you would a brother and they will treat you the same. At a minimum, you’ll have someone to put a finger in a bullet hole to save your life.
7. The reason you have a lot of tools on your belt is that they are supposed to be used. Don’t use a flashlight when a perfectly good baton will do.
8. You are your own worst enemy. When you think no one is looking, there’s a camera on you.
9. If you sleep in your cruiser, you are dead. I won’t be nice at your funeral.
10. The woman at home is your friend. Don’t take out your frustrations on her because of some critter’s actions during your shift.
11. A cops wife is the best counselor you can get. Don’t have to pay extra fees to lay on the couch. Communication is necessary for this to work.
12. A messy uniform shows a messy mind. Critters can tell. Look like a Trooper get treated like one. Look like a slug, get treated like one. If you command respect it will be given.
13. An older lady driving a “beater” and obviously not making ends meet, may not necessarily deserve a ticket for speeding. A young punk kid in a supped up Civic with a loud exhaust does.
14. Listen to those who have been doing this for many years. They have learned the tricks of the trade. Try to improvise, and you won’t make it to that.
15. Lawyers are not your friends. In court their job is to make you look stupid. Don’t get mad at them for doing well at their job when you don’t at yours.
16. Paperwork drives law enforcement. If you don’t want to do the paperwork, find another job.
17. The case file is not complete until the sergeant says it’s complete. Don’t gripe about it, just deal with it. If you want to lose a case, turn in a slip shod case file.
18. Check it, double check it, then have someone else check it.
19. The Chief is ALWAYS right. Even if he is wrong he is right. Remember this and have a long career. Buck this and be a short timer.
20. A pretty face flashing skin is NOT a reason to give a warning. Make dates on your own time. Make it on mine and you’ll have lots of FREE time.
21. Your FTO is not your friend. He is there to prepare you for the reality of this job. When FTO period is over, then he can become your friend. If you don’t make the cut, blame yourself.
22. Your cruiser is your office. You don’t see me going to your place of work and leaving candy bars, spilt coffee and trash all over it. Don’t do it to mine. I don’t want to have to clean up after you.
23. If you don’t note the new dent on the fender in your log, you just claimed it….even if it didn’t happen on your shift. A thorough inspection of the cruiser needs to be done EACH shift. The knife under the back seat from the previous nights transport could bring you a world of hurt.
24. When done with a traffic stop, look down. Make sure the lightbar is off.
25. Clean your firearm. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t fired it in six months. Do you want to take that chance?
26. Practice with your firearm. Twice a year is great for standardized department policy. Once a month is much better. This is the one tool on your belt that will get you killed if you don’t know it. Range fees aren’t cheap, but how much is a funeral?
27. You own a vest you wear a vest. You don’t own one, get one. A cheap vest is better than no vest. One that is fitted to you is better.
28. A vest is hot. A casket is hotter and you can’t take it off.
29. You may not like another officer, but you will love him. He may be a difficult person, but he’s doing the same job you are.
30. When you took the oath, you became a modern day knight. Your shield is smaller, but your duties have not changed. Your sword changed shape and spits lead, but it’s still a sword. You swore to protect and to serve the citizenry against evil. You gave your word that you would give your life to protect the innocent from the ravages of this world. You make a difference, no matter what the media says.