Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bad Boys and their Shenanigans

So I had a very eventful weekend. I went on two ride-alongs (which are when you sit shotgun in a police car for the officer's shift). The first one was in Rockville and the second was in Columbia. Needless to say , they were freaking awesome.

The first one was with a friend of my aunt and uncle's and he was awesome. He was open and honest and had a dirty sense of humor, which is always good. He made a good point right off the bat he said (roughly), "No matter what people tell you, people become police officers to lock bad guys up." Which is such a good point, I mean, yes, the more complex idea of police officers is to serve the community which includes active law enforcement as well as community outreach and in-school programs. But when you get down to it, cops are cops cause they want to find the bad people and lock them up. Anyhoo, onward. So the shift was from 3pm-1am which was a good time, it was a Friday too, so it should have had some serious action. Not to mention it was like 40-45 degrees, which if you are from Maryland, you know, that's pretty warm for the weather lately.

The second ride-along was the next night in Columbia from 6:30pm - 6:30am, or so I thought. I got to the station at 6:20 all ready to catch some dirtbags but as it turned out, the officer I was supposed to ride with wasn't in till 8:30, but thankfully a rather nice officer got me to ride with another. So I would ride with the first officer for 2-3 hours and then meet up with the other officer. Both officers were really nice guys, I had a good argument about good rap artists with the first and the second officer got me re-motivated in my employment effort. On another note, it was a Saturday night, so perhaps some action?

Results: Very little action with plenty of traffic stops.

Friday night a sobriety test was given, license plates were taken away and several cars were searched.

Saturday night involved a domestic dispute, a medical emergency and a DUI arrest. Although these things sound not too exciting, they were definitely enough action. Going into all of these situations is like a giant rush of information. Using all senses as well as communication with people you must understand, control, and resolve a situation without showing signs of weakness, which leads me to another good lesson I learned from officers on both nights.

One of the most important things you can do is not show any type of fear when dealing with people, especially suspects. Friday night I saw the officer who I was with, who was 5'6" 180lbs deal with a hostile 6'4" 300lb man without batting an eye. The officer I rode with for a majority of the second night was of similar size and declined to show any fear. They explained that if you show fear the suspects will turn it on you and eat you up. The confidence and mindfulness that is necessary to show a lack of fear but a sense of respect is amazing.

Anothr lesson I learned: Do not be afraid to talk to the people you are dealing with. A prime example was a traffic stop of a 22 y.o. male. When we checked his previous arrest record we found out he had served 18 mo for attempted murder. Although this put me in a defensive mindset, you wouldn't have thought the other officers in the situations thought anything of it when they talked with the guy. In fact, I found myself soon shooting the breeze with him and joking around, because there are two important things to see in the people you deal with: The personality and the actions. Both are equally important when you deal with people as a police officer.

Finally, one last useful lesson: The way most officers catch people doing the things they shouldn't be doing is by finding something wrong with a car and initiating a traffic stop. One good thing to check is tag lights (the lights above license plates). If one of those is out you can be pulled over. So if you don't want to get pulled over, remember, make sure everything about your car is in order, especially the lights, and drive well!

Well, that is all about that!

Till later