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Approaching Police Officers

cop with kidsApproaching police officers’ can be intimidating to some individuals even if they are not criminals. We definitely tend to carry ourselves in a way that says “What do you want, I’m busy!” to the average citizen who would rather handle their situation themselves than approach us for advice. Well, because the majority of police officers’, at least the ones I know, do care, and are willing to help the average citizen in their time of need, I want to offer some pointers that just might help approaching police officers’ become an easier task for those of you who find this hard to do. However, I also want to point out the reasons why we tend to carry the “serious tones” and the “ready stance” that one might come across when approaching police officers. As you will see, a conversation with a police officer can be easier than you might think.

Understanding the Nature of the Job

DUII want to start off by giving those of you, who are unfamiliar with a Police Officers’ duties, the opportunity to understand what we go through on a daily basis.  If you never have disturbances at your house that require the police to respond than chances are that your only contact with us will be during the course of a traffic stop. Well, unfortunately traffic stops are not all we do as police officers (by the way, I am an inner city cop so this may not apply to your experiences with State Troopers, Sheriffs etc..).

crime sceneDuring the course of our day we respond to calls for service (911 calls) the majority of our shift. On an average day, that would possibly be seven calls to one traffic stop we are able to complete.  These calls we respond to will range from domestic violence disputes to multiple homicides, not to mention the numerous party armed calls we are dispatched to on a constant basis. Over the course of time, after being screamed and yelled at by not only suspects of crimes but victims as well, we tend to grow hardened to showing compassion. That is, at least hardened to the compassion we allow people to see. I want you to remember something, if we did not care and have some compassion of wanting things to get better and to help others, we would not do the job.  

man in cuffs being escortedAs much as it pains me to say it, we sometimes cannot tell the good guy from the bad guy at first glance. For this reason, we tend to treat everyone the same. A short conversation is what you will get. Over a period of time if we see you enough we may extend those conversations, but that comes with time. Honestly, if you think about it, that’s not so different from how we are as civilians. We are not quick to make friends and we don’t trust everyone. If we did, we would be fools. One last thing, if you see an officer and he does not speak or it seems as though it pained him to speak when he did, it could just be due to a call he just came from where what he saw is still on his mind and his attention may not be 100% with you. He could also be on his way to a call and he’s working out his plan of action in his head. So before you just automatically come to the conclusion that all officers are less than approachable, just try and remember that there is possibly a lot more going on in the officers’ mind than you know. A smile will definitely get you a long way, because officers’ very seldom get smiles from citizens during a shift.  

When Dealing With Officers’ Who Respond To Your Call

cop with dogI will make this short but clear for those of you who tend to wonder why officers’ act the way they do when they respond to your location. The bottom line of any call given to an officer from the dispatcher is that the officer will be given limited information. For instance, the dispatcher might say that there is a party armed at the location but the information leaves out which party is armed. Therefore, if I respond to the location where there is an unknown party armed, I will definitely respond with my gun out and until I know for sure that there is no one armed at the location my gun stays out. Now, for those of you who want to argue about it and won’t show the officers’ your hands, guess what? They will point their guns at you. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you would do in the same situation. Also, if the officer is attempting to gather information from you, yelling won’t help. It only prolongs the officers’ stay at your location because the officers’ are not leaving until they receive all of the pertinent information pertaining to what just happened. If an officer is asking you a question, it’s more than likely that officer does not know the answer so give him a break and give yourself a break by just cooperating.  This makes contact with the police more tolerable and believe it or not the officers are there to help.