Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What I saw in my experience as a cop

When I mention my law enforcement experience to fellow writers I hear comments like; 'I need to have a long talk with you sometime' or 'I have a lot of question I'd like to ask you'.

Most people would be surprised or even shocked if they new what kind of people carry a gun and a badge. Many times the type of people who are attracted to law enforcement are just one step away from the kind of people they haul off to jail. Even when I was in the academy we were told that cops and criminals are a lot alike.

My experience covers 2 states and 4 law enforcement agencies and with all of them I encountered the same type of personalities. Law enforcement agencies attract a special kind of people; that is a two edge sword.

In my experience the people I knew who became police officers would fit into four basic categories, they were:

The lazy man, a cop's job is considered a lazy man's job;

Prestige, wanting other people to look up to them or the perceived power they hold over others;

The thriller seeker, 99 percent boredom and 1 percent pure adrenalin, they often push the envelop to feed their need;

And the one who wants to make a difference. The one who wants to help either quits or becomes jaded. I quit.

Yeah, I'm sure most people would be surprised at the kind of antics that go on behind the scenes at their local police department. The image your local police department puts on for the public is not what really happens when they think no one is looking.

Most law enforcement officers develop an 'us against them' mentality.
In their training they are taught 'command presence', but in personal matters that type of behavior often leads to divorce. After awhile they end up associating only with other law enforcement people. That is the worst thing that can happen because they lose their perspective and it further feeds the 'us against them' mentality.

Crime scene processing will change as technology advances, but when you deal with people's ego, that pretty much stays the same. No matter how much we advance technically, our egos get in the way and we act like a jackass.

C. Fern Cook
author of
Wild Evolution

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