LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN….That is the biggest part. You don’t know as much as you think and the day you do is when you should look into getting out.
Always be an open book and keep your curiosity alive and well.
Now, you will find the report takers, the go getters and yes “those guys”; the ones that are always the bad policy changers. It’s good to rattle the cage every now and then but be smart. Listen to the ones that care about the team, office and community, not the one that shows up just for a paycheck.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If your FTO yells at you for asking questions pertaining to the job, or doesn’t try and answer you by adding “you will figure that out on your own”, it’s time to go higher.
An FTO should be geared toward producing an efficient product. Why? You will probably back him/her up someday and they want to know they can count on you. He/she is your mentor and will build you up to bust you back down. This lets you know that you are doing a good job but take things in stride.
Next, Don’t let your inevitable screw-ups over take you. Don’t take things to heart but do learn from them.
When your FTO tells you how bad you did on something, they should follow up with a how to fix it. If not, you might need to, again, go higher. However, you don’t want to be that guy that goes to the Sgt. every time they say something you don’t like, but you also need to be afforded the best training experience.
Once your FTO puts you in a phase when you’re doing the work, be proactive….the only way you’re going to know how to do things is to experience them.
The academy can’t put you in alot of the situations that you need to be in. If they could, it would be uncontrolled and without risk. Now don’t go out and get your self hurt, but go out and make some stops, arrests and hell, some fights. (didn’t hear that from me)
Look at other guy’s cars. See how and why they have things set up the way that they do. Some have a passenger seat that makes their trunk lonely and others use the “if I have a role over, its just another thing to kill me” reason (totally valid btw).
Your equipment must be accessible, safe and operational. To add to this, When you’re released remember: your car is an extension of your office and uniform. If it looks like crap, the person stepping out of it will look the same. I have heard night shift say “well it’s dark, it doesn’t matter”…again, don’t be that guy. Taking pride in your gear goes a long way with the community and your chain of command.
When in doubt, don’t hesitate to use the tools on the belt. If you get sued…hey jack it’s going to happen if you stay in for any length of time. Civil liability coverage is a bitch to the public.
If you have to point your weapon at a person, then so be it. I promise a good FTO isn’t going to yell at you (on scene) if you deploy and challenge.
So covering just a few things, I will add this:
- check your weapon and gear before coming to work
- always leave your at-home crap at home….don’t come to work distracted
- keep water, crackers, spare boots and batteries in the car
- have a blow out (first aid) kit close
- don’t stop at the same places every day/night doing property checks and such….be unpredictable
- HAVE THICK SKIN….if your squad mates don’t jack with you, that means they don’t like you…
- confidence is good……Cocky is bad……just enough to let the bad guy know you mean business
- K.I.S.S – keep it simple stupid, if you think it’s wrong….it probably is.
I think that will do it for now, if you want to add to this please comment on the bottom.
Till next time, 10-8 back in service………………………………….