FEATURED IN LEADERSHIP
I work for a mid-sized department in Texas. We just hired five new officers (our town annexed part of the county). They seem sharp and will soon graduate the academy. Two are female, and here's the problem: One is just drop-dead gorgeous. So hot that I've been finding reasons to talk to her. I really want to ask her out. I'm an FTO, and she's got a year of probation. Our department prohibits anyone in a supervisory capacity (including FTOs) from dating or fraternizing with anyone on probation. This is just driving me nuts, but I can't do anything about it. What's a guy to do?
What's a guy to do? Quit sending me letters and ask her out. Come on, the policy is really more of a guide, so man up and go get yourself a date. Who will know if you start dating her? With only 100 or so trained observers around, I doubt anyone would notice. Even if they do notice, cops aren't known for gossiping any more than old ladies are, so I'm sure you'll be able to keep it quiet. Really now, you're only an FTO and not the chief, so I'm almost positive your agency won't care much if they do find out. Oh, and I'm even more positive this young lady signed up for a career in law enforcement just to get bugged by a love-sick idiot like you before she even graduates the academy.
How big of a jackass are you? Do you think your agency came up with the no-dating or fraternizing policy just for fun or to waste some ink? Your bosses place all sorts of trust and responsibility in their FTOs, and they expect a high level of conduct. Hell, when it comes to sex and dating, this is the same level of conduct they should expect from all non-probationary employees. My guess is the big wigs at your agency are hoping others will follow suit, but in order to have an enforceable rule they needed a level of supervision, so they used FTOs.
If your dream date or any other probationary employee turns out to be unsuited for police work, it's always easier to send them packing if their latest love interest is not another member of the department. The last thing any cop shop needs is the boyfriend or girlfriend of a fired employee hanging around and talking smack about the injustice done by management or some mean-spirited sergeant or FTO. That s a bad seed that can easily make the locker room a nastier place than a rattlesnake pit. This bad effect is magnified if the person was dating a supervisor at any level. We can also flip that one around. Say the person gets through training and probation. They may be a great cop, but it only takes one schmuck to start the rumor that they only made it through training because they were dating an FTO.
Let's take a look at Miss Hottie. Like I said, she probably didn't come into police work to meet you. Academies aren't real hard these days, but there is a ton to learn, including everything from statutory law to case law to how to wear a uniform to how to act in a uniform and much more. I'm positive she has plenty on her mind. Did you ever think that by finding reasons to talk with her you are distracting her? How do you think this makes her feel around her other partners who aren't getting the attention? They either think they're lame trainees because no one takes the time to speak with them, or they think she is getting the attention just because she looks good. Neither of those outcomes is acceptable.
Listen up, bozo boy, you're running directly into a lose-lose situation. At best, you two work out as a couple, but her career is undermined because of rumors she made training and probation because she was sleeping with an FTO. At worst, you tank your own career by getting jacked on a policy violation, and she either gets fired for the same violation (remember, she's on probation), or she survives with rumors she survived only due to her relationship with you. Better yet, the two of you don't work out and she gets fired for something unrelated to the relationship. Now you're in the middle of her sexual-harassment suit. She claims she slept with you out of fear of firing. Good luck with that one, sucker!
The solution is simple: Quit being a moron and control yourself. The last time I passed through Texas, it was raining drop-dead gorgeous women, so walk around the block and find six more who aren't probationary employees at your own agency. Be a man who thinks with his big head.
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E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax him at 619/699-6246.