I've been in law enforcement 18 years. I work in a mid-size city with 55 officers. I have observed a disturbing trend with our new officers. Our two- to five-year cops don't do anything but radio runs. They won't make traffic stops or Terry stops, or do anything proactive. They sit around and talk about making rank and moving up in the department, and don't get that they can't lead troops when they don't know how to be cops. I work in the street-level drug unit. These youngsters won't speak to us or work with our unit. I've heard them say that we get glory and toys while they while they get nothing. Worse, when we had an opening, no one applied. They said we work too hard, have bad hours and spend too much time in court. I only want to see the department continue to grow and get better, but with these lazy people I don t think we're going anywhere. Long in the Tooth
Dear Long in the Tooth:
Am I to believe that for the last five years your department has hired nothing but useless, lazy, report takers who all want to be the next lieutenant? Hell, as far as lieutenants go, you got two out of three; all you need to do is swap out bean counters for report takers and you guys could be a lieutenant factory (for top dollar you need to add in spineless).
Are you positive all the young cops are LT material, or is it a small minority? Old Bullethead has only been around for a while, but I know people who have been around for half of forever. They tell me lazy cops have been around since Socrates was a teenager.
I have a hard time believing all the cops you started with were hard chargers. Perhaps you just forgot about the lops because you were busy doing a good job and having fun.
Your perspective may be a big part of this. You ve got 18 years on and you re still tearing it up on a street team. That takes dedication, motivation and being just a smidgen of a tweaker. Don't take that wrong, brother, cause it's a compliment. It means you can't sit still the bad guys are out there, so let's go get the SOBs.
I'm right there with you. Just remember that our work ethic isn t the only acceptable one. Every department needs people willing to go give out bicycle helmets to kids or press palms with the community activists. We also need report takers to deal with barking-dog calls and neighbor disputes while the actual cops are booking the crooks. It's simple, amigo: We hunt and they gather. We think they're lazy for not doing what we do, and they think we're foolish for making extra work just to stick another doper or gangster in jail.
I can't imagine not putting in for a street team if a spot came open. It's a nice break from patrol, a good time and a great way to learn about another aspect of the job. It might be the schedule, though. A lot of the young cops at my department are stuck between their spouse's competing career and their own. If that's the case, applaud them for working to keep their marriages together because their family is much more important than any cool unit or the whole job.
That shouldn't stop the hunters from tearing it up when they're in service, however. You should start recruiting for your unit from the hunters, and I'm sure there are some out there. Figure out why they haven't put in for your unit and start working around it.
If other lazy cops with bad attitudes surround these youngsters and no one is teaching them how to go tear it up, you're sunk. Laziness and bad attitudes will spread like fleas on a crack-house dog. Young cops are like children they're looking for someone to emulate. If all they get are chumps, they'll become chumps.
Go do some career development and get the good youngsters away from the old chumps. Look at the older patrol cops and even sergeants. I'll bet you have someone there who didn't make it in your unit. That's the seed of the glory and toys comments. That mouth may need a tune up to remind them about professionalism. If that doesn't work, try letting out the truth so the youngsters can consider the source.
You also need to look at your department's recruitment. Are you hiring people who had nothing else going on and wanted a job with benefits, or are you finding people who are called to police work and want in for the thrill and the service? It might be time to raise your hand and jump in on the next recruiting detail, or at least start sitting in on the interviews. Step up. Start leading and teaching, and go find the hunters.
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