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July 22, 2005

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Dr. Dorothy McCoy Maintaining Your Mental Edge
with Dr. Dorothy McCoy

Test: What makes a good cop?

"I've gone into hundreds of fortune-teller's parlors, and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her."
- New York City Detective

Law enforcement is less glamorous and more tedious than television writers have led you to believe. If you have a burning desire to protect and serve your fellow man (and woman), you probably have what it takes to wear the gold badge.

I evaluate prospective officers using psychological, personality and IQ testing instruments. I attempt to select candidates who will adhere to the Police Ethical Standards, of which this is one paragraph:

"As a Law Enforcement Officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidations, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice."

Law enforcement standards are exceptionally high, as they should be. 

We also look for candidates who are friendly, caring, intelligent, polite, assertive and emotionally and psychologically stable. Do you have the characteristics necessary to become a successful officer? Let's see...

Choose your best answer to the following questions. Answer the questions with a 'Y' for YES or an 'N' for NO, or 'a' or 'b' where applicable.

Would You Be A Good Cop?

1. ___ Is your IQ above average?
 
2. ___ Could you go into your garage and sit alone in your car for 12 hours and still be alert enough to respond immediately to a distress call?

3. ___ Could you walk into a dark building with only a gun and a flashlight (which tells anyone in there where you are) knowing that an armed and dangerous suspect is somewhere in the darkness? Oh, and he does not like cops.

4. ___ Could you wear 20 pounds of body armor and tools of the trade (i.e., weapon, handcuffs, baton, flashlight, knife) in 100-degree heat and still be able to chase a suspect several blocks on foot.

5. ___ Could you listen to all of the doughnut jokes and still smile whenever you hear a new one (or even an old one)?

6. Which is more important to you? ____
(a) A substantial salary
(b) Serving your community.

7. Would you rather… ___
(a) Maintain tradition
(b) Change traditions

8. Would you rather have… ___
(a) Rules and regulations
(b) Freedom to choose

9. ___ Do you belong to civic groups in your community?

10. Do you thrive on ___
(a) Continuity
(b) Evolution

11. Do you like to see things done… ____
(a) Correctly
(b) Creatively

12. Do you have ____
(a) a place for everything
(b) like the casual lived-in look

13. Which do you value most ___
(a) Normal
(b) Unusual

14. Do you prefer…___
(a) New technical toys
(b) Theories

15.___ Are you willing to do your duty even if it requires great sacrifice?

16. Do you rely on your _____
(a) five senses
(b) your gut feeling

17. Is your focus primarily on ____
(a) your cognitive domain
(b) the world around you

18. ____ Are you attracted to adventure?

19. ____ Are you especially observant?

20. Do you like to _____
(a) work from a plan
(b) make thing up as you go

21. Do you prefer____
(a) team work
(b) working alone

Scoring
Compare the answers below with the answers you gave and give yourself one point for each matching answer:
 
1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Yes
5. Yes
6. b
7. b
8. a
9. Yes
10. a
11. a
12. a
13. a
14. a
15. Yes
16. b
17.  b
18. Yes
19. Yes
20. a
21. a

Scores 1 - 6
I would not quit my day job if I were you. Perhaps, your personality is more creative, imaginative and free spirited than the usual cop's personality. Though most cops have the same (or very close) Myers-Briggs profile, there are a few other profile types. I am an ENFP(extraverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving), which is just about as different as one can be from ESTJ(extraverted, sensing, thinking, judging) (probably the most frequent profile for cops). If you are determined to wear a badge, why not call your local police department and ask them if they have citizen ride-alongs? If they do, you can learn about police work up-close and personal.

Hint: Don't ask if you can turn on the siren and blue light. I assure you, as one who knows, they will find little humor in your request. In law enforcement we call that a clue.

Scores 7 - 12
You did quite well. What will you do next, perhaps a ride-along? If you have a college degree and a clean record you may qualify for a challenging new career. You may want to learn a little more about the wonderful world of law enforcement before you begin taking shooting lessons. You could start with this site:

http://www.wnmu.edu/academic/applied/Academypage.html.
It is the police academy in New Mexico.

And this is a very interesting site as is this site:

http://www.hollandc.pe.ca/APA/ especially if you happen to live near Boston. Oh, you may need to learn about the appropriate application of the "baton." The less politically correct call it a nightstick. Believe it or not you must take a written test to be certified in "baton."

Scores 13 - 20
This is amazing! You must watch lots of cop shows. It appears that your personality is similar the majority of law enforcement officers. I have found that supervisors and chiefs have slightly different profiles from the rank and file troops. You are probably ready to learn more about your new profession. The links in the previous score categories will inform and entertain you. I also have links just for you. This job is a little different, you would be guarding the US Capitol (the Whitehouse), just in case Virginia becomes hostile and decides to wage war: http://www.uscapitolpolice.gov/profiles.html

No doubt, you realize that Richmond was the capitol of the Confederacy. Therefore, the idea is not as extreme as it might appear at first. How do you feel about kangaroos and other assorted marsupials? Before you decide to exclude Australia, you should know their starting salary for cops on probation is $44,000, look at their site http://www.police.nsw.gov.au /recruitment/recruitment.cfm. Would you be interested in the United States's first federal law enforcement agency? Okay here it is http://www.usdoj.gov/marshals/ US Marshals.

Good luck to all of you. What more can you ask… a cool car with flashing blue lights and a siren, sinfully scrumptious glazed or chocolate covered doughnuts and pepper spray. Oh, by the way, before you can carry pepper spray you must be sprayed. Darn, I'll bet we just lost a few enthusiastic applicants. Pity.

The difference between observing and seeing:

Here is your first lesson in detecting. Pay close attention. There will be a test.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.

"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."

"What does that tell you?"

Watson pondered for a minute.

"Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"

Holmes was silent for a minute, and then spoke. "Watson, you idiot, some crook has stolen our tent."

- Anonymous

This test was taken from "The Ultimate Book of Personality Tests" by Dr. Dorothy McCoy
Available at Amazon.com

About the author

PoliceOne columnist Dr. Dorothy McCoy has been in private practice as a clinical counselor for 10 years. She is a diplomate with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and a law enforcement consultant. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (in North and South Carolina).






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