Are you an approachable officer?

The recent mass shooting in Arizona is a good example of how valuable it can be to interact with members of the community. You want to foster an environment in which those close to people like Jared Loughner will share intelligence with cops before this kind of violent behavior takes place.

There is absolutely no guarantee you’ll get the information you need, but take a moment to consider whether you’re facilitating that kind of open communication with the citizens of your community. If someone had a concern about a particular individual — possibly a person they consider a friend or even a family member — are you viewed as an officer who is approachable and likely to help out? Do you come across as an officer who cares about the people you’re sworn to protect?

Or do you constantly project a hard, unapproachable, don’t-mess-with-me demeanor? Is it possible that you’re perceived as curt and unfriendly in the community?

Admittedly, it can be tough to maintain a positive, “officer friendly” image, especially during particularly challenging shifts. Sometimes “officer friendly” is NOT what you should even strive to be. With that said, projecting an approachable appearance can pay off big time when it comes to pursuing leads in the community and addressing trouble early in the game.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, responsible for providing police training content and expert analysis on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips. Doug is also responsible for planning and recording the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, as well as being the on-air host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug also works closely with the PoliceOne Academy to develop training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Doug regularly represents PoliceOne as a public speaker in a variety of forums and is available for media interviews — he has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television news programs, and has been quoted in a host of print publications. 

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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