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July 27, 2004
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Dr. Dorothy McCoy Maintaining Your Mental Edge
with Dr. Dorothy McCoy

Do you like CSI? Would you be a good cop?

Many of us enjoy cop shows, such as the phenomenally successful, CSI. Crime Scene Investigation is exciting and it gives us a glimpse (however fanciful) into the world of lawbreakers and law enforcers. Have you ever thought about becoming a law enforcement officer? If you decided to make a, perhaps, drastic change of careers, and join the ranks of the men and women in blue, would you enjoy the work? It may be less glamorous and more tedious then television writers have led you to believe.

I evaluate prospective officers using psychological, personality and IQ testing instruments. We strive to select candidates who will enjoy serving and protecting, and even more important, candidates who are 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:

1. Is your IQ above average?
(Don't know? Go to www.intelligencetest.com)
Yes___
No___

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?
Yes___
No___

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 there in the darkness? Oh, and he does not like cops.
Yes___
No___

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.
Yes___
No___

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

6. Which is more important to you?
a. An 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?
Yes___
No___

10. Do you thrive on …
a. Continuity
b. Evolution

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

12. Do you …
a. Have 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 devices and processes
b. New principles and theories

15. Do you rely on your
a. Five senses or
b. Your gut feeling?

16. Is your focus primarily
a. Internal
b. External

17. Are you attracted to adventure?
Yes___
No___

18. Are you especially observant?
Yes___
No___

19. Do you like to…
a. Work from a plan
b. Make thing up as you go

20. Is every minute of your existence consumed by desire for a mouth-watering confection called a-doughnut?
Yes___
No___


Scoring…

The correct answers:

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. a
16. b
17. Yes
18. Yes
19. a
20. Absolutely

What does my score mean?

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 who are different. I am getting my State Constable designation and I am an ENFP, which is just about as different as one can be from ESTJ (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. You could begin your research into police personalities by learning your Myers-Briggs Personality Type at similarminds.com/embti.html or the Jung Typology Test at www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

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 that 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 www.wnmu.edu/academic/applied/Academypage.html. It is the police academy in New Mexico. And this is a very interesting site www.hollandc.pe.ca/APA/ as is this site www.hollandc.pe.ca/APAespecially 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 or not you must actually take a 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 very like the majority of law enforcement officers. I have found that supervisors and chiefs have slightly different profiles from rank and file troops. You are probably ready to learn more about your new profession. The links in the previous score category 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' first federal law enforcement agency? OK, here it is U.S. Marshals.

Good luck to all of you. What more can you ask…a cool car with blue lights and a siren, doughnuts and pepper spray. Oh, by the way, before you can carry pepper spray, you'll have to be sprayed yourself. 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.

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, then spoke. "Watson, you idiot. Some crook has stolen our tent."


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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