Mentally preparing while responding to a call

Submitted by:
Alonzo Moreland
Baltimore Police Department, Maryland


Responding to any call for service can be a potentially life-altering experience for a police officer and no call should be taken lightly, but by mentally preparing ourselves after we receive the call and are en route we can handle just about every call safely and professionally by remembering to recognize the type of call you're about to handle. Again, every call is important and potentially dangerous, but handling an armed-person call or robbery-in-progress call is probably going to be different from taking a stolen car report. On average, handling the armed person or robbery will be a lot more dangerous than taking a report after a person's car has been stolen.

The point is to recognize the seriousness of the situation you're about to enter into.

Visualize the location and its layout. Chances are you've been there before and know the physical layout, population, potential cover, danger spots, hiding places, etc. Knowing this may reduce fear, tension, or the element of a surprise attack.

Start devising a plan(s) now. Tell yourself that you are going to control the situation and influence others' actions when you arrive. A few of the decisions you might make while en route:

• Am I going to the location's front or rear?
• Will my lights and sirens be on or off?
• Will my weapon be drawn or holstered?

Sure, there are many other dynamics that will come into play when you reach the location of the call, but by starting this mental checklist early you should greatly enhance your ability to handle the call and reduce the effect of any surprises that may negate your safety.

Remember your objectives: handle the call, solve the problem, protect life and property, and to go home uninjured.

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