10 rookie mistakes and why you should avoid them

Here are 10 things rookies shouldn’t do, but are likely not told about in training


We spend a lot of time training our rookies to do all sorts of things. Our academies and our FTO programs do pretty good job, but we can’t teach them everything. Here are 10 things rookies shouldn’t do, but are likely not told about in training. Add yours in the comments area below. 

1. Don’t turn your overheads on early, hoping to give the speeder time to think he might make a run for it just to see how many pursuits you can get in one shift. 

2. Don’t wad up a summons and toss it to the driver through his window when he says he is refusing to take it from you — then charge him with littering when he tosses it back. That makes for bad public relations.

3. If you’re directing traffic at a busy intersection and a driver pulls up to ask for directions, don’t tell him to take the first left on your right and turn straight. He’ll just come back again.

4. Don’t trade name tags with anybody on midnight shift and see who ends up getting a complaint filed on them. It could affect your reputation. 

5. If you have a transient in town who is causing petty trouble, don’t drive him five miles out of town and show him the curve in the tracks where the train slows down enough for him to hop on. 

6. If you happen to get carried away on a quiet night and spend too long on a break, don’t hit the interstate and drive as far and fast as you can just to rack up some miles to make it look like you’ve been patrolling like always. 

7. If you get one of your regular nut case calls about the ghost in the basement, don’t have your dispatcher set off some tones on your private channel and tell the poor soul that your radio is a “psychoplasmic transmographier” and the ghosts are all gone now. Just listen patiently and make the mental health referral.

8. If you are working plain clothes, don’t let it be the first time you’ve used your new upside down holster that relies on friction and tension unless you have a spare weapon in your glove box. 

9. Don’t get into a routine that every cop in the county goes to the same place for coffee at three in the morning. Some bold burglar might steal a truck and run it through a store at the strip mall and you might not find it until hours later. 

10. Don’t handcuff one fleeing suspect to a fence while you go chase the other one. Just in case it takes a lot longer to get back to the first guy than you thought. If you happen to remember that you left him there. 

Good Luck, Rookie!
It’s not like I ever knew anybody that did any of those things. Actually, that radio thing works pretty well. 

So I’m told.

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