I'm a police officer and a swat team member, ask me anything?

Recidivist

Super Anarchist
Good job getting him off the road, thanks Vernon.

(And I live on the other side of the globe!)

I have a question for you, if I may. A few years back I was talking in a social setting to a policewoman who I thought had a bit of an attitude. She told me that, in their training, it was stressed to her cohort that they were special, the most powerful people in society, because they were given the power of arrest. It didn't matter who the subject was - he or she could be a Supreme Court Judge, but she had the power to arrest that person and force them to comply. I thought this explained a lot about the attitude. Was your training similar? Is that common, do you think?

Cheers

Edit PS - absolutely no disrespect intended - when I read again after posting, I realised it could be taken that way. Apologies for any umbrage caused.
I never did get a response to this - still curious to this day.
 

Mrleft8

Super Anarchist
27,795
4,204
Suwanee River
I hope VG is still a hero on the streets and tearing it up on the water in the VX.

Austin72... well, I look forward to talking with him again in Heaven, but SA doesn't reach there.
Sure it does.On rainy Saturday mornings in February, when the coffee maker makes bilge water, and the half and half looks like cottage cheese.... That is when SA reaches heaven, and Austin72, and our other dearly departed rescue us with old posts about pampering cows, or training seals to pilot schooners into the dock (Don't ask me who that was, it was long ago, but a good story!)
 

Vgree

Super Anarchist
4,484
260
OKC, Oklahoma
I never did get a response to this - still curious to this day.
Sorry I missed this in the past. I'll give it an answer now.

So to me it sounds like she heard the message and misunderstood what the meaning was. We are taught that we are "special" because of the power of arrest that we have but it isn't taught to us as something that makes us better than people and shouldn't make us treat people differently. How I was taught about it is that the arrest powers that we are granted is something that we have to respect because society has placed a huge level of trust in us and it is something that shouldn't be abused and is something that we should use with caution because it is something "special". We are given to power to use force to make almost anyone in society comply with our commands, but we have to be able to articulate why it was needed in that particular moment. I'm not sure if I explained that well but that's the idea overall.

This is going to be regional for sure but we are taught that we are no better than the people we are sworn to serve and if anything we are taught that they come before us. We talk alot about the "Priority of life" and how our safety isn't at the top, we place what we call "unwilling participants" at the top of that priority list. Meaning that is any situation the bad guy is a willing participant, he can give up at any time peacefully, but hostages, innocent people in the area, children and such are not willingly involved in what ever dangerous situation is ongoing and we are trained to risk our lives to protect them.
 

Vgree

Super Anarchist
4,484
260
OKC, Oklahoma
I never did get a response to this - still curious to this day.
To elaborate a bit more on attitude in the police force, I see the divide between the public and law enforcement getting worse on a daily basis.

The constant narrative that officers don't know what they are doing and every mistake being played over social media while the positive moments and the millions of calls where mistakes are not made getting little to no publication hurts the publics view of law enforcement. There is also this general acceptance of the way a small segment of the public treats law enforcement. It is considered acceptable to cuss at, flip off, harass and generally treat police in a manner that no one would dream of treating any other profession. Then when it's pointed out we are told "you signed up for it" and told to turn off our emotions and deal with it.

Being treated like that day in and day out wears on people and causes them to build up a wall to protect themselves and it causes officers to lose trust in anyone who isn't in a uniform. Even here in very conservative Oklahoma I get cussed at daily, people drive by traffic stop and scream "Fuck the police". It can be difficult to keep a positive attitude.

Then our actions get reviewed in slow motion and anything that a keyboard warrior perceives as a mistake can get you fired. I dealt with it two years ago during a protest, I pointed a less lethal shotgun at a subject who stated "you deserve to die" then reached behind his back. When I pointed the bean bag shotgun at him he instantly threw his hands up. It was all caught on film and the picture that ran in the news paper was a still from the video where his hands are straight up and I still have the shotgun pointed at him. The total time of the entire incident was about 3 seconds, and the shotgun was pointed at him for about 1.5 seconds. But that still photo went viral and many called for me to be fired. I had people show up at my house, message my wife threatening her, and calling other family of mine with threats.

In the end a local new station ran the video and it all went away, but experiences like that remind you that very few people understand the job and make it hard to keep a positive attitude. I have to regularly remind myself that overall the public is made up of good people and they need the police. When your whole day is spend with the dregs of society it can be hard to keep that positive view.

The other reality is to survive this job and see what we see day in and day out you have to distance yourself from it to some extent. Most people can count on one hand how many dead bodies they have seen, and most of those are at funerals. I have worked multiple fatal accidents and dealt with quite a few dead kids. I have performed CPR on a 3 month old who overdosed on the drugs his parents left out. We deal with numerous unattended deaths a month where someone died at home and their family found them or we got called to check on them and found them. Then add in all the brutal crimes we see, and interacting with the victims, if you let yourself get attached it will eat you up inside.


One of the most eye opening experiences I have witnessed was our "citizens police academy" where citizens spend one night a week for 10 weeks going through classes at the PD to let them gain more understanding in what we do.
At the end of it they get to go through a few scenarios where they are the officer. We use the simunition pistols and inert tasers, pepper spray and such, to let them make use of force decisions. The scenarios are all very straight forward but about 75% ended up shooting someone they legally should not have. These are similar to the scenarios our officers go through regularly for training and are considered the very easy ones that we rarely have mistakes made.
 
Last edited:
To elaborate a bit more on attitude in the police force, I see the divide between the public and law enforcement getting worse on a daily basis.

The constant narrative that officers don't know what they are doing and every mistake being played over social media while the positive moments and the millions of calls where mistakes are not made getting little to no publication hurts the publics view of law enforcement. There is also this general acceptance of the way a small segment of the public treats law enforcement. It is considered acceptable to cuss at, flip off, harass and generally treat police in a manner that no one would dream of treating any other profession. Then when it's pointed out we are told "you signed up for it" and told to turn off our emotions and deal with it.

Being treated like that day in and day out wears on people and causes them to build up a wall to protect themselves and it causes officers to lose trust in anyone who isn't in a uniform. Even here in very conservative Oklahoma I get cussed at daily, people drive by traffic stop and scream "Fuck the police". It can be difficult to keep a positive attitude.

Then our actions get reviewed in slow motion and anything that a keyboard warrior perceives as a mistake can get you fired. I dealt with it two years ago during a protest, I pointed a less lethal shotgun at a subject who stated "you deserve to die" then reached behind his back. When I pointed the bean bag shotgun at him he instantly threw his hands up. It was all caught on film and the picture that ran in the news paper was a still from the video where his hands are straight up and I still have the shotgun pointed at him. The total time of the entire incident was about 3 seconds, and the shotgun was pointed at him for about 1.5 seconds. But that still photo went viral and many called for me to be fired. I had people show up at my house, message my wife threatening her, and calling other family of mine with threats.

In the end a local new station ran the video and it all went away, but experiences like that remind you that very few people understand the job and make it hard to keep a positive attitude. I have to regularly remind myself that overall the public is made up of good people and they need the police. When your whole day is spend with the dregs of society it can be hard to keep that positive view.

The other reality is to survive this job and see what we see day in and day out you have to distance yourself from it to some extent. Most people can count on one hand how many dead bodies they have seen, and most of those are at funerals. I have worked multiple fatal accidents and dealt with quite a few dead kids. I have performed CPR on a 3 month old who overdosed on the drugs his parents left out. We deal with numerous unattended deaths a month where someone died at home and their family found them or we got called to check on them and found them. Then add in all the brutal crimes we see, and interacting with the victims, if you let yourself get attached it will eat you up inside.


One of the most eye opening experiences I have witnessed was our "citizens police academy" where citizens spend one night a week for 10 weeks going through classes at the PD to let them gain more understanding in what we do.
At the end of it they get to go through a few scenarios where they are the officer. We use the simunition pistols and inert tasers, pepper spray and such, to let them make use of force decisions. The scenarios are all very straight forward but about 75% ended up shooting someone they legally should not have. These are similar to the scenarios our officers go through regularly for training and are considered the very easy ones that we rarely have mistakes made.

The halls of SA have gotten no better than those you deal with
SA's= de-fund the police, cancel culture status quo have run off most members not singing their song
Not worth the BS to post anything of any unaligned interest as it just becomes a Target, Unless it's extreme leftist chanting yer Not Kool around SA no mo
Glad Scot got his Bucks like Twatter... what once was a melting pot revolving around Sailing is now no more than latenight/network leftist agenda formatted reruns
 

Vgree

Super Anarchist
4,484
260
OKC, Oklahoma
The halls of SA have gotten no better than those you deal with
SA's= de-fund the police, cancel culture status quo have run off most members not singing their song
Not worth the BS to post anything of any unaligned interest as it just becomes a Target, Unless it's extreme leftist chanting yer Not Kool around SA no mo
Glad Scot got his Bucks like Twatter... what once was a melting pot revolving around Sailing is now no more than latenight/network leftist agenda formatted reruns
Yes, It seems to have gotten a little worse around here. It's part of why I don't make as many appearances as I used to.

I worry for my profession as a whole, many of the good guys are looking for ways out and nearly every department is running short staffed right now. That only puts more pressure on the guys who are still doing the job.

We just held a hiring process and we had six applicants for one spot, when I got hired I was one of over 200 for one spot. We aren't lowering our standards yet, but many agencies are discussing it. That obviously has some issues because you are going to end up with less qualified people doing the job which already isn't easy.

Hopefully we will see a swing back the other way in society, but who knows when it will be.
 

White Lightning2

Anarchist
824
763
PNW
I spent 30 years as a paramedic. I get where you're coming from. With many friends in LE and a wife who works running the county Jail medical clinic, I echo your concerns about the future of the profession. Retirements are spiking, and recruitment is way down. OT is driving the ones remaining to exhaustion.

While the elites drive much of the narrative, they are safe with private security guarding them.

Ultimately maybe that is the goal, privatization of LE. It would be mistake that I don't believe the Country would recover from.

You have my utmost respect for the job you do, and I truly appreciate it. Keep fighting the good fight.

WL
 

Windward

Super Anarchist
4,777
811
I think the pendulum is starting to swing back to a more balanced perspective. The defunders are realizing that mistakes were made. Cities are backtracking as best they can while saving face. It's an awkward slow shift.

Are departments able to hire? I think not.

Are cities actively squelching the PD's? Not as much anymore.

Massive damage done that will take 10 years to recover from. The mental/homeless problem will get worse before it to swings back into balance.

Property crime? Another 10 years before any civic agency will care/have the desire or ability to care.

The halfwits still have the microphone for now, but after Portland and its Elk, people are starting to stand back up to the elected officials making these unbelievably bad decisions.

Winds of change are coming.

Ironically I wish they would bring back the traffic cops. The civilian drivers lately are raising the bar of stupidity so high it is embarrassing. Zero local police do traffic anymore. Even school zones are ignored.

Good luck hanging onto your catalytic converter...
 

Recidivist

Super Anarchist
Sorry I missed this in the past. I'll give it an answer now.

So to me it sounds like she heard the message and misunderstood what the meaning was. We are taught that we are "special" because of the power of arrest that we have but it isn't taught to us as something that makes us better than people and shouldn't make us treat people differently. How I was taught about it is that the arrest powers that we are granted is something that we have to respect because society has placed a huge level of trust in us and it is something that shouldn't be abused and is something that we should use with caution because it is something "special". We are given to power to use force to make almost anyone in society comply with our commands, but we have to be able to articulate why it was needed in that particular moment. I'm not sure if I explained that well but that's the idea overall.

This is going to be regional for sure but we are taught that we are no better than the people we are sworn to serve and if anything we are taught that they come before us. We talk alot about the "Priority of life" and how our safety isn't at the top, we place what we call "unwilling participants" at the top of that priority list. Meaning that is any situation the bad guy is a willing participant, he can give up at any time peacefully, but hostages, innocent people in the area, children and such are not willingly involved in what ever dangerous situation is ongoing and we are trained to risk our lives to protect them.
Thanks V for this thoughtful response. I see what you mean.

My question was in light of certain inculcation techniques I experienced personally. When I joined the then Department of Civil Aviation way back in 1969, we (the intake of trainees radio techs for that year) were told that we were from the top 10% of society in terms of intelligence. Given that only 10 eventually graduated out of 100, the statement had an air of bullshit about it, although it may have been meant as encouragement I suppose. When I was later invited to try out as an air traffic controller (I found it boring and didn't proceed), the intake were told they were from the top 1% of society in terms of intelligence. University graduates are given similar messages - some people take these messages to heart and think they are special. Maybe the cop I mentioned wanted to think that way and misconstrued the message, as you said.

I was talking just 2 days ago to a couple of mates - one of whom succeeded the other as Chief Fire Officer for our State. Both of them were of the opinion that recruitment is a big issue for Police. An applicant to join the fire service who was unsuccessful would invariably apply to become a police officer, and invariably be accepted, even if the reason for being unsuccessful as a firie was psychological unsuitability. There would be 200 applicants for each available firie position, police would get 6 applicants per position if they were lucky.

Anyway, stay safe and please keep up the good work.
 

Pertinacious Tom

Importunate Member
63,460
2,128
Punta Gorda FL
Then our actions get reviewed in slow motion and anything that a keyboard warrior perceives as a mistake can get you fired. I dealt with it two years ago during a protest, I pointed a less lethal shotgun at a subject who stated "you deserve to die" then reached behind his back. When I pointed the bean bag shotgun at him he instantly threw his hands up. It was all caught on film and the picture that ran in the news paper was a still from the video where his hands are straight up and I still have the shotgun pointed at him. The total time of the entire incident was about 3 seconds, and the shotgun was pointed at him for about 1.5 seconds. But that still photo went viral and many called for me to be fired. I had people show up at my house, message my wife threatening her, and calling other family of mine with threats.

In the end a local new station ran the video and it all went away, but experiences like that remind you that very few people understand the job and make it hard to keep a positive attitude. I have to regularly remind myself that overall the public is made up of good people and they need the police. When your whole day is spend with the dregs of society it can be hard to keep that positive view.

Glad there was video to go with the still image.

I think a lot of the hostility directed at you and other cops is rooted in the drug war. Someone smoking or selling a little weed isn't hurting anyone and people see that, then they see the people get locked up and it doesn't seem just. Add in the stopping and frisking and asset seizures and other irritating tactics that the drug war has brought us, and there's going to be a hostile response.
 

Point Break

Super Anarchist
26,936
4,818
Long Beach, California
It's an interesting problem. Having observed and worked closely with Law Enforcement for over 40 years I have several observations that are worth only that.....observations from a small corner.

The place I worked was fairly large encompassing numerous cities. Many had their own police departments, and many contracted with the county sheriffs to be their police department and of course the freeways are the CHP. Each department had their own separate culture and behavior often driven by the "clientele" they served and to some degree the leadership in the organization. The more crime ridden and violent the environment, the more aggressive the cops were. There was one small PD that we knew shot first and asked questions later. Others were amazing at their level of restraint prior to using any force. I've known some really good and caring cops over the years. I'm reminded of a call in the middle of the night at a fleabag motel that the cops arrived first. It was a young man OD that wasn't just merely dead, but he was sincerely dead. One of the cops was trying to do ineffectual CPR in the bed the OD was laying in. He stepped back when we arrived looking for us to continue the effort. On any other day we would have pronounced the patient where he was....it was that obvious.....but the cop was so earnest in his effort we couldn't. So we had the CPR continued and loaded the patient into the ambulance where we pronounced him as soon as the doors closed. That guy was a really good cop.

Similar to the fire service I noticed a shift in the people that the jobs seemed to attract. Perhaps generational, perhaps cultural.......but the new ones were often - not always or even mostly but noticeably - driven by a seemingly different motivation. They were aloof and self absorbed. They were a bit arrogant and pushy. Didn't want to get dirty unless there was drama involved, and more than willing to get into a tussle. It got to the point where I really missed the "old guys" on patrol that I started with. Once again......its important to note this is not all or even close to most but it was noticeable. But a key point here is that unfortunately it only takes a few to escalate a situation and result in a scandal that taints them all. The militarization of their outfits and equipment didn't help. Some of it is probably necessary given the way the bad guys have evolved in weaponry and behavior but it sets an unmistakable "tone".

Now insert the popular call for reductions and lack of support that police receive from the community and political leaders. Suddenly we have video's and allegations of "excessive force" together with the interviews exclaiming "he was such a good boy he was just getting his life back together".........no he wasn't. Restraining/subduing a person who wildly and violently does not want to be subdued in a pretty way using only the exact amount of force necessary is not an easy task. Especially when the price for underestimating the force necessary for the cop is injury or death. I don't know how many people have ever actually tried to subdue someone in that manner but I have in medical situations and can attest to the unbelievable difficulty. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I can't breath" and when the effort is backed down the person being restrained suddenly explodes in renewed violent efforts to escape.

A guy I was casual acquaintances with at archery lessons was a just retired LAPD Lt. He went just as soon as he could. I asked him how the job was now. He said its very different. Very little proactive policing occurs now. Initiating an interaction to inquire about anything or interact is thought to now be a no win. Most officers now drive around ignoring any small or subtle crimes and only respond to an actual call they are dispatched. In their view any interaction including traffic stops might end to a wrestling match in which they will be vilified for the actions taken.

I could go on and on but I won't. My small localized experience my not translate to the national problem but I suspect many of the same issues are throughout the industry. My view has always been we vest in the police tremendous authority to detain, arrest and subdue and even use deadly force in the course of their duties. With that tremendous authority comes tremendous responsibility and accountability. Including their own responsibility to police themselves with problem children and outliers in their profession. It cannot be any other way.

At the end of the day.........I have no idea why anyone would want to be a cop in todays environment. I certainly would not. I'd shoot someone in the first week.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
46,766
10,938
Eastern NC
... ...

Similar to the fire service I noticed a shift in the people that the jobs seemed to attract. Perhaps generational, perhaps cultural.......but the new ones were often - not always or even mostly but noticeably - driven by a seemingly different motivation. They were aloof and self absorbed. They were a bit arrogant and pushy. Didn't want to get dirty unless there was drama involved, and more than willing to get into a tussle. It got to the point where I really missed the "old guys" on patrol that I started with. Once again......its important to note this is not all or even close to most but it was noticeable. But a key point here is that unfortunately it only takes a few to escalate a situation and result in a scandal that taints them all. The militarization of their outfits and equipment didn't help. Some of it is probably necessary given the way the bad guys have evolved in weaponry and behavior but it sets an unmistakable "tone".

Now insert the popular call for reductions and lack of support that police receive from the community and political leaders. ... ...

... ... we vest in the police tremendous authority to detain, arrest and subdue and even use deadly force in the course of their duties. With that tremendous authority comes tremendous responsibility and accountability. Including their own responsibility to police themselves with problem children and outliers in their profession. It cannot be any other way.
....

Key points IMHO.

It is definitely a national problem, and we may be locked into an inescapable downward spiral. The police, instead of being guardians of public order, act aggressively towards the public and the public is distrustful and hostile towards the police.

A big BIG part of this is the abdication of public order by so many other institutions we used to rely on. Building things up is difficult, tearing them apart is easy & quick. The result is that as more things come apart, the few remaining things take more of the load... the police become mental health custodians, the schools become child's source of nutrition & shelter. We might as well expect the fire department to become responsible for electricity.
 

White Lightning2

Anarchist
824
763
PNW
We do a program locally called Fire-Ops. We take local politicians and run them through some components of the job. Climbing an Aerial Ladder, doing CPR in the back of a moving ambulance and crawling through a maze in bunker gear and SCBA. It's regional thing where a dozen departments all bring 2 local politicians and spend a weekend orienting them to what we do.
We have mantra that we repeat
Labor intensive
Time Critical
Highly Technical

For LE, I think they should have them do a ride along in a large city. Or shadow the Sheriff Deputies working in a jail. See firsthand what they go through.

Having been in the position of dealing with violent people, under arrest or not, I can completely agree with PB's take on just how difficult it is to restrain and control someone who is hellbent on not letting you do that.

WL
 

Pertinacious Tom

Importunate Member
63,460
2,128
Punta Gorda FL
Yes, It seems to have gotten a little worse around here. It's part of why I don't make as many appearances as I used to.

I worry for my profession as a whole, many of the good guys are looking for ways out and nearly every department is running short staffed right now. That only puts more pressure on the guys who are still doing the job.

We just held a hiring process and we had six applicants for one spot, when I got hired I was one of over 200 for one spot. We aren't lowering our standards yet, but many agencies are discussing it. That obviously has some issues because you are going to end up with less qualified people doing the job which already isn't easy.

Hopefully we will see a swing back the other way in society, but who knows when it will be.

Wondering what your thoughts are on public access to police misconduct files?

New York Repealed Its Police Secrecy Law Two Years Ago. Departments Are Still Trying To Hide Misconduct Files.

...
In 2020, the New York legislature repealed Section 50-a of the state's civil rights law, a statute that police departments relied on for four decades to keep disciplinary records and other police files secret. Police unions had waged successful court battles to expand the scope of the law to thwart reporters, civil liberties groups, and families of people killed by police from discovering nearly anything about the officers involved. A 2018 report by the New York City Bar concluded that 50-a "has been interpreted so broadly that police misconduct in New York State is more secretive than any other state in the nation."

...

And while the city of Rochester has tried to argue that it could withhold all citizen complaints that were ultimately unsubstantiated, three weeks ago a New York appellate court ruled that those records must be made public. Rochester has been embroiled in scandals and lawsuits since city officials tried to cover up footage of the police killing of Daniel Prude.

...

This stonewalling has real effects on the public's ability to hold police accountable. When two Buffalo News reporters tried to obtain disciplinary records from the New York State Police, the agency refused to hand them over. So the reporters asked a local district attorney's office, which dutifully complied with the law. The records showed that troopers were rarely fired, even for conduct like interfering with investigations, drunk driving, and intentionally crushing a man's eyeglasses.


As The Buffalo News detailed in an editorial, police unions, rather than expressing chagrin, howled that the publication of such information was unfair. The New York State Police Investigators Association declared, "We do not and will not support sharing personal information with the public that is not relevant to any criminal proceeding." It also warned that publishing such records could "encourage more anti-police violence." The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association said it "condemns the recent so-called reporting by local media outlets gossiping about the disciplinary records of New York State Troopers."


These departments are all places that could use more transparency, not less. But they have demonstrated over the past two years, through their actions and shrill statements, that they don't care about why citizens demanded the repeal of 50-a; that they don't understand why legislators finally caved to public pressure after years of chummy relations with police unions; and that they are clueless to what this all says about the public perception of their profession.

Particularly the part about unsubstantiated complaints.
 


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