There are many jobs within police departments and sheriff’s offices, and each of those duties require special skills and training. Some of the assignments even require a special “look.”
In addition, many of the officers assigned to these special details have their own expectations of how they should carry themselves, and which type of appearance is appropriate for the mission.
Over the years, police officers have developed a set of unwritten guidelines for working in the individual divisions, and with one glance cops can usually tell another officer’s assignment. How? Well, certain little details give them away. Such as…
Yes, that’s me back in the undercover days.
- Officers assigned to this detail immediately grow long hair and a beard, then tell everybody the boss ordered it.
- Start watching every episode of Gator Boys and Honey Boo Boo to learn how to speak and act in the “real world”.
- Buy a biker wallet with a big chain.
- Make every case involve overtime.
- Learn to play golf while guzzling Jack Daniels.
- Wears team T-shirts, dark sunglasses, and boots, everyday.
- Tries to fit the word breach into every conversation.
- Has a mirror handy to check hair, if they have hair.
- Never says hello to anyone who is not an operator, but is quick to deliver the cool SWAT head nod.
- Subscribes to Soldier of Fortune and Muscle and Fitness.
- Plays golf while wearing a gun.
- Shaves head and grows goatee (unless they want to be a management weenie, then they remain clean shaven, with short almost military style haircut).
- Wears 5.11 pants, and a polo shirt with agency logo (unless they want to be a management weenie, then make sure they always wear shirt and pants to which a jacket and tie can be quickly added for those occasions when the president shows up unexpectedly).
- Arrives at work at 8 a.m. sharp and spends one hour answering emails, and 30 minutes checking their retirement investments. Then go with another agent to Starbucks “to discuss a new case.”
- After participating in their first warrant service, they make plans to join the agency SRT, SWAT, etc, to “properly utilize their superior tactical skills.”
- After doing their first buy bust, the agent immediately begins asking the boss about “long term undercover” jobs.
- Refuses to play golf with the inferior locals cops.
- Write tickets to EVERYBODY, including mom.
- Spend every weekend cleaning their vehicles and polishing their boots.
- Annoys everyone on the radio calling out their stops.
- Talks only about the huge number of traffic tickets they write in a single day.
- Rides by storefronts with big windows to admire their reflection.
- Golf is lame. Paintball all the way.
- Become sadistic. Enjoy seeing their dogs chew on human flesh.
- Proudly show pictures of their latest dog bite.
- Brag constantly about their largest drug find.
- Smells like a dog.
- Uniform and car seats coated in dog hair.
- Works out three times a day, with or without the dog.
- Enjoys an occasional doggy treat as a mid-morning snack.
- Good for three-hour lunches, everyday, telling everybody it’s a “meeting.”
- Upgrades department cell phone practically every month.
- Tells everybody they’re published in a national law enforcement magazine.
- Update their revenge list on a weekly basis, and has investigators build files on “enemies.”
- Plays lots of golf (often called “afternoon meetings).
- Have nerves of steel.
- Despise department politics and stupid rules and regulations.
- Inability to keep mouth shut when around the media.
- Is respected by peers.
- Plays golf but is unsure of the rules. Driving the cart while drinking a cold Bud is cool, though.
FTO (Field Training Officer)
- Automatically grasps the door handle until knuckles turn white when the rookie is behind the wheel.
- Considers a multiple-victim homicide in progress a “good training opportunity” and asks to take primary.
- Considers less than three hours of OT to be a quiet day.
- Knows that it’s a rookie’s place to handle ALL foot pursuits while he/she follows along in the air-conditioned patrol car.
- Show up for work at 0800, or so.
- “Breakfast” is from 0815 to 1030.
- Shuffle through paperwork from 1030 to Noon.
- Lunch from noon to 1400.
- Meet informants from 1415 until 1500.
- Office walls are packed full of awards, commendations, and photos of the investigators with various celebrities.
- Rest of the day is spent in the office talking to anyone who’ll listen to their plans to write a bestselling book based on their many outstanding cases and accomplishments.
- Choice of beverage becomes wine and specialty beer.
- Remembers very well “how we used to do it back in the good old days.”
- Always willing to tell his officers the above.
- Tries to fit the word “liability” into every sentence.
- Talks about “what he’s hearing from upstairs.”
- Hates what he’s hearing from upstairs.
- Hates carrying those newfangled guns. Give him an old wheel gun any day.
- Plans retirement on a daily basis.
- Counts the number of days until retirement…every day of every week.
- Watches every episode of Cops, 48 Hours, CSI, and the Andy Griffith Show.
- Worships the ground the SWAT guys walk on.
- Arrives for work three hours early and stays over past regular shift (on their own time) to ride with other officers.
- Thinks the sergeant is always thrilled to see him/her.
- Male trainees are too young to grow facial hair.
- Their favorite song is the sound of a siren blaring.
- Are extremely surprised to learn that many people enjoy hitting cops.
- Are shocked when many people hit them.
- Don’t like it when hit by many people.
- Won’t drink on the golf course because it violates the open container ordinance.
New Corrections Officers
- Show up for work 15 minutes early.
- Buy only the best ink pens.
- Wear T-Shirts of their “dream police department” under their uniforms.
- Wear a full duty belt of gear (purchased with their own money from the local cop shop), even though they have to remove everything when they arrive at the facility. But it’s really cool to go inside a convenience store wearing full gear.
- Become friends with every local police officer.
- They say they don’t want to work patrol, but secretly monitor dispatch channels while inside the courtroom and at home.
- Have jail and courthouse cafeteria menus memorized.
- Have seriously thought of entering law school after sitting through three jury trials.
- Think they know more than the judges and attorneys.
- After sitting through four or five trials, they’re positive they know more than judges and attorneys.
Defensive Tactics Instructors
- Starts stretching and warming up before making arrests.
- Can spend hours debating the advantages of ASP vs. straight stick.
- Has spent more than $50 on a wooden baton.
- Knows how, where, and when every scar on their body was received.
- Giggles when a suspect starts to resist.
- Responds to every question/statement with the word, ‘huh?’
- Thinks a new tactical handgun is a great Christmas gift for the wife/girlfriend.
- Has an image of a custom 1911-A1 for a screen-saver.
- Wears the latest high-tech electronic hearing protectors during normal conversation.
- Decorates uniform shirt with every marksmanship pin and medal available.
- Clean their weapons while eating lunch.
- Uses gun-cleaning lube/oil as cologne.
- Wears at least two concealed backup weapons at all times.
- Wears an ankle holster to bed in case he can’t reach either of the 12 firearms hidden throughout the bedroom.
- He/she and their family decorate the gun safe during the holidays.
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