When it comes to navigating a career in policing, sometimes even the seemingly smallest pieces of advice from those with years of experience can have a major impact on your job and your life. In his co-authored reference guide, Pocket Partner, which is packed with helpful informational tidbits that span a stunning range of topics, Dennis Evers shares 12 tips that can prolong and improve your career. We felt they were worth sharing.
If you have any additional advice you would like to share worth fellow officers, let us know! We may share them in an upcoming newsletter.
Here are the 12 keys to a longer, safer and healthier career Dennis shared:
1. Attitude: Attitude is everything. If you bring your personal problems to work, or simply fail to remain focused, you, your partner, or a citizen could pay the price.
2. Lifestyle: Not only is adequate rest important, but overall physical fitness as well. If a foot pursuit kills you, get in shape. Mom’s right – eat more fruits and vegetables.
3. Equipment: You are only as good as your equipment is functional. Keep a clean weapon, fresh ammo, and know how to use it in high stress situations. Fresh batteries in your flashlight and radio are a must. Maintain and know all of your gear. Wear a vest.
4. Intuition: After working the field you should develop a “sixth sense” that intuitively alerts you to the possibility of danger. If you don’t, consider a different line of work. If your inner voice tells you something’s not right, don’t shrug it off.
5. False bravado: If you need back-up, call for it. Never be afraid to admit to yourself that a situation is bigger than you are. Denial can hurt.
6. Position is everything: Never, ever, under any circumstances, let anyone you are questioning get into a better tactical position than you. On traffic stops, takedowns, domestics, and life in general, maintain the most advantageous position you can.
7. Dropping your guard: Treat all false alarms as real, all domestics as critical, all arrests as hazardous and no call as routine, and you should finish your shift.
8. Vigilance: Always watch a suspect’s hands and be aware of “suspicious” moves. “Tune in” to the entire scene, ambushes, hidden suspects and on and on and on…
9. Handcuff when justified: Always properly handcuff when appropriate. Love isn’t the tie that binds, it’s a half pound of cold steel.
10. Search: Weapons come in all shapes and sizes. Thoroughly search all suspects and use proper personal protection against needles, razors, etc. A ball point pen stuck through your eyeball can ruin your day.
11. React: Many cops that have been shot and survived stated they just couldn’t believe it was happening to them. Gun, knife or fist, BELIEVE IT, react immediately, and with appropriate force. Bad guys are called bad for a reason.
12. Think cover. If all else fails, leave yourself an out. Avoid open spaces. Remember the three “Cs”—COVER! COVER! COVER!
Have additional wisdom to share? What’s the key to making a career in policing better, safer, more emotionally survivable? We’d love to hear your tips. We may share them in an upcoming newsletter.
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Read the follow-up article More Tips for Cops, From Cops