Becoming a good police officer is more than just education and training. While these are essential of all police officers it takes something more to become the best. Some things cannot be taught in class rooms. They radiate from within ourselves and it is who we are as a person that truly defines if we have what it takes to become a good officer.
Being a cop doesn’t exactly play out the way you see it on television. Having action twenty four hours a day, never a dull moment, that would stress even the best officers out in a very short time. Although the day to day life of a cop is completely different from what the public see on television, many of the outstanding qualities of the heroes from the silver screen are what you really need to be a good real world police officer.
To be a good police officer requires many traits and talents that don’t naturally exist in all of us. While most of them can be learned, some aspects are more personal. First and for most, education and continuous training are vital in the development of a good officer. Knowledge of what your job entails legally and physically is required in order to be successful. When things go bad, you must rely on your training in order to survive (Remsberg, C. 2010). You are only as good as your training has taught you.
Constant practice makes what you do more natural. The ability to naturally use your weapons as if you were blindfolded is the result of repetition and focus. Hesitation can cost you your life, and if you don’t practice enough to remain fluid in your movements and actions things can go wrong very quickly (Remsberg, C. 2010). Practice makes perfect, and in some cases it can even save your life. The ability to act without thinking can be a deciding factor in whether or not you go home that night.
Taking initiative and the ability to act on your own can make you stand out among your fellow officers. Be proactive in your job. Don’t sit around and wait to be dispatched to a call, walk around and be “nosey”, in a professional way of course (Stone, A. 2013). Find out what is going on in your area. And when you do come across something, don’t ask for instruction on what to do. You’ll make yourself look like a fool who doesn’t know what he is doing. Be decisive and within the law in your decisions (Stone, A. 2013). Remain true to your policies and procedures and your department will back you up.
Be compassionate and have good moral character and integrity. Today’s society doesn’t want a robotic cop who is rigid and disciplined in the ways of the law. They want an officer who will stop and help out the community when he has the chance (Stone, A. 2013). Caring about the people that you are sworn to protect brings your job to a whole new level. When you care about something you tend to work harder protect it and it drives you to know that you have pride in what you do. Integrity is a very personal trait, and not everyone has it. Being able to stand up for what is right even in the face of danger or job termination is what truly makes an outstanding officer. The ability to confront evil no matter where it may lay, even within your own organization, and to walk away knowing that you did the right thing can really impact those around you (Remsberg, C. 2010).
It is hard to find an officer that has all of these traits. Most likely due to the fact they do not want to make a big deal out of what they do on a day to day basis. Even on television you won’t find such an officer. However, Sergeant Ariel Soltura, of the Rosenberg Police Department in Texas has made an impact recently after a routine traffic stop. He noticed a young boy throwing a football around with no one else to play with. So Sergeant Soltura did what any good officer should do, he made contact with the boy and proceeded to play catch with him (Hlavaty, C. 2014). Sergeant Soltura chalks up his actions to his take on community policing. To be engaged with the community on a personal level as well as a professional one really brings out the good qualities in any officer.
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