SIXTO's Guide to becoming a good LEO

This is a discussion on SIXTO's Guide to becoming a good LEO within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; OK, I decided it would be fun to start a new thread on this, since a few of the members here want to become an ...

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Thread: SIXTO's Guide to becoming a good LEO

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    SIXTO's Guide to becoming a good LEO

    OK, I decided it would be fun to start a new thread on this, since a few of the members here want to become an LEO, and we have a few here already.
    This is my guide of simple tips, what to expect and how to stay in the job for 25+ years. Some of it is what I learned first hand, advice given to me and I found it to be true, and stuff that I heard, expect it to be true but have not experienced it first hand yet.

    1. The job is not what you expect. It isn’t glamour filled and action packed. What you see on "COPS" is hours and hours of tape, and ten minutes of interesting stuff. After you have a few years in, that interesting stuff just isn’t interesting anymore. You have heard it a million times already

    2. You are always on stage. What I mean by this is that you are the most visible part of the community that you work in. When you roll by, all eyes are on you. Look like a doofus you will be treated like one on the street and in the office.

    3. Leave your home problems at home, and your work problems at work. Mixing the two can be very dangerous for you and the public.
    With that said, included your wife or girlfriend in on whats going on. They need to understand what you have seen that day for both of your sanity. LE is very hard on the family life... you will need to find ways to include your family in on your "other" life, and yet keep them at a safe distance from all the garbage.

    4. You may think your superman the first few months out on the street, most rookies do. Take it from your pal SIXTO, you are not, nor am I. It takes at least 5 years before you will become a really good cop. Its nothing personal at all, thats just the learning curve and adjusting to a completely different lifestyle. No, after five years you do not become superman. If you think you have, its time to quit.

    5. Listen to the senior guys! They might be old crusty farts, but they know what they are talking about. They also have been to more than one cop funeral; they have a vested interest in not going to another.
    They have a ton of knowledge to share, make sure you do not blow it off.

    6. Once out of the academy, forget everything they taught you. Its now time for your FTO to teach you how to be a cop. Towards the end of the FTO process, you will then merge everything you learned in the academy and on the street.

    7. Stay in shape. It is so easy for a cop to get fat and lazy. Dont believe me? Look around. Free donuts and soda is nice, but it will kill you. Stress and little exercise along with shift changes age a guy fast. Staying in shape will go a long way to make sure you get to enjoy retirement.

    8. Take every training opportunity that comes along. Even if you have no interest in the topic, take it! You never know when the extra bit of knowledge will come in handy.

    9. Do not mix the people from where you work in your personal life...at all. I'm not talking about coworkers, I'm talking about people in the community. It far to dangerous to allow people you police to become to close to you. You never know what information will get slipped from a friend who knows this guy and before you know it, the BG knows your wifes name, where you live, phone numbers etc.
    This goes for using services too. I.E. a car repair shop... they have all your contact info, and they hire a turd to change oil. Guess who has access to your info? If you must do this, get a cell phone with lots of time on the plan; only give out that number for contact.

    10. "Badge Bunnies" Stay away. They are out there, and they will present themselves to you. Stay away, Stay away, Stay away.
    There is an old saying, I'll edit it for the forum; "The badge will get you a bunny, but the bunny will get your badge" Its very very true, and not worth it.

    11. Learn your streets right away. Look at every street sign when you turn onto the street. Recite them as your driving along. Go to the fire Dept. and ask them for a map book. Firemen have the best maps.

    12.Treat the firemen and dispatchers as your best friends. In times of need, they are.

    13. Dont get wrapped up in office politics. Do your job and keep your mouth shut. In the long run, you will be more respected.

    14. Dont get "badge heavy" That badge means nothing if you dont respect it yourself.

    15. If you dont have thick skin, get some.

    16. You are going to see things you never knew existed, or never thought you would see. It comes with no warning so you cant prepare, you will know what I am talking about when you see it yourself.

    17. Evil does exist in the human spirit. Dont be fooled by it.

    18. If you dont have religion, get it now. I'm no "bible thumper" but you need God/Jesus/Alah/Budda to get you through. See #16 and #17.

    19. Trust Nobody while on the job. The BG's are very smooth, and coworkers make mistakes.

    20. Get a spare key and put it on your person while in uniform. Ask your FTO about this, he'll explain.

    21. Shut your trap and listen. The BG will almost always tell you want you need to know...but you need to learn how to listen.

    22. You wil be more successfull if you let the small fish go, and only keep the bigger ones. People remember you if you cut them a break, and they will return the favor. Sometimes it gets returned 10 fold. As Redneck Repairs put it DSTCS.! Pay attention to the details, but keep the bigger picture in mind.

    22.5. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS... Its the little things that get you killed.

    23. This job largely common sense, dont make it tougher than has to be.

    24. your word is golden. protect it. If you say you are going to do something do it. Without your reputation, you have nothing. Get caught in a lie, you might as well quit your job.

    25. The most dangerous person you come into contact with is the "yes" man. The yes man tells you and does everything you want to draw you in for his attack. What makes him so dangerous is not all yes men want to cut your throat, so his tactics work. Never let your guard down. Ever. Keep officer safety in your mind all the time.

    26. You are a cop, but thats not all you are. Keep other interests and friendships going, you will need those outlets.

    27. Be a father to your kids. You are not a cop to them, or their friend. Your role with them is a father. Ever wonder why a lot of cops kids end up screwed up? This is why. Just be a father.

    28. replace the word father with husband and kids with spouse in #27.

    29. you cant change the world. you can help one person at a time but you cant solve their problems. Only they can. If you keep trying to, you will take on their problems as your own soon enough, and before you know it your sunk.

    30. you are going to question humanity at times. Keep in mind that you see a lot of darkness that most people never will. You also dont deal with "most" people. You see people in their worst times, but rarely at their best times. You deal with the bottom feeders of society. Come up for air once in a while.

    To be continued...
    Last edited by SIXTO; March 21st, 2007 at 05:39 PM. Reason: Added #26,27,28 29 and 30
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Fantastic post six , I wised up before the 25 , and had other options . One i would add is create a mind set where you DSTCS ( Dont sweat the Cheap Sh... ermm crap ) . In Le you have to let a lot of water go under the bridge , some good , some bad , but none of it matters when you go on the call .

    For the humor section , Yes virginia , you actualy can flip your badge over on a flat lawn and crawl under it to hide from incomeing lol .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    Good one RR, I added it.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Excellent - good read and, tho it is easy to say - hugely based on common sense, at least it all appears very sound and logical to me.

    Good many of those points are IMO things we can all apply in everyday non LE life too
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    Excellent - good read and, tho it is easy to say - hugely based on common sense, at least it all appears very sound and logical to me.

    Good many of those points are IMO things we can all apply in everyday non LE life too
    Yes, the LEO's job is mostly common sense. It really doesnt get tough until you start over thinking things... Well what do you know, #23 was just born.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    LOL Chris , possibly because Cops are human too , and a lot of being a good cop , just like being a good person deals with stress management , and realising just how little you actualy know about anything lol .

    Edited to add:

    Just why to they call it " common sense " when it is soo dammed uncommon anyway ?
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    Good read!
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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    The first post has grown by five since I first posted. This is going to be a big one by the time I'm done.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Six , you honestly need a companion thread " Mentaly surviving your co workers, supervisors , and concerned citizens " to go with this one lol .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    This is great! And it's also beneficial to the Good Guy's...helps 'em understand a little more about the LEO personality.

    As to the spare key...always keep it in your weak side pocket.

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    Excellent thread. I'd like to say a few things. Not really to add to the list, just to expand on a few things, if I may.

    Personally, I can't stress enough of staying in shape. Even if you're a health nut (Working out religiously, always taking your vitamins/supplements, martial arts, etc.), you'll slowly get soft.

    I've seen way too many guys get injured, & get fat while sitting at home (Personally, that's when I lost 25 lbs). The weight just makes the injury worse, especially if it's a back or knee injury.

    You don't have to be Mr. Olympia, just work out with weights at least 2X a week & something aerobic at least 3X a week. Watch what you eat in that you'll usually get freebies &/or discounts. That doesn't mean getting more because it's cheaper.

    It would be preferable to not live in the city that you work. It's not just you, you have to worry about. It's also your wife & kids. It hasn't happened to me, but I've had to respond to some kid beating up another after school (Usually 3+ vs 1), because you put the kid's dad in jail.

    I'd suggest keeping or getting interests outside LE as well. You don't be totally non-LE at home, just keep interests & friends open. Too often, I see guys & ladies have no life, except LE. & no other friends outside it, isn't good either. I've seen guys literally cries when they knew they were going to be medically retired. They didn't have any outside interests & they literally thought life as they know it has ended. I've also seen guys that have topped out on their pensions, still working because they have nothing else to do (With the pension we have, they're literally working for free!).

    Lastly, I'm not going to get religious here & I personally don't think people need to be religious. I think they need to be spiritual. Whatever that means to you, stay with it, it's guide you.

    Sixto, if you don't mind, I'd like to copy your list. I'm also on peer support for my Dept. & "supposedly" trained for de-briefing on critical incidents. Thanks for starting this thread & sorry about rambling.
    "Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though there were no human ones." Baltasar Gracian
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    Great post Sixto, sounds dead on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Repairs View Post
    Six , you honestly need a companion thread " Mentaly surviving your co workers, supervisors , and concerned citizens " to go with this one lol .
    Very true, RR.
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    I have two off the top of my head:

    Paperwork...whether it's a prosecutor summary, memorandum of interview (302 for you "feebs"), report of investigation, etc....write it as if every judge, prosecutor, defense counsel, and/or supervisor will see it....they just might.

    Learn to form relationships with other LEOs from other agencies...regardless of their affiliation. Many of them may be matter experts in something you are not.

    ....excellent thread SIXTO. Tips to live by.
    USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947

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    Your report will eventually be on cnn or fox news , write it as if this one is the hot one . Online i take libertys with grammer and spelling , court documents do not allow such licence lol . The same as the " stand " does not allow figiting .

    Edited to sum up :

    First impressions are critical , and no matter if you are talking to grandma goodcookies on a traffic stop , or testifying in federal court , as a representitive of the forcefull end of the people you must conduct yourself in all manners as to be above reproach .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    Understand that the better part of your work-day requires you writing/typing/dictating a report. Do so as if the readers are in Jr. High.

    Include everything that is pertinent to the case/incident in your report. If it's not in the report, it didn't happen (This will come up in court, months, even yrs after the incident).

    The "idiot" in your Dept., is probably a guru of some kind (Computer, weapons, child crimes, T/C's, etc.). Be nice to him. Keep channels open to even the "fools," they too have something to say.

    For what it's worth...
    Last edited by cockedlocked01; March 21st, 2007 at 04:09 PM.
    "Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though there were no human ones." Baltasar Gracian
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