08 September 2004

Nice Guy Cops

I learned this when I was on the street. If you're gonna lock somebody up, there's no reason you gotta be an asshole. I mean, if the guys an asshole, fine. If he's not - don't treat him like an asshole. I've had people when I was a patrolman tell me, "Officer, you just ruined my stereotype of police officers." Because they expect to get beat, they expect to get kicked around, and when you sit and joke with them while you're doing the paperwork, they can't understand it. They actually say, "Hey, I don't mind going to jail. You can lock me up anytime." Some of these habitual people, they get locked up three times a month or so; they'd rather get locked up by a guy that's gonna have some fun with them than somebody who's gonna kick them in their cojones.
p. 18

[comment] The best officers I know are able to work the street like this. This officer knows the frequent flyers by name and has a friendly relationship with most of them. Some of his fellow officers are playing hardass and stalking the neighborhood trying to spring warrants on people. This officer will stop by the trailer of Joe's baby's momma and give her his card, telling her Joe needs to call him again. And Joe, even knowing he has a warrant, will call and arrange to meet with the officer because the officer was always friendly and joking the last three time he arrested Joe. Joe feels a little bit of an obligation toward the officer: kind of a weird we're all in this together comradery.

You can spot officers in the courthouse who are really good at this. They are the ones the Defendant walks up to and thanks in the hallway after he's been convicted.
Officer: "Well, Joe, you know I didn't want to do it. You need to be out there for your girl and her baby."

Def: "I know officer Smitty, you ain't never going to have to come round again."
The next week Officer Smith is knocking on Joe's baby's momma's door with yet another misdemeanor warrant.

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