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10 Ways to Generate Complaints on Patrol

10 Ways to Generate Complaints on Patrol

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

With a public always looking to give law enforcement officers the benefit of the doubt and high profile police officers and deputy sheriffs never making mistakes that catch the public eye, this article is devoted to giving the aspiring and veteran law enforcer alike ten sure fire tips on how to generate complaints from the public and your supervisors. If you want to get attention from your agency’s top administrators, be sure to pay close attention and adhere to these proven ways to garner the ire of the taxpayers.

Better yet, the truly devoted administrative complaint-generating officer may even aspire to the loftier criminal complaint level. At those heights, the pay off for a negative adjudication is having your room and board paid for by those same complaining taxpayers.

1. Keep your holster unsnapped and your hand on your gun at all times


You should ignore all the studies and experiments from my fellow firearms instructors. Just because they say that having the holster unsnapped at all times defeats the handgun retention advantages is no reason for you to do so. Ignore all those studies that show an officer that practices can draw and fire their weapon from a secured holster in an acceptable amount of time. By having your holster unsnapped and your hand on it, you’ll be sure to create that adversarial relationship at every police-citizen contact you have during your shift.

2. Take your time getting to calls


Figuring that people think we in law enforcement take too long to get to calls for police service anyway, take your time. Make that complaint a good solid one by stopping for ice cream on the way. If you get held up on a higher priority call, be sure to tell dispatch not to contact the other caller and advise them that you will be enroute as soon as the exigent call is completed.

3. Use profanity


Lowering yourself to the level of street gangs and being disrespectful to the public will certainly irritate them. They will not view you as a professional or focus on the substance of what you are trying to tell them. Instead, they will fixate on your perceived disrespect and conjure up different ways to complain on you and otherwise damage your career.

4. Assault and Batter Suspects


Throw out all allegiance to the department’s use of force policy and make yourself no better than the people we arrest. Be sure to assault and batter suspects without provocation or justification. Better yet, be sure that those injuries are visible so that they can be photographed later and used against you to sustain the complaint.

5. Downgrade all Calls for Service


In the vein of being responsive to your bosses concerns on crime rates, be sure to artificially lower those local crime trends by reclassifying calls for service as you handle them. Make that assault a disorderly conduct and so on. For example, tell young men that if it is an assault, it meant that they were in fear so therefore they are chicken. Trick and browbeat people into changing the facts of the incident to meet the elements in lower crimes.

6. Smoke and eat at calls


When you do show up your calls for police service, be sure to smoke, eat, and engage in other such sloppy and unprofessional conduct. Don’t worry about how such behavior appears or the role model influence that you have on young people.

7. Hassle Dispatchers


Ignore the conventional wisdom that dispatchers are your lifelines and hassle these folks no end. Be rude, demanding, and cut them off on the radio. You could even scratch the microphone with your nails to signal your unprofessional attitude. With the identifier technology embedded in today’s communications equipment, the agency will be sure to be able to track down such behavior to you.

8. Mishandle Reports and Forget About Submitting Evidence and Crime Lab Items


Be sure that all of your reports are incomplete, fraught with grammatical and spelling errors, and inaccurate. While you are at it, be sure to omit any written voluntary statements, any photographs, and use of force reports. Forget that the police are the world’s biggest record keepers and that detailed, factual, chronologically reported documents are need for years to come for investigations, as well as the criminal and civil proceedings. And while you are at it, lose that evidence and forget to submit that evidence to the crime lab. Leave it in the trunk of your cruiser and ignore that chain of command evidence tag that is supposed to lead to your evidence custodian.

9. Shortcut calls


When you are at those pesky calls for service, be sure to ignore the need or requests to take fingerprints. Forget about canvassing the neighborhood for witnesses. Try to dispose of the call in the quickest possible so you can go on that coveted meal break.

10. Drive Fast


Be sure to drive fast, so you do not force drivers behind you to slow down. Fast driving, along with aggressive lane changing, are sure to garner attention. Most folks will assume that you are getting a pizza and not on the way to a call (even without your lights activated).

Theses ten items, while not all encompassing, are sure to generate complaints that you will have to answer. That may give you much desired time off during an administrative professional standards investigation to contemplate your new career and welcoming friends at the local car wash.

Better yet, some of those complaints may even lead to a separate criminal investigation and charges being pressed. Ignore that annoying idea that if we in criminal justice break the law, we’re no better than them. Instead, focus on how much you’ll enjoy meeting new friends and learning new activities when you get locked up for breaking the law.

On the other hand, if you want a long, productive, and rewarding record of respectfully generated service to the community, be sure to do the opposite of this negative list. There is some truth to the theory that active, professionally behaving officers do statistically generate more complaints. However, by acting in a diametrically opposed manner from the above, the incidences of complaints will be greatly minimized.

Dr. Richard Weinblatt, a former police chief and criminal justice educator, has written articles and provided media commentary since 1989. He can be reached via www.TheCopDoc.com.


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    officer99

    over 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    motor141, you have some obvious issues. Is your ego so fragile that you feel you have to respond in kind to every criminal out there who may insult you? You lower yourself to a common street thug--a thug with a gun and a badge. Grow up and be professional. You don't demand respect, you earn it by treating people fairly and professionally.

  • Asafari_max50

    northgalaxy1

    over 4 years ago

    88 Comments

    Amazing. But let's face it .When your on the streets you learn to adapt to your environment. Or your going to have problems. That's why you have what is known as "book smart" and "street smart" . The public expect's us to figure out a healthy balance.We should remember what's important.Safety.Learning to take control of a situation is vital to police work and public safety. Lets not get caught up in the politics.Unfortunately we too can make mistakes, and it's people like the good doctor who are trying to iron out the wrinkles, albeit some do a better job than others at the task. A factor here is believability. We as officers will get the most satisfaction out of a public that sees us as the people who take care of the bad guy's.Yes, it's us against them but remember how leading by example is the best way to gain the respect of those we wish to teach.Common sense will be our best guideline as to how individually we can present the best image to those who should really be thanking us for taking the consideration to act on behalf of the innocent.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    motor141

    over 4 years ago

    54 Comments

    Forgot to add this...Doc did u get paid for this article and if so I want a piece of the action, because Ive got alot better stuff than you do.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    motor141

    over 4 years ago

    54 Comments

    Spoken like a true administrator...who forgets what it's like. They can talk to the public however they want to, and can hangup on whoever they deemed beneath them. Street talk deserves street talk and to let some peice of crap gang member or thug file a complaint because he gets put in his place is totally rediculous. There are people who need to be handled in this manner enough said. America's going to hell with all of this liberal bullshit. Freedoms of speech doesn't mean u can say and do whatever u want.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    awatkins

    over 4 years ago

    10 Comments

    haha. this is pretty funny. i dont think i know any officers who do these. even though im a reserve officer people assume we as law enforcement are the bad guys.

  • Photo-ffadult-r40-s3-176814363_64099_54534777_superphoto_max50

    dma0771

    over 4 years ago

    132 Comments

    I remember a long time ago when I was in the academy and they told us if your not getting complained on your not doing your job becasue when you write tickets and take people to jail they are not usuallly happy. You either get out there and be proactive or you can be retired on duty.

  • Fm_cr_max50

    Sgt_Fitz

    over 4 years ago

    46 Comments

    The good doctor forgets that a good police officer will generate complaints by simply doing a good job. Face it Doc...there are people out there who just don't like it when we tell them or their kids that they were wrong. The complaint process is more abused than domestic violence laws. Especially if you are making life miserable for some dope dealer or gang member. They know the process and how to use it to their advantage. And there are cops out there who spend their whole careers trying not to generate a complaint...they become what we refer to as slugs...just doing enough too get by.

    I am really getting tired of folks telling me how to do my job, especially when it appears that their intellect or education has trumped their common sense. It's like the recruit with a masters degree who spends all of his time analyzing instead of relying on training and common sense. You end up saving him from getting his ass kicked more times than you can count, he makes Sergeant in 4 years, Captain in 10 and the next thing you know he's the Chief and he still doesn't have a F*&^%N clue...but I'm sure no one out there has ever worked for any one like that...right?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    pali

    over 4 years ago

    10 Comments

    Hey Doc,

    Got a light? But you already knew I was going to ask because you're a mind reader, right? Or maybe not - otherwise you would have known I was responding to an in-progress burglary and that's why I did not use my siren.

    My problem with your sanctimonious editorial rests with its total lack of the other side of the coin. The fact is there will always be those in every profession who make the majority look bad. Human nature dictates judging entire groups by the actions of a few. Witness the public's gnashing of teeth everytime a dirty officer is exposed.

    But the vast majority of us are hard working civil servants. We do an all too often thankless job for salaries that find many of us clammering for any available overtime. We do what we can and more and about every three days one of us gives everything.

    So I resent your patronizing and transparent holier-than-thou commentary. I don't need you to remind me of the bad apples. Worse, I don't need the haters out there to read this – the job is hard enough as it is without one of our own making it worse.

    On the other hand, if this is your contribution, your show of support for the troops, then you ain't one of us.

    Be safe

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Glock10mmForMe

    over 4 years ago

    66 Comments

    AHP3611, best post of the lot, so far. While reading this drivel, the thought that the writer was some back office pencil pusher or paper shuffler kept gnawing at me. Seems I was correct. Funny how these people who have spent no or very little time in a patrol car always seem to know so much more about the officer's job than those who do the job. The few of them who have been behind the wheel of a patrol car for a while seem to forget it all in very short order.

    I also liked the comment about it being funny how these people always have connections from some university that no one probably ever heard of before.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    james_90

    over 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    Im going into law enforcement soon... this was very helpful and made me laugh thanks! lol

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    guy1511

    over 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    This reminds me a lot of an article I wrote a few months ago called "The 8 steps to be unhappy miserable and depressed." Would love your thoughts on i t if you want to share them with me. You can see it at -- http://alwaysdeveloping.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/the-8-steps-to-be-...

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    AndyOhiocotc

    over 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    Most of the comments are common sence, but I still enjoy reading these guide lines

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    longtimeotj

    over 4 years ago

    12 Comments

    mpd43, have you ever responded to a gun call where the words,"waving it around" weren't used? LOL

  • Bronzestarribbon_max50

    csiguy

    over 4 years ago

    882 Comments

    I treat people with respect, but I explain to them how its going to be if they follow my directions and I have not had any complaints for that. We are held at a higher standard and that is just the way it is, so no matter what you do the public will perceive it how they want.

    I've been comlpained on for driving too slow and causing others around me to drive too slow, thats funny no matter who you are. I was complained on because I had to stop quick and keep from hitting a bicycle rider not paying attention, good thing I was and the woman behind me had to slam on her breaks and struck a traffic sign to keep from hitting me. I thanked her for that before I wrote her ticket. It was all crappy till she said she was "texting" her friend and since her wheels were in motion, that told me she was texting while driving. Inattentive driving cost her insurance and a ticket. I got complained on, but stuff happens, so Document and document CYA...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    1Tinman

    over 4 years ago

    616 Comments

    I can always appreciate a humerous article reminding us of the obvious. Sometimes we need a gentle reminder, and if we don't, we can always use a chuckle.

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