A citizen’s view and a cops reality, on being a Police Officer, By Lou Costanzo

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This was written as a Facebook comment on the Omaha Police’s Facebook page looking for applicants. It was intended as being funny and serious at the same time. Here is and edited version of what I wrote.

Ten things a citizen believes: 

  1. Your a customer service agent. Every interaction must begin and end with a smile and a thank you for
    making a complaint or committing a traffic infraction.

  2. Your cruiser camera isn’t the only game in town. Everyone is a de facto camera operator and is ready to film your every move. Where people are not filming you, the traffic cameras are.

  3. Admit it you do not know the constitution, so others who don’t have a clue how to do your job, will be reminding you as often as needed (or even not needed.)

  4. You ALWAYS have something better to do with your time then what you are doing to the person who reminds you of that fact.

  5. Quota…Quota…Quota. Even if you don’t have a Quota, the word of the day is always Quota, or is it Donuts? 

  6. You have this nifty switch that activates red and blue lights, but remember whenever you use them, there is an 8 in 10 chance that it will be followed by you having to chase someone on foot, that is after the wild car chase through the streets, alleys, parks, forests and etc. Remember the dash cam view of the cruiser driving into the lake?

  7. Able 1 is OPD’s helicopter. It will always be available, that is until you need it.

  8. Everything you say or do can and will be used against you in an internal affairs review. You can expect the truth to be twisted, mutilated or simply murdered execution style. In the end truth has no place in the law. 

  9. Your word is not your bond. In fact your word is usually considered a lie. Even when the cruiser camera backs up your version, obviously you and the camera are conspiring against the poor person you had a run in with.

  10. Run a red light, I just dare you.

The above was a parody, but in a sense pretty much what you will face. 

However, many of us are behind you 100%. Your joining an honorable group who are doing the best they can with almost no respect. Unlike what is said above, you are not customer service agents and there is no room for a loving personality. 

Below are ten realities of the job.

Remember ALWAYS:

  • Take charge from the start to the finish. Give ’em an inch and they’ll give you six feet…you don’t want or deserve that. Just take a look at The Officer Down Memorial Page, if you think it could never happen to you. 

  • Sometimes, the call you are on sounds really stupid and there will be a time to laugh about it, but when your with a person having the worst day of their life, now’s just not the time.

  • Speaking of calls, go to them.  Don’t dilly dally your way there.  For every minute it takes you, the person has been waiting ten minutes.  For someone who thinks they are going to die, the ticking of a clock could symbolize the count down to the end of their life.  At this moment, you are the knight in shining armor coming to rescue them.  You’ll either make a friend for life, or make an investigation of homicide.  Seconds count.

  • Seriously, your lunch can wait.  There is no need to use lights and sirens, run red lights, stop signs or take insane risks.  Del Taco will be there in the extra two minutes it takes you to get there.  And when at lunch, "No Parking Any Time," or "Handicapped Parking" means exactly the same to you as it does to the people you write parking tickets to.  You are special, but not that special.  If you can’t follow the laws you enforce on others, then find a nice career in plumbing or air conditioning.  When responding to a call, however, park wherever you wish and block as many people in as it takes to secure the scene.  A shooting in progress isn’t the time to find the most legal parking spot. 

  • The next person who uses the words "routine traffic stop" needs to be bitch slapped.  Get those words out of your head.  They don’t exist.

  • Your FTO is most likely going to be a jerk.  They have to, it’s in their contract.  Ok maybe not, but a line in Southland goes like this, "Look sharp, act sharp, be sharp."  The FTO must either make you or break you and is entrusted to protect not only the citizens but your sorry ass
    from your own incompetence.  You’ll hate him/her today, but you’ll thank them later.  

  • Do you have children?  You will never EVER love and appreciate them as much as the day you arrive to the scene where another child has lost their life.  Being a "Man" isn’t the ability to bury your feelings.  Being a man is getting help to get through this.  Do the job at the moment and then seek professional help to cope.  Depressurize or you will end up in a cycle of depression, destruction and suicide.  

  • Back each other up no matter what the risks or the consequences. The fellow Officer you might give your life for is committed to giving his/her life for you, appreciate that. 

  • The words “Help an Officer” should send you into a panic with chills running down your back. I’m not a cop and hearing that on the scanner sure does me. I believe the reason dispatchers scream “Help an Officer” three times after the tones is because it takes a second or two to sink in. When it does, ACT. Find out how fast your cruiser can go without blowing off the doors.  The louder your siren gets, the more secure the person you’re racing to back up, will feel. I’ve seen it on video where an Officer calls for help and the sweet sound of sirens never seemed to stop.  That’s what that person so desperately needs at that moment…give them that moment.  

  • And finally…you all go home at the end of the night.  And if, God forbid, one of your fellow Officers go 10-7 before the end of shift, remember that I and many others, will cry with you that night

    If this person is you, then I look forward to seeing the next handsome guy or gal in the best shade of blue on the planet.

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