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12 ways to derail your law enforcement career

Do any (or all) of these twelve things and you will find yourself seeking new employment outside of law enforcement


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There are a whole host of websites and career guidance books or articles out there on how to enhance your law enforcement career. But nobody ever writes about the other side.

So in this tongue-in-cheek piece, here are my thoughts on the best way to tank an otherwise promising police career. By the way, I’ve seen them all during the course of my four decades in the business. No names, just situations.

I doubt our loyal Police1 readers will see themselves in the below, but if you see your partner or your squad mate trending toward becoming a Minuteman, or gravitating toward the 3-B diet, grab him or her by the vest straps and square them away.

1. Become a “Minuteman.” Make sure you report for work no earlier than one minute before roll call and punch out no later than one minute after your shift ends.

2. Never study for (or bother to take) a promotional exam. Supervision is for lifers. I have enough trouble taking care of myself.

3. Working out is for the birds. I don’t ever worry about having to chase a perp. If they can outrun a radio, they deserve to get away.

4. The best part of the shift is “choir practice.” Reward yourself with a six-pack at the end of every shift and sing the praises of “the Job” with your Minuteman buds.

5. The three basic food groups are caffeine, tobacco and alcohol. Screw this healthy eating crap. Go with the 3-B diet: burritos, burgers, and booze.

6. Screw the vest. There’s a bullet out there with your name on it, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it.

7. Only clean your duty gun when you qualify. I don’t even know how to get it apart — how do they expect me to put it back together again?

8. Incentive classes are a waste of time. Off duty is my time. But I’ll go if they offer OT.

9. “Work to rule” is the name of the game. If I don’t pull anyone over, I can’t get a citizen complaint. I’ll take the calls they give me and I’ll get there when I get there.

10. Make sure you injure yourself during DT in-service. Hey, if they want to pull this “SuperCop” crap every year or so, I’ll show them.

11. Never be the first car there. Slow the hell down! First responding officers always have to write the report.

12. Gone on arrival. GOA. The three most important letters for disturbance calls.

Dave Grossi is a retired police lieutenant from upstate New York now residing in southwest Florida. A graduate of the State University of New York, Dave has served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics investigator, detective, sergeant, and lieutenant. For 12 years, Dave was the lead instructor for the Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar. He has instructor credentials in virtually every force discipline and has testified both in the United States and abroad as an expert witness in use of force cases. He is a combat veteran of Vietnam, and a member of the Force Science Research Center.