Can Being a Nice Guy Get You Hurt?

The common job shared by every cop (first & foremost) is this: go home at the end of your shift. If you think that you don’t minimally owe that to yourself (you do), you owe it to those in your life and in your world who love you; those who depend on...


Can I get a grant to fix this?

Nope.  And, even if some-knuckled head with a pilot program and lots of cash to spend were willing to give some to you, it would almost certainly be a total waste.

It comes down to concern for the COMMON GOOD.

I’m taken back a few years when I was working as a reserve in an agency serving a Ghetto-Suburb of Metro Detroit.  There was more crime, drugs, prostitution and bad sh** everywhere than could be handled by our small gang of well-meaning cops.   I had just finished some task in the jail, waiting to get back on the street when one of the ‘regulars’ arrived one of our finest in tow wearing department-provided bracelets.  Said visitor was in the backseat and being escorted to the holding cell, being freshly arrested.

My colleague asked if I would handle the booking.  He would take the paper report and we could both be back on the street in a flash.  As a dutiful reserve cop, I was happy (ahem) to comply.

I recognized Joe Slug in the back seat: he was a frequent flyer in our lockup.  At the old age of 20, he had a rap sheet nearing 10 feet long.  Drugs, breaking/entering, etc. and everyone considered him hopeless.  I tried very hard with Joe.  Could I alter his attitude?  I was positive, polite and encouraging.  When we had completed the booking, I walked him to a cell and told that we didn’t really want him (in jail) there.  Joe got really excited until he realized I was talking philosophically.  Everyone (including the arresting officer) wanted Joe back on the street, gainfully employed, obeying the law and contributing to a better world. 

Joe didn’t quite know what to make of it.  But, in the end, the surprise was on me.  As I was stowing Joe in the one-man cell, he asked, “Can you bring me a Bible to read?”  I was speechless - at least for a few seconds.  Upon regaining my composure, I told him I would find one and bring it forth.   None in the station, I found.  At lunch, I went to the Dollar Store to get one and take it to him.

Later in the shift, I took a few jabs from others on the crew for being, “soft” on this career criminal in the making.   “A useless piece of s**t,” as one put it.  Oh well, my investment was small, so there was little to lose.

Imagine my astonishment to learn about six months later, than Joe was now enrolled in the local community college; he was coaching a little-league softball team and had become a regular at church.  No, I didn’t do it; Joe did.  I was only there when Joe learned that someone actually cared about him.

What’s In It For Me?  (W.I.I.F.M.)

Too many of us have that as our first thought and response to an opportunity to help another.   Progress will be unlikely and almost impossible to measure.  Those are other reasons to give up before trying.  Force-feeding our subjects rarely (pronounced NEVER) work.  We cops are accustomed to getting our way.  Period.  You’ll either want to do it, or I will make you want to do it.

Challenges that are too large actually push a person in the opposite direction.

I remember joining Weight Watchers because my doctor told me that I was a tad over weight and needed to lose a few pounds.  A few pounds, eh?   At the first meeting the instructor (a very attractive female) told me that to reach Goal Weight I needed to lose only 100 pounds.  I nearly bolted for the door at the sound of those words.

Winning battles STARTS with winning their hearts and minds.  Yeah, you’ve heard that before about the folks inIraq.  But, it just a true when describing the folks who lived in one ofDetroit’s Ghetto Suburbs surrounding the City.

The common identity

When you needlessly piss someone off (trust me, the slugs know if you NEED to do it), they will seek revenge against you or against anyone who they think might be you at a future encounter.   Conversely, bad behavior with a bad person may be just the fuel he needs to seek revenge once he’s sprung from the can.   Would you give up a position of cover of your partner in a gun fight?

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