How's your memory?

One of my favorite games as a kid was Memory. It was so simple in its concept, yet somehow it managed to entertain me for hours. The game is all about observation, concentration, and a good memory. You could play it by yourself or with a buddy. Either way, the object of the game is to find the most matching pairs. You could use a regular deck of cards or maybe (like me) you had a fancy Milton Bradley Memory board game where you matched baby animals to their mother. 

Nowadays, of course, there’s probably an electronic version and an online version somewhere, but I doubt either of these are as satisfying as flipping over those little square cards in rapid succession and clearing them from a shag carpet.

That was the first thing I thought of when I read the latest On Your Watch article about “super recognizers.” In this month’s column (pg. 34) law enforcement veteran Carole Moore describes an elite group of about 200 police officers in London who possess the awesome ability of being able to see and retain memories of individuals they encounter, even if that encounter is brief and the individual has changed over a course 
of time. 

According to the article, when 17 of these super recognizers as they are called, were given images of criminal and gang members to study, and then were put in a room and shown running surveillance footage of a street carnival, these highly skilled individuals were able to retain the information describing each individual and actually discourage thefts and assaults in real time. In one case an officer used this information to pick out what he believed to be a drug deal in progress. And in fact, his quick recognition skills actually led to an arrest. Now that is using your head!

The great thing about abilities like concentration and memory is we can always work to improve what we’ve already got. Sure, some people have sharper skills than others…but it’s not like you either have it or you don’t. I would be interested to know, aside from day-to-day firearms training and interviewing skills, what type of games do you play to boost your memory and mind-power? And how has this helped you on patrol?
Have a happy and safe 2014!

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