Saturday, April 11, 2009

That's Some Question...

I recently had an applicant ride-along who asked me "How many people have you shot?"

Just like that. Matter-of-factly. Like we shoot people on a daily basis.

It made me think, not only about this dude's motives for wanting to be a cop, but about some of my experiences on the job. I explained it to him like this.

For the record, I've never shot anybody.

I point my gun at people, on average, one or two times a week.

I draw my gun and hold it down behind my leg maybe twice more in a week.

I unholster and carry at low ready on all building searches, and many suspicious circumstances calls.

When I compare this to what officers at some smaller or more rural agencies do, it seems like a lot. When I compare it to my buddy who works Bayview / Hunter's Point, it's not so bad. I swear, those guys have their guns out more than they're holstered.

He can keep that!

I guess the best way to explain the differences in procedures is that we have a higher level of violent crime in our town than would be found in a more rural area, but less violent crime than in the "Big City".

I regularly locate occupied stolen cars (felony stops with guns out), homicide suspects (again, felony stop), in progress burglaries, "gangsters" with a gun in their waistband, etc.

In a way, I guess it's good for me that I run into this stuff on a regular basis. I sort of get used to drawing quickly, having my pistol or rifle in hand, and concentrating on not getting the dreaded tunnel vision. If something should ever happen and I should, God forbid, be forced to shoot, I think I might react just that half second faster than my rural brothers and sisters. Maybe fast enough to save my life, or my partner's life.

After we discussed this for about twenty minutes, my rider seemed to understand that this job is not an episode of COPS. Some days, yes. But not most of the time.

Other than his strange (to me anyway) question, the guy seemed to have a good head on his shoulders. I didn't recommend against him continuing in the process.

Even with some of the shit-bags I deal with, I like where I work...


Ry Jones said...

I cringe when people ask snipers the same thing. It's like, dude, don't ask that.

Front Porch Society said...

You are right. Up here in Rural God-forsaken agriculture freeze your ass off land, we definitely do not pull out our weapsons very often. It happens once in awhile but nowhere near as in the bigger cities.

Definitely an interesting question to be asked, though. And amazing how many people think being a cop is just like what they see on TV.

TheBronze said...

I really marvel at the idiocy of some people...

The Money Adventure said...

Maybe he meant, "how many people have you shot with rubber bands?" By the way, I'm a dispatcher in Colorado, have been reading for a while but this is my first comment. Thanks for the entertaining posts!

Anonymous said...

Interesting... I would rather know how many people you have saved.. Or babies you have delivered.... But not shot!!

Whats the one call you feel you really made a difference at?

Officer "Smith" said...

I don't think I could narrow it down to just one.

I have brought home missing kids, held C Spine traction and comforted drivers during extrication, stopped beatings, interrupted burglaries, and much more.

I'd like to think those all made a difference.

David Woycechowsky said...

Would it have been okay if he asked: "Have you ever had to shoot a suspect?"

I am not clear whether it was the fact that he presumed that you shot somebody that was wrong, or whether the whole area of shooting people is too private to discuss with a relative stranger.

*Goddess* said...

While it sounds like something a seven year old would ask, I'm wondering if HE had doubts as to whether or not he could do the job or exactly what it entailed, and wanted to know how often you've been called upon to use your weapon?

Officer "Smith" said...

Well, David, I think I made it pretty clear that I had that discussion with him. As such, I'd think it would be clear to most folks that its not "too private to discuss with a relative stranger."

As for whether it would have been "okay" if he had phrased the question as you did, yes, that would likely have gotten a somewhat better reaction, however it would have earned the same answer.

My point, as I think the majority of readers understood, was that he asked how many people I had shot, as if he assumed we run around willy nilly shooting people. I never said he was "wrong" to ask. Just that he picked a rather inane way to ask it.

Beat And Release said...

"I'm only averaging three a year for the past few years, but I'm getting older so I have a tough time keeping up with the numbers the young guys put up." hehehehe.....then watch him squirm.

David Woycechowsky said...

Makes sense.

We just had a fatal OIS here in Syracuse yesterday, not too far from me. Looks like it was a good shoot, and speedy recovery to the policeman who took a couple of shots before the perp got taken out.