Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Let's Get Started

Throughout my career I have had many people ask me questions about police work and law enforcement in general.  Judging from the number of police shows on TV, there is tremendous interest in what we do.  Although I have spent nearly half my life as a police officer, I am not an expert on every aspect of law enforcement.  My career spans many areas of law enforcement.  I began my career working in a county jail. I worked on the road patrol and in a detective division of a Sheriff''s Office. I also worked as a County Coroner Medico-Legal Death Investigator, known in the TV world as a CSI investigator.  In 1990 I was hired as a Assistant Chief of Police and Detective Captain until the summer of 2008, at which time I took a leave of absence to work for the State Department training police in Iraq.  I am now back at my department working on my last year for retirement.  I am also a member of a Regional SWAT team.

I wanted to start this blog as a means for people to ask questions and to obtain answers to questions they  have about policing and about issues they have with those in my profession.  I will also use this blog to offer some interesting things that I believe are important to share. 

I will begin this blog with a story that illustrates some of the issues that we as police officers deal with almost everyday.

It is my opinion, and I could be wrong, the general public has lost some very basic rules of the road skills.  I say this because I see motorist doing things that really disrupt the general and orderly flow of traffic.  I can illustrate one problem with the following story.

I came upon an intersection with a car sitting at the light with its left turn signal on.  I watched as three cycles of the light went from green to yellow and then to red.  During those cycles, the car did not move into the intersection to make the left turn.  I finally turned on my overhead lights, got out of my cruiser and walked up to the driver.  I politely asked the driver is there was another color that I could put up in the light that would encourage her to make the left turn.  She stated that she could not make the turn because cars that kept coming straight through the intersection, and the light turned red before she could turn.  I explained to her that she would be sitting there all day, unless she took possession of the intersection.  She looked at me with that "deer in the headlight" gaze.  She did not know what the heck I was talking about.  So I explained that she had to move to the center of the intersection and wait until the light turned red.  After the light turned red she could safely make her left turn before the crossing traffic could move.  When the next light turned green I walked out into the intersection and motioned her to the middle and then held up my hand for her to stop.  I then told her "as soon as the light turns red, make your left turn."

For some reason, people have forgotten how to take possession of the intersection in order to make left turns.  They sit at the cross walk line, cycle after cycle.  Unless they have an arrow directing them when to turn, they are completely lost. 

This is just one example if various issues police deal with daily, and I have thousands to talk about.  So get ready for a ride that should be informative, fun, interesting and sometimes sad, as we explore the world of law enforcement.

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