Temptation is a powerful force confronting police officers when they deal with a jerk. Since most cops find an aversion to prison to be an even stronger force, the obvious temptations to avoid are self-evident: Theft. Physical abuse. Planting evidence.
Beyond blatant criminality, there exist temptations that will never land a cop in prison. For the most part, they are temptations universal to those who deal with unpleasant people. But the world is a worse place when cops give into these temptations than it is when other customer service professionals give into the urge to give back a little bit of what they’re getting.
Here are three perfectly legal temptations every cop should resist when dealing with a jerk:
Don’t treat him without dignity
The temptation will arise to treat impolite suspects with all the regard they show for society’s rules. That is to say, none.
But there are a lot of good reasons to treat suspects with dignity:
-It looks better to observers
-You’ll get more intel out of bandits
-You’ll get into fewer fights
-Your boss can’t write you up for treating a person with dignity
-It’s the right thing to do
The best part is that to treat someone with dignity, you do NOT need to respect him.
Wife-beaters, junkies, thieves, and gang-bangers wouldn’t know respect if it walked up and slapped them in the face. They will easily mistake your courtesy for your respect.
Let them have their illusion. You’ll know they are respected every bit as little as they should be.
Don’t cut your interview short
“What happened?” is the greatest law enforcement question of all time. And when you are dealing with a jerk, you will be tempted to ask only that question. Then, you can quickly jot down his response, ignore his criticisms of your lineage, and continue with your night.
But they don’t call it a temptation because it’s a good idea.
Regardless of the role of the jerk you’re talking to, more is better:
If the jerk is a suspect, the more he talks, the better. Some of the stupid things he says will haunt him later.
If the jerk is a witness, the more she talks, the better. Even if they did see important details, jerks will first need to get past how great they are (or how awful you are) to mention them.
If the jerk is a victim, the more he talks, the better. If nothing else, you’ll know exactly why the guy on the other side of the room decided to punch him in his jerk face.
To sweeten the deal, remember that at the end of the statement, you’ll have the opportunity to challenge the jerk on all the details he’s included. He who laughs last laughs best, and he who catches a jerk lying always laughs last.
Don’t believe what he says
We are conditioned from a young age to give people the benefit of the doubt.
So, when a suspect is being rude, you might find yourself tempted to believe he’s upset because what he’s saying is true. The part of your brain that will whisper this notion in your mind is the civilized, well-adjusted portion that functions at a high level in polite society.
Listening to that part of your brain during a street encounter is like asking a junior high linebacker to stop a 215 lb running back nick-named “Beast Mode.”
Do not allow a powerful emotional statement to overcome its obvious untruth.
If you are tempted to believe someone who is angrily stating one of the following, just remember the following handy chart:
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I’m not resisting.”
“I don’t have a weapon.”
What do you do to avoid giving into temptation? Leave a comment to let us know.