FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).
December 2018 (1)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (3)
August 2018 (6)
July 2018 (4)
June 2018 (3)
April 2018 (1)
March 2018 (2)
January 2018 (1)
September 2017 (1)
August 2017 (1)
May 2017 (1)
April 2017 (1)
January 2017 (1)
November 2016 (1)
September 2016 (1)
June 2016 (2)
May 2016 (3)
April 2016 (2)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (3)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
November 2015 (5)
October 2015 (1)
September 2015 (3)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (2)
April 2015 (3)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (1)
January 2015 (1)
December 2014 (9)
October 2014 (2)
September 2014 (2)
August 2014 (2)
July 2014 (1)
June 2014 (2)
May 2014 (2)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (2)
February 2014 (3)
January 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (3)
September 2013 (5)
August 2013 (3)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (5)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (3)
December 2012 (5)
November 2012 (2)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (6)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (5)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (3)
September 2011 (3)
August 2011 (2)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (3)
March 2011 (5)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (3)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (3)
March 2010 (3)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
December 2009 (4)
November 2009 (4)
October 2009 (2)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (4)
July 2009 (5)
June 2009 (3)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (2)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (3)
October 2008 (3)
September 2008 (3)
August 2008 (2)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (5)
March 2008 (4)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (3)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (5)
October 2007 (4)
September 2007 (4)
August 2007 (5)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (4)
May 2007 (5)

Want to Really Help an Officer in Trouble? Then Keep Your Cool and Maintain Your Professionalism

An “officer down” call is not the time to forget everything you know about being a cop.

November 15, 2007  |  by - Also by this author

Before their careers are over, most metropolitan officers and many small-town cops will have seen their fair share of violent assaults, horrendous accidents, and all manner of intraspecial mayhem. Along the way, these officers will step up and take charge of the situation at hand, obtaining necessary information, marshalling resources, and coordinating personnel. I’ve seen my fair share of squared-away cops take control of many a volatile and dangerous situation and will readily acknowledge a huge debt to them.

But I have seen other, perhaps similarly well-intentioned officers, who did not perform nearly as well. Unfortunately, their lackluster performances were exhibited in situations that demanded their “A” game.

By and large, the thing that’s most likely to cause cops to lose their discipline and professionalism is an emergency involving a fellow officer.

Is this phenomena simply analogous to gardeners whose own lawns are unkempt? Are cops so conditioned to be emotionally detached when dealing with incidents that their vision becomes clouded once the situation involves one of their own?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I do know this: I have never seen cops screw up in so many ways as they do in the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting, especially when a fellow officer is down.

Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. Even in officer-involved shootings, cops usually conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. But not always, and that’s what concerns me.
In the aftermath of one deputy-involved shooting that occurred when I was on the job, deputies ran around like chickens with their heads cut off, not communicating anything about the suspect’s description and failing to establish a command post or containment. Meanwhile, precious minutes ticked off, giving the suspect time to put distance between himself and his would-be pursuers.

Deputies from another station also rolled on the call and later shared their observations with us. They said that not only had our guys been chasing ghosts, but they’d also failed to roll on another deputy's request for backup when another deputy said he saw a man running into a garage.

It turned out that the man seen running into that garage was a citizen. But the reason he was running in the first place was that he'd witnessed the deputy-involved shooting and fled when he saw the suspect running in his direction—which did not coincide with where the containment was belatedly effected.

Throughout, radio discipline was non-existent. People were keying microphones and asking questions, but they were ignoring answers and discarding suggestions in the same manner that monkeys throw poo and with just about as much positive effect. When it came to substantive communication, coordinating search efforts, establishing containment perimeters, requesting logistics, deploying resources, and updating suspect information, they proved mum.

I wish I could say this was an isolated occurrence, but it wasn’t. And I think the problem is that our responses to such situations are not routinely discussed, dissected, or otherwise Monday morning quarterbacked. That degree of critical attention is usually reserved for the incidents that precipitate officer down situations, not our responses to them.

Our responses to such incidents should be examined just as critically. Given that few things can get a cop’s adrenaline pumping harder than an “officer down” call, it’s really a no-brainer.

We can honor fallen comrades in no greater manner than by training on the front end for such possibilities. In exhibiting discipline and professionalism in such emergencies, we will ensure that injured officers get the assistance they need and maybe even the justice they deserve.

Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

deltaalpha @ 11/16/2007 11:45 AM

My Opinion is to first and foremost practise possibel situations and learn to contain .....Bottom line when any Officer is
injured establish perimeters immediately ---If all avilable units respond they must coordinate with those first on scene. Regardless of experience or the desire to assist they must work as unit or suspects could escape & evidence crucial to the incident could be lost.

David Moore S-55 @ 11/16/2007 10:45 PM

This shows the most important side of all (OD) incidents and the life-line of radio discipline, vital communication to catch the perp. Action/results are 7/24 especially in the interest of Officer, team-Safety!! For younger Officers coming up looking to you for direction, guidance, give them what they need and deserve - leadership by example. Contribute to their safety and general level of capability which can range from normal and alert, to various states of distraction and impairment. This article is a Perfect example of why we have two ear's and only one mouth! Assistance and Justice says it all, along with debriefings & lessons learned - not relagated to file 13 where learning stops!!

ronavallone2 @ 3/30/2008 4:23 PM

BEING SHOT AT IS NO JOKE! I have returned fire w/ few casualties, justified, and I thank God for good training and partners. Communication esential, always an IC, mine was a partner, a sgt. Chaos erupted in a crowd of hundreds, but we worked well together amongst other deputies. While on an alternate channel city PD backed us up w/in minutes and that's not the first time. Sometimes being short staffed they were my saving grace and I them. Communications are essential. Commaderie all the way!

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

Foot and Hoof Patrol: Meaningfully Connecting Cops and Citizens
Foot patrol is the essence of community policing—officers on foot create opportunities for...
Arrive Alive: Police Must Reduce Single-Vehicle Crashes on Patrol
Too many officers are driving themselves into their graves—turning their cars into their...

Police Magazine