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).
November 2018 (3)
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)

Secure and Insecure Cops

Know when to speak, how to speak, and what to speak of. Be quick to give credit to others where it’s due. And never hesitate to take responsibility for decisions you’ve made.

April 10, 2009  |  by - Also by this author

Let's talk about security. No, I'm not referencing homeland security. Nor am I speaking of the kind that makes sure that guns are not left laying around unattended. 

I'm talking about having faith in who you are. Being secure in yourself as an individual and as a peace officer.

Sometimes, you can define something by its antonym.


A deputy I once worked with-let's call him Deputy Z-had a standard greeting upon seeing me: "I don't want to talk shit about anybody, but..." And sure as hell he would proceed to talk shit about the person in question. 

The subject was invariably a fellow deputy, out of earshot, and blissfully ignorant of his character being assassinated.

The first couple of times, I suppose I was seduced by his faux confidences. Not only was I at some level flattered by the implicit trust I assumed of his confidences, but the dirt Deputy Z dished out was usually pretty interesting. The kind of stuff TMZ would pay good money for if cops were the celebrities they deserve to be.

But given my own considerable shortcomings, I knew it was only a matter of time before I, too, would be the target of his BS. I told him that unless whatever he had to say was germane to my obligations as a supervisor, I really didn't want to hear it.

It proved to be an effective way of curtailing all conversation with the man.

Deputy Z's role as backstabbing conniver isn't unique in the annals of copdom, but he sure as hell was one of the most obvious I've come across.

He came to mind during a recent conversation I had with a sergeant from an East Coast agency. The sergeant said that an officer he'd worked with had a history of calling attention to his fellow officers' mistakes. The calling out wasn't due to his interest in rectifying a problem so much as it was a bid to make himself look better by comparison.

Yet one day this officer-"Officer Know-It-All"-made what was probably the biggest mistake any officer with his agency had ever made, one that put both his and his fellow officers' lives in real and immediate danger. Thanks to the intervention of others on scene, such disastrous outcomes were averted.

But do you think "Officer Know-It-All" was at all repentant about what he'd done?

Not at all.

And within a matter of days, he was right back at it, criticizing others for their "bone-headed screw-ups."

I guess there's no shortage of Deputy Zs and Officer Know-It-Alls in the world. And save for new acquaintances, there really is no mystery as to what they're about: Themselves.

The sad thing is, that is often who they end up hanging with: Themselves.

In Deputy Z's case, he effectively isolated himself within his circle of working acquaintances. Worse still, his obsession for acceptance from some pretty suspect corners found him leaving his beautiful wife and children for a stripper who took him for what she could.

As such, he was regarded less as a joke than a tragedy, but one where sympathies were reserved for collateral casualties.

Yes, I couldn't help but think of Deputy Z. But then I found myself thinking of other deputies that I'd worked with.

Names come to mind. Keith Wall. Jeff Cochran. Eric Barron. Odds are these names will mean nothing to you. But take the name of someone whose work ethic and tact and professionalism you admire and substitute it for any one of them and you will know just what I'm talking about.

In the case of the above-named deputies, my only contacts with them have been in professional capacities: We aren't friends. Moreover, I've even bumped heads with a couple of them.

And yet, I can assure you that I have more respect for them than many other cops.


Because each was secure about themselves-and deservedly so. While they did look for hooks, they didn't look for trouble, nor did they put up with any crap.

As training officers, they kept the criticisms between themselves and their trainees. When their peers messed up, they addressed the matter one on one, and never with an eye toward demeaning the peer but correcting the problem. They sure as hell didn't go out of their way to butter up to anyone, nor did they try to undermine superiors.

They weren't flashy; they weren't the guys going out and getting tanked up on weekends and acting like asses to prove how macho they were. And yet everyone who worked with them knew that they were the ones who could most be counted on when the shit hit the fan.

They knew when to speak, how to speak, and what to speak of. They were quick to give credit to others where it was due, and never shy about owning up to decisions they'd made. And most of all, you didn't find them badmouthing their peers.

In short, they embodied just about everything that Deputy Z didn't. And as a result, they received that which he most coveted, but could never obtain: The respect and trust of a vast majority of their co-workers.

Sad to say, if you embody these attributes, odds are that you'll not be hearing about them anytime soon. For some odd reason, we cops tend to be more circumspect in how that trust gets communicated. Most of the time, the respect is subtly conveyed, becoming manifest in other forms...a tendency to be deferred to in situations...the occasional good natured ribbing that is absent of any overdue acknowledgment in an online patrol column.

Yet you can be assured that you have that respect.

But if you're like Deputy Z, you can be equally assured you don't. But hey, I'll make a point of making sure you're not forgotten.

It's the least I can do.

Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

BlueLineWalker @ 4/11/2009 9:52 AM

Very interesting article. Years ago I worked along side a few very negative, whining, moody men. I slowly learned to avoid them. It took them quite some time to get the hint, but I prevailed.

ringrose4 @ 4/11/2009 2:43 PM

The problem with the Deputy Z's and the Officer know it alls is that they usually end up as supervisors and then Admin. It's rare that a Sgt. will stand up and be a man and tell that Deputy or Officer to shut their pie hole.

David Moore S-55 @ 4/12/2009 8:21 PM

Very insighful indeed!...The only cure for this is the Corporal or Sgt to take a stand like you mentioned! Action beats reaction everytime. These are the types where you have an accident scene about ready to wrap it up everything going well, about ready to go in service when they happen along and stop rather than a roll-by - makes for a long shift. :-(

Blue4Ever @ 4/17/2009 9:04 AM

In every department/agency one or more of these individuals exsist, makes me glad I'm retired and pulled the pin.

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

Recharging Your Batteries: The Benefits of "Unplugging"
There is certainly benefit to being current on events involving the people you consider...
Speaking on the Unspeakable: Ending the Pandemic of Police Officer Suicide
I've talked with officers who have lost a colleague to suicide—as well as many widows of...

Police Magazine