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Attention to Duty: What Separates the Good Cops from the Status Quo

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Yesterday I was reminded one thing. That no matter how routine you think this job is on a daily basis you just can’t think that way. I’m a sergeant, with seniority, so with that seniority comes my pick of the day, evening, or graveyard shifts. After nearly 20 years on the job I’m taking the day shift, thank you very much. But with the day shift comes supervising mostly veteran cops. Veteran cops that have seen a lot, been through a lot, and quite frankly want to do very little.

But even with the veterans on my shift, you always have that range of officers that are “retired on duty”, meaning they do the absolute least amount of work as possible. Then you have the “status quo” guys, that know exactly how many citations they need and how many building checks they need to do each month so that their stat sheet comes out exactly the same every month.

Then you have those officers that will rise above the status quo. The ones that grew up as a small child dreaming and wishing some day to put that star or shield on. The ones that truly feel they are making a difference. The officers that actually are “On the lookout” when a BOLO is broadcast for a suspect. The officers that are headed to back up a fellow officer before they ever get dispatched. The guys that actually stop to help a motorist change a tire, just because it’s the right thing to do. These are the guys I want working for me.

And, as a supervisor, I’ve been told I’m in that category as well. One of my men needed backup the other day attempting to make a felony stop on a rape suspect that had just cut his victim’s throat. He was in heavy traffic and I hauled ass to get to him and back him up. The suspect committed suicide as we were stopping him, but the main thing is I was there for my officer.

Now the Monday morning quarterbacking begins by the office people that have badges on their belts. Big investigation as to why I was traveling at a high rate of speed. My answer to them was simple.

It’s called being a COP, it’s called being more worried about your fellow officer than getting in trouble for the speed you traveling, it’s called catching a felony rape suspect.

I went too fast. Got there though, cops are safe, bad guy loses. I’ll probably go “too fast” again, so when you hand down my days off stack a few extra on my sentence for the next time I go to aid a brother in blue.

Andrew G. Hawkes

About the Author
Sergeant Andrew G. Hawkes has over 17 years of law enforcement experience.  He has a BA in Criminal Justice and is currently completing his master’s degree in Public Administration.   Additionally, he is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas; has a Master Police Peace Officer Certificate from the State of Texas; and, has a Police Instructor’s Licenses from the State of Texas.  Currently, Sergeant Andrew G. Hawkes is a member of the Collin County Sheriff’s Office (Texas) where he is a senior sergeant in the patrol operations.  Sergeant Andrew G. Hawkes is the author of Secrets of Successful Highway Interdiction.  According to Sergeant Andrew G. Hawkes, “After 17 years of highway drug interdiction, 500 felony arrests, 5,100 pounds in drug seizures, and over $20 million (drugs, cash and vehicles), I have learned a lot of drug-busting techniques that I want to share with you.”  His book, Secrets of Successful Highway Interdiction, contains eleven chapters on Highway Drug Interdiction.


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