Work Habits of a Good Patrol Officer
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my criminal justice career is that you have to be prepared to work patrol.
What do I mean by a statement as simple as “be prepared”? Review the work habits below to find out.
Learn the Area You Work.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, for most patrol officers, it isn’t. Ask yourself this question: What would happen if you got a call to back up another officer who is in a physical altercation with a suspect, and you couldn’t help him or her because you had trouble finding your way to the scene? I’ve been on the receiving end of this situation, waiting for backup that never arrived, and it was dangerous. Get to know your area!
Know Your Responsibilities.
It is your responsibility to keep your community safe. To do so, you may have to learn details about the businesses and high-crime locations in your coverage area. If you’re required to make checks of businesses and areas, do so. Also, get to know the business owners and civilians who live in the area you patrol. Your contacts can provide you with inside information about criminal activity. Be responsible, and keep your community safe!
Check Your Equipment.
Equipment may save your life when you need it most. That’s why I always make a point to check the equipment that I wear, as well as the equipment in my patrol car, to ensure it is in proper working order before every shift. I have seen officers come to work and not have their gun in their holster or bullets in their magazine. Check your equipment to make sure you’re prepared for any situation!
Never think you know all there is to know about your job. I have worked in the criminal justice and law enforcement field for 26 years, and I still don’t know it all. The job and its challenges change every day. Education and training are paramount to success. Never forget that knowledge is the key!
Criminal Justice Instructor
About Ricky Melancon: Mr. Melancon is an instructor in the Criminal Justice associate’s degree program at Remington College in Shreveport. His extensive career in criminal justice spans more than 25 years to date, both in military law enforcement with the U.S. Air Force and in civilian law enforcement with four agencies in Arkansas and Louisiana. He’s received “Law Enforcement Specialist of the Year” honors for two consecutive years from the U.S. Air Force and has been twice named a “Reserve Officer of the Year” honoree by both Bossier City, LA, and Jacksonville, AR.