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Professional Courtesy is a Two Way Street | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Professional Courtesy is a Two Way Street

Like many of you, I follow a variety of law enforcement related blogs, websites and social media pages. Sometimes I just like to see the stories from other areas, some of the crazy things other officers have to deal with or how it really doesn’t matter where you work, the job is the same. Other times I am looking for training tips or means to address common problems and the latter is what I would like to address today- a common problem called professional courtesy.

For many, professional courtesy is a dirty term; it is no longer seen as being PC (politically correct). Having grown up in a law enforcement household, I personally do not see a problem with extending a little benefit of the doubt to a fellow officer. After all, we routinely give warnings to doctors, EMS personnel, firemen and nurses for the same reason we do cops – because we all work in the same environment and depend on each other when things are at their worst. What I do have a problem with is when that courtesy is taken rather than given. You see, I believe that a warning, even to another member of law enforcement, is earned and not deserved. Sure, you are 95% of the way there because you are a brother or sister officer, but that other 5% is still hanging in the balance.

OfficerAs I said earlier, I follow several LE related blogs, forums and information sharing networks. Many members are torn on the issue of professional courtesy, with one group believing fellow officers should know better and follow all the rules while the second believes in giving fellow officers a break for minor offenses (mostly driving issues). Nothing new there; these two camps have been around since the day of Roman Centurions.  But lately there has been a third group – officers who were on the receiving end of a citation and take to social media to shame or bash the officer who did the writing.  One officer even posted a story about a new officer in a neighboring department who made a habit of speeding on his way to and from work. Despite several warnings and a call to his Sgt., he was finally written. His response? He messaged the writing officer’s chief (while the ticket was being issued) and berated his department!  Real classy, and probably a good indication of why he ended up on the wrong side of a traffic stop.

So, if you are ever in my neck of the woods, feel free to stop me, say “Hi” and maybe share a bite. If you find yourself suffering from a lapse of judgment or are momentarily distracted, don’t worry I’ve got your back. But, just as honesty and truthfulness will get a suspect a little consideration, being humble and understanding I also have a job to do will make this a lot easier for both of us.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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