When it comes to being on duty, an officer tends to let their guard down a little. Officers often take the time to chat with other officers in the field or in the office, to file paperwork, to go have a meal. The real question is, should they?
Here are some productive tips for police officers so that they can make the most of their safety when they’re off-duty. With officers starting to get unexpected action in times that they least expect it, it pays to be vigilant at all times and to follow certain safety procedures. Be safe at all times with these handy tips.
Always Maintain Awareness and Pay Attention
You’re out to lunch, so you’re not expecting anything to happen. But that doesn’t mean that nothing will. It’s important to maintain awareness at all times. No matter where you are, you could be attacked or a situation could start up. People can come at you when you least expect it, and it’s up to you to be on point and able to defend yourself. So, whether you’re chatting to a fellow officer or just trying to pick up lunch at the best place to eat in town, remember that not everyone is going to have a friendly attitude towards you.
Maintain your external awareness no matter where you are and try to pay attention not just to what’s going on for you but what is happening in the background. There may be things occurring that you need to pay attention to and this focus could pay off when you notice something happening that normally would have passed you by. Being aware of an entire situation means that you could possibly shut it down instead of being caught off guard and being put at a disadvantage.
Have a Plan
Always have a plan when it comes to being out in public or in a more relaxed state of mind. Designate one officer as the lookout and interceptor of whoever is walking up to the group. Sometimes it will just be a person asking you a question or for directions or help in some way, but not all people standing by are that innocent. Have a plan with your partner if you’re out and have them be the main lookout (or you be the lookout) so that someone is always surveilling the scene. This mutually reduces your vulnerability.
Respond to Action
When action goes down the last thing you want to do is be caught totally lax and unprepared. Make sure in a time of action that you keep your head. Also be sure to review through your mind the various scenarios you could run into, such as a robber during a routine gas fill up or stop at a convenience store, or a person who is beginning to get physically violent with someone else.
Position is Important
- Sit facing an entrance
- Put distance between yourself and choke points
- Know where cover/closest escape is
- Never be contained
- Have your gun on you if you are in uniform
- Glance around while you eat
- Never let your guard down
- Designate contact officer
- Always wear your vest