The majority of police officers are exceptional individuals. Idolized by many when they were kids when in the movies, the good guy would catch the bad guy, and communities were safe thanks to the actions of some outstanding officers. Today, the perception of law enforcement has varying opinions, mainly because of the actions of some individuals that have tainted their image in recent years.
However, there is one thing most of all can agree on: today, more than ever before, we need good police officers. But, what makes a good cop? Great police officers are easily distinguishable from the rest because they have certain essential qualities to do justice to their title. Here are a few to keep in mind.
EMPATHY AND COMPASSION
Although the first thing that comes to mind when mentioning these qualities is maybe nurses or teachers, police officers need a certain level of well-balanced compassion to do their job. In order to wear that badge, you need to care about those you’re serving.
A wholly detached cop will find it challenging to obtain the information they need, as people often find them cold. Empathy can come in handy on the job, inspire confidence in law enforcement agencies, and encourage people to cooperate.
However, an experienced police officer knows where to draw the line, never to let too much compassion blur the line of professionalism. Cops who become too involved in their cases often struggle with the mental impact that some might bring.
More often than not, officers are the first responders to an emergency. Sometimes, these situations can be highly tense and very delicate. Negotiation skills help de-escalate challenging conflicts and calm down individuals who have become highly edgy. Some qualities of a good negotiator include:
- Keeping calm
- Active listening
- Expressing empathy
- Treating people with respect and dignity.
Possessing and practicing these qualities may ease a workday and make it sometimes go more smoothly than those who ignore them. Police officers with a ‘short fuse’ might act erratically and do not have the same success on the job.
Experienced police officers have thick skin and an excellent sense of resilience. As an officer, you are sometimes perceived as an enemy by the people you are trying to protect. It is essential to be able to bounce back from any derogatory comments and understand your true worth and the importance of the task performed every day. Stay calm.
A police officer needs to be able to determine truth, even if you need to fight your emotions or presuppositions when these conflict with the evidence presented. Regardless of the situation, personal feelings should always remain aside and follow the evidence.
By far, an essential quality of any police officer is integrity. It’s a fundamental character trait that allows all those who have it to have a clean conscience and to feel proud of themselves every day. The necessity of standing for what is right will always be paramount to any cop; it doesn’t suffice just to want to carry a gun and “catch the bad guys”; a good character and a strong backbone are also very much needed.
The great police officers often go beyond the line of duty, just because they care. They follow up with families and continue to monitor the community closely. Becoming one of those officers is not as easy as it might sound. Now that you have gone through this list, do you have all these qualities and skills?
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