On the last post’s comment section (this is how desperate I’m getting for blog fodder) Scribbler posted this:

“I’m looking for work (again) and there are several postings up for local police positions. It’s hardly been on my radar as an option for me, but the more I contemplate it, the more it seems, well, worth the contemplation. You and MattG are, in my mind, what LEOs should be, and what I would be attempting to emulate, should that be a path I take.”

Oh, man.


The path I recommend to anyone thinking of this line of work in Texas — is to find a mid-sized Sheriff’s Office and sign on with them.

Why a Sheriff’s Office?

Two main reasons.  Reason the First:  A Texas Sheriff, being voted into office every four years, tends to be a bit more responsive to the citizens of his County, than a Chief of Police who holds his office until the City Manager or Mayor finds a reason to hand him his walking papers.

Smaller (mid-sized) Counties tend to be even more so.  The Sheriff of Dallas or Harris County will never, ever meet face-to-face with more than a minuscule fraction of the citizens of their County.

The Sheriff of Wise, Childress, Midland, Wichita, or Randall Counties will, in a month (between church, the grocery store, restaurants, child-care, etc.) have face-to-face interactions with a not-insignificant percentage of citizens.

The Sheriff of Dallas County probably wouldn’t get recognized in line at the Dairy Queen if they were in mufti.  My Sheriff gets to hear all the dirt about his officers, concerns, kudos, and theories by the 90% of the County citizens that not only recognize him, but grew up with him.  This is A Good Thing.

Reason ‘B’:  A Sheriff’s Office has a wide variety of things to do.  Most folks start off in the jail, move to Patrol, try a stint in Civil, run through Courthouse Security, a bit of Inter-County/Inter-State extradition, off to Criminal Investigation … so on, and so forth.  Sometimes all in the same week.  City PD — it’s Patrol, then Investigation.  Usually.

This is still a noble line of work — provided you remember and hold to the Peelian Principles; and you bear in mind that most of your work is 40% compassion, 40% common sense, and 20% academy stuff.

MattG will no doubt chime in with counter-points.  Read them, think about them — really think about them — then come to your decision.


Dear Jesse

13 thoughts on “Scribbler”

  1. Nobody asked me, but I worked – many years ago – for a small town (population 10,000) PD with an elected chief who was serving his last term before retirement. There was a marked difference, not for the better, when the city changed the rules & appointed a replacement. It was purely political, and the entire atmosphere of the dept, along with its relations with the community, changed in a negative direction.

  2. Yep, and a LOT more chances to do different things in an SD than in city policing!

  3. Tell the young man the truth. He will be forced to be a "bad cop".
    Either the "bad cop" that lies, steals, assaults etc. etc. or the
    "bad cop" that witnesses other cops doing all of the above and SAYS
    NOTHING. Because if he isn't one of those two types of cops he will
    be FORCED OUT OF THE JOB. Because the rest of his associates DO NOT

  4. Dan, you do realize that I'm a cop — and an honest one — right?


  5. Thought a while about a suitable response for dan's diatribe.
    Sat in my chair with just a few words on screen. Then decided
    that no words will change the sting of his accusations about
    men and women that perform a difficult and usually thankless job.
    Standing in harms way that can come from any direction, frequently from
    behind them. Vilified for the actions of few. (and the majority of the
    few are on TV cop shows)
    Keep up the good work Dawg, stay safe and watch your back.

  6. Yes Dan there are cops that are a$$holes, cops that walk around with my d!ck is bigger than yours syndrome. Even knowing that they do exist in my 54 years of existing I have not yet met one of the bad ones and I have met many cops , the closest I have ever had a cop to being a A$$ with me was the one that caught me doing 85 in a 45 weaving in and out of traffic on my motorcycle and then had to chase me down , in retrospect he should have kicked my hind end down the road. On the other hand I run into a very high percentage of non cop A##holes with bigger D!ck syndrome, and generally they seem to be in the comments section of blogs I read, and you just up the percentage again.

    1. I am reliably certain that my stepbrother is not a Good Cop. Maybe not a Bad Cop, and probably not a Dirty Cop, but he certainly has the 'Us vs Them' mindset. The festering idea that there are only three kinds of people: cops, criminals, and criminals he hasn't punched yet.
      Still, he is starting to show signs of improvement and growth. Maybe he'll pull that nightstick out of his posterior orfice some day.

  7. I'm old enough to be in that part of life where one's lived a bunch, and can still recall most of it.

    I can't give even a smidgen to someone wanting to be an officer of the law, but I can add my unwanted two pennies towards that commenter.

    Over the years I've had occasions to spend time with an officer…or ten. I have yet to meet a crooked one, although a few have had bad attitudes the day I was with them. No more so than any other humans I deal with. I'll admit to being a bit cranky myself as often as not.

    Given that experience, I enter involvement with police officers somewhat prejudiced towards expecting professionalism…. mostly. People are made of human, even when they pin on a tin shield. Perhaps I've been lucky over the years…. but I don't think so. I don't think it was luck.

  8. I have had very few interactions with officers … and I may not have seen a 'stereotypical bad cop' as in crooked, but I have dealt with officers who were arrogant, abrasive, rude, and had a chip on their shoulder. The last speeding ticket I got, the officer outright lied about the speed I was going and was rude, pushy, and arrogant – and then made me wait while he manually pulled someone else over for speeding.
    I had another officer threaten to arrest me because I wanted to ask an idle highway worker a question about their project.
    There is NO QUESTION that bad cops exist, and it only takes a small portion of a group in authority misbehaving to tar the entire group with their misbehavior. There are 2 sides to every story and while the media and protesters are wrong to to blow out of proportion the misdeeds of officers, the opposing view that says every cop is a saint and who forestalls any investigation into those misdeeds is also wrong and is making the problem worse.
    Like most situations, reality lies in the middle ground, and unfortunately too many departments, especially big ones, all to often appear to be more interested in hiding what happened than in a full and impartial investigation.
    Smaller departments, like what LawDog recommends, are closer to the people and (generally) more responsive. If someone were to be involved in LE, I would go with his suggestions. As a citizen, those are the places I would prefer to live. In fact, I can say that every interaction I have had with my county's SD have gone very well – the issues I have had have been with state police or officers in the nearby town that thinks it is a big city (now 30,000, city government still acts like it has the 100,000 it had 40 years ago)

  9. One of our Chiefs of Police had worked his way up from bailiff to patrolman to detective to chief; he did the LEO sign-off on my first NFA purchase. After he retired I encountered him in a local hardware store and said, "Hi Chief!"

    He said, "I'm not the Chief any more." (the retirement had been political, and not entirely voluntary, from rumor)

    I said, "It's like being an ex-convict. It doesn't wash off."

    Somehow, I don't think he took that the way I intended…

  10. "Desperate for blog fodder"? What's happening with the dogs and the tree-rats? What happened to Thing 1 and Thing 2? Why are you on "shift"? Can you confirm for sure that there really is nothing in the funeral home likely to wave at you? How's the eye? Why were you in Africa in the first place? And have you been able to find a cologne to your liking? If it's not funny, I'll happily go with just an update, you know. Don't leave us hanging, we do care, even from across the Atlantic 🙂

  11. I would suggest doing a lot of research before signing on with any one department.

    I've lived in places where the local sheriff's department was little more than a political machine with guns (and corrupt enough that quite a few officers went to prison, including a sheriff or two). I've lived in other places where the sheriff's department has been a top-notch professional affair. I've seen sheriffs who were consummate LEOs and sheriffs who knew about as much about cop work as they did about the Kuiper Belt. Within 20 miles of my desk, I can name departments that are thoroughly professional police and others that are nothing more than speed-trap operators.

    If one is going to move from one department to another, the rosy smell or the stench of the previous department will be there.

    In taking any job, my dad said that he'd ask himself "are these people that I want to be known to have worked for". I think that's good advice.

    My $0.02. YMMV.

  12. A very wise man who worked as a cop his whole life, from county patrolman to small-town chief, and whom I didn't realize I loved as much as I did until after he died, once told me, "To be a good police officer you must have three things: a brain, a heart, and a sense of humor." That matches 'Dog's "40/40/20" pretty well, methinks.

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