HUMOR IN UNIFORM
Whenever we respond to a call, fire a weapon, use the defib, and, in some departments, stop a car, a report must be written up and approved by a supervisor.
Even though your report is clear, succinct, concise and straightforward, you will find a supervisor somewhere in your department who will want to you to change something. It’s what they do!!! Their, as the French say, “raison d’etre” (“reason to be”.)
Expect it, don’t be annoyed by it, make them happy or keep rewriting the same report for the next twenty years.
PICKY AND CHOOSIE
I was sent on a burning complaint to a locality in my zone. (Burning is not allowed and is strictly controlled.) As soon as I was in the area, the smoke could be seen. I found the homeowner (who was very apologetic and new to the area) and he immediately put the flames out. My report started out:
“Upon arrival, one could see smoke wafting in the area.”
It was kicked back with the remark from this supervisor “NO S.A.T. words” with ‘wafting’ underlined.
I changed it to “Upon arrival, one could see smoke lilting through the air.”
Once again, his remark when he kicked it back a second time was “NO S.A.T. WORDS!!!” This time with ‘lilting’ underlined.
I rewrote it stating “Upon arrival, smoke could be seen.”
That was accepted.
YOU SAY “TOEMAYTOE” I SAY “TOEMAHTOE”
This one supervisor also had a preference for the term “perpetrator”. I never liked that term simply because it was used constantly by police officers. I used the term “actor.” He didn’t quite know how to deal with that. He never kicked it back but did catch me in the hallway to mention to me that “perpetrator” was a much more descriptive word. I continued to use “actor”.
WHEN IS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?
Another source of annoyance on the part of supervisor was when I had to respond to an alarm. In order to be complete and comprehensive, if there were toys strewn in the yard, I would describe all of them.
If there were cars in the driveway, I would write not only the license plate number, but also the VIN, the year, make and model of the vehicle and if they had sustained any damage.
If there were windows on the second or third floors that were open or not secured. This information was met with a frown and I was told, “Too much information. Not necessary.”
SAVING MY BUTT
UNTIL a resident called and complained that her alarm was activated and NO ONE RESPONDED. She was quite irate about this and actually came to headquarters to complain in person.
The sarge called up my report and read off my observations, all the information I recorded and how long I remained at the scene before calling “clear.”
The resident was STUNNED.
She didn’t know what to say. To his credit, I did get a note stating ‘good job’ on that report, even though he initially described all that information as ‘too much.’
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