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Ways to Avoid the Top 12 Rookie Mistakes


Rookie police officers are supposed to make mistakes. It’s all part of the learning process. If you are fresh out of the Police Academy and are worried about making mistakes once you are on your own, here’s a list of ways to avoid the most common rookie mistakes.

  1. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Most of the situations you will find yourself in will not be as they were describe in Police Academy, so it is very important that you use your best judgment in deciding how to respond.
  2. Listen to and respect the police officers who have more experience than you do. They have been on the street much longer than you have, and have street smarts that you can learn from.
  3. Don’t take things too personally. You will make mistakes and you will be criticized, but you can learn from these experiences by making the most of them and not letting them get you down.
  4. Do NOT drive recklessly. The number one cause of death for law enforcement officers is car accidents, so slow down and wear your seat belt.
  5. Do not rush into things. If you move too quickly you can escalate a situation unnecessarily. Take everything in stride.
  6. Know your surroundings. You need to know your way around the city you work in so you can get around, but also so you can tell dispatchers where you are in case you need backup.
  7. Ask appropriate questions and always get the necessary facts. Never jump to conclusions!
  8. Think carefully before you speak so that you do not offend anyone; whether it be a citizen, suspect, supervisor, or fellow officer.
  9. Always remember that your job is to help people, not to be a jerk. Do not bust people for the sake of busting people.
  10. Remember your family. Healthy family relationships are the key to relieving work-related stress.
  11. Don’t be cocky!
  12. Don’t think policing is what you see in the movies, on TV, or in video games. It’s not!

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