Always Double Check

If you have ever been in a rush to get somewhere you have likely experienced the frustration when, on occasion, you get to your destination without an important piece of equipment.  Perhaps a set of keys, or a pass card, or your runners when you planned on going to the gym during your lunch hour.  These are minor setbacks but you will probably adapt and be able to work through the inconvenience.

Now let’s look at the setback when a police officer forgets a vital piece of equipment.  The obvious example is the officer’s sidearm.  You would think such an integral part of an officer’s uniform could not possibly be overlooked but it can happen.  Most times the officer will realize something isn’t ‘right’ and catch themselves before they leave the station.  (This may sound odd to some of our American readers, as most American police officers I know are always packing off-duty…but things are different here in Canada and we have to live with it).

How do I know this?  I’ve done it myself. Once, when I was a new recruit sitting in parade briefing I had no idea I had forgotten my gun in my locker.  A senior member caught my attention, pointed to my duty belt and when I looked down at an empty holster I thought I was going to throw up right then, right there.  I thought, for sure, that I could kiss my job as a police officer good-bye because WHY would they let me continue in my training if I had proven myself to be an incompetent nincompoop?  My face must have shown how mortified I was because the officer across the table motioned for me to calm down.  I remember taking a few breaths and then sliding my jacket across my waist to conceal the fact that I was an incompetent nincompoop, and as soon as parade was over I retreated to my locker to retrieve my gun.

In hindsight, this proved to be one of the best early lessons of my training because I was determined to find out why I made such a serious mistake and after evaluating my ‘getting ready for work’ routine I discovered I didn’t have one.  A closer look at the experienced officers revealed that many of them did.  They came into the locker room and went through the same steps every time – open locker, shed street clothes in a certain order, don uniform and duty belt in a certain order, pull on socks and boots, grab kit bag and go.  My routine was anything but – sometimes I got my kit ready first, other times I put my uniform on first and sometimes I did it all in reverse.  So I started getting ready the same way each time I entered the locker room, and since then I’ve not forgotten vital equipment.

That said, I still double check because it would be a very bad day indeed to be involved in an incident and not have my gun/extra magazines/other equipment when I really need it.

On one other note – if you, as an officer, are trained to use a certain piece of equipment and have that piece of equipment available to you (and not being repaired, retro-fitted, updated) there is absolutely no reason to deploy without it.  Especially if the equipment is designed to be used tactically and in a life threatening situation.

Tags: , , ,

5 Responses to "Always Double Check"

  • Mel says:
  • Horse Cop says:
  • slamdunk says:
  • Mark says: