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FrontLineTMVideo Testing System for Law EnforcementVideo Test PreparationBookletERGOMETRICS & Applied Personnel Research, Inc.Edmonds, Washington U.S.A.

ERGOMETRICS& Applied Personnel Research, Inc.Copyright 2001Duplication of any part of this book without written permission is prohibited.For additional copies or information on the use of this book,please contact:ERGOMETRICS115 Skyline DriveEdmonds, WA 98020Tel. 425-774-5700Fax. 425-774-0829Printed in the U.S.A.

FrontLineTMVideo Testing System for Law EnforcementS t u d yG u i d eWhat is the test?Each item of the test portrays a realisticscenario in vivid detail. Candidates are asked touse common sense and make a quick judgmentabout how to handle the situation. You are askedto pick the best choice among the options given.All answers can be readily derived without priorpolice experience or training. Questions in the testwere created by multiple panels of experiencedpolice professionals. The video has 54 differentscenarios and takes 1 1/2 hours. The advice in thisbooklet is nothing more than what is usuallydescribed as common sense. As a police officer,common sense is your most valuable asset. Youwill have to make many important decisions on adaily basis. No two situations you face will be thesame. You will have to decide what you want toachieve. You will need to weigh the pros and consof various things that you could do. This bookletdoesn’t tell you the specific right answers but itdoes tell you some of the things you should thinkabout when deciding what action would be best.You don’t need experience to answer thequestions in this test. Common sense is alwaysyour best guide.Learn from the testAs a police officer you must be able to learn asa result of experience. If you pay attention duringthis test, you will see things in some questions thatwill help you in later questions. Some questionsinvolve continuing stories. For every question inthe test, it is assumed that you have learned andremembered what you have seen before.For instance, notice that you have radiocontact all the time even when you are away fromthe vehicle.Understand what’s going onDon’t jump to conclusions. Things aren’talways as they may seem at first. For instance,just because someone is present at a home whenyou enter doesn’t mean that person lives there or isa relative or a friend.If you have contradictory information, find outthe facts before you take action. Maybe what yousee doesn’t make sense. Maybe you have beensent on a call but it doesn’t seem like what youwere told it would be when you get there. Figure itout before acting. Victims aren’t always victims.People don’t always tell you the truth. Be open tonew information. Don’t get tunnel vision. Bealert for things that are suspicious; actions that areout of character for the situation, things that areunusual, possible crimes, etc. Make sure you understand the situation. Don’t assume guilt or innocence withoutenough information. Listen to what people have to say. Get explanations for things that don’t makesense.1

S t u d yG u i d eDecide what outcome ismost importantDon’t act randomly or thoughtlessly. Thinkabout what you want to happen or what you areattempting to do. Your words and actions shouldbe intentional and directed towards achieving yourgoal.Before embarking on a course of action,decide where you want to end up. Once you havedecided on a goal, how to get there will be clear.Common goals include: Preventing injury or loss of life Diffusing dangerous situations Deterring crime Improving relations of people within thecommunity Helping people in need Enforcing laws Protecting people’s rights Following court directives, such as makingwarrant arrests Investigating crimes Gathering and protecting evidence Lowering the possibility of future relatedproblems Generating good public relations for thedepartment Influencing young people to positive lives Respecting and protecting family relationshipsMultiple, changing andcompeting goalsIn most situations, you will have more thanone goal. For instance, you have to arrest someone on a warrant, but you also want to maintaingood public relations. The person you need toarrest is at work in a store and is very cooperativebut extremely embarrassed. You try to keep thesituation as low key as possible. This achievesboth the arrest and good public relations.Sometimes goals change as situations change.For instance, you go to arrest someone on awarrant for not paying a fine. The person is2hostile and you can see weapons in the house.Your main goal becomes safety. The arrestbecomes secondary and can be accomplished laterwith backup. Public relation considerationsbecome a lower priority.Not all police situations have good outcomes.As a police officer, you want your actions to leadto the best outcome that is possible, given thecircumstances. You don’t want to make thingsworse in any way that is not necessary.Deciding what action to takeGiven the current circumstances, decide whatyou are going to try to accomplish. The nextdecision is how to achieve that goal. Whendeciding how to handle a situation, there are manythings to take into consideration: Priority of competing demandsSafetyNeed for backup or other assistancePublic relationsSeriousness of situationImportance of quick actionPractical use of timeLimits of your authorityPriority - What to do first?Many times there will be several situationsthat could use your attention. You can only doone thing at a time. Take care of your primaryproblem first. Protecting lives is always the firstpriority. Address the most immediate danger.Investigations can happen later and can take aslong as necessary. Take care of safety problemsfirst.If a primary problem is contained, you can goahead and take care of secondary problems. Forinstance, suppose you are arresting a suspect forassault. The suspect is not being cooperative.One of the witnesses is impatient to leave. Yourprimary problem is to get the suspect undercontrol and secured in your car. Once that is doneyou can try to accommodate the witness by taking

S t u d yG u i d ehis or her statement right away. Making the arrestand collecting the witness’ statement are bothgoals. However, the arrest is more important andmust be accomplished first even if it means thewitness leaves. You may be able to find thewitness later.You may be taking care of one thing when ahigher priority situation presents itself. Forinstance, suppose you are writing a ticket forspeeding. You witness an individual with a gunthreatening a motorist in what appears to be acarjacking attempt. The carjacking attempt is amuch more serious situation requiring immediateattention. In order to take care of the carjacking,you would probably choose not to finish writingthe speeding ticket. You would also want thespeeder to leave the area for his or her own safety.Deciding when to leave should always becarefully considered. Once you have responded toa situation you have a responsibility to take care ofthings before you leave. Don’t leave situationswhere there is still a problem, unless something ofhigher priority arises. If you can see somethingthat you could do to help before you leave, do it.When handling situations and prioritizingwhat you will do, always consider all the circumstances.Take control of safetyAlways think safety first, both your safety andthat of others. Will your action or inaction jeopardize someone’s safety? Is there a threat to safetythat must be addressed before dealing with otherproblems?Think about what you might not be able to see.For instance, be aware of the potential of aweapon. Don’t confine people without searchingthem first. Think about the possibility of whatupset people might do if weapons are available.Think about what may be happening in areas youcan’t see. Don’t let suspects out of your sight ifthere is potential for a problem that could result.Contain situations so that you can control them.Always address safety concerns first.Work with others in the department to insuresafety. Inform your radio contact of your whereabouts and what you are doing if there is a chanceyour situation may become dangerous. Don’t tryto handle dangerous situations alone withoutbackup. If you see a crime in progress, you needbackup. If you are only suspicious, investigatefirst, then call for backup if you need it.Consider the safety of your fellow officers. Issomeone else counting on you? If you encounteranother situation on the way to providing backup,what is the priority of the call where you’re beingsent compared to what you are faced with now?What might happen if you don’t show up asbackup? The risk is less if you are not the onlyone being sent as backup. Weigh the risks, considering safety first, when making priority decisions.Public relations areimportantThe police department does not operate inisolation. Police professionals and the public theyserve must work together in mutual support tocreate and maintain a safe community wherepeople can live without fear. Every police actionadds to or detracts from the relationship thedepartment has with the community. As a policeofficer, you should go out of your way to promotegood public relations. Consider every action youtake in terms of how it will affect the way peoplefeel about the department and about police in3

S t u d yG u i d egeneral. Be polite and considerate when you can.Respect and appreciate the diversity you encounter. Take time to talk with people, establishingrelationships and tightening bonds with thecommunity. Be fair and unbiased in the way youenforce the law. Promote a positive image of youroccupation and your department.Think about the effect of your action onothers. If you decide not to deal with an illegalsituation, what effect will that have on others whomay see that you don’t do anything? Will peopleunderstand what you are doing and why? Are yougoing to inconvenience someone or give a badexample with your behavior? What can be done later versus what needs tobe done now? How much time will it take to give specialconsideration?Don’t overreact to small situations. The lesserthe offense the more latitude you have. You canchoose to do things later if that could accomplishother goals such as being considerate to people’sfeelings. Violent crimes or crimes where theTry to be helpful to people. If you can preventa problem from happening for someone, youshould do that. Be considerate. Even when youare in an enforcement situation, try to considerpeople’s feelings and their situation if you can.Try to help people improve their relations witheach other so you don’t have to keep going backabout the same things. Do what you can to helpwith all kinds of situations in which you becomeinvolved.The media is often attracted to police situations. Think of the media as your primary publicrelations contact. Go out of your way to showgood public relations when situations allow.person may be facing a stiff sentence call forquicker enforcement and less leeway in terms ofpersonal consideration. If risks are minimal interms of safety or losing the suspect and it won’ttake an undue amount of your time, make thechoice to be considerate.Seriousness of situation andtiming of enforcementBe practical with your timeand the time of your coworkersIn some situations you will have choices abouthow lenient you can be and how quickly you mustenforce. Consider the following: What are the circumstances and safety considerations? How serious is the crime? Is the individual dangerous? Is the person likely to flee? May the person be facing a stiff sentence? Does he or she have ties to the community? Is speed more important than public relations?4Consider that you have only limited time andmany things to attend to. Don’t cut things shortwhen they are not finished. Take the time to bekind and considerate when you can. However,don’t take longer than is reasonably necessary toaccomplish what needs to be done. Be respectfulof your co-workers’ time as well. Be reasonable inyour use of department resources. For instance,don’t call in when there is no pressing need. It justtakes up the time of people who could be answering other calls.

S t u d yAccept your responsibilityand realize your limitsAccept your role and responsibility. As apolice officer you will have to make difficultdecisions. It is your job to enforce the law. Tryyour best to resolve problems, rather than avoidthem. Never take gratuities or improperly useyour position. You must be ethical, responding tocriminal behaviors regardless of how you maypersonally feel about the suspect or who thatsuspect is. Don’t take sides. People may try touse you. Be fair and impartial.Realize the limits of your authority. Noteverything is your business. If there is no crime,you have no authority. Don’t let your personalopinions about how you think others shouldbehave affect your decisions. If a situation seemsto be private, it probably is. Imagine you see asituation of which you do not approve. Forinstance, you see someone about to buy somethingyou think is overpriced. It is not your position as apolice officer to intervene. If there is no criminalbehavior and no one has asked you for assistance,it is not usually a good idea to become involved innon-police matters. However, taking time to beconsiderate or helpful is good. For instance, if yousee someone who is having car trouble, offering tobe of assistance is good.Accept your responsibility but don’t overstepyour authority.CommunicationA police officer is a professional communicator, using both verbal and nonverbal communication to accomplish his or her goals in each situation. A police officer must use communicationskills and understanding of human behavior inorder to do a good job. A police officer doesn’tsimply respond to other people. A police officermust think in terms of how his or her communication affects others. A police officer has a desiredoutcome to achieve and should use every rea