I once received a call for a disorderly man
at 3:00 am on a very cold winter
morning.  I arrived to see the man
pounding on the front door of a row
home.  When I approached the man, a
woman inside the house opened her
second floor front window and stuck her
head out.

The woman explained to me that the man
was her brother who did not reside in her
home.  I immediately realized the man
was intoxicated, but he did know where
he was and what he was doing.  He was
upset that his sister would not admit him
to her home.  The woman pleaded with
her brother to go to his own home, and I
even offered him transportation to his

When it became clear that the man had
no intention of leaving, I ordered him to
leave.  Of course, my command had no
effect.  As the conversation between the
sister and brother continued along with
my commands to leave, I finally told the
sister that the only way I could resolve
the situation was to arrest her brother.  
The woman simply closed her eyes and
nodded.  While the brother, now
suspect, did not forcefully resist my
arrest, his resistance did require some
pushing, pulling, and arm twisting.

At the time, simple disorderly arrests
were heard by a district court judge the
following morning.  While the defendant
had the counsel of a public defender, the
police officer would simply testify for the
state without the presence of a state's
attorney.  The defendant's sister was in
the court room that morning which was
not something that would be unusual.  
However, when the case was called, the
sister walked to the front of the
courtroom and stood beside me.

The judge ask the sister why she had
come forward.  The woman answered
that she was the defendant's sister.  The
judge then told the woman that she
should be seated until called to testify by
the defendant's lawyer.  The judge's
mouth dropped open when the woman
answered, "I'm not here for that, your
honor.  I'm here to explain why this
officer had no other choice than to arrest
my brother."

After a brief pause, the judge told the
woman to continue.  She went on to
explain how polite and patient I'd been
toward her brother.  She described her
brother's conduct and how I had
repeatedly urged her brother to leave --
and even how sparingly I used physical
force to get my handcuffs on her brother.

After she'd finished her statements, the
judge extended his arm, and, with his
index finger, pointed straight at the
defendant.  Turning his head toward the
woman, he ask, "You're
his sister...
right?"  The courtroom erupted in
laughter.  The question was meant to
convey humor since the racial difference
between the siblings and I was obvious.

You're going to make arrests for things a
lot more serious than disorderly conduct,
and to say that some of those arrests
will be difficult would be an
understatement.  However, the one thing
that all arrests have in common is the
deprivation of one's freedom.  That
result, in and of itself, is of no small

There will be instances when arrest is not
an obvious resolution or when arrest
would not be your proper course of
action.  Your rapid acquisition of
knowledge regarding your state's criminal
code, and the elements of probable
cause, will be of the immediate and
utmost importance.  As you gain
experience, and avoid developing bad
habits, you'll exercise your power of
arrest with confidence and expertise.
Remember, any person who is intent on
performing will rarely follow your first
command to cease the disruptive
behavior.  You carry plenty of rope with
you, so use it.  Here's the irony.  Your
politely repeated orders to the suspect,
without emotion, may well embolden the
suspect to increase his or her verbal
abuse.  What the spectators will realize,
well before the suspect, is the increasing
certainty of the suspect's arrest.  The
only uncertainty among those watching
will be on the number of chances you will
give the suspect to comply.

It all comes down to exercising your
power of arrest reasonably and with
emotional detachment.  People of all
types and views are potential critics of
how you use your power of arrest.  
People like to see police officers dispense
fair treatment even when the police
officer is enduring insulting language.  
Sometimes, they even show their
"People like to see police officers
dispense fair treatment even when
the police officer is enduring insulting
language." ~ Barry M. Baker
As an American police officer, you're
going to have a power of arrest which is
far more expansive than you probably
realize at this point in your pre-career
planning.  There's a lot of people who
believe police officers have too much
power, and you'll meet many of them
when you begin your police career.

While some people just simply dislike
police officers for a variety of reasons,
others will display their irrational hatred
of your power by verbally spewing some
really loud and insulting speech your
way.  The very first thing that you should
know, and never forget, is that your
peace and tranquillity cannot be
disturbed, and the words
insult and
assault have two entirely different
meanings.  In other words, as long as
Mr. or Ms. Loudmouth doesn't put his or
her hands on you, or attempt to
physically assault you in some manner,
they can call you any vile name you can
imagine -- it's called freedom of speech.

However...yes, there's always a
however.  Anywhere you work as a police
officer, there will be a law against
disorderly and disruptive public behavior.  
When a person disturbs the peace and
tranquilly of others, excluding you, that
person is exposing him or herself to your
power of arrest.  You'll meet quite a few
of these types, and you'll arrest many of
them.  While this is a very simple
application of your power of arrest, it can
be one of the most problematic.

When a person is disturbing the peace of
others, the only verbal statement
required from you is your order to the
person to cease his or her disorderly
behavior.  If the person does not obey
that lawful order, that person is subject
to arrest.  Nine out of ten times when
you're subjected to verbal abuse, there's
going to be an audience.  The presence
of spectators is usually the main reason
for a person to act out on you; there
wouldn't be any point in it otherwise.

You should always remember two
things:  First -- If the person is not an
obvious physical threat to you or others,
don't act too hastily.  Second -- never,
never let anyone trick you into a verbal
argument.  There is nothing more
demeaning to you, and the power you
represent, than for you to argue with a

You must remember that such behavior
is a minor crime.  Too often, minor things
can escalate into something more
serious.  You need to realize that people
are watching and evaluating your
response.  More importantly, the people
watching could be potentially hostile
toward you either as a physical danger,
or they could voice criticism of your
actions in the form of complaints to your
Power of

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Copyright © 2021  Barry M. Baker  
Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
There are Five
Indispensable Truths
for a Successful Police
Recommended reading for
those of you thinking
about becoming a Police
Today's police officers are
afforded the best ballistic
protection in history... and
it only gets better.
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While television police
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for you to apply to your
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sometimes offer some
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