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The Caller Said

May 21, 2009

The call came into the precinct about 10:30 pm on a Friday night, the TGIF end of the week that everyone looks forward to with anticipation of things to come for the weekend. The woman sounded highly stressed and said her boyfriend had a knife and was waving it in her face. She said he was drunk. The dispatcher told her officers were on the way. The caller lived in a high crime area of the downtown core.

What flags do you see in this scenario that you need to be aware of before you go into a situation like this? If you’re running a whole series of questions in your mind that you need answers to, then you are on the right track. Is the boyfriend violent? Does he have priors? Is the woman also drunk? Are there children involved? Is this a repeat caller with a history of other domestic calls? How drunk is the boyfriend?

Of course none of these crucial questions have an answer until you arrive at the scene. When you do, this is where your PATI training kicks in. Remember the top three things the PATI looks for in a competent police officer are inductive, deductive and qualitative reasoning. By now of course these responses will be automatic for you in a situation like this.

Your deductive reasoning kicks into overdrive by the time you hit the caller’s door. You will be arriving at conclusions based on the information you receive in several forms – auditory and visual. Visually assess how drunk the boyfriend is and how dangerous he appears to be, without leaving anything to chance, reading body language to tell how hostile he is at your arrival, watching his hands as he waves the knife in the air and determining if the woman who called is injured, etc.

What other things would you do after you arrived? Write the answers down and talk about them with other potential police recruits you have met on Police Ready. See how different the answers may be and then find out why you got differing answers. This process will help you improve your analytical thinking skills, one of the most important things you need for your police career.

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