I was in District 5 of the Cook County Jail today. That’s the administration building (and where you go to pay bonds). It’s right in the middle of the giant Cook County Jail at 2700 S. California.
I was serving subpoenas to guards in the Cook County Jail (Sheriff’s) and in came marching to the lobby a group of about 40 cadets, Sheriff’s, presumably.
They all got yelled at and stood there with their arms behind their backs and stared ahead. Or at me, since I was the only civilian in the lobby.
It was funny. They looked like they didn’t like being treated like the inmates that they were about to guard. Being told where to go…how to act…treated dismissively.
Hmm. Wonder if that’ll sink in?
This appears to be the most read post on my blog. I’m not sure why, except to note that there is probably not a lot of online information about cadets in either the local police academy or sheriff’s office. So let me drop a few words of advice on you, the possibly new peace officer.
1) Do your job honorably.
You are electing to join a dangerous, rather underpaid, many times unglamorous job. It will be hard to feel appreciated, or respected. You are, trust me. You won’t hear it often, you won’t feel like it from the people you’re helping…it will be small victories, not big ones that matter. That said, always keep your perspective right. You are here to protect and serve the public, not your own ends. Don’t take advantage of your shield, your gun, or your position. Remember, you are my public servant. You are the crackhead’s public servant. You are the drunk fan at US Cellular’s fields servant. You’re our employee, not the other way around.
2) Don’t lie.
The hardest thing to do as a cop is not lie. I don’t mean that you are dishonest by nature, I just mean that the facts are frequently inconvenient. Every criminal lawyer knows that cops lie. We call it “testilying” when you take the stand, because cops lie so much that the most frequent reason cases are lost, are because cops are lying. And they’re lying for a “good cause,” i.e. putting bad guys away. Well, too bad. You’re lying. And when you lie, you undermine everything. And you know what, you’ll get away with it…but not every time. And those lies will pile up and soon you won’t know the difference between them and the truth, and then you’re not a cop, you’re not a officer of the peace, you are a vigilante, a thug and a criminal just like the people you don’t think deserve the right of a fair trial.
3) Work hard.
If you do a good job, you will win. You will find the evidence, you will get the guy to talk, you will put it all together. The other most frequent reason cases are lost is because the cops didn’t find the most obvious witness to the case who blows it all apart for them. Or they don’t do just the little bit of footwork necessary to get the conviction rock solid. A state’s attorney will bring a bad case…because there’s enough there to give it a valid start. But you, the lazy cop, will be the reason it doesn’t result in a conviction.