March 19, 2019

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Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for law enforcement.

Delayed enforcement may be a safer and more appropriate response.

Today’s tip deals with exercising patience on the job. It applies primarily to my friends in law enforcement. 

I have it on some pretty good authority that patience is a virtue. But it seems like some in law enforcement view patience as a weakness instead. When people violate the law, our initial reaction may be to arrest or cite the violator. And to do it right now. I know that in many situations, taking immediate enforcement is the right thing to do to ensure the safety of the public. But in some situations, waiting might be best.  

I was reminded of this recently when I read a headline in the local newspaper. “Police move in after 1,000 cars converge on store parking lots for a meetup.” A thousand cars. That’s a lot of people. If some in this group are causing problems, our initial reaction might be to jump right in the middle and start arresting people or issuing citations 

But remember, patience is a virtue. Delayed enforcement may be a safer and more appropriate response. We have tools available that can help us identify people and vehicles without wading into the crowd. ALPRs or automated license plate readers can capture the license plates of the vehicles involved. We have body-worn cameras, cameras in the car, and surveillance cameras. All of these can help identify vehicles and violators.  

Consider narrating your observations if you can. Then use this information for follow-up investigation and future enforcement.  

With patience and the smart use of technology, you can gather information from a distance. This can help keep you and your fellow officers safe. 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off. 

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