Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

10 Common Police Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

After riding with an FTO for several weeks, you’ll be cut loose on your own. In larger departments you may have a partner, but usually you will be riding by yourself.

Here are some tips to get a solid footing in your new career.


1. Mentally Prepare For Just About Anything. Most situations will not be exactly how they were described in the academy. Don’t get tunnel visioned and lose sight of what is happening around you.

2. Don’t forget your job is to help people. Don’t be a jerk. Being cautious is good, but don’t be out to bust people just to bust people.

3. Listen and respect officers who have been on the street longer than you have. They have the street smarts you need to learn.

4. Make Your Mental Health a Priority. Don’t neglect your family. Healthy family relationships are important to relieving job stress.

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5. Don’t move too quickly. Sometimes rushing things at an incident can escalate a situation unnecessarily.

6. Don’t take things personally. You will be insulted regularly. Don’t let it get under your skin or you may end up doing something that leads to complaints or administrative action against you.

7. Slow down and wear your seatbelt. The number one cause of death for LEOs is car accidents. Take the extra 30 seconds or minute to get to your call. Don’t turn a simple call into a life threatening situation for you, fellow officers, or citizens.

8.Think before you speak. Whether you are speaking to a citizen, a suspect, a fellow officer, or a supervisor. Don’t say something you may regret down the road. You never know who you may offend.

9. Always know where you are. Learn your city’s streets and the directions they run in as if it were second nature. Always know where you are and the direction you are going so when you need backup you can tell dispatchers where you are.

10. Don’t get in such a hurry you forget to put your car in park.