Policing 101: How To Get Over Embarrassing Moments (and Mistakes)

March 06, 2018

Policing 101: How To Get Over Embarrassing Moments (and Mistakes)

by Ian D Scofield

We already talked about things to get you through the FTO program, but the FTO program for most departments is a yearlong process. A lot happens. You will also have a lot of embarrassing moments. Whether it is a slip-up, or someone making fun of you, you will have to learn to get past these moments.

Today we are going to talk about some of the best ways to get over embarrassing moments that you might encounter during FTO and throughout the rest of your career. You will also make plenty of mistakes that will be embarrassing, the same techniques will work to get over those. This will also be helpful for people who are in the academy.

Embrace Mistakes As Learning Experiences

Most of your embarrassing moments will be from a mistake. Sometimes it will be something you say, other times it will be something that you do. Getting past these moments is difficult, because you will think over what you could have done better and you will think others are judging you.

Realize these moments are learning experiences is the best way to get past them. You will have made a mistake once, but you won’t make it again. Chances are you are not the first person to make the mistake.

Laugh At Yourself

Getting up tight when you doing something embarrassing and other people laugh at you will only reinforce them laughing at you. Learning to laugh at yourself is key. It will show that you are willing to be relaxed about your mistakes. It will also help you to feel better about your mistakes.

Just make sure to learn from the mistake.

I have been reading You Can't Make This Stuff Up: Ridiculously Funny Stories By Real Cops by Mike The Cop (a YouTube personality) and some of the stories of officer mistakes are hilarious. But the officers who submitted their own stories also realized that they were funny. I have made mistakes before, and I try my best to learn from them.

Relax Yourself

After you make a mistake, you will often want to feel tense. You want to lock up physical and be guarded mentally. Release these feelings. Utilize the same techniques that you learned for managing stress to relax in these situations too. Being tense will continuously remind you of what happened and force you to start being upset.

Embrace That You Are Not The First And That There Has Been Worse

It is very rare that you are the first person to do something that embarrasses yourself. Embracing this fact will help you to realize that it is just part of learning. You also won’t feel alone in the mistake.

Most people will also find that they feel better when they know that people have done worse things. Go through and read embarrassing stories from those who have come before you. These are plentiful on the internet and in books. That one I am reading from YouTube is only one example.

Don’t Let It Phase You

For law enforcement it is extremely important that you don’t let an embarrassing situation phase you. It could distract you from being able to do your job. But there is something more important about not letting embarrassing moments phase you. If you tell yourself that it doesn’t matter and you need to focus on what you are doing, it will help you to forget about the situation.

Use It As Fuel

Embarrassing moments can be great to fuel your success as a law enforcement officer. Use each embarrassing moment and experience as a reason to do better the next minute, then hour, then day, and so on. This can be some of the best motivation.

I had an incident that I find comical now, where I went to stop a guy in a giant person (his ID said 6’11). He wasn’t fat, and he wasn’t particularly skilled. The individual had stolen two high ticket bottles of alcohol. Somewhere around $150 a piece. I had him against the wall in an arm bar and when I reached to get the bottles from the bag (my main objected) he twisted out of my hold and ran.

The subject had on this bright yellow coat and I escorted him to the ground. During his fall, he broke both bottles of alcohol and it spread across this yellow coat of his. As we struggled he kept getting out of my hold because he was as slippery as I imagine a frozen penguin is.

He eventually managed to wriggle out of my hold and I lost my perp. And the alcohol. But during the struggle I had at least managed to grab his wallet and toss it out of his pocket. I was able to identify him and two years later I got a summons to court. Before the court date, he plead guilty.

I learned that I should always make sure my subject is cuffed and compliant before loosening my grip at all. That didn’t happen twice, and now it makes for a great story.

Use these techniques to try and learn from those embarrassing moments and those mistakes. You will end up with some great stories and you will feel better about yourself. Just remember to stay safe out there.



About The Author:

Ian is a staff writer at APTI and hospital security officer at a major medical center who has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice.  He has held multiple positions in the security industry from patrol supervisor to auxiliary public safety officer.  At APTI he brings his writing skills to help further the careers of others and provide quality content.  Feel free to visit his freelancing site or his creative writing site.


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