Dr. Helen

400 Things Cops Know

I am traveling and to keep myself entertained (or maybe to learn something), I am reading the book 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman. From the description:

How does it feel to be in a high-speed car chase? What is it like to shoot someone? What do cops really think about the citizens they serve? Nearly everyone has wondered what it’s like to be a police officer, but no civilian really understands what happens on the job.

“400 Things Cops Know” shows police work on the inside, from the viewpoint of the regular cop on the beat―a profession that can range from rewarding to bizarre to terrifying, all within the course of an eight-hour shift. Written by veteran police sergeant Adam Plantinga, “400 Things Cops Know” brings the reader into life the way cops experience it―a life of danger, frustration, occasional triumph, and plenty of grindingly hard routine work.

In a laconic, no-nonsense, dryly humorous style, Plantinga tells what he’s learned from 13 years as a patrolman, from the everyday to the exotic―how to know at a glance when a suspect is carrying a weapon or is going to attack, how to kick a door down, how to drive in a car chase without recklessly endangering the public, why you should always carry cigarettes, even if you don’t smoke (offering a smoke is the best way to lure a suicide to safety), and what to do if you find a severed limb (don’t put it on ice―you need to keep it dry.)

I have to say that in my forensic work, I have found the latter information about carrying cigarettes to be true. When I used to see patients for evaluations who were angry and threatening, I would ask them if they would like a Pepsi, Mountain Dew or cold water to drink so we could talk about their concerns. After that, they often calmed down and figured anyone with a Mountain Dew or Pepsi couldn’t be that bad.

The book is interesting and filled with 400 things that cops know that might help you with your own safety somewhere down the road. It’s worth a read.