Yes, I know it’s been a loooong time, but reading an article this morning really rang my bells and I had to break the hiatus for this.
Here’s the backstory: I spent a year in The Naval Police while on board the USS Enterprise. I started out on patrol, was promoted to Patrol Supervisor, then went into investigations. I did well in all phases, but didn’t really enjoy the patrol part. I didn’t really enjoy the job until I got into investigations…and I was good at it. Good enough that the Security Officer was willing to send me to Navy Investigator School (very unusual for someone who’s actual job specialty was not Master At Arms (What Navy Cops are called)) if I’d volunteer to do another three years on board the Enterprise. I wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice (the Enterprise was, at the time, not a pleasant environment to work in).
At any rate, after I retired from the Navy, I considered becoming a cop. I figured I could endure patrol for a few years and work on being advanced to detective, where I could really thrive in the job.
So, I applied with the Virginia Beach Police Department. I did fine with the process up to a psychological test where you sit in front of a television monitor playing a video of actors portraying scenarios. The candidate is filmed reacting to the scenarios as if he were actually there as a Police Officer and the film of the candidate is evaluated by experienced officers to determine if the candidate has the right psychological makeup to become a cop.
I failed this test and was not advanced. I’ve since been told that it’s very common to fail this test because it’s so subjective and that many candidates have to try more than once before they pass it.
Anyway, after reading this story this morning, I think I finally know why I failed the test.
You see, one of the scenarios presented was of an obviously mentally ill guy armed with a knife in city hall trying to lay claim to the city for some alien civilization that was due to arrive in their spaceships at any time.
I’m pretty sure that this is the scenario that caused me to fail the test, because I didn’t follow standard Police protocol.
I tried to reason with the crazy guy, reassure him that we were there to help him and convince him to put down his weapon so we can work all this out and verify his possibly legitimate claims.
Apparently, I should have just shot him down where he stood. That seems to be the proper Police procedure when dealing with a crazy dude waving a knife around.
I’m often glad that I didn’t make the cut. Between the requirement to shoot crazy people, and the standard procedure of killing family pets while serving search warrants, I really don’t think I’m nearly authoritarian and heartless enough to be an effective cop these days.