New officers take their jobs very seriously. I mean, very, very seriously. As time goes on and experience and reality set in this seriousness lessens. Not that an experienced officer isn’t serious about the job it is just that writing traffic tickets aren’t a big deal anymore and losing court cases do bother us as much.
In the early years of my career I remember getting very upset if one of my traffic tickets was thrown out or if I lost a trial on one, probably because the goofball judge knew their attorney if they had one. If the person who got off looked at me and gave me a sneering smile as if they got one on me I got angry inside. My seriousness at that time was nowhere near lots of new officers that I later worked with.
I remember a young officer who took his job way too serious in my opinion. Of course the city would look at it the opposite way as he was a ticket machine. He actually became angry that people would speed “in his town.” Well something recently reminded me of him.
I was at a party and this guy talked about getting his 2nd DUI. He went on to say that on his 1st DUI he had gotten off because his attorney “tore the cop to shreds on the stand.” Now, he was very proud of this and said that when he walked out of the courtroom he gave the cop a look and a laugh and that the cop was “very pissed.” What I wanted to say to him, but didn’t for keeping the peace reasons, was what I told the young officer I mentioned before.
I told the new officer, and subsequent new officers, that you should not take it personally if you lose a case such as a speeding ticket or even a DUI. As long as you did your best so be it. If you made a mistake or they just got off due to an inept judge or State’ attorney then know that at least they had to go through being arrested,having their car towed, not having a Drivers License for an extended time, and, this is the biggie, had to pay all that money(probably $2500-$5,000) for their attorney. I would tell the new officer that yes, the guy got off but paid all that money to be in court while we were all getting paid overtime to be there.
By the time I passed 10 years on the job, there was pretty much no case that I had lost that bothered me at all. And when the defendant would walk out of court and give me the I got you copper smile I would just smile right back!