By definition, criminals operate “out from under authority.” And they’re constantly trying to get the police to step out there with them. They will push every button you’ve got until they get you to react to them out of your own pride and ego. And once you step out into their territory, they’ve got you right where they want you.
It’s the classic challenge to a police officer’s authority. You’ve all heard it. It goes something like this: “You wouldn’t be so tough if you took that badge off!” Regretfully, some officers will figuratively take their badge off and answer the challenge. A few of them will literally take their badge off and engage the criminal at their level.
To resist this challenge, remember what you represent: the law, the Constitution, the agency, your Chief or Sheriff, the standards of the police profession. Ultimately, you represent the people. The one thing you don’t represent is yourself. And the minute you think that you are out there to represent your goals, your agenda, and your ego, is the minute you set yourself up for a major ethical failure. This is the fundamental teaching of the Dynamic of Authority, the cornerstone of the Police Dynamics program. Watch this video on the Independent Spirit for more information.
Operating under authority is essential to building trust and accomplishing the police mission. It means: if the criminal is pushing your buttons, make sure you don’t have any buttons without “button covers…!”