Debriefs | Page 2 | MassCops


Discussion in 'Patrol' started by LA Copper, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. kttref

    kttref New Member

    We actually do them in my department quite often. However, like others we don't necessarily call them debriefs. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. Regardless of the situation we want to improve ourselves as officers and as team members. We discuss all aspects of situations which we involved in and work to better ourselves :)
  2. fra444

    fra444 MassCops Member

    A couple of guys I work with and I studdied for this exam in Oct. and we laugh because after reading the books you can point out how many times they go against everything they studdied!!!!!
  3. OCKS

    OCKS Guest

    A lot depends on who your supervisor is, I have had responses range from "great idea" to "patrol officers aren't paid to think".
  4. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    Wow, this amazes me! If this is the case, then I don't blame you for not having supervisors at a debrief. Apparently they forgot where they came from.

    Out here where I work, it is very common practice for all of us, supervisors included, to take part in debriefs. And when necessary, all of us, supervisors included, will "fall on our sword" when we screw up. It's not seen as a bad thing, it's a learning thing.

    What a difference between our departments!

    Supervisors who make comments like, "patrol officers aren't paid to think" aren't leaders, that's for sure.
    Joel98 likes this.
  5. SgtAndySipowicz

    SgtAndySipowicz Supporting Member

    I read through a bunch of the replies to this thread and am going to throw my 2 cents in. Having worked for three agencies in the northeast, I can say that a DEBRIEF is very uncommon here.

    I currently work for a city in MA. I do tend to agree with one of the posters in regards to how Supervisors are picked (MA Civil Service). I have some great supervisors and I have some that are afraid of their own shadow (can't make a decision, doesn't lead). Unfortunately in MA Supervisors are promoted on how well they score on a written test. Basically, someone can hide away in a cruiser during the midnight shift and study for 8 hours (bid on a quiet sector, hope you don't get many calls). You may then have another Officer who bids on the busiest shift (4-12PM at my agency) and wants the busiest car (enjoys doing police work). This Officer will not have much time to study on the 4-12 shift. Any one who has kids knows that studying at home can be next to impossible at times. Now, most likely the Cop who has kids, works the busiest shift and wants to work will not score as good on a written test. However, in my opinion most Cops I know that want to be busy and bust their humps, make for the best Supervisors. Who do you respect more, a bookworm or a guy who is motivated and isn't just about the money etc? Shouldn't an assessment of a supervisory candidate be based on more than a written test? How about other factors being added to the process (such as oral board, work ethic, disciplinary record, leadership skills etc etc).....

    I have observed that (all 3 of my agencies) the monday morning QB is a very common practice. I would think that a DEBRIEF would be a more professional way to handle things (and a great learning tool). In my opinion a lot of guys would rather ridicule someone who may have screwed up (usually behind their back, hardly ever to their face). There is a lot of gossip where I work (and my prior agencies). There is a lot of "I heard that so and so did this....". I would think that a debrief would stop a lot of the childish gossip..........

    My FTO with my 2nd job once told me how as time goes by, I would learn that I could only feel safe with a handful of other Cops I work with. What he meant (for example) was: if you are at a domestic, do you feel safe interviewing a victim because your backup is squared away and is constantly checking for any new dangers? Do you feel safe strictly focusing on the victim because you know your backup is all eyes and ears? Having been a Cop for just about 10 years now, I see what he meant. Anyone else with years of experience probably gets this too. How many times do you go to a call and your backup has his back to people he doesn't know (doesn't know if they are good, bad etc....). You then have other guys who would never let this happen. This is not to knock anyone personally, but I can honestly say that sometimes it's hard to focus on getting the facts because I am more concerned as to what my backup isn't doing. It leads to more multitasking than should be necessary because someone isn't focused. Sometimes guys have to learn the hard way (IE: punched in the back of the head by a suspect etc...). If there were DEBRIEFS couldn't this be brought up as a general topic without "offending" anyone???

    In regards to "swarming" cars with suspects or any scene in general. In my opinion, a FELONY car stop is an uncommon practice here in the northeast. I remember an academy instructor once saying "fools rush in". Here in the northeast we sure look like fools a lot (in my opinion). I have seen the "breaking news" car chase many times. It seems to always be out in California for some reason. When the suspect car stops/crashes, a FELONY STOP always ensues out west. I have seen a couple of live chases in MA (don't seem as common) and when the crash/stop occurs there is a swarm of blue. Luckily, in these live chases that I saw none of the Cops have been injured or killed. Definitly different tactics from coast to coast. I was involved with one chase in particular where shots were fired (I will not get too specific as the case is still open). The suspect car crashed (none of the suspects tried to flee the car) and a bunch of Officers swarmed the car and "assisted" the suspects out to be handcuffed (yes, a handgun was recovered). I guess a debrief could have raised questions such as "was it foolish to swarm and rush in on armed suspects?" or "would a felony stop have worked better?" Again, would everyone involved talking about it be such a bad thing? That true scenerio I mentioned happened and could have ended up in a Cop's funeral......There was no debriefing, just gossip......

    Are debriefs a witch hunt? I see the concerns of some on this website. There are supervisors that will do anything and everything to screw a subordinate. A debrief should not be a witch hunt, but there are Chiefs that could turn a debrief into one. A former Chief south of Boston who recently retired comes to mind. I would hope that the majority of supervisors would use the debriefs as a learning tool because they are concerned about officer safety and the safety of others involved in these incidents. Everyone Cop has made a mistake while on the job. If you say you haven't then you are lying. The question is have you learned from it and taken steps not to do the same thing again? A debrief could help (as a training tool) in ensuring that similar mistakes are avoided in the future....

    In closing, a debrief is a great idea and would make your agency a better place to work. It shouldn't be used as a witch hunt. As long as everyone involved (Chiefs to patrolmen) understands this, I think northeast agencies, most of whom don't seem to use this tool, would benefit greatly. There definitly has to be that trust factor though, kind of like "what is said in this room, stays in this room". It's all about going home safe at the end of the day right? This is a tool that could help make the chances a bit better........
  6. bluesamurai22

    bluesamurai22 MassCops Member

    Yes we have done them a handful of times and they have been very useful. They are not a regular practice in my department only because there is no formal structure to them. In other words, we do not have a threshold as to what constitutes a "major incident" and we do not have anyone who is formally tasked with setting them up.

    Besides contending with fears of speaking up and getting in trouble for not being perfect I think there is also a mentality that there is nothing to discuss when everything goes smoothly. Incidents that are resolved favorably are actually great learning opportunities that are mostly missed.
  7. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    There doesn't have to be a formal structure to them. The majority of the time we do a debrief is right after the incident, back at the CP, over the trunk of a black and white. No one has to be tasked with starting one, although with us the incident commander usually gets the ball rolling and it goes from there. Sometimes we'll do it the next day in roll call if there's no time at the end of the incident.

    The object of a debrief is not to belittle someone, it's to be able to do the job better next time. That means we learn from what we did wrong and what we did right.

    Like was mentioned several times in the "Tips for a new guy" thread, we should always be willing to learn, regardless of how much time we have on the job. There's nothing wrong with improving ourselves, especially in our line of work. It might actually save your life one day.

    If a supervisor tries to use a debrief as a "butt-chewing," then that supervisor is not a good leader and I wouldn't take what he/she says seriously.
  8. PBC FL Cop

    PBC FL Cop Subscribing Member

    We also debrief following most incidents. Even when things go well, there are typically areas which could have been handled in a different way. Without debriefing, everyone leaves with their own opinions and animosity tends to build. Debriefs are the best way to bring everyone’s thoughts and idea to the table so we can learn from both our mistakes and successes.
  9. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    Debriefs aren't just for when something goes wrong, they're also for when it goes right. That way we reinforce the good stuff too. This is not about the negative, it's about making it better for next time so no one gets hurt and we catch the bad guys more often.

    I repeat, this is not about the negative, it's supposed to be a positive thing.
    PBC FL Cop likes this.
  10. BxDetSgt

    BxDetSgt MassCops Member

    LA, Here in NY it will never happen. The attitude is too discipline minded. I have been on the investigative end of many OIS jobs, and they turn into such a cluster with IAB and DA's office involved from the beginning. It is so negative here that we can not officially talk to a shooter until the DA's office decides what to do because of miranda issues. Even if it is an active criminal case, with an outstanding perp, we can only get statements from non shooters. Even then IAB is tryiing to nose in and find out if the kid was wearing white socks during the incident. I wish it were different, but for now we will only have monday morning quaterbacking and and a new patrol guide procedure instaed of a constructive debrief.
  11. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    Hi Bx,

    As a general rule, we wouldn't have a debrief after an OIS either. There's too many potential liability issues that go with them, both for the officer and the department, especially if there are hits.

    If I as a supervisor respond to an OIS incident where the suspect is still outstanding, we will work that portion first and the shooting second. After all if we don't try to catch the suspect, why would we bother shooting at him in the first place?

    Debriefs are for pretty much for every other tactical type incident other than an OIS.
    Joel98 likes this.
  12. NEPS

    NEPS 75th N.H.P.A.

    Because of this thread, I started getting debriefs going. There's no policy. I'm simply pushing for supervisors pick it up as a habit. And as far as supervisors being present, here is how I handle it: I start off the debrief by talking about what I could have done better.
    Joel98 and LA Copper like this.
  13. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    Glad to hear it NEPS, that's cool. Hopefully others at your level will do the same.

    Please keep in mind, debriefs shouldn't only focus on what we did wrong, they're also to talk about what we did right. Either way, the objective is to catch the bad guys in the best and safest way possible in the future. Good luck.
    Joel98 likes this.
  14. SgtAndySipowicz

    SgtAndySipowicz Supporting Member

    I observed some extremely poor tactics the other day upon my arrival to the type of call where an Officer could easily get killed/ambushed. Don't forget your training folks and please use common sense. I don't want to go to any more police funerals........As Elvis once said "fools rush in......" STAY SAFE!
    LA Copper and BxDetSgt like this.
  15. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    This is one of the reasons debriefs should be held. When something goes wrong, a debrief can identify it. We would then talk about it and what other options, if any, would help do it better for next time. Egos and rank have no place in a debrief.

    A debrief isn't always for negative stuff. When something is done right, it's good to reinforce that also to help ensure it would be done the next time.

    Kudos to you for recognizing this. Hopefully others will agree with you.
    Joel98, Hush and SgtAndySipowicz like this.
  16. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    Hi all.

    I thought I'd restart this 8-year-old thread to see if anything has changed over the years. Maybe the older folks on here have improved things at their respective departments, or maybe the newer folks on this site might have something new to add. Either way, there's always something to learn. And yes, the LAPD continues to utilize Debriefs on a daily basis because it's an excellent learning tool.
    Hush, Joel98 and pahapoika like this.
  17. visible25

    visible25 Supporting Member

    So obviously for big scenes there are debrief’s which occur for anyone involved.

    But for smaller scale incidents which aren’t earth shattering, most shifts/lines at my department will do their own internal debrief and discuss what happened and how they responded. The sergeant (sometimes) will also permit the officers to discuss how they would’ve approached it or critique the overall response and ask questions.

    (IE Mass Laws really handcuff us when it comes to juveniles; we have a “client” in town which keeps us busy every so often to include going there for juveniles acting up. Recently responded to a ‘riot’ as described by staff there) Afterwards, that fall was discussed by our line

    Edit: There’s also the occasional viral video which is shown at roll call as what not to do
    LA Copper likes this.
  18. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    Visible, what do you mean when you say, "big scenes?" I'm wondering if we're referring to the same thing.

    Either way, I'm glad to hear that your department does them in some form, that's a good thing.
    Joel98 likes this.
  19. visible25

    visible25 Supporting Member

    Bigger scenes as in a stabbing or something along those lines, which would theoretically be a big investigation or something.

    Whereas those juvenile calls are satisfied by a simple report
  20. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    Are you referring to a stabbing / shooting / homicide crime scene?

    While we may do those types of incidents too, I was referring more to tactical incidents, things such as:
    - Foot pursuits
    - Perimeters
    - Vehicle pursuits
    - Use of force incidents (not including an OIS)

    I don't think I understand the juvenile reference. With us, it doesn't matter whether the suspect is a juvenile or an adult. If he or she is involved in any of the above referenced incidents, we'l debrief it. Am I missing something?
  21. RodneyFarva

    RodneyFarva Get off my lawn!

    For juveniles 11 and under criminal charges can never be filed, but alternatives exist, 51A, Section 12, CRA Child Requiring Assistance. In cases involving juveniles we will take out charges as was done before with the exception of, Disturbing a School assembly, Disorderly Conduct (in a school), Disturbing the Peace (in a school), these school specific crimes can not be prosecuted.

    And contrary to other juvenile reform rumblings and rumors.
    • All these other crimes apply to juveniles anywhere, including school. Officers may arrest juveniles in their presence who:
    • Disturb a library, 272, § 41.2
    • Indecently expose themselves, 272, § 53.
    • Annoy and accost a person sexually, 272, § 53.
    • Drive without a license, 90, § 10.
    • Operate after suspension, 90, § 23.
    • Fail to stop for a police officer, 90, § 25.
    • Trespass, 266, § 120.
    • Break and enter (B&E) with intent to commit a misdemeanor, 266, § 16A.
    • Possess an alcoholic beverage, 138, § 34C.

    Attached Files:

    visible25 likes this.
  22. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    We have similar rules out west for the youngsters. People are considered a juvenile up to 17 years and 364 days, what is it back there? If we're involved with one of the incidents I mentioned above and the suspect is a juvenile who will be arrested when caught, we're still gonna debrief it afterward. I hope it's the same for you guys.
  23. RodneyFarva

    RodneyFarva Get off my lawn!

    Nope still the same shit show mentality.
    "Control! shots fired start me the Union Rep. Oh, and an Ambulance too!"
  24. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

  25. Joel98

    Joel98 MassCops Member

    You’re correct my friend, the only correction I would make is juveniles 12 and under can’t be charged with any crime.
    RodneyFarva likes this.

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