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These are the top 25 things officers today should know, as reported to Calibre Press.

1. Family comes first. Don't let the job consume you. Ultimately, the only things that matter are the people waiting for you to come home.

2. Take care of yourself and stay fit. Live a healthy lifestyle balanced with physical fitness and nutrition.

3. Continue to educate yourself and TRAIN in defensive tactics. Take on extra training opportunities as often as you can.

4. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. Be prepared for anything. No call is a routine call. Pay attention, especially during boring or repetitious calls. Complacency is the enemy.

5. Maintain your Integrity. The uniform you wear comes with a certain level of integrity that must be preserved.

6. Remember Cover/Concealment. Always be aware of your surroundings (on or off duty). Stay alert and aware of potential dangers in your patrol zones. Know your patrol zones better than the residents.

7. Be aware of body language and non-verbal communication. Watch the hands and eyes during all citizen contact. Hands kill you -- control them.

8. Pay attention to your instinct. If you don't think something's quite right, it's probably not.

9. Be professional and courteous to fellow officers, administrators and civilians. You're being evaluated on- and off-duty.

10. Know the law. Keep up on all changes of the laws and ordinances, as well as court decisions. Keep up to date on search & seizure laws and probable cause.

11. Know your department policies.

12. Mentally prepare. Keep a positive mindset -- "I will go home at the end of my shift." Practice When/Then thinking. "When this happens; Then I will...

13. Practice defensive driving and safe vehicle operations. More officers get killed by vehicles than gunfire. Wear your seat belt.

14. Practice, practice, practice. Train to react and rely on your training. Practice firearms, defense tactics and verbal judo skills like your life depends on it.

15. Have other interests, hobbies outside of your work.

16. Know your strengths and weaknesses, including size limitations.

17. Don't disregard your backup until you're sure you don't need it, and then think through it again. When backing up fellow officers, be the best you can.

18. Know your equipment and take care of it. Be proficient with it and always carry a backup.

19. Always wear your vest.

20. Never underestimate the enemy -- whether young, old, small or large. On every encounter, expect your worst possible adversary.

21. Play the "what if" game in your head so that you are prepared for any situation.

22. Remember the golden rule of handcuffing -- cuff and then search. When searching for a weapon, remember the "Plus One" theory -- if you find one, search for two and if you find two, search for three and so on.

23. Remember to advise dispatch of your location.

24. Practice your communication skills -- writing and speaking. This includes writing thorough and detailed reports.

25. Have confidence in and support your fellow officers. Protect the integrity of law enforcement. We are all brothers and sisters under one badge.
 
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