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In my forthcoming police procedural novel, A Woman of Valor, the main character (Valorie) gets trained by an older, more experienced officer, Sergeant Gil Krysinski. Among other things, Gil explains to Val what he considers to be the “Four Types of Cops” (see the table for a summary):

Type One:  the “Soldier”, or what’s known as a ‘Cop’s cop.’ That’s the ideal kind, in Gil’s view. Soldiers have each other’s back, no matter what. They’ll put their own neck out on the line for their brothers—and sisters—in any situation. They’ll always have your back and can always be trusted by fellow cops. Gil strives to be a Type One, or Soldier.

Type Two:  the “Savior”, or the victim’s cop. Those officers put the safety and welfare of potential victims above all else—including fellow cops. Citizens, he says, expect all cops to be Twos. While many cops are a mix of Soldiers and Saviors, the big difference comes in a life-or-death situation. Soldiers always back up their comrades in blue. Saviors, he says, will sacrifice themselves, and their partners, to save a crying baby.

Ideally, every police force would be a mix of Soldiers and Saviors, and every officer would know which “Type” their partner is. However, that’s not quite the case, he says. There are two more types, not quite as ideal, in his world view.

Internal Focus External Focus
Healthy
perspective
1: “Soldiers
Cop’s Cop
2: “Savior
Focus on Victims
Unhealthy
perspective
3: “Survivor
Focus on themselves only
4: “Avenger
Tunnel vision on
catching the perps

Type Three: The “Survivor.” All they care about is making it through the day. They avoid any kind of risk or change and never step up to do anything outside of the bare minimum. All they want to do is survive long enough to collect on his pension. Survivors view citizens, perps or otherwise, as obstacles to get around.

Type Fours: “Avengers” are almost the extreme opposite of Survivors. They’ll do anything to get their perp. But Avengers can lose focus, and forget what’s important, he says. They get so gung-ho about finding their perp, they start to bend rules, and, like Survivors, take shortcuts, albeit for a different reason. Like Saviors, they’re passionate about their work, but sometimes they get such tunnel vision, they even forget about their victims.

Survivors and Avengers, he says, are the ones that give cops a bad name. They employ tasers and pistols as the easy way out—a lazy cop’s answer to the hard job of police work. But because Avengers are so zealous, they’re the most dangerous, in Gil’s view.

What do you think of Gil’s four types? Do you think he’s summed it up well, or has he oversimplified?

And, what types of cops do you tend to encounter?

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