August 2, 2017

Trial By Gunfire

A double shooting happened in Northwest Baltimore last week. I was riding with the officer who took charge of the scene – commonly know as the “Primary” – and got to witness the whole operation.

The main job of the Primary is to control the scene. When a shooting occurs, EVERYONE rushes over. A typical shooting scene has many moving parts:

  • The first responders arrive and begin to assess and render aid. Usually, police arrive first and stabilize until the medics gets there.
  • The next few officers lock down the scene with crime tape and start canvassing for clues, shell casings and other victims.
  • The medics stabilize the victim(s) on scene or transports them to a local hospital.
  • The homicide detectives and crime scene technicians respond and begin their investigation.
  • The scene is processed, photographed and then cleaned up.

As you can imagine, a large amount of people are involved. That’s where the Primary comes in. They become the on-scene coordinator and all information flows through them. This makes for a fantastic learning experience about leadership and crisis management.

Be Helpful

Generally, police officers are Type A personality and like to be proactive. As each officer arrives on scene, they look for what needs to be done. The first officer will check on the victim, the second one will block off the street and start hanging crime tape, the third will start looking for witnesses, and so on…

To be a productive employee, don’t go where you’re not needed. It doesn’t take three people to print a proposal so don’t hang around the printer. Go make another sale or devote your time to a useful activity. Be helpful.

Follow The Leader

The Primary is there to keep things under control. When the homicide detectives show up, they don’t want to hear three different officers telling them parts of the story. Having all the information flow through one source is the most efficient way to process a highly-detailed investigation.

Your boss/leader is there for a reason. One person making decisions is what a company needs. Follow your leader and let them take charge.

Step Up To The Plate

This was only the second time this officer was Primary but that didn’t matter. A job needed to be done and he was there to do it. When there’s 2 bodies lying on the pavement, you learn quickly. Make the call to your supervisor and learn what to do but NEVER back down from a task.

It’s trial by (gun)fire.