Roman: The real story of policing is teamwork


When was the last time you told a beat partner thank you?

I’m not talking about an obligatory thank you. I mean a sincere thank you. We run from one emergency to the next and these two simple words get lost in the craziness of police work.

We didn’t get into police work for a “thank you.” Most people got into this career because they felt they could make a difference. From the very beginning, they knew this was a thankless job and personal satisfaction was the only reward.

On Saturday night, we were dispatched to an injury accident in which a pedestrian had been struck. An unlicensed drunken driver lost control of his truck and struck a curb.

After hitting the curb, the vehicle knocked over a concrete light pole and ran over a pedestrian’s foot as other people scattered. It then collided into a large restaurant sign and came to rest on the sidewalk. It was amazing only one person was hit because of the large number of pedestrians that were out that night.

This near tragic story is not about the crash though. The real story is about the teamwork by the other officers at the scene. Everyone at the scene knew the collision investigator was going to handle the call, but the teamwork was the same as always. Awesome.

When I got there, every officer was doing something that they knew had to be done as part of the investigation.  One officer had the paperwork for the driver information that had to be completed. One had a roll-a-tape out to measure the scene. One was interviewing a witness. Another had the suspect detained and was about to start a DUI investigation. Another officer was getting information from the injured parties. Another was doing the impound paperwork.

They could’ve left a lot of that work for the accident investigator to do, but they all took a piece of the pie. My partner and I were the last to arrive because of the distance we traveled after being dispatched. Instead of arriving at a chaotic scene with nothing done, we were like a relief pitcher walking to the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning to close out the game. All we had to do was throw strikes.

This type of teamwork happens every shift I work. I could go on and on by giving examples of the work ethic of the officers I work with, but that would be a book in itself.

Without teamwork, police work would be a lot like roller skating down a cracked and rocky sidewalk. It would be a bumpy ride and not much fun. This blog post isn’t just about the cops on the call I just described. It’s about the teamwork I see each and every night I work. It’s the part the public never sees or even knows about. It’s the silent work cops do every day, who never ask for a thank you. They just go out and do what has to be done. It’s like the old Nike slogan, “Just Do It.”

Thanks guys for the help every night. You make my job easier.

Be Safe.

Editor’s NoteJohn Roman is a traffic officer for an Orange County police agency who writes a blog, Badge 415 ( His posts focus on the human side of police work and safety tips. Roman, a cop for 20 years, has handled more than 5,000 accidents as a collision investigator. will share some of his columns.You can also follow him on Facebook at