Anyone can get lost on patrol from time to time, it happens to the
best of us...Veteran and rookie alike. Even Daniel Boone, while exploring
the unknown forests and the fertile meadows of Kentucky once wandered
around for five days and nights without having the slightest idea where he
was and had a tough time getting back to Wilderness Road and Main Street.
Police officers are no different and have been known to find
themselves 'a mite bewildered' or totally disorientated when trying to get
back to headquarters in time to go off duty. Should you ever find
yourself lost while on patrol, it is important for you to know what to do
and how to act professionally in such a situation.
The main thing is to stay calm, take it easy and don't panic! Stay
off the radio no matter how much you want to call in a "Mayday!Mayday!"
Attempt to reason your way out. Search for the major highway, flip a coin
and decide which direction to follow, Never talk to strangers, they are
probably lost, too. Try to remember where you were last. Recall the
exact moment when you were not lost. Think things out, plan ahead.
Try to remember the telephone number at headquarters, if not, call the
operator and she may be able to help you out. Never admit that you are a
police officer, no matter how tough an interrogator she is. Utilize your
Miranda rights. Never stray from your patrol car, there could be lions
and tigers and bears out there in the darkness.
While on patrol it is wise and proper procedure for patrol units to
travel in packs, there's safety in numbers. Form a convoy whenever
possible, stay together at all times. Eat together and sleep together.
However, should you become separated, always let them find you. There are
always more of them and only one of you, so your chances of being found
are much better! Remember, and have faith, that if someone wakes up and
discovers that you are missing, he or she may try to find you.
Always play the odds, continue driving only if you are sure no one
will find you. Follow the cardinal rule, never run off in the darkness
screaming like a woman in labor, it's bad for our image. Think positive.
Humming helps, or count as high as you can, then start all over. Think of
a color, a favorite teacher, friendly butterflies, your dark closet, or
that special blanket that you sleep with at home.
Keep in mind that you have a badge, a gun, extra ammo, a nightstick,
a pocket knife. a new police car, a full tank of gas, a spare tire and
jack, a First Aid kit, and if you're lucky a map. Ask yourself, "What
would John Wayne do in this situation?" Use your initiative and Academy
If you think that you will not be found before your tour of duty
ends, simply kick off your shoes and snuggle up comfortably on the front
seat. Surer than sure, a supervisor will come upon you when he wakes up.
In the event you have to leave the car for any reason, to look for
food, water, or the coffee truck, leave your roof lights on, just in case.
Better yet, never go out on patrol alone until you have developed basic
pathfinding skills or until you have been on the job for at least ten
years and have committed to memory a minimum of seven travel routes back
Remember, any police officer can become lost on patrol, but only a
rookie is late going off duty!