It's a weird title, and by no means a suggestion or mandate. But I want to preface that I've been in this community for 3 or so years, 2 of which were in PD. In my time I have met a variety of cops. I've seen cops that were realistic down to their core, and cops that are as goofy as a Disney Channel special.
When becoming a cop, the pitfall is often that you have to act and be a certain cop. This is true in some aspects, but is not a template for character or diversity.
To lose as a cop is a weird mindset. But the idea is not. Often times, we are on the side of a criminal in a movie seeing them escape the police, the tension and fear comes from the chase itself and the daring escape. As a cop, we can promote the loss and escape with hints of melodrama, humor, or various other creative means that enhance the situation.
But as a cop, sometimes losing is not just the situation. It is going in with a mindset that you are the supporting character in a person's story and that your interaction should be an obstacle that forces people to find nonviolent and creative solutions that delve into their own character traits and what it really means to be a citizen in a city that is constantly chasing the dollar.
Step One: Know the Audience
As cops, we often see ourselves like many in the city as the character of our own story. But in Hollywood, save for cop movies, police are often the extras and background characters that provide an obstacle for a situation.
When your whitelisted job is to enhance rp, how do we enhance rp in a changing world? The first step is recognizing the reaction of police presence.
A lot of the time, we are told to cite real-life police. However, I believe this is the fallacy. In a world meant to drive storylines and role playing, real life police and precedent is a guidebook but not the simulation.
We use realistic police tactics the same way a critic will say a movie did their research on police procedure. But I feel in this server we should broaden to a variety of cop shows and popular movies involving police. The civilians we interact with want police, but not as we are viewed irl. They want us because we are a plot device.
A moment in the story where the main characters (civilians) are presented with an obstacle (police).
Step Two: Play Dumb
In academy, we are often taught a variety of ways. With experience, we are taught even more. So to play dumb seems counter productive to effective policing. However when taking the Hollywood mind set, it is often the silly and troubled cops that make the most interesting characters.
Reno 911 and Brooklyn 99 both have examples. But the main idea is arriving on a scene, and immediately going against the instinct and playing it out as if you were a rookie. Often in movies, cops will arrive and pull out their flashlights, investigating the scene and collecting clues.
Here are some scenarios to go by:
Scenario 1 - The Creative Drug/Burglar. You arrive to a house. You see a person that is clearly the culprit walking or running around the scene. You can walk up and begin asking questions.
'Did you see anyone here?"
"You live around here?"
Or perhaps make it goofy.
"Citizen! Did you see a burglar? They've ransacked this house for priceless jewels. I know I'm on their tail, the sneaky devil. You can help me right?"
And then let the person come up with a story. If the story shows effort, than you can act convinced and let them go as you "investigate" the scene. This creates an rp experience. The civilian or criminal realizes that they can use a creative story to get out of a situation.
Scenario 2 - The Excuse that Keeps on Giving.
Some people have lame excuses. They'll say they're filming a movie, or working for the SCP foundation, or they are being hired by a random person.
Play along with it. But ask questions that force the person to come up with more details. As a cop, they are presented with an unprecedented obstacle. But they are now being challenged to make a convincing story. If they succeed, they should be allowed to continue with their scenario without being arrested.
Scenario 3 - The Miranda Situation
There are sometimes where we will arrest a person that clearly committed a crime. However, if the person tries an honest effort to come up with various excuses, or tries to act cooperative, than more verbal interaction is better than none. There are individuals that expect and want police to investigate their story.
So sit them down in the interrogation room and investigate. A popular movie scene is the interrogation. The grey room and the onslaught of questions as cops try to pry open the answer from the criminal. These scenes can range from intense to silly and nonsensical. Let the criminal drive how serious they want their interrogation. Better yet, call a lawyer to sit with the criminal and be a third party to the interrogation (also important for their Miranda rights)
Scenario 4 - Cop Sitcom
When the patrol is slow, it is easy to only want to double up with a friend, but like many tv shows, a little friendly banter goes a long way. Reno 911 and Brooklyn 99 often focus on cops sharing their crazy and sometimes nonsensical stories in interesting dialogue. Meeting up at restaurants or mechanic shops and going into intense debate about which car is better, yo momma jokes, or even who can shoot better should build a cop sitcom and make it more interesting for patrol to meet and hang out.
Scenario 5 - The Shitty Situations
Robberies with hostages, shootings at legion, drivebys at Grove, self defense and shootings and harassment. These calls can be aggravating to respond to. My best response is this. If the victims are trying to give an honest effort to RP and talk to police, try to take their concerns as serious as they would in tv shows.
Often in tv dramas, a friend or a family member may get shot as a climax to the show. When that happens, the characters feel they are at a loss of both their beloved and themselves. When the police arrive, there is a tension that the show has taken a dark turn.
As cops, our attitude should be serious, but also attempt to bring out the character's motivations. In a point like this, challenge the witnesses on what they see. This also goes along with the fact that in this part of the storyline, the witnesses are in a period of self doubt. Being challenged now of all times will raise the stakes and bring into question the consequences of the situation.
Scenario 6 - Whitelisted
Tows, Lawyers, FDNY. These are privileges that help expand the story.
The Tow to Share a Beer with - As cops we often get into pursuits and pursuits lead to car crashes. While it is frustrating, the chance a tow will come is an opportunity to delve into melodrama. As a cop, you can play the prideful cop who has ten reasons why the road was bad for them. You could be the apologetic cop, saying they should have done this and that, or you can be the sovereign cop, who challenges the tow that they know what they're doing and proudly declare they applied headlight fluid to their vehicle in the morning. A long drive back where you exchange stories of your hilarious arrests as well as the tow truck drivers' motivations will be one to share a beer with later.
The Lawyer That Won - Lawyers are often pressured to argue an excuse. But as a cop, we often let them negotiate at the tail end. Instead, as soon as a lawyer is available, have the lawyer arrive and talk with the client before questioning. Than, pretend to go hard on the lawyer and client. Interrogate them and let the lawyer defend their client. At the end, reduce the charges and the lawyer's story is enhanced. They are now the unexpected hero in a dire situation.
"Doctor, is that suppose to look like that?" - FDNY are trained experts in all parts of the human body. Therefore, puns, and often innocent questions can be a great icebreaker with EMS. Play the cop that asks EMS if a snapped femur is bad or if it could be healed overtime. Go into a long winded explanation of how you were a pro soccer player and saw injuries of this caliber. For more serious situations, create a sense of tension. Your sentences are short. You're scared. You had to fire your gun. The guy is talking but he's getting pale. FDNY is now thrown in as an unexpected hero in the story. How are they going to bridge this gap.
Scenario 7 - Trivia Night
Cops are viewed as the challenge. So how better to challenge someone than trivia? It often forces people to look into a topic they weren't prepared for. Plus it creates a conversation that leads to something unrelated to crime.
At the end of the day, there are a variety of different cops to be and they are as diverse as the criminals we pursue.
It is hard to separate one's cop from the character of their own story. We often wish for a cop oriented tv show where the police always get their man. But the better paradigm shift is to see a tv show where cops are introduced during a climatic situation. There are many movies and shows where cops are often guest stars that either make a situation more serious or more hilarious depending on the civilians that are involved.
This is by no means the right way to RP. But it focuses on verbal judo. And the power of getting people to make a story and focus more on storytelling vs flight or fight responses.
There is a time and place for every situation, and some situations won't apply for any of the above. So take these tips as you will.