Much of the work of a cop requires cooperation both within and outside of the home department. Few police officers will be successful on the job if they are unable to work as part of a team.
Cop training takes this need for teamwork and coordination into consideration. Many of the simulations that are common in police academy course work and in some college criminal justice degree programs require teams of cop trainees to work through scenarios together, just as they would do so on the job.
SWAT team training is a perfect example of the course work that involves teamwork. Each member of a SWAT team must work in complete synchronization with other members of the unit. In that respect a SWAT team is much like a military squad, where each team member in an ongoing crime situation will be placed in a tactical position. The group moves in precise relation to everyone else, in a tactical manner.
Training for patrol work also involves a demonstration that the trainee can work with a team. In many cases patrol officers will be teamed with a partner, especially in higher crime areas or at night. Even cops that patrol alone must be able to count on backup in case they encounter trouble and assume tactical teamwork in emergencies.
Teamwork is needed with other agencies as well. Training will include information about the protocols for calling in federal officers, getting cooperation from other jurisdictions for an investigation or completing an extradition.
Investigation work is another area requiring teamwork. Often cops will tag team in an investigation process with “good cop” and “bad cop” roles. Sometimes one cop will be responsible to ask questions while the other one observes the suspect’s demeanor.
This kind of training will teach officers the most effective ways for partners to interrogate. In an investigation, the tasks will be split up with some officers involved in gathering the physical evidence, while others interrogate witnesses and possible suspects. The investigating team will need to coordinate with a team leader in order to bring all the pieces together. They will frequently look at all the data together as a team in order to solve the crime.
In much of the curriculum of cop training, teamwork will be one of the underlying values that will determine whether the recruit is going to be successful or not.