Old School Thoughts
by Steve Hodel
LAPD Hollywood Homicide Detective
New York Times Best Selling Author
California's infamous 1947
Black Dahila murder went
unsolved for decades; until,
former LAPD homicide
detective turned private
investigator Steve Hodel
launched his own
This short article is written for all of you who have
recently chosen a career in or are about to become
a part of the law-enforcement community.

First, let me say congratulations!  You are about to
embark on an exciting and highly rewarding
profession. No other “job” can compare to the life
of a cop. In the months and years ahead you have
chosen to dedicate your life to protecting and
serving others. Your work in “the streets” will bring
you: high-excitement, physical and mental
challenges, true and lasting friendships, immense
joys and a few sorrows.    

As the years fly by, both your professional and
personal life will be tested in many “trials by fire.”  
Time and time again, personal temptations will be
presented. Remain true to yourself and your oath
to serve the public, and you will succeed and
experience enormous satisfaction.  

Here are a few bullet point suggestions to keep in
mind based on my fifty-years of experience in
criminal investigations and in dealing directly with
“the public” which includes the best and the worst
of humanity:

•        In all your calls and responses for public
service be careful be safe. Especially in responding
to domestic disputes. Those are often the most
dangerous call you will ever receive.
•        In dealing with the public be neutral—be
fair.  Treat all citizens the same. Respect the
individuality of each citizen and his or her needs.
•        Control your emotions under stress. If you
are truly in control, others will sense it and respond
accordingly.  If it is genuine, you will be recognized
as having a “Command Presence”, which will serve
you well and naturally defuse and de-escalate
volatile situations.
•        Do your best to avoid the traditional “Us and
Them” mentality.  Police work is hard. Bonding with
fellow officers is natural and beneficial, but always
keep in mind the criminal element you are in contact
with is relatively small compared to the overall
citizenry. There are many good people on the
streets and “in the mix.”
•        In addition to your brother and sister
officers, try your best to integrate your personal
social life with men and women of other
professions, so as not to lose perspective.  Keep a
•        Be honest! Never lie on a police report and
never perjure yourself in court to protect a brother
officer. If you do, it will come back to bite you—
•        Avoid peer pressure. If you see a fellow
officer engage in an act you know is wrong—do not
join in. Sounds simple, but oftentimes it is not.
Again, be true to yourself. In LAPD’s early days of
payoffs and corruption honest cops were known as
“square apples” and while dirty cops avoided
partnering with them, yet they still maintained an
unspoken and lasting respect.
•        In interrogations with suspects always be
objective and in control of your personal feelings.  
“Good cop - Bad cop” only works in movies. Leave
your “attitude” outside the interrogation room door.
Use sugar instead of vinegar. A simple jester such
as complying with his or her request for a cigarette
or a drink of water may get you a full blown
confession to a rape or murder. It has worked for
me on many occasions.
•        Finally, you should know that the use and
display of empathy and compassion in your role as
a public servant are not signs of weakness. Rather,
they are signs of strength. They signal to your
public that you are there to protect and to serve
and that you are firm, but fair.

Good Luck. Enjoy your life of service to others and –
stay safe.
Police Author
Steve Hodel
Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker