Most of us spend a third of our lives or more where? In the bedroom. But how many of us, feet held to the fire could draw a rough diagram of everything in the bedroom to the best of his or her ability? How many of us could make a reasonably rough sketch of every picture, photograph, or wall hanging in the very spot where we spend vast amounts of our time? Grab a couple sheets of blank paper right now and try it for yourself!
The Power Of Observation
Picture the bedroom as you remember it and then compare your accuracy next time you’re in it. The other day after a night of slumber and before I opened my eyes, I thought to myself… Now which wall does the wife have that huge painting, that lovely calming painting, which I’ve seen literally thousands of times? I actually didn’t know immediately which wall it was on or what the heck the scene the painting portrayed. Pretty embarrassing, but so many of us are so oblivious to most of our surroundings even if they’ve been our surroundings since Chester Alan Arthur was president.
It’s humbling, I tell you to be so totally bereft of truly developed observational skills. You know it as Sgt. Adam Plantiga wrote so eloquently in his book “Police Craft; What Cops Know About Crime, Community and Violence” – a trained observer who is serious about stopping street crime must be in tune with the fashions, styles and accessories of the day. Because you will look at an endless assortment of suspect clothing, hairstyles and accoutrements in surveillance footage and crime scene stills.
Little Things That Make Your Case
And since criminals don’t regularly change their clothes between offenses (either because they’re homeless or because they just like to stick with an outfit that works for them) you can often match the clothing and appearance in a crime alert with the clothing and appearance of the suspect. When you arrest him, you have to be able to differentiate between Sean, John and Rockoware. Is that teal ball cap from the San Jose sharks or the Jacksonville Jaguars? Are those new Jordans? Look, that guy has a rat tail at the back of his head in the video and so does this fellow. Is that a glimmer of a hoop earring, a light spray of freckles, a hook shaped scar, a Roman nose, a lantern, jaw over sized ears, a Crimson birthmark, a moon face then or bushy eyebrows. It’s the little things that add up that can make your case.
Seeing The Obvious
Now – you drank it all in. You’re a haberdasher jeweler, Taylor cosmetologist, and cobbler. You’re a man or woman for all seasons. And then there are those humiliating occasions where you miss the most obvious elephant in the room or not in the room.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip.
After dinner and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.
“Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”
Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.”
“What does that tell you?”
Watson pondered for a minute.
“Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.”
“Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo.”
“Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three.”
“Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant.”
“Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.”
“What does it tell you, Holmes?”
Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke: “Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent!”
So in closing, How did you do with the bedroom test and what grade do you give yourself for powerful or pitiable observational skills?
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And while you’re there, let me call your attention to Volume Eight Program Two in which a young cops, tremendous observational and intuitive skills help officers find not only a million dollars in hidden drugs, but also two out of state murderers on the lamb.
Come back for another visit soon and we promise you we’ll hear stuff you never ever learned at the Academy exclusively from in the line of duty.
— Ron Barber