Lt. Dan Marcou
Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

ROD is a term generally used for an uninspired officer who strives greatly to avoid work. It stands for “Retired on Duty.” However, there is another type of “ROD” much more prevalent in law enforcement. This officer is still excited by every shift, which leads to a performance that often is “Remarkable on Duty.” Here are some traits shared by these officers.

1. They constantly try to find trouble before it finds those they are sworn to protect.

“Remarkable on Duty” cops are regularly referred to as “sh-t magnets,” because trouble always seems to find them. However, the opposite is true. They actually seek out trouble. This officer hits the ground running each shift using knowledge, experience and powers of observation to spot trouble. Once found, the officer effectively and legally deals with trouble before it causes great harm.

These officers sometimes spark criticism rather than praise by commanders for generating overtime after making a felony arrest, or hooking up an impaired driver 10 minutes before the end of their shift. They can’t help it though, because to put it simply, they are working cops.

2. They stay calm when others run screaming.

Cops appearing calm under great stress are so common that it is almost unremarkable, but that’s what makes it remarkable. It’s important to note that both “Retired on Duty” and “Remarkable on Duty” cops will often both shine on “hot calls.”

3. They stay controlled, when others would be enraged.

These days it is very common for people to be shocked, offended and outraged by mere words. In contrast, the “Remarkable on Duty” officer is like a granite rock, able to weather a withering storm of words seemingly unphased, yet ready to respond appropriately in an instant.

4. They show the same respect to a “derelict” as they would a CEO.

It is rare that a cop would meet a CEO on the street, but they deal with many whose lives have fallen on hard times. The concept of treating those who – some would call “bums, dredges and derelicts” – with dignity and respect is nothing new. Over 2000 years ago, another remarkable person, Jesus of Nazareth, said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

In today’s environment, where rudeness runs amuck online, on TV and on the street, “Do unto others…” contrasts so starkly with the current norm that it serves the street cop like a superpower.

5. They understand and respect the limitations of the constitution and the law and abide by them.

One thing that makes American policing unique in the history of the world is the United States Constitution. For “Remarkable on Duty” officers, the U.S. Constitution and case law outline their field of play. Like a great running-back in football, great officers know how to use the entire field to get the job legally done. However, unlike the great running back, he/she never knowingly steps out of bounds to accomplish a task.

6. They are able to back up their words with righteous action.

Throughout history, “Remarkable on Duty” officers not only talk the talk, but also can physically walk the walk.

7. They only fight the good fight.

Part of doing the right thing involves knowing what the right thing is. The “Remarkable on Duty” officer educates and regularly updates themselves on policing issues to be the consummate professional. They know the dimensions of their authority so that when they make an arrest, it is a legal arrest. When they have to fight, they are always fighting the good fight.

8. They tell the truth, even when it can hurt their case.

So many people nowadays play loose with the truth. Great cops set the standard for truth telling. When officers raise their hand to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, it means they will do so even if it may hurt their case.

Credibility is the currency of the “Remarkable on Duty” officer. However, from my personal experience, a cop telling the truth under oath remains the rule rather than the exception.

9. They look the part of the professional.

When an officer arrives at any scene they are being judged on sight by complainants, victims, suspects and witnesses. Looking the part means being physically fit, wearing a uniform that is sharp and communicating like a professional. It is all of that, but so much more.

It also means, if an arrest is made, these officers are so well trained in tactics that the suspect, onlookers and media pundits would have to draw the conclusion they are a pro. If force must be used, the “Remarkable on Duty” officer will be imminently prepared for the moment. They will use defensible techniques to overcome resistance and look good doing it.

10. They inspire others to aspire.

New recruits immediately identify and avoid “Retired on Duty” cops, but they identify with and are drawn to “Remarkable on Duty” cops. At the beginning of their careers, all recruits want to be great cops so they aspire to be like those who are “Remarkable on Duty.” Hopefully all your field training officers fit into this category.

The Key Element

It is important to note that there is only one element that makes the difference between a “Retired on Duty” officer and a “Remarkable on Duty” officer: Desire!

Most “Retired on Duty” officers possess knowledge, skills and experience. They only need desire to be remarkable once again and back on their original path of excellence they set off on as recruits.

Now isn’t that remarkable?

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