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  1. #1
    queenskid Guest

    Physically small cops?

    Hi all,

    I am beginning the process to try and get into the NYPD, but one thing has been bugging me quite a bit. I am not a big guy! I am about 5'8.5" and weigh appx. 150 - really on the skinny side. Now, I hear all this talk about how policing is mostly mental and how street smarts are more important than being huge - but how true is that?

    Aside from a handful of fights I got into when I was much younger, I haven't done much fighting lately - but every day I look around at all the people I pass on the street and wonder, if the sh&t hit the fan, would I be able to take that guy down? I think the answer to most is NO.

    So, really, my questions boil down to these:

    1. How effective are the DT methods they teach you at academy?
    2. Do any of you work with male cops my size? Are they as effective as larger officers?
    3. Are the tools you are given (Tazer, OC, etc) enough to help subdue a larger individual?

    You can see where I'm going with this - I think I would make a great cop mentally, but I worry about the physical aspect. I'm fast and agile, can climb fences and trees and run with the best of them, but if it came down to a wrestling match with a 6'5" guy, I'm gonna get my butt kicked...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    I got you beat....im 5' 6"- 5' 7" (somewhere in the middle)...and i weight about 130ish...so i can tell you from experience...first off...90% of the time...you have atleast one other person there with you...second...more then half the time...they fear the uniform more then the person...i havent had much problems about people (perps i mean) giving me junk about my size...as long as you got your gameface on...and you can back it up...odds are...you wont have much of a problem...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    The trusty pepper spray should keep your knuckles and kness bruise free. As far as the training goes, it's more of an introduction to basic falls and throws. there are a few guys in my company I worry about, though. They just don't have any heart. It's not really your size- it's your guts. And you can't fake that for long, I think. So we have this guy who's built pretty square- solid looking dude- but as soon as he gets a little winded on the run, he's out. Just hates any pain- he has no heart.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    I was worried about my size before becoming sworn also. But that is the reason why we have a belt full of tools and a ton of friends. I truly believe that you can either descalate or escalate a situation by your deameanor and your voice. Always keep space between you and others, you will have more time to react. Therefore, street smarts can keep you out of fights and still have the bad guy in cuffs. There are some officers that welcome wrestling, and in my opinion antagonize the suspect into it. I'm the opposite.


  5. #5
    queenskid Guest
    Base, you just made my day

    As far as Jackson and K9's posts, I think the one thing I do have is heart. I don't have any problem pushing myself, and I'm actually looking forward to it. I just want this so bad!

    The written test isn't even until February 21, but I've already been driving my girlfriend and friends crazy talking about it. It just feels so far away! Word has it that they will try and rush the Feb test takers into a July academy - that's awfully fast, but I hear they are REALLY hurting for folks now. I'm praying that it's true, because if I have to wait until July 05, I might not make it!!!

    Base: Any advice for training for the PAT? Also, where in Queens are you stationed? I live in the 109, right on the border of the 111. Kinda boring over here

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    I've worked with numerous officers that are smaller than you. Even guys that have gotten into tons of fights while growing up have no idea what its like to get into a fight when you are a copper. You are basically fighting for your life so you are in the same boat as they are. I believe that talking and the tone of your voice de-escalates a lot of confrontations but I guarantee that you will be involved in a few fights in your career. Don't worry about it, just have the heart and guts to never give up, thats all you need because the cavalry will be there to help you in a few minutes.

    I got into a fight the other night with a mental and had my nose broken in the middle of it. He head butted me and I knew that it was broken but I kept fighting until I had him cuffed. He ended up getting the worst of it but was so out of it that he didn't feel a thing. One last thing, there is no better feeling in the world than when you hear those sirens in the background when you are rolling around with someone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    New York City
    I have a friend who's a sergeant in NYPD. He's about 5'4", around 130 lbs. People are surprised that he's a cop. But he knows wushu and can beat the crap out of most people.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    All that has been stated is true, but size and strenghth to help. I am 5'10", 215 lbs body builder type and former wrestler. With a 400 lb bench, i do feel a lot more comfortable man-handling people. A lot of times when you scrap with perps on the street, tactics aren't always available and just brutal strength wins. IN an ideal world, you can always have your OC ready, or back up already there. Strength always helps, can't hurt, so if you are insecure, go hit the gym. I tell you now that you won't learn shit for tactics in the nypd's gym when you are doing DT w/ 500 other recruits at a time. They just kind of touch upon some basic techniques -- no practicals, no too much training in any one thing. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    my department has a small SGT on my shift, but he holds his own as he has been forced to do in the past, but I must say, when one of these street guys wanna do something or think about doing something to a cop, they definately size up their competition. Not to often do we have one of our robo cops get into much of a struggle.

  10. #10
    three quarters Guest
    You might have a problem if someone tells you to put a rollerskate on the bottom of the holster to keep it from dragging on the ground.
    Now my philosophy was always have a partner bigger than me. Makes for good cover.

    OTOH, if you work with a partner smaller than you, well let me put it this way, do you know why you always take a small dog with you when you walk in the woods? If you run into a bear you throw it the dog and run like hell!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    I'm going to agree with the post that state that officers can overcome size with proper training such as defensive tactics, martial arts, and good verbal skills. However unless use are an expert in these skills and maintain your skill level, size will matter. No matter how good your verbal skills are, one day someone will try you. Maybe they're under the influence, or maybe they just don't want to go to jail. Partners are great but if they are only 2 minutes away, they are about a minute too far to help.

    I not saying that you have to be able to bench 400 lbs like nypd but I sure wouldn't mind having him back me up. Again someone knows someone else who looks like superman in uniform but acts like Barney Fife. Others will know someone who looks like Barney but kicks butt like Bruce Lee. These in my opinion are the exceptions. Usually officers who work out are in a better position to defend themselves. They also have less encounters with physical confrontations because people are less likely to try them.

    This post is not to discourage smaller size people from getting into law enforcement, its only to encourage them to work out and get a little size and strength. If you have allready learned the other skills talked about, the size and strength will only help.

  12. #12
    queenskid Guest
    I thank everyone for their wonderful replies - so, taking all of this into account, how would you advise someone like myself to prepare for this career?

    I am starting a gym membership this month (had one a couple of years ago but dropped out of the habit unfortunately) - is there any resources/regiments you could recommend, focusing on close-quarters defense?

    I'd love to hear more replies on the subject as well - I think a lot of smaller statured individuals would find the info useful - also, I'd love to hear some on-the-job stories about overcoming size differentials - they would be confidence boosters if nothing else!

    Thanks everyone, these forums are simply amazing!


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    I'm not a huge guy (5'11" 150). While i've never been a huge fan of hitting the weights, I love to run (and bike and swim). I found that most of the thugs I dealt with had no endurance. The majority of my fights were more like wrestling matches. I always relied on the fact that I would last longer than they would before I just pooped out.

    I also think it's important to be in good enough cardiovascular shape to arrest somebody after you've chased them on foot. I wouldn't want to end up in the position of chasing somebody, only to catch him and be so out of breath that I'm in no shape to fight if need be. While there are the exceptions, most thugs will (SHOULD) be more tired than you are after a chase. True, we carry more weight in gear, but I also don't smoke crack and I run regularly, so no excuses.

    So while we may not be the biggest guys, we can be the fastest and have the peace of mind knowing nobody will outlast us.

    You can't fake endurance!

  14. #14
    wannabecop Guest
    I am also a smaller guy. The way I am preparing is obviously hitting the gym hard with the dedication of wanting to become a police officer my motivating factor. I coud go right now and apply, and probably pass the physical fitness exam, but I am waiting until I can demoralize it! I want to know for myself, that I can handle the physical requirements, so that if one day I do get hired and get into a fight, I will be able to put into it all I have.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    I'm not small actually I'm on the other end of the spectrum 6'5" and weigh about 290. I don't think size matters that much in law enforcement. I do very well in the hands on stuff but if a long foot pursuit is required there are definitely officers that are much faster than I am (and unfortunately crooks too). I think you should try and be the best that you can be in terms of physical fitness that's what is important. I'm working on dropping about 30 lbs, that weight helped when I was a college football player but carrying it around getting in and out of a patrol car all day doesn't help. If you don't have physical size that does mean that you will have to work that much harder at arrest control and other officer safety things because many of the people you will deal with on the street may be bigger and stronger than you. Some of our toughest officers aren't necessarily the biggest but they are the ones who work hard on maintaining their ACT skills and stay in shape. Good luck!




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