Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Police Cadets Warned not to Order the Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

On Monday, 166 cadets graduated from the Philadelphia Police Academy. The week before they graduated, they were indoctrinated into the "Steer Straight" program.

A journalist I know sat in on a few of those sessions. The "Steer Straight" program is designed to educate rookies on how not to get jammed up at work. They were shown videos on what not to do during a high-speed chase or during an arrest, and other situations that could result in dismissal.

Cadets were shown a horrific video titled "Bad Cop" of an officer in Oakland, CA, shooting and fatally wounding a man as he was being held down on a train platform by another officer, who looked like Billy Bob Thornton, and a midget.

“You don’t want to get derailed like that,” they were told.

"It takes one slip to lose everything you've worked so hard for," said Inspector Cynthia Dorsey, head of the internal affairs division.

Veteran officers also warned of mafia tactics and what is known as “Trolling for Jamook.”

“These guys set you up. They get a bad cop to take you to an Italian restaurant. One of the specials is Spaghetti alla Puttanesca. If you order the Puttanesca, you’re screwed.”

“Don’t threaten any Starbucks employees for some free Caramel Frappuccino®” they were warned.

"Don't even think about privacy," District Attorney Lynne Abraham told them. "You are going to have to remember that everybody is watching you."

The Philadelphia Police Department has 6,700 officers. It is the nation's fourth largest force, following New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

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