Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bad boys, bad boys

I'd like to dedicate this blog to my father for, if it weren't for him, I would not have spent a significant amount of my childhood watching COPS, a fact that I like to think has made my job here much more effective. Working for the Indonesian National Police (INP) has been surreal if nothing else. I do 'research' by watching episodes of Castle and CSI. I prepare for class by downloading Youtube videos on the .38 special and interrogation techniques, looking up newspaper articles on kidnappings, drug smuggling, and murder, and making baggies of evidence and illicit drugs (powdered ginger tea works nicely). 

It has taken some adjusting from teaching grammar to use for things like getting into college and getting groceries to, say, arresting and booking a suspect. 
For example, they need imperatives when it comes to chasing down and arresting a suspect:

Freeze! Don't move! Hands on the car. Hands behind your back. Etc. 

I found out from the students and some of our own DOJ guys training in Indonesia that giving verbal instructions to their own countrymen, let alone English-speaking foreigners, just isn't part of arresting protocol. So,  introducing the subject and giving the language needed to accomplish it was something the students found very useful.

Then, if they intend on playing 'Good Cop, Bad Cop' in the interrogation room, they're going to need 'WH' questions, tag questions, and modals like 'can, could, and would' to add an element of politeness to the person playing the good cop.

Can your tell me where you were last night?

Would you like to tell me why your fingerprints are on this gun?

Could explain what happened that night?






Even simple parts of speech like adjectives are taught under the greater context of witness statements and missing persons reports. Couple adjectives with past continuous to give voice to a victim describing an assailant or thief. 

He was wearing a black shirt and blue jeans. 

The man who stole my purse was driving a red motorbike. 

Recently, the instructors at Sebasa and I decided to let the students get creative and put all of their new English to use. We gave each of four classes a crime scenario. Their task was to write a role-play for the crime complete with the crime scene investigation, arrest, booking, and interrogation. And get creative, they did. Take a look for yourselves:

Scene: During a routine traffic stop, officers believe the man in black played a part in a recent bank robbery. Foot chase ensues. 
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Scene: Police chase down and arrest two men guilty of stabbing another man during a drunken brawl over the victim's girlfriend.

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Scene: A suspect is being booked. Note the bags of evidence from the bank robbery. If you look closely, you will notice the bright orange suction cup darts that represented the bullets in the case. Do you remember those? My brothers and I spent many a Christmas morning shooting each other with them. Ah...memories.  

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When we're not teaching language for policing, we get to go on some pretty fun field trips. Recently, I joined our chief and the rest of staff at a very special group exercise program with the INP Chief of Police. Since Indonesia has national police (as opposed to America where we have local, county, state, and federal police), being invited to exercise with the chief was a pretty big deal. We spent the morning jogging (during which I ran alongside Sebasa's chief while he introduced me to various commanders - I perfected shaking hands while mid-jog) and doing group aerobics with the likes of the bomb squad and other divisions.

Last week, I helped arrange a trip for the students to Jakarta's American cultural center to learn about Policing in America. This man, Mr. Dana Carrington, a 28-year police vet, talked to the students about everything from training to equipment. The students got to use ipads, provided by the venue, to search the internet for answers to police trivia.

I hope this gives you a window into what I do day to day. Roll the theme song...