"If they don't pay for them, I'm not getting them."
You may have heard this before referring to business cards. The source
was probably that older, saltier, grouchier guy counting down the final
months until he pulls the plug on his twenty-five.
Unfortunately, he sells others on his philosophy, and that’s a real
shame. This thinking comes from a time where guys were making thirteen
grand a year between working as a cop and the side job.
But that's not the case anymore. Hopefully, we're getting rid of this
mentality and building on the successes of our predecessors. And one of
their most important successes was to begin professionalizing law
Business cards are an absolute essential for anyone wanting to be taken
seriously as an accomplished member of any profession. (And we're not
talking about those generic, schlocky,
fill-in-your-name-on-the-empty-line cards either)
While some departments supply their officers with business cards, most
do not. And with the economy continuing its decline, there is little
chance that this will change any time soon.
But it doesn't have to change. If your agency doesn't supply them, go
out and get them yourself. Chances are you have a print shop in town
friendly to their local cops. Even if you don't, the purchase is tax
If you're still that reluctant, consider some of the benefits of having
1. Enhances Image of Officers and Department
A professional looking business card is an
ambassador to a professional officer and a professional agency. If
you want to be taken seriously by attorneys, business owners, civic
organizations, and other professional organizations, you have to
play the part.
2. Promote and Brand Yourself
Making a good name is extremely important in
law enforcement. Whether it be for aligning yourself for lateral or
upward movement, building credibility in the legal community, or
just making a name for yourself as a great cop, business cards get
your name out there.
3. More Formal Letters and Commendations
How many times has someone told you a story
about a great interaction with an officer but did not know the
officer's name? Chances are, one of your encounters was described
similarly to another officer and your name was forgotten.
Despite what the media says, the great majority
of interactions between law enforcement and the public are positive,
often surprisingly positive to some who expected the worst when
dealing with police. Many citizens would like to send a letter, an
email, or at least describe your encounter to a council or committee
person but can't because they don't remember your name.
4. Helps Make us More Friends!
"Sir, here's my card. If you get any runaround
when trying to pick up a copy of the report, give me a call." How
far do you think that kind of gesture would go with most people? At
a time where our collective approval rating is on the lower side, we
need more friends, more allies. Whether your motive involves better
contracts, better juries, better citizen review boards, or just
better law enforcement, the way to accomplish all of them is through
better relationships with our communities.
5. More Hooks, More Contacts, More Information
Law enforcement is all about who you know and
how many people you know in all levels of society. When ordinary
citizens come across extraordinary information, they often do not
know who to call and don't want to blindly call their local station
or precinct. But they will call that cop who was nice and helped
them out last year. Becoming known as the officer who knows
everybody and always seems to come up with unique information is a
great way to further your career.
It is suggested that you check with your agency before placing an order
to see if there is a uniform format.
The alternative to having business cards is ripping a piece of paper out
of your smart book and writing your name on it. But, hopefully, we’ve
made a good pitch, and you’re on board.