The police interview is one of the most daunting parts of the police test. During that test, you will be asked two categories of question:
Direct answer questions are – as the name suggests – questions that require a clear, concise, and direct answer. It’s a single question and that’s it.
The dynamic question format is different.
Here, you are asked a series of questions on one topic. These questions test your ability to think of an ongoing, developing scenario on your feet (or sat down, in the case of the oral board).
There are five reasons why dynamic questions are used:
Preparing for dynamic-style questions is challenging because questions are asked based upon the answers you give. It’s quite easy, then, to “slip up” and say something you wouldn’t otherwise have said, if not for the pressure.
You need to stay calm, offer clear and rational responses, and remain articulate throughout.
Below, we offer an example of a dynamic-style question series that examines how you respond to a situation when an officer is down.
Interviewer: “You are on patrol in Springfield, Alabama when a dispatcher informs you that an officer is down and that shots have been fired. You are of course given the address.
How should you react?”
You: “I would instantly drop what I was going and head to that destination. I would sound the siren, activate emergency vehicle lighting, and continue to talk with the dispatcher about any ongoing developments. Furthermore, I would think through how I was going to deal with the situation when I get there”.
Interviewer: “On route, you discover that you now have a flat tire. What should you do?”
You: “I need to change the tire, so I would first contact the dispatch team to let them know of the problem…” (Interrupted)
Interviewer: “But you happen to be in a zone where communications are not possible to make?”
You: “I would continue to change the tire and drive toward a zone where communications were possible…” (Interrupted)
Interviewer: “You discover that the toolkit to change the tire is not to be found in your squad car. Now what?”
You: “In this situation, where an officer is facing a life or death situation, where I cannot contact the dispatch team to warn them of my problem, and where I cannot change the tire, I would have no choice but to continue to drive with a flat tire until I reached a zone where communication became possible”
Interviewer: “Okay, thank you.”
You may notice that we did not mention “commandeering” a nearby vehicle – meaning taking possession of a passing vehicle for policing purposes. This is not considered standard practice and so this type of answer should be avoided.
When answering questions such as this, try as best possible to stick to the situation as detailed by the oral board panel.
You must not crumble under pressure during the police officer exam.
After all, that is why dynamic oral board questions are asked. You must remain calm, focussed, clear in thought and action, and respond to each question in a swift and decisive manner.
Furthermore, you must avoid:
Remember – the oral board panel is not searching for the most perfect answer. However, they are searching for an individual who can:
You must stay relaxed throughout, avoiding the pitfalls we’ve discussed and listed above.
If you follow these primary criteria, you will find dynamic-style questions much, much easier.
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