Getting Better: Crazy traffic, unique badges, ‘cop speak’

Trooper Steve gives inside look at life on front lines of law enforcement

ORLANDO, Fla. – Steve Montiero is no stranger to Central Florida.

The Osceola County native, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper and News 6 Traffic Safety Expert knows local roads inside out. He also offers a unique perspective to the journalism done at News 6. That perspective includes understanding what goes into law enforcement training, response and what some of us at News 6 call “cop speak.”

So, what is “cop speak?”It is the language mostly used in police reports or during news conferences by law enforcement.

On this week’s episode of Getting Better with Kirstin O’Connor, Trooper Steve broke down law enforcement reports and why they are written a certain way.

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“You go through these report writing classes through the academy, and it never hits you as to why you are learning to write like this. Some people will want you to write in third person. Others will be like ‘just tell me a story.’ Others will be like ‘Hey, just give me the facts,’” Montiero, who has written hundreds of reports said.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to creating a report.

“That goes to perspective. Who is your supervisor, what do they prefer and how do they want you to write,” Montiero said.

The stories viewers hear on News 6 or read at are written more casually and in an easy-to-understand way. This is because our team of producers and reporters are going through these documents line by line, looking for critical information and nuggets to help tell the story.

Montiero said that the verbiage in those reports is meant to help with the case.

“As a cop, we’re thinking about the attorney (that is) going to help me prosecute this case. I’m thinking about the judge that could be hearing it,” Montiero said.

He also explained law enforcement is thinking about the other side, the defense attorneys.

“They will pick apart a report. Why? They need to defend their client and if there are certain words that can be used for multiple definitions, they’re going to get you,” Montiero said.

One of the reports Montiero and O’Connor discussed during this week’s episode is about a man accused of impersonating an officer to get a discount at a Wendy’s. Turns out, Bunnell Police said, the man flashed a badge for a concealed weapons permit.

Montiero explained, the badge is not a requirement, it is more of a memento.

“You know (when) you get participation certificates or appreciation stuff, and they give you a piece of paper? That’s what this is,” Montiero said.

As a state trooper, Montiero carries his own badge. If you take a closer look, you might notice a unique tribute to the Sunshine State.

“If you take the Florida Highway Patrol badge and turn it upside down, it’s an orange. If you look at the bottom of the (Florida) Highway Patrol badge, there’s orange blossoms on the bottom. When you turn it over, it’s been plucked from a tree,” Montiero said.

The badge of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper looks like an orange when turned upside-down. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Click on the video above to watch the entire conversation.

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