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And on the dance floor broken glass
And bloody faces slowly pass
The numbered seats in empty rows
It all belongs to me you know – lyrics from The Who
In the quiet moments some of the things I’ve seen as a police officer come back to me.
There are many different calls that you take as a police officer. Welfare checks, traffic accidents, domestic disturbance, suspicious activity, fight calls, a fight call that turned out to be a homicide, loud party, and the; “I didn’t get the hamburger I wanted at the drive-through window.”
Each of those calls presents their own problems but the calls I hated most were the incomplete calls or kiddie calls. The incomplete call was a mystery. Most police officers do not like mysteries, at least I didn’t. The caller had hung-up on the 9-1-1 dispatcher and you were sent to find out why. You never knew what to expect.
Kiddie calls could mean a descent into the pit. Trying to comfort a child, and then wishing an adult would resist arrest is not very good for the psyche. The child has experienced enough violence and your desire to play a little catch-up with the parents isn’t going to help the child. Someone has to represent what an adult should be and that is you.
One night I was on a kiddie call as one of four officers that examined rope burns on the necks of two children. On that call four of us counted the cigarette burns on their arms. Those children were about five and three-years-old. Three police officers that didn’t say a word to their parents. One police officer questioned the parents and then told them they were under arrest. Four police officers who were lost in their own thoughts, and they were not very nice thoughts. About an hour after that call I pulled someone over for a traffic violation. When I walked up to the driver’s window the driver said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?” My reply was I did about an hour ago.
I walked back to the driver and handed him his cite. I said “I cited you for running the stop sign. Your court date is on the ticket.” He told me, “I’d like to discuss this.” I told him that he could discuss it with the judge in traffic court. The inevitable I want your badge number comes next. I told him my name and ID number was at the bottom of the ticket. As I walked away he exclaimed: “I’m not done yet.” I replied, “Sorry I’ve got to find something better to do-like getting a cup of coffee, parking the car someplace, lighting up a cigarette, staring into the night, and waiting for Officer Friendly to reappear.”Published in