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Discussion Starter #1
Police Officers, at least the good ones, are not lawyers with highly trained legal minds that can find, given enough time and billable hours; find tiny nuances in the law that can benefit their clients. As police officers we are required to make split second legal decisions that Oliver Wendell Homes would concur with, do it with the wisdom of Solomon, make sure we didn’t get anybody hurt as a result of our decision, arrest the perpetrator if need be, render and get aid for the victim if necessary, remember everything we did and said and everything everyone else did and said so that in eight or nine hours later we could sit and write it all down clearly, factually, and organized so that Corporal Jahns didn’t have to read our errors at tomorrow night’s role call and our patrol sergeant didn’t write a huge red X on the face sheet and make us rewrite it the next night. Now in my department like a number of other departments, new meat just out of the Academy, assigned to an FTO always worked the Fourth Watch (7:00PM to 3:00AM Wednesday through Sunday). Now once I made decisions that my buddy Oliver and Solomon would be proud of I normally found myself grabbing witness statements, scraps of paper, various pieces of equipment because in a hot division on the fourth watch business was always booming. I would more often than not have to jump in my seat while our car was moving because the Corporal grabbed a call to backup another unit or respond to a “hot tone” (an urgent, usually violent incident) requiring a code three response. Now during the short ride to the next call my mentor, the guy that held my very career in his hands was able to tell me about every mistake I just made on the last call, asked about my progress filling out the FBI job application and what he expected me to do on the current call. He would always add, try not to kill anybody and embarrass the department. And then he would ALWAYS add, try to be nice to the people and smile once in awhile. Now folks can you begin to see why my bother and sister officers might not always be as courteous and courtly as you expect us to be when we arrive? In my city every call seemed like a new adventure. Some guy that was built like a drawbridge was beating the hell out of his wife/girlfriend/bitch/cousin/or boyfriend while consuming very large quantities of beer/wine/or whiskey. You pick the variables and you would be identify any one of a number of radio calls we handled on fight nights i.e. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Not being members of the local bar association our first concern was keeping the little lady or occasionally little man alive and requiring as few as possible stitches and reconstructive surgeries as possible and yes we kicked down many doors, made more than a few entries through unlocked windows and handcuffed, maced, or batoned more than a few combatants before we had the situation calmly, carefully, and courteously explained to us and we had the opportunity to explain to Mike Tyson’s sparing partner why we just destroyed his front door. Unlike in a courtroom a police officer’s priorities are a little different than the mousey little public defender; First stay alive and try not to require a personal hospital stay, get the boys and girls in the big red trucks rolling so they can begin putting Ms. Mike Tyson Sparing Partner back together, try not to hurt the love of her life while rolling around on the floor with human Mt. Vesuvius then somehow get him out of the apartment, past twenty six of his best friends while helping him maintain his dignity in front of his five children who just realized that a nice lady from Child Protective Services is going to take them away to a strange place with strange people, because Mommy is in the hospital and Daddy is spending at least one night in jail. Oh and folks try to remember that even though we rolled as a backup unit my Mighty Muscular Mentor told the Reporting Unit that we would pull the incident number and I would be more than happy to write paper since by tomorrow morning, once the ER Staff puts our Homecoming Queen back together she will probably tell anyone tat will listen that Mr. Wonderful never hit her it was the rude, obnoxious, bastards wearing the dark blue uniforms that smacked her around and they better let her former All American husband out of jail or she would sue the department. Well I can’t worry about that now I gotta make sure I get every officer’s name and serial number for the report, then all I got to do is to remember in minute detail and the correct event sequence exactly what happened or the prosecutor will be really upset when he has to plea the evening down to a noise disturbing citation.

Ok at least Corporal Courageous thinks the blood on his uniform makes him look unprofessional, but I put us out of service back to the station so he can change his shirt. I have got to get my eyes checked, because I can’t see any blood, but I better remember everything that happened during these last two calls or my ass is in a sling. Just then an armed robbery with shots fired is kicked out, but thankfully we’re not going and the description of the shooter and his car is so far off that we will never see it. What the hell, how many chopped black Chevrolets could there possibly be in this city and even if we saw a car like that no self-respecting Hispanic male would own one and even if he did he would never have his buddy along for the ride, hell that seat would belong to his girlfriend. Just as I could imagine the soap and hot water on my hands and face back at the station as I washed the male version of the London Bridge’s sweat and stale beer smell off my skin C.C. yells at me (I decided that Corporal Courageous was the perfect name for my new pal, but C.C. was my own little pet name for the guy.) “What do you see? And what is our exact location?” I wasn’t paying attention and C.C. somehow knew it. Yup we were behind a shiny black Chevrolet chopped and I couldn’t make out the features, but that wasn’t some guys girlfriend riding shotgun. Then C.C. said, “why don’t you let the Chief know what we are doing and where we are doing it while we’re still young, but don’t tell dispatch it’s a felony stop just ask for a slow roll”. OK I’m tired, I’m pumped, I feel really stupid, and I’m riding with an idiot who’s going to stop a car with two guys in it that just shot a convenience store clerk during a beer run. Sonofabitch, where is the FBI when you need them? C.C. lights them up and as I’m about to get out of the car he tells me not to point my gun at anybody just hold it along and beside my leg just in case. Then he reminds me to be sure and smile, try not to embarrass the department and for god sake be courteous. As I walked up to the passenger side of the car I was beginning to gain a new respect for old C.C. The passenger was indeed a male Hispanic and it looked like he had passed out. Too much stolen beer, hey this job is alright I’m gonna get my first two armed robbers. C.C. wasn’t asking for any license or registration information and he was smiling and calling the driver Doc. A moment later I was told not to disturb the passenger and come over and meet Doc. He was a male Hispanic alright, but C.C. knew him. Doc was the head Trauma Room Resident at County Hospital, he passenger was his roommate, another County Hospital Resident, they had just finished a thirty six hour shift, were driving home in Doc Driver’s fiancée’s kid brother’s car and obviously had not had a beer in the last three or four years. Were the Doctors upset, absolutely not, emergency room doctors understand police work better than most people and have had to put more than a few cops back together again. Did we make illegal, racists, profile stop, you bet we did. If it happened today could those two young men file a complaint with the department? Yes they could and we would be sitting with a couple of IA Detectives trying to explain why we just didn’t go back to the station. Would those two young doctors file a complaint today? I don’t think so. Why you ask? Because even though they were both not yet thirty they knew a lot about the world. They knew that cops were not lawyers, or clergymen, or slick salesmen always smiling, or a couple of “good ole boys” from down at the Legion Hall. No they knew that these two cops stopped them because they were driving a car that remotely looked like the car driven in an armed robbery by a couple of local gangbangers who parents came from he same small town in a country south of San Diego. They further understood that some young men that share their Hispanic background join gangs, sell dope, and kill convenience store clerks, but some go to medical school, law school, and god help us become Special Agents with the FBI. They were just glad that a green as grass, former Marine who knew absolutely nothing at the time about being a good cop and an older caring, superbly trained senior patrol officer were on the street that night trying to stay alive, doing a job, and trying to catch a scumbag that killed an innocent convenience store clerk that hadn’t even had time to learn English. If in their attempts to catch the creeps they had to stop a few cars of first class, productive, honest people that were illegally delayed a couple minutes on their way home that was just fine with them.

Every word in the story I just told you is true. It happened to me. I survived and actually managed to, first be called a Rookie and not just a Recruit and after about six months, literally to the day I heard C.C. tell a citizen as he was pointing at me, “Go over there and tell that Police Officer what happened”. That day was almost, but not quit as good as a morning a few years before when an NCO, a Drill Instructor, at Quantico, pointed at me and said, “Good morning sir, how does it feel to be a United States Marine?”
 

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Discussion Starter #2
We Need A Hug Too! (Part Four)

My point is simply this; to the young LEOs reading this always remember you will never win a popularity contest out there on the street so don’t even try, you will never succeed. Just remember what C.C. told me one night just before he bestowed the coveted title of Rookie on me at roll call, “You’ll never get them to love you, but if you expect to wear the same badge I do you had better be working 24/7 to earn there respect and keep it or I’ll take that thing a pull it off your chest. Someday kid you might earn the right to call yourself a Police Officer and if you do then you’ll know it don’t get any better than that!”

My point to all those non-LEOs we are sworn to protect is cut us a little slack. We’re not perfect; our feet are truly made of clay. We are proud of our profession and the overwhelming numbers of us try our best every day to earn and keep your respect. Most of the people we deal with daily are really not very nice. We become conditioned to dealing with lowlifes and scumbags so that when we come into contact with decent, hardworking, law-abiding people like you it is sometimes tough to switch gears as fast as you or we want us too, but we try. You will never see or experience the horror police officers witness everyday in America. You will never know about the small child that officer held in his arms after her sicko uncle molested her. You will never meet the devastated parents of the teenager who was killed in an automobile accident an hour or so before the officer had to tell his parents he was dead. The officer that stops you tomorrow has a reason. He or she isn’t looking for somebody to talk to or be his new friend. He’s just a cop who maybe can still feel that little girl hugging him because that blue uniform is the only safety she knows at the moment. If that officer fails to shift into “I’m talking to a good citizen, a nice man or woman mode” please act more like those two young ER Docs and less like an obnoxious aggrieved taxpayer. I promise you the officer will appreciate it and I’m pretty sure that once you understand the contact you will too. Unfortunately LE is getting more dangerous, more stressful, and at times more discouraging. Honest citizens normally only encounter uniformed patrol officers. Uniformed patrol is the most dangerous assignment an officer can draw. Not only is he wearing a uniform that some crazies consider a target, but he is constantly making car stops and mediating family fights. Every year in America more officers die during these two events than in any other LE activity. Just as I did so many other thousands of men and women graduate from an Academy and are immediately thrust into uniformed patrol. It doesn’t make much sense, but I don’t believe anyone in law enforcement has figured out a better way to fine tuning a new officer. Please remember if your stopped by a young, at times curt, officer like I was just starting out be patient with the lad, cooperate, follow his directions and just before he or she ends the contact look the officer right in the eye and say, “Thank you I appreciate knowing your out here trying to protect both me and my family”. I can almost guarantee that you will stop that officer in his tracks. I can promise you that he will feel better the rest of his shift and when you see his reaction I think you’ll feel better the rest of the day. Come to think of it, if that handsome young officer doesn’t stop your car tomorrow and a slightly overweight, 6’4”, graying haired, not so lean and definitely not so mean former Marine knocks on your door at home or comes to your office and shows you a gold detective commanders badge please be patient with the old guy and just before he leaves you may want to recite the line you were saving for the pretty young lady in that patrol uniform and use it on him. Cause you see that old narc in the dark blue suit, well that will be me and just like every other cop in America from the Chief, Director, or Superintendent needs a word of encouragement from the good people like you that are standing on our side of that very thin blue line.
 

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I am Not LEO,i do work with 2 to 4 each day,and sometimes we get to talk.All i can say about these "hug" post's is,Thanks for writing them.Well done.
 
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