Did I earn my police pension?
I will respond using some of my memories.
THE PERENNIAL, ‘MAN-WITH-A-GUN’ CALL
A group of officers and I chased a man with a gun into an alley at about 0400 hours on a steamy summer night. We had him trapped in one of the backyards, but repeated searches provided no prize.
I began re-checking the same yards using my super bright, high-intensity, blinding flashlight. (You know the type: they are forbidden under department policy because they will fry an egg at ten feet.)
While illuminating a row of thick bushes along the fence line, a sudden flash reflected back at me. It came from the chrome barrel of a 25 caliber semi-automatic pistol. I shouted for the offender to show his hands.
That prevented a full magazine of Remington 45’s coming his way. Thirty seconds later and all were safe.
As simple as this scenario was, we have all survived many of these on the road to retirement. I like to tell people I earned my pension in about thirty seconds that early morning.
OUR STRANGE LIFE THAT NO ONE ELSE WOULD WANT
There is a longer and more common answer to the ‘pension’ question:
- We fought with the guy who tossed the Christmas tree out his front window.
- We hid under viaduct avoiding the celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve.
- We celebrated Christmas, Mother’s & Father’s Days by sending the inevitable suicide victim off to the coroner. We presumed everyone celebrated their holidays that way.
- We dodged eggs on Halloween.
- We fought with the druggy son and the alcoholic father.
- We body-bagged the rotting corpse after the unforgettable heat wave.
- We searched garbage cans for missing children.
- We ran with lights & siren as we raced at the speed of sound taking injured coworkers to the trauma center.
- We attended the funerals of our brothers and shed a million tears of a child.
- We missed all types of family functions: holidays, weddings and birthdays.
- We couldn’t attend activities for our kids: baseball, football and volleyball games and, of course wrestling matches.
- There were parent-teacher meetings and school plays that we never were able to attend, either.
The common family functions were abnormal to us and sleeping seemed like another person’s privilege. To boot, we all worked second and third jobs so our families could live like normal people.
When people see me and ask about my pension, I quietly nod my head and simply say, “I earned it.”
To all my brothers and sisters in blue, lock and load and protect each other. And as always, stay safe.
“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “
We couldn’t agree more.
Larry enjoys hearing from his readers – EMAIL
Check out Larry Casey’s website at www.StoriesofaChicagoPoliceOfficer.com and review his book by the same name.
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