We’ve all seen ‘em. Cops who are on the job who should be … elsewhere. I think back to some of the words I’ve heard used over the years …

Busted

Broken

Crippled

Damaged

Useless

 

LIKE A PENCIL WITHOUT A POINT

The public watches the Cop Shows: COPS, NCIS, CSI, Live PD and others.  Young cops who win every gunfight, chase down and catch every asshole on the run. Too bad it’s not real.

They probably gets good ratings.

Viewers got really excited watching car chases (through the streets of San Francisco), gun fights, brawls, foot pursuits over fences and a whole host of other obstacles.

Cop work is a young man’s job.

I recall during my academy one of the instructors say that, “Cop work is 7½ hours of boredom mixed with 30 minutes of sheer panic.”

Most civilians don’t realize that, in real life, when a cop collars (a/k/a arrests) someone, it is typically followed by many hours of paperwork and other administrative BS. (Thank you to the courts and attorneys.)

 

TIME FOR THE DOOR

Pulling the pin.

Most agencies enable a cop to retire after 20-25 years of service. A pal of mine hired on at an agency that had a twenty-years-and-out policy when he was kid of 19 years old. That means he can retire with full benefits at 39.

I think that I have socks older than that.

 

 

Even though they are eligible to retire, many guys stay on the job. Think about having 33 years on the job, for example.

Some stay because they have nothing else lined up and they don’t want to spend the remainder of their life in their La-Z-Boy watching TV.

Often, they stay because they still have family obligations. Think of a 40 year old man with two kids in high school and a third in college. He will tell you that, “I can’t afford to retire until the kids are out of the house.”

But there are cops who remain well past the age of having the capabilities of a young man, like into their late fifties or sixties.

In most of those cases, who is kidding whom? Can you picture most men at the age of 60 repeatedly jumping backyard fences in a foot pursuit? How about in a fistfight with a brawny young buck of 22?

Ain’t gonna happen.

I got an awakening very early in my cop career. I was working with a senior officer assigned to the traffic bureau. We made traffic stops, issued tickets and investigated / reported on traffic crashes. In the course of a conversation during the shift he casually said, “My paycheck is the same if I write fifty tickets this week or if I write two. So, why should I bust my ass if I don’t feel like it?”

That was an “aha” moment. I realized that he was absolutely correct.

Then there was the partner who acknowledged a radio call sending us to a traffic crash with serious bodily injuries. As we were driving along at a nice leisurely pace of about 30 mph (limit was 45), I asked why were weren’t running code to the scene.

“Let the EMTs get there first. They can clean up the blood and guts before we arrive. It’s less for me to do.”

Another “aha” moment.

WTF?  I learned the boss can’t fire a guy because he is undergoing the natural changes associated with aging, like slowing down. A little less ‘piss and vinegar’ is how some would term it.

 

 

FINDING A SPOT

I try hard to avoid the use of words like “always,” or “never.”  However, in this instance it is pretty safe. A new cop going to work in a local law enforcement agency almost always starts out in the patrol division.

He is a rook (a/k/a rookie) who is learning cop work from the ground up. These skills are the fundamental skills he will use no matter where he goes later.

After time on the job, a cop is given opportunities to change the focus of his career.

  • He may test and be promoted to the role of a supervisor like sergeant, lieutenant and so forth.
  • He may test to work in a specialized bureau like traffic, criminal investigations, narcotics or arson investigations.
  • Then there’s the ‘high powered’ stuff like the bomb squad, undercover drug unit and others.

However, many (like me) became a cop to be on the street. A Street Cop spends their entire career in uniform, keeping the peace. They will be pushing a patrol car around the streets of their city looking for and arresting bad guys.

 

THE BIG QUESTION

What have agencies historically done with a cop who loses his desire for street work or for physical reasons, can no longer do it? The public isn’t thinking of them when ‘the cops’ come to mind. Usually, these guys can be found in a few places:

  • Court officer
  • Working at the airport, mostly greeting passengers and giving directions
  • The records bureau where citizens go for copies of reports
  • Any one of many administrative roles like internal affairs, planning and research, special investigator, etc.
  • And of course, there is the School Resource Officer

Typically, the young, hard-charging cops want no part of these kinds of jobs. They want to be out on the street dragging bad guys off to jail.

 

 

IN THESE TIMES, WHERE ARE YOU TOTALLY SAFE?

Americans’ beliefs, opinions and judgements about safety in public places has radically changed in recent years. Consider how these events have changed your thinking.

  • In 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado, 13 were killed and 24 injured. This single event radically changed the way we respond to active shooter incidents across the nation.
  • In 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, 27 little children and their teachers were killed; two were injured. Could you imagine being one of the first on-scene at that school? It ended the careers of some of the cops who responded.
  • In 2016 at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, 49 were killed and 53 more were injured. One of my close friends was first on scene with one other officer. They were held inside while the Good Guys planned their entrance on the outside. My friend hasn’t yet returned to work.
  • In 2017 during an outdoor Country Music concert, a lunatic high above in the Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas mowed down 58 and injured 851 more. No one ever thought … but they are now.
  • In 2018 at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, FL a mentally deranged former student who was known to the administration, the sheriff and the FBI killed 17 students and wounded 17 more. Two survivors would later commit suicide. Deputy Scot Peterson was assigned to the campus. When interviewed later about why he didn’t confront the shooter his response was [paraphrased], “My highest priority was to go home to my wife that night.”
  • Churches and synagogues have been hit killing innocent parishioners. There have been regular citizens mowed down as they watched a movie. We have witnessed multiple attacks at a variety military installations. We even had an attack and a major American airport in the ticketing area.

Today’s reality is this: no place is completely safe. No place is sacred. No place is out-of-bounds for these useless pieces of shit.

 

WHAT NOW, MY LOVE?

Historically schools, airports and churches were places where cops who were “Retired on Duty” could be assigned.

The public didn’t know.

We cops knew.

For their entire career, these senior officers loved the public they were sworn to serve. For the most part, they had worked hard throughout their years of service.

During most careers, a cop is called upon to put his life on the line in service to others. I was. You probably have been, or will be.

 

 

Today, many of the “old timers” are tired-out physically or emotionally.

Sadly, as we witnessed in Parkland, some are now unable or unwilling to make that ultimate sacrifice when called upon to do so.

The question for today, “What Now, My Love?

 

IT’S TOUGH

This is really tough issue. Unfortunately, there aren’t any answers where everyone ends-up smiling with the outcome.

Whether you are one of the brass or a fresh-out-of-the-box rookie, you need to be considering the options for when your time comes.

This issue will directly affect you.

Or someone whom you should be protecting.

Just like it affected 17 people in a Parkland, Florida High School last year.

At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.

AMERICA

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