Even though we cops have pepper spray, OC spray, tasers and bean-bag ammunition for the shotgun, most people focus on our sidearm when they see us coming.  Whether you carry a Glock, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer or a revolver, it still remains the ‘center of attention’ when speaking with the public.

Years ago when I started, my agency had Smith & Wesson Model 686 as the issued sidearm.  I can remember a busy Saturday morning with my FTO and me. We were running around, answering call after call.  Finally, he said, “Let’s have lunch.” So, we called out-of-service and found a pizzeria.

While we were sitting and enjoying a break in the action more than the food, a gentleman came in and sat down at our table.  My FTO thought this fellow was my friend; I thought he was friends with my Field Training Officer.

He started asking questions about the day’s activities but then the topic of conversation came around to our sidearms.  He asked what we were carrying and I obliged him, telling him they were S&W Model 686 revolvers.  His comment was, “Oh, Magnums.”  I immediately corrected him telling him that we use a +P round since the magnums are too difficult to control.  His comment was, “+P???  That’s a weak shell.  If you’re wearing a heavy coat, they don’t go through.”

Now, I don’t want to be shot with a BB gun much less a +P round, and, thinking he was joking, I responded by saying, “Really?  Well, go home and put a heavy coat on.”  He was startled.  I then continued my comment saying, “Come back and we’ll test your theory.”  He stared straight into the air in front of him, got up and walked away.

When we returned to HQ at the end of the tour, our Lieutenant asked me to come into his office.  He looked at me and asked, “Did you threaten to shoot someone today?”  I explained the incident and his only response was, “Anthony, these people do not share your sense of humor.  Be careful what you say.”  He then proceeded to laugh and, thankfully, it never made my personnel file.


Late on Friday night during the summer, I received a call from dispatch that there was a car/deer accident on a local roadway in our town.  I arrived to find the surviving deer and the car that hit it, on the side of the roadway.  The driver was waiting outside the car while his three small children were staring out the back window of the sedan, crying. They thought their father had killed Bambi.

I walked over to the driver and said, “If you would like a police report, give me your information.”  He responded by saying that he had sustained no damage and that a police report was not necessary.  I then told him, “OK,  you can leave.”

He then offered to, “Give me a hand.”

I responded, “A hand with what?”

He then offered, “I will help you put the deer in your [police] car because you’re going to take it to a veterinarian.”

I then informed him that our standard operating procedure was not to do that. Since the deer had an irreparable broken leg, it would be “dispatched” at the scene.

He didn’t know what that term meant so I used a more prosaic word by saying, “KILLED, shot, put out of its misery.”

He became completely annoyed saying, “I wouldn’t have called you if I thought you were going to shoot it!!!”

I respectfully suggested he leave so his children would not be traumatized by witnessing me dispatch the animal.  He drove off and I waited until he was well out of sight and hearing range before taking action.

I forgave him since he was from Brooklyn where there aren’t too many deer walking around since the late 1800’s.

On a different occasion, another officer and I were dispatched to a rabid raccoon complaint.  Raccoons are seldom visible during the daylight hours. However, this one was foaming at the mouth, clearly rabid and unsuccessfully attempting to climb a tree.

As soon as we arrived, a crowd formed, ostensibly to witness the task at hand, namely to dispatch the animal.  I asked the people to stay back on the road while we approached the raccoon.  We were approximately thirty-five feet away when I asked my partner if he wanted to use his weapon.  He agreed and with one round, dispatched the sick animal.

Little did I know he had a laser sight on his Glock 21.  He shot it from the hip, one round and it looked extremely professional.  Since the crowd couldn’t see the laser sight, they were understandably impressed, as well.

When we returned to our cars with the rabid animal double-bagged, one resident pulled me aside saying, “Wow, you guys are good.  One shot, from the hip.  That’s very impressive.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the laser sight so I just said, “Oh yeah, well …. we practice all the time.”


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




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