I’m sure you have heard of problems referred to as first-world problems or third world problems.  For example, not being able to gather enough rice to feed your family is a third world problem.  Not getting that extra pump of caramel in your macchiato is a first world problem.  We live with police world problems.

Our uniforms are expensive, and we have to pass muster with each roll call inspection.  Go out and pick up a couple of new shirts and two pairs of pants and you drop about $200.  The first night you wear them you can pretty much count on wrestling in the mud with a crazed crackhead.

For some reason, I never had trouble drinking coffee until I got promoted to Sergeant and started wearing white uniform shirts.  They are food magnets.  I learned early on to carry packets of Shout out wipes.  Coffee leaped from my cup on to my shirt.

My first night in my new district as a sergeant I was the desk sergeant.  Of course, that night the desk crew decided to order BBQ ribs.  I went home looking like I lost the knife fight.

My watch commander had ideas to develop a tie that would open up to provide a bib for when we ate.

Uniform pants had to last a while.  I was badly injured in a squad car accident.  I had internal injuries and multiple broken bones.  In the E/R they wanted to cut my clothing off.  I made them slip it off me without cutting to save the shirt and pants.


We all know what a blue light dump is.  You know when you really need to take a dump and you are racing lights and siren to the nearest hospital or police station to use the restroom.

Once you are in the bathroom what if there is no hook to hang up your gun belt?  You sure don’t want to leave it on the floor.  So, you sit there juggling your gun belt, pistol, and radio while you take care of business.  You learn quickly to plan for the next time.  It must really suck to be a female officer.



You’re on your way to check-off roll call at the end of your tour.  It’s been a long hard night and you’re dead tired.  A man wearing dirty clothes and looking disheveled steps off the curb waving to you.  Is he simply being friendly? Do you wave back and go into the station?

That’s a police world problem.

You realize the drunk you took in earlier peed in the back seat of your squad.  Do you go home and leave it for the next watch or do you stay and clean it out?

Police world problem.

You go to your spouse’s work picnic.  One of the co-workers is getting out of line.  He’s had too much to drink and he is getting handsy with a woman from the office who clearly wants nothing to do with him.  She tells him NO many times, but he won’t listen and gets more physical.  All the other co-workers are too timid to do anything.  Do you step in and tell him to take a hike?

That is a police world problem.


You can’t go anywhere to eat unless you are able to see them prepare your food.  Who knows what will be floating in your coffee from the drive-thru window?

Another police world problem.

You leave the tavern after stopping for a quick one after you got off work. Unfortunately, you worked midnights and it is now noon.  The bright sunshine hits you and it is an instant hangover.

Another police world problem.

You work straight midnights and that means you have to wake up in the middle of your night to mow the lawn or go to the post office.

Another police world problem.

Because of your work schedule, you learn to take naps whenever and where-ever you can.  Your spouse has nudged you awake at parties and church after you nodded off.  You would have gotten away with it if you hadn’t begun to snore.

Police world problem again.

You run around the corner to the store your son works at.  He is off but you know everyone there.  The store manager is chasing a shoplifter out the door as you get out of your car to go in.  The manager sees you and you know he expects you to do something.  You chase after the guy and a block later the thief gives up.

Now you are taking him back to the store with no handcuffs or radio to call for help since you just ran around the corner to get something fast.  You ask the store manager if they have a set of store handcuffs and he brings in a set of toy cuffs from the kid’s aisle.  The offender is so buzzed he doesn’t know he is restrained with a plastic toy.

More police world problems.

These problems don’t happen to regular people in the real world, do they?  No, but they also don’t get the benefits either.  Like when your son comes home one day and says he got pulled over making a left turn during a restricted time.

The officer takes a look at his DL and asked if his father was the retired LT.  When your son answers yes, the officer looks at him and sincerely says, “It was my privilege to work for him for a couple of years.  Please tell him I said hello.”  He hands your son back the DL and let him leave without a ticket.

The look of surprise and new respect from your son makes all those other police world problems worthwhile, don’t they?

Stay safe everyone.  Run low and zigzag.   Robert Weisskopf (retired Lt, CPD)

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



Bob enjoys hearing from his readers – EMAIL

Note:  You can read more articles by Robert Weisskopf as well as find links to his novels and cook book at his website www.BobWeisskopf.com.

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