HUMOR IN UNIFORM
YOU WANT ME TO TAKE OFF … WHAT??
The sidearm is part of our uniform. It cannot be removed any more than we could remove our badge, our duty belt or our handcuff case.
I remember once testifying at court in a criminal case when the defense attorney requested I remove my side arm as, “… it made her client nervous.” I was sorry to learn of her client’s reaction. However my firm answer was, “No. My firearm is part of my uniform and I am required to keep it on my person at all times.”
Needless to say, the person in question got over it.
HAVE YOU EVER …
In these very strange times, there are now some eateries that either refuse to serve police officers while on duty or ask that they remove their guns before entering their cafe or restaurant.
As for me, I would immediately find another place to have lunch. However, my curiosity causes me to want to ask the following question to those establishments:
Imagine that your business is robbed or low-lifes enter and commence roughing up customers. There might be lots of screaming and making all of those present become very alarmed about what might happen next, who would you call?
- The Latin Kings?
- The Bloods?
No, of course not. They will call the police. Once again, this is an example of selective indignation.
KIDS SAY THE DARNEDEST THINGS
Occasionally, my chief would ask me to go to a local elementary or middle school because a teacher had asked for a uniformed officer to come and speak to their class. I have always found such duty assignments rewarding and I would gladly agree to go.
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Upon arrival, I was frequently lead into a classroom brimming with seven and eight year olds. Their eyes would be wide open; they were eagerly anticipating my arrival. They were full of questions and now they have me to provide the answers.
The ONE question that I knew would be coming was, “Did you ever shoot someone?” My response would be the same, “No, but I hurt someone’s feeling once.” (It’s a great line by Robert DeNiro from the movie ‘RONIN.’)
Typically, the teacher couldn’t contain herself and had to move into the hallway because she was laughing so hard. I don’t think the students absorbed the full sardonic nature of my response but it gave them a reply and got a few laughs in the process.
Those visits often made me wonder where they got some of their questions, like:
- What do you do with all the money from traffic tickets?
- Do you keep it as your salary?
- Must you turn it in?”
Of course, I knew how those thoughts were planted. When their parents had received a summons, they would come up with remarks about the experience. Of course, their kids are always listening.
I explained to the youngsters that most of the money from fines and surcharges go to the state and not to the local governments. They appeared stunned at that comment.
Happily, I have always been sent on my way at the end of the class sessions with applause and numerous requests to have their pictures taken with me. That is the most rewarding part of the visit.
THE PERMANENT EFFECT OF A MOMENT IN TIME
You never know how someone will be inspired, influenced or affected by your presence, your comments or your answers. I was working a late shift one night and I had a car stopped at around 1:30AM.
As I was writing out the ticket, another police car pulled up behind me. It was a county car, a K-9 unit, and I waved to him as I returned to the subject vehicle to deliver the ticket and return his documents.
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I then approached the County Officer to thank him for the back-up. He looked at me and asked, “Aren’t you Officer LoBalbo?”
I had never met him before and I answered, “Yes. Do I owe you money?” which was my feeble attempt to provoke humor.
He replied, “No, but about twenty years ago, you came to my school and talked to my class. Right then and there, I decided that’s what I wanted to be: a Police Officer. I’ve wanted to tell you that for many years.”
I had tears in my eyes when I realized that amid all the silly youthful requests and questions, one person might be inspired in such a way.
It makes it all worthwhile.
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.
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