Wednesday, September 2, 2009

policing is not always glamorous

Big city policing was not always glamorous. There were boring mundane tasks that needed to be completed daily. Coppers called them "pocket felonies." A mover, a parker, a bus check, and a curfew or school absentee per day kept the watch commander happy. If he was happy , the sergeant was happy. When the Sgt. was in a good mood the tour went much smoother.
There were days that the boss would set up seat belt enforcement missions. A four way stop intersection would be monitored for seat belt use. Ten tickets would put a smile on his face. Cross walk missions was another source of entertainment. Plain clothes officers would cross the street at a clearly marked crosswalk and waiting uniformed coppers would cite the motorists who failed to yield to the pedestrians. It didn't seem fair but signs were always posted on each end of the block warning of the enforcement area.
Week end nights were time for D.U.I. enforcement missions. Areas of high traffic crash incidents were marked for either a saturation of ten or twelve traffic enforcement cars or a road side safety inspection. Saturation missions involved zero tolerance enforcement of any traffic violations observed. Road side safety inspections involved funneling traffic into a lane and randomly checking vehicles as they approached the stop sign. Many safety violations were written as well as several arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Another job handled by the street copper sometimes it involved elderly persons who couldn't help themselves. Two officers were assigned a non specific "assist the citizen" call. They were met at the door by a small elderly man. His hands shook and he was almost in tears. The officers asked about the problem. The old man tearfully said "please help me lift my wife, I can't put her in the wheel chair." Compassion is a good copper's strongest asset so of course they agreed to help. They were led to into the apartment then to the bathroom. The man's wife was seated on the toilet, her bloomers around her ankles. She was gigantic. The officers assessed the problem and told the man to be ready with the wheel chair while they lifted. They wrapped the lady's huge arms around their shoulders and each grabbed a thigh. On three, lift! There was a momentary struggle as the coppers tried to get leverage. The woman cried "don't drop me please." The coppers managed to get her into the hallway and into the chair with out falling or dropping the crying woman. The old man cried as he thanked the officers. With out blinking the senior partner told him, "it was nothing sir, we were glad to help." The partners walked down to the car and were around the corner before they burst out laughing. Neither had ever had to lift a live person from the toilet before. They agreed that it took immense courage for the man to swallow his pride and ask complete strangers for help. Of course they then felt pleased that they were able to assist an elderly citizen out of an extremely awkward situation.
To reiterate, the life of a big city copper was not always glamorous but it sure was interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Yes I do have to agree interesting is a good word for what is seen in the big city.



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