So the last post was about how scary the shooting was, how quickly it happened and how the officers involved really had no time to think about it and how dramatic it was and all that.
This time, over the last few days, it’s been the banality of police work.
We did vehicle stops a few more times and at every scenario, it was some version of: “Here’s your ticket, have a nice day.”
(Yeah, yeah, pretty funny, huh? I’m’a write you a ticket that’s gonna cost you $100, and then I’m’a tell you to have a nice day. Not how I’ll probably do it, but you never know.)
The guy in charge of the scenarios told us, when it was all over, when we’d finished our last vehicle stop, that this was where most of our calls would end. Day after day, week after week, year after dreaded year, stop them, write them, send them on their way.
That was probably the most depressing thing I’d heard the entire academy. That I’ll spend twenty years doing something that basic and boring? Yeah, sign me up, hoss.
They told us we did some high end scenarios so we’d know what it was like. But the majority of our days will be spent with low end calls. That’s cool. As I get older and older — and yeah, crankier and crankier — the low end calls will be just my speed.
A few posts ago, I wrote about this asshole in Chicago who beat the bartender and then tried to bribe his way out of the trouble.
He was indicted yesterday on a total of fourteen counts. Yeah, the battery was in there, but the majority of the charges were about the attempted cover-up.
They were because his partners tried to offer money, then tried to threaten with phone calls about drugs in cars. God knows what else the morons did.
Ironically, as those guys were being indicted, my class was doing a block on ethics. Interesting timing. Is it okay, is it ethical, to take a free cup of coffee from a 7-Eleven?
The linkage is this: I can promise you those Chicago guys took the free coffee. Maybe not specifically coffee and maybe not at a 7-Eleven, but they took the metaphoric coffee.
It’s a mind set. It’s a way of thinking that says, I’m entitled to this because I’m a police officer. I take a chance on getting shot every day for this community, they can give me a cup of coffee.
And maybe that’s right. Maybe a free cup of coffee isn’t so much to ask. Except for this: it isn’t free.
Free coffee always expects something in return. More patrol presence. Or maybe simply the officer’s presence in the store while s/he’s drinking it. Or maybe it’s all about the car parked out front. Regardless, that coffee wants something in return.
And if that 7-Eleven does get robbed? The manager, the clerk — whoever gave you free coffee on every shift for eight months — wants you there instantly, other calls be damned.
It’s not free.
Makes me a bit of a hypocrite, actually. I’ve taken free drinks from a store. One of the convenience stores on the north end of town offers free coffee or fountain soda to anyone on duty and in uniform. Yeah, I’ve swigged from that free cup a time or two. Not often because I’ve not been on the road, but a few times.
They’ve not asked me for anything, but maybe they have asked the regular road guys. But I actually believe it’s more subtle than that. I believe this store won’t ever say anything blatant. I believe they simply want those marked cars out front, parked obvious and blatant for everyone to see.
“See who we have in our store?” those cars ask would be criminals. “Go rob somebody else.”
Is that such a bad trade?
Maybe that’s just community service. Maybe that’s helping out the people — the business owners — who pay a big chunk of the taxes that become my salary and funds to keep my car running smooth and keep me in uniforms and bullets and all the rest.
What about meals at half-price? McDonald’s gives 50% off to people in uniform. It’s not from the local level, but the corporate level. So what does that mean? A corporate directive, but the cost is still borne by the local franchisee.
So do those local people expect faster service? Or is it something they just do and not really think about?
I don’t know, and maybe none of this matters. Except it does matter for me because I know this will come up. It will come up constantly, and sometimes it will be people looking for faster arrival time and sometimes it will be people who simply support law enforcement and understand how hard the job is.
But understand this: if I do take a free drink, it absolutely will not be coffee.
If anything, it’ll have to be — obviously — Dr. Pepper.