Discussion in 'Just Shootin' The Breeze' started by Delta784, Feb 11, 2012.
I'm not fixing it for YOU, I'm fixing it for ME!
Received this in an email today from an old friend who I came on the job with and is now also retired. I thought of making a thread for it, then thought of this one and feel it goes with the message.
Thoughts from a cop who retired in '91.
Just before retiring, some young puppy was busting my chops about how law enforcement has changed, and the system is improving for the best. I just smiled and gave him a little laugh.
He asked what was so funny. I told him that I felt sorry for him. When asked why, I told him, "Because in about 15 years, THIS is going to be your good old days."
We all saw the change in our jobs. I came on in 1966. I used to tell the rookies that our academy lasted 3 months. They gave us a stick, a gun, a dime, and kicked us out into the street. They told us: If you need help, use the dime. If you can't get to a phone, use the stick. If using the stick pisses him off, use the gun.
And the first order we received when we were assigned to a precinct was from the patrol sergeant. His order was
"Don't you EVER bother me, kid."
Law enforcement back then, was much different than the current mission. We delivered babies, got tough in the alley's when we needed to, made "God-like" decisions at least once a tour, and often wound up being big brother to the kid we roughed up in that alley a year or so ago. And, for some reason, none of that managed to get on a report. The department didn't really want to know. All they wanted was numbers, and no ripples in the pond.
Because of the changing times, and the evolution of law enforcement, the modern young officers will never see that form of policing, and of course this is best. The current way is the right way... Now. But it was different then (I.e.: the Dinosaur Syndrome).
When it's time to go, we wonder if we're going to miss the job. After all, other than our kids and a few marriages, it was the most important thing in our lives. Actually, it was the other way around. The job was first, but only another Cop could understand how I mean that.
But have faith, brother! After a short time of feeling completely impotent (after all, you're just John Q. Now), reality hits like a lead weight.
It's not the job we miss after all. It's what we, as individuals, had accomplished while in this profession that we miss. The challenge of life and death, good and bad, right and wrong, or even simply easing the pain of some poor bastard for a while, someone we will never see again.
We know the reality of what's happening out there. We are the ones who have spent our entire adult life picking up the pieces of people's broken lives. And the bitch of it all is that no one except us knows what we did out there.
I was once told that being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.
What I missed mostly, though, were the people I worked with. Most of us came on the job together at the age of 21 or 22. We grew up together. We were family. We went to each others weddings, shared the joy of our children's births, and we mourned the deaths of family members and marriages. We celebrated the good times, and huddled close in the bad.
We went from rookies who couldn't take our eyes off of the tin number of the old timer we worked with, to dinosaurs.
After all, what they gave us was just a job. What we made of it was a profession. We fulfilled our mission, and did the impossible each and every day, despite the department and its regulations.
I think the thing that nags you the most when you first retire is: After you leave the job and remove your armor, the part of you that you tucked away on that shelf for all those years, comes out. It looks at all the things you've hidden away. All the terrible and all the wonderful things that happened out there. And it asks you the questions that no one will ever answer.
"Do you think I did OK? Did I make a difference? Was I a good Cop?"
You know what? Yeah, you were a good Cop! And you know it!
In closing: the best advice I got, by far, was from an old friend who left the job a few years before me. He told me to stay healthy, work out and watch my diet. He said "Cause that way, the first day of every month you can look in the mirror, smile and say. Screwed them out of another month's pension!!"
I knew I was rounding the last leg of my career when I got the "what the hell are you talking about" look from a n00b I was breaking in, when I gave him the 1-800 number to the station in case he had to use a land line.
I think, like the military, what draws people to the profession (and what you miss when you retire) is all of the highs and lows. Without those, it's just another cubicle 9-5 mundane existence.
Pay phones and call boxes. Those were my life. Then along came pagers etc. etc. .... LOL
Another epiphany for me several years ago was when a young officer asked to use my handcuff key, and when I handed him my key ring, he held up my box key and asked what it was.
Not too long ago, I was at Ken's Steak House, and the pay phone booths are still there, just without phones. I had to explain the concept of pay phones to my kids, but by the looks on their faces, I might as well have been speaking Attic Greek.
I was excited when 25 came on the air....SIX whole channels to choose from!
I used to have to use aluminum foil on the antenna to get the UHF channels......Even then it was like watching a ghost movie.
As someone who has just shy of 5 yrs on, I appreciated reading this post. I guess 'thank you' is all i can add to this and keep everything that was said here in the back of my mind somewhere. I do love my job tho and I hope I can keep it that way.
What about just learning the street in your city or town? No GPS....or remembering where the other cruisers were off on calls? No MDT to check status. And speaking of TV, it wasn't too long ago that stations went off the air at 3am.....
Amen! I think I remember them going off at around 1am at one point, right after Johnny Carson was over. Of course, all the stations played the National Anthem before going dark.
I remember when this was the "State of the art gaming system"
Aw shit, now you all have me crying. Bastards!
I remember way back when the paperwork for a 90-10 arrest was just the cite, arrest report and a vic/witness list. Now it's a half inch thick and takes an hour to finish....
I don't bother.....I could submit videotaped and written sworn confessions, signed in the suspect's own blood, countersigned by the entire United States Supreme Court as witnesses, and it would still get dismissed upon arraignment at QDC.
I write enough to reach the 50.1% mark, hit "Submit", and move on to the next fiasco.
90-11 for $35 and tow car; go to the next call.
"...and Officer, just how did this confession come to BE signed in my client's own blood? Did the Officers at the station, or beforehand try to KILL HIM? This poor innocent man who had just begun to turn his life around, who was back in school (he broke in, but he's back in) got a job (selling abandonded scrap metal found in different scrap yards) and was raising his 7 children, or at least seeing them and their mothers on the corner now and then. WHERE DID THE BLOOD COME FROM??? I move for a mistrial and will be suing the Police Deparment, the city, the Commonwealth AND this rogue cop! Defense rests."
That was a good read.
I've never been at a lower point in my career than I'm at now, and I don't have much more time on than SPQR. This thread is definitely helpful. Thanks guys.
Cheer up Obes !!
Thank you to all of you guys for everything that you sacrifice for all of us. There are some of us out there that know how much you guys put in and how much of a difference you really do make despite the State trying to take it away.
Hopefully someday when I can get on somewhere, I hope to have an FTO like some of you guys on here...
It won't be me.....God forbid that my department assigns new officers for field training on any shift but days.
After all, when someone is going to be assigned to midnights for the foreseeable future, you certainly don't want them to do field training when it's dark outside, or with the most experienced officers on the evening shift, because that means they would get paid night differential.
Penny wise, and pound foolish.
Wouldn't it make sense to do a rotation while their with an FTO? One month on each shift to give them an idea what the different challenges are of each shift. I can't imagine the differential would be so much that it really is a deal breaker for training people on the eve/mid shift. But hey what do I know, I've never been a politician.
You would think, wouldn't you?
That's generally what we do... plus a shift - Day or Eve only - in Dispatch !!
(pushing those chairs together and not falling out of them is an artform ya know... shouldn't be attempted at home!)
We do one week at each shift + a week (various shifts) on the opposite side of the county so you can see the glaring differences between 'East' (MCB Quantico) and 'West.'
IMO most rookies should cut their teeth on day work so they can learn what its like to do the tedious, shitty 'drowning in paperwork' side of police work before they get to run calls when the sun goes down.
Nothing like having a guy on the street for 3 years who doesn't know how to do a proper white collar crime report because he has been working midnights from day 1.
Separate names with a comma.