On Saturday at four in the morning, I was woken by a sound everyone is familiar with: a police radio. I tried to tell myself it was only the neighbors leaving for work; but there is no confusing that sound with any other. Pulling myself from bed, I peered through the curtains, and was shocked at what I found.
Parked in front of my house were two police cars. Darkly uniformed officers climbed out and put on helmets; next they took black cases from their trunks. In seconds, they had rifles assembled and were ready to go.
Calling 911, I frantically asked the dispatcher what was going on. After I gave her my address, she told me there was a report of a man with a gun running around the neighborhood.
“Fuck!” I exclaimed.
Seemingly taken aback at my profanity, she stalled a moment and then told me to relax. She said to stay inside and make sure the doors were locked. I asked her when I would know it was over, and she told me when the officers left. Okay.
Watching the cops swiftly enter the school yard in back of my house, I tried to track them through the back window. Those guys were stealthy, and were nowhere to be found in moments. I thanked the dispatcher and hung up the phone.
Lying in bed with my cat at my head and dog beside me, I felt terribly alone, but then was relieved the kids were at their dad’s place. I thought about getting a larger dog, maybe a standard poodle-Rottweiler mix, if there is such a thing.
After fifteen minutes, I heard the officers, and looked out the window. No one else was with them. The neighborhood had been secured, I hoped.
Though still worried, I was able to fall asleep again.
Our communities rely on police officers to enforce boundaries. If we were better people, we’d do it ourselves. While I waited for the officers to return safely, I knew I could never do what they do. Putting themselves in harm’s way for the sake of my neighborhood was gallant.
I know there are bad cops, since there are bad people. Corrupt police departments are a scourge of many communities. Not for a moment do I dismiss the harm officers can do to the people they’re meant to protect. But my experiences with cops have been like the one last night.
Officers are humans like anyone else, but perhaps braver. They have to live with the stress and tension of a dangerous job every day. One of my old roommates was a police officer, and when he came off duty, he was hyped up for hours. It took him until two a.m. after swing shift to relax; I’d hear him in his room cleaning his guns and watching TV. He was a good guy and he took his duties seriously. I think most officers do.
I like cops. I believe we should have more of them. Crime rates drop when more officers are involved in a community. Clinton cops proved extra enforcement means better security. My county sheriff’s department was great this weekend, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.