MARCH 18, 2012 10:28PM

This is why I like cops

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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.


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police, sheriff, crime, dogs

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I like this post, Maureen ~ like you I wish there were more cops. Maybe as many as soldiers.
This struck me : "... a man with a gun running around the neighborhood."
That sums up, in a general sort of way, the overseas perception, of life in America.
Glad you brought this up, Maureen; it is timely indeed. Many states are actually cutting police budgets, a most terrible policy. R
Without them. Imagine the world without them
Then a prayer of thanks.

That dog mix sounds interesting. :)
"If we were better people, we’d do it ourselves."

I don't think we need to feel this way. One could say the same for making shoes, butchering meat, making butter, sewing clothing, growing food, generating electricity, etc.

The division of labor is what allowed us to build great civilizations. So we can feel grateful that we have professional well trained well-equipped forces to deter crime and enforce laws and protect law-abiding citizens without feeling guilty that we don't all engage in armed vigilantism.

It's true that police occasionally do ugly things. This gets into the news. But every day for every case of police abuse of power there are thousands of cases of police doing their job well that doesn't always get so much press.

Vigilantism can create as many problems or more than professional police brutality. Just look at the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

If a community has a problem with police abuse of power they should form citizen review commissions that independently police the police by reviewing claims of police misconduct. That is what a proper exercise of democracy should look like. Ultimately the police are on the taxpayer's payroll. The citizen's should be the boss.
When I'm afraid, I always put a cat on my head too.

Which reminds me. I need to buy a cat.
I have written here many times of the cops pulling up next door. I appreciate them too. I met a retired cop online who is still very traumatized from his years of service. He is one tough fellow. What a profession but when you need them you really need them. Gold star. Glad you are safe.
I've had good experiences with police officers who treated me respectfully when they were dealing with just me. That has not the case when I was with black friends or my husband...also black. One of my first experiences was going to a party in a Chicago suburb with my fiance. Two policemen stopped us and came on both sides of the car with the bullyclubs out. One took my his license and the other waited with one hand holding the club and the other on his gun. My fiance told me to stay quiet and not move. He kept both hands on the steering wheel and answered "Yes sir" and "No sir" to any question. After about an hour they let us go without an explanation or apology. I'd like to believe this no longer happens, but my daughter's husband has been stopped countless times in the Chicago suburbs. He's young, black and doesn't fit the profile of the neighborhood. I know police officers are needed until we evolve to the point no one would ever think of harming another person. I just wish there was a concerted effort to eradicate racism within the ranks.
Solid gold thoughts and words! Well put to convey a basic truth.... This is gorgeous. Thanks, Maureen.
Yes life is tough for them and the pressures of the job quite overwhelming. I wish they had better on job therapy too!
(ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★
I have a great "good cop" story to tell. Glad you reminded me. I've wanted to tell it for about thirty years. Another idea for the drafts folder.

This was solid writing. So clear. So natural.

Refreshing also to have it pointed out that the vast majority of law enforcement officers are, in fact, the good guys.

I was sure this would be satire. Thank you for surprising me. ~r
All's well that ends well. You wrote this well, Maureen, held me rapt to the very end.
Cops - like everything else, I suppose - are a mixed blessing.
Mimetalker is right — we're protected by white privilege. I've heard and read too many stories about police behaving badly when the citizens aren't white, middle class, or straight.
I'm glad you're ok, the cops are ok, and apparently there was no guy running around with a gun in your neighborhood. I met a Labradoodle (Labrador- standard Poodle mix) a few months ago. He was a really big, but sweet, dog, so I guess not a guard dog that would protect you. On the other hand, I've seen Chihuahuas that would take on a tiger and win, probably.
I see this all the time and once even asked me to go inside and look out my back window to see if he was in the backyard.
Too few cops around to budget cuts.
Just glad you and your sons are okay.
BTW the 911 operator was nice.. Here we would get yelled at

This is very well done.

Enforcing and upholding the law is very challenging for all concerned. I think many police officers are braver and more willing to decide that justice is more important. They're not willing to allow fear to take over, as many others would.
Scary story - glad it worked out well. As you can see by the comments, there are good and bad in any profession when human nature is involved.
Good post. Sorry so late getting to it. I totally agree with you.
Sorry I didn't get to respond to computer is having emotional problems. I want to catch up on other's work before the computer quits again...but thanks for commenting!
I love cops, too, and not just because they look hot in those uniforms. I still occasionally see the kind officer who once took a statement from me after a very traumatic occurance, circling through my cove. He stood so patiently as I cried, swore, paced.
I love the firefighters, too, like my neighbor of 13 years, who sat with me the night my husband died, waiting with me for my father to get here, for the hospice nurse to get here to declare him officially dead. I have often seen him in a hoodie, and it hasn't once occured to me to be afraid of him although he is a large black man who often wears hoodies. He doesn't seem to be afraid when he sees me hoodied, either.
We all should take more time to thank anyone in any uniform. They aren't wearing those uniforms for themselves. They are wearing them for all of us.