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There's Another Word for Policemen Like That
I’ve been thinking about some of the interaction I’ve had with cops over the years – almost all of it good, although I didn’t always know it at the time.
Take my first (and only) speeding ticket. I got that in 1972, when LaGrange County Sheriff Robert Floring in 1972 he caught me doing my customary 63 miles per hour in the 30-miles-per-hour zone about a half-mile from our home in Brighton, Indiana.
Instead of letting me pull over right there, though, he waved me on until I was directly in front of our place. Then he stopped me and went through the whole “Do you know why I pulled you over?” routine.
Meanwhile, my mother was watching out the window while my sister Amy – all of five years old – was running around crying, “Mikey’s going to go to jail!!”
Bob knew exactly what he was doing. After he read me the riot act, he turned me over to the real professional, who lit into me as soon as I hit the back door.
I still think he and Mom planned it.
My next such adventure came one 2 a.m. when Mike Pipher, Mark McKibben and I were hanging around LaGrange, getting root beers from a vending machine. Trooper Frank Jagoda of the Indiana State Police pulled up and asked if we knew what time it was.
We two hours past curfew. This was no problem for Mike and Mark. They’d had their 18th birthdays. Mine, however, was several months away.
“Well, boys,” Frank said after examining our driver’s licenses, “I think it’s time you took young Michael home.”
I still haven’t lived it down.
Anyway, that was a long time ago, in a small place, where the cops actually had a sense of humor and weren’t the jerks the older guys said they were. As it turned out, Bob and Frank became my friends in time.
I don’t think this will be the case with Officer Friendly, whom I met recently. Speaking of jerks.
I was driving along when I came up to an intersection where there had been an accident. The car in front of me pulled all the way up to the intersection and turned right as if to detour. That’s what I intended to do, too, when Officer Friendly glared me to a halt.
“You need to pay attention!” he practically screamed. “Why didn’t you stop? I wanted you to stop back up the block, not drive right up on my legs! What’s the matter with you? Didn’t you see me? Don’t you drive right up like that! Am I making myself clear?”
I decided against pointing out that I had stopped 10 feet from his legs, and that the only time they got closer was when he walked toward me, or that if he wanted me to stop halfway up the block he should have been halfway up the block. Instead, I just said “Abundantly,” and drove away, saving for later the remarks about jerks like him using their badges to cover up for some inadequacy.
O well. Maybe he was having a bad day. And felt like sharing. Abundantly.
Whatever the reason, it reminded me that a police officer with a sense of humor along with their sense of duty -- the Bobs, Franks and many, many others – are the real Officer Friendlies. And as for the jerks – well, they may have badges or shields, but they’ll never be big enough to cover their shortcomings. The jerks.
© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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