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You're Not A Cop Until You Taste Them

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  • You're Not A Cop Until You Taste Them

    You're Not A Cop Until You Taste Them

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The department was all astir, there was a lot of laughing and joking due to all the new officers, myself included, hitting the streets today for the first time. After months of seemingly endless amounts of classes, paperwork, and lectures we were finally done with the Police Academy and ready to join the ranks of our department.

    All you could see were rows of cadets with huge smiles and polished badges. As we sat in the briefing room, we could barely sit still anxiously awaiting our turn to be introduced and given our beat assignment or, for the lay person, our own portion of the city to "serve and protect."

    It was then that he walked in. A statue of a man - 6 foot 3 and 230 pounds of solid muscle, he had black hair with highlights of gray and steely eyes that make you feel nervous even when he wasn't looking at you. He had a
    reputation for being the biggest and the smartest officer to ever work our fair city. He had been on the department for longer than anyone could remember and those years of service had made him into somewhat of a legend.

    The new guys, or "rookies" as he called us, both respected and feared him. When he spoke even, the most seasoned officers paid attention. It was almost a priviledge when one the rookies got to be around when he would tell one of his police stories about the old days. But we knew our place and never interrupted for fear of being shooed away. He was respected and revered by all who knew him.

    After my first year on the department I still had never heard or saw him speak to any of the rookies for any length of time. When he did speak to them all he would say was, "So, you want to be a policeman do you hero?"
    I'll tell you what, when you can tell me what they taste like,
    then you can call yourself a real policeman."

    This particular phrase I had heard dozens of times. Me and my buddies all had bets about "what they taste like" actually referred to. Some believed it referred to the taste of your own blood after a hard fight. Others thought it referred to the taste of sweat after a long day's work. Being on the
    department for a year, I thought I knew just about everyone and everything.

    So one afternoon, I mustered up the courage and walked up to him. When he looked down at me, I said "You know, I think I've paid my dues. I've been in plenty of fights, made dozens of arrests, and sweated my butt off just like everyone else. So what does that little saying of yours mean anyway?" With that, he merely stated, "Well, seeing as how you've said and done it all, you tell me what it means, hero." When I had no answer, he shook his head and snickered, "rookies," and walked away.

    The next evening was to be the worst one to date. The night started out slow, but as the evening wore on, the calls became more frequent and dangerous. I made several small arrests and then had a real knock down drag out fight. However, I was able to make the arrest without hurting the suspect or myself. After that, I was looking forward to just letting the shift wind down and getting home to my wife and daughter.

    I had just glanced at my watch and it was 11:55, five more minutes and I would be on my way to the house. I don't know if it was fatigue or just my imagination, but as I drove down one of the streets on my beat, I thought I saw my daughter standing on someone else's porch. I looked again but it was not my daughter as I had first thought but merely a small child about her age. She was probably only six or seven years old and dressed in an oversized shirt that hung to her feet. She was clutching an old rag doll in her arms that looked older than me.

    I immediately stopped my patrol car to see what she was doing outside her house at such an hour by herself. When I approached, there seemed to be a sigh of relief on her face. I had to laugh to myself, thinking she sees the hero policeman come to save the day. I knelt at her side and asked what she was doing outside.

    She said "My mommy and daddy just had a really big fight and now mommy won't wake up." My mind was reeling. Now what do I do? I instantly called for backup and ran to the nearest window. As I looked inside I saw a man standing over a lady with his hands covered in blood, her blood. I kicked
    open the door, pushed the man aside and checked for a pulse, but unable to find one. I immediately cuffed the man and began doing CPR on the lady.

    It was then I heard a small voice from behind me, "Mr. Policeman, please make my mommy wake up." I continued to perform CPR until my backup and medics arrived but they said it was too late. She was dead.
    I then looked at the man. He said, "I don't know what happened. She was yelling at me to stop drinking and go get a job and I had just had enough. I just shoved her so she would leave me alone and she fell and hit her head."
    As I walked the man out to the car in handcuffs, I again saw that little girl. In the five minutes that has passed, I went from hero to monster. Not only was I unable to wake up her mommy, but now I was taking daddy away too.

    Before I left the scene, I thought I would talk to the little girl. To say what, I don't know. Maybe just to tell her I was sorry about her mommy and daddy. But as I approached, she turned away and I knew it was useless and I would probably make it worse.

    As I sat in the locker room at the station, I kept replaying the whole thing in my mind. Maybe if I would have been faster or done something different, just maybe that little girl would still have her mother. And even though it may sound selfish, I would still be the hero.

    It was then that I felt a large hand on my shoulder. I heard that all too familiar question again, "Well, hero, what do they taste like?"

    But before I could get mad or shout some sarcastic remark, I realized that all the pent up emotions had flooded the surface and there was a steady stream of tears cascading down my face. It was at that moment that I realized what the answer to his question was.

    Tears.

    With that, he began to walk away, but he stopped. "You know, there was
    nothing you could have done differently," he said. "Sometimes you can do
    everything right and still the outcome is the same. You may not be the
    hero you once thought you were, but now you ARE a police officer."

    Rick Monticello of Somersdale PD, New Jersey
    Last edited by pkagel; 08-05-2005, 05:22 AM.
    "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

    For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

  • #2
    Damn good post. Hits home.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you....
      When I'll be the girl that you love, you'll be the boy that I hate...

      Comment


      • #4
        I didn't write it, just one of those articles that makes you wipe a tear and I felt it needed to be posted.
        "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

        For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow

          Yo thats a deep story man. When I readi it and finished it I didn't know what to say or do. Are you a writer?

          Comment


          • #6
            well...that about sums it up.
            Happy to be here proud to serve

            "Well it appears this lock does not accept american express."

            Never trust fire fighters to point out a suspect.

            Comment


            • #7
              wow....excellent post
              ...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by pkagel
                I didn't write it, just one of those articles that makes you wipe a tear and I felt it needed to be posted.
                Yes, very good article. pkagel, do you know who the author is? I am going to save it and if I use it again I want to give proper credit.
                You have no right to not be offended.-Neal Boortz

                Comment


                • #9
                  Boy, does that hit home. For me it was a 57-year-old man that died in my arms while his 15-year-old son was waiting for me to be "the Hero." It was a couple of days later, but I "tasted them."

                  Great story. Thank you.
                  Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. Barry Goldwater

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I wish I knew who the author was but my guess is that it was some crusty old Sgt. who would rather people not know he had a soft side. At least that is how I have always pictured him in my head.

                    Originally posted by Centurion44
                    Yes, very good article. pkagel, do you know who the author is? I am going to save it and if I use it again I want to give proper credit.
                    "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

                    For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We were given that one to read in the academy. Excellent read.
                      In law enforcement, the customer is ALWAYS wrong.

                      In God we trust. Everyone else is run through NCIC.

                      Sometimes there is justice. Sometimes there is just us.

                      I'd rather be tried by 12 then carried by 6.


                      The opinions given in my posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This is one of the best posts I've ever read, I know what they taste like.
                        "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them." John Wayne The Shootist

                        "A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today"
                        General Robert E. Lee, at Appomattox, Va

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Unfortunately, I have been there on more than one occasion! Good post!
                          There's no substitute for strength,
                          and no excuse for a lack of it!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            rookie

                            very good post
                            S/O E.J. Smith
                            northern hospital of surry county

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              For me that was my first major traffic accident.

                              I posted the story here. I still think about it sometimes.

                              Very good post. I saved it and I'm sure I'll pass that story on.

                              Comment

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