"624" the radio snapped. 624 is my call sign that dispatchers use to call me. "624", I replied into the mic. "Respond to the Police Station, there are parties here to see you."
Hmmm... unless expected, things like this are not normally a good thing. Sure we have folks come in all the time asking for us, but we normally know why or are expecting them. A burglary victim dropping off the list of stolen items, a witness to an offense, a scheduled interview etc.
But out of the blue? Nah, not normally a good thing. It usually has to do with complaints about this or that. Things like; "why did you write my son a ticket", "why did I get a parking citation", "how come you don't spend more time on my case, you tracked mud on my carpet responding to an alarm", and the like.
In other words, unexpected visits most times mean a citizen complaint of some type, big or little does not matter, it's an unhappy citizen. It's like being called to the principles office. Sure, maybe it's because you were just named student-of-the-year but come on, really? Possible yes, but likely, no.
It was a beautiful day, bright, sunny and unseasonably warm. Nothing out of the ordinary happened so far in my 12-hour shift, of which about 9 hours were under my belt, as well as donuts and several cups of coffee. Come now, did you really think you were going to read something about a cop with out at least a passing reference to donuts?
So as I was driving back to the station I was replaying the events of my day so far. Earlier that morning, amongst other things I did, I also saw a group of kids on bikes, they were 10 to 12-year-olds just hanging out near the entrance to one of our parks. So I stopped, got out and went over to talk to them.
Oh wait - I'm a Police Officer.... I don't do that, what I did is......
'While on patrol I observed a group of youth on the corner near the park. I curbed my emergency police vehicle, exited and secured it. I approached the subjects, and after identifying myself and my office I engaged in dialog with them to ascertain their intentions.'
Ever read police reports? No cop ever just gets out of their car, they exit their emergency police vehicle. If cops wrote bedtime romance novels they would be sold in the sleep aid section of your local book store.
“Behind the Badge” is brought to you in part by the Spooner Police Foundation.
So I see these kids and I go over to talk to them. "Hi guys what's up, enjoying the nice warm weather?" "Hi, officer," they said. "Yup just out riding, thinking of going to the park". I said that was great and it was a beautiful day to be outside. "I'm also glad to see you're all wearing bike helmets" I added. "Have fun and be safe."
That was it, it was over in about 5 minutes. We call these things 'Walk & Talks'.
I continued thinking about what happened during the day that would have upset someone, but I couldnt think of anything.
"KPD 624, 10-6 "(busy) out on station, I radioed. I went in and our dispatcher smiled and said you have a couple of kids here to see you.
I walked up to the front lobby and saw 2 of the kids, little girls I talked to at the park hours earlier.
"Hi ladies, what can I do for you?" "We just wanted to say thanks," they said, and then each one of them handed me a single flower. I was floored!
"Well, um, you're certainly welcome, but what did I do to get such beautiful flowers?" The older one then said, "You made sure we were safe and okay."
They told me they were neighbors and ate dinner together at the ones girls house. "We told my Mom about everything today and that a police officer stopped and said hi."
My mom said the officer did more than that. "He was making sure you were all okay, letting you know he was there and that he cares about you." Wow, I thought - way to go Mom!
"We didn't think of that," she continued," but after dinner we asked her if we could ride over and say thanks, she said we could and we picked these flowers from our yards for you."
"Wow, that is so nice of you, and your mom, thanks ladies." "You're welcome," they said and then with an energetic "bye officer" and a wave they were gone.
And there you have it. 5 minutes of my time, about 10 of theirs and I have a life time memory of 2 great kids and 1 really "tuned in" appreciative Mom.
I smiled the rest of my shift looking at the flowers now proudly displayed on the dash of my 'Emergency Police Vehicle'.
About the Author: Al Hobbs is a Law Enforcement Correspondent for DrydenWire and writes on a wide-range of topics on Law Enforcement but focuses mostly on the human element of being a cop in his weekly segment titled: "Behind The Badge". Al brings a unique writing style that allows him to connect with his readers. You can read his introduction to DrydenWire here.
Al is a retired police detective from the metro Chicago area. He has been a Law Enforcement Officer at the City, County, State and Federal level in excess of 35 years. His career has taken him all over the nation and the world. Al has been involved in all aspects of criminal investigation as well as general police duties. He is once again on the street as an active LEO for a North Shore community, just North of Chicago in Illinois.