Protection, or lack thereof
The other day I was sitting in my patrol car stopped at a red light. A small car pulled up along the passenger side of me. A man in his early twenties got out of the car and walked up to my passenger side window. I lowered the window expecting him to report some suspicious activity or to ask some irrelvant question that some people feel compelled to ask any time they encounter a police officer.
Instead, he smiled, reached slowly in through the window and said, "This is for you." He was holding a laminated card that I though was a Tarot card. He then turned around and got back into his car without saying another word. I looked at the card which depicted St. Michael the Archangel casting a demon downwards toward the fire. The back of the card indicated St. Michael is the patron saint of police officers and included a short police officer's prayer. I'm not a very religous person but was moved by his gesture. He didn't try to challenge my beliefs or recruit me to his church; he was a complete stranger that took the time to show a genuine concern for my safety and respect for the job I do. I now carry the card inside the front pocket of my ballistic vest and welcome the extra bit of protection it may provide.
Speaking of protection:
A pair of park rangers came upon a couple of 18 year olds naked in the back of an Isuzu Rodeo at a park in my area. The rangers can only cite for city ordinance violations and called police for assistance. The boy jumped up to the front seat and tried to drive away while his naked girlfriend lay curled up in the cargo area of the SUV. His vehicle was blocked into a parking space so he wasn't able to get very far. I looked inside the SUV and saw undergarments strewn about and a half-empty bottle of Vodka but no evidence of 'protection'. He was given a field sobriety test (walk the imaginary line, etc.) to determine if he was impaired. He failed the tests and was arrested for DUI. On the way to the station, he launched an assault of insults, obscenities, and allegations of racism. What happened to the days when teenagers showed respect for authority? He's lucky he didn't drive away and kill someone but instead he wanted us to know his low opinion of police officers. He never asked about the welfare of his girlfriend that we were left arranging a ride home for.