Tuesday, October 10, 2006

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.


At October 10, 2006 4:17 PM, Blogger frhe sjgg said...

That was a lovely gesture with the card...
And you know my cop is named Mike -- and he is what my blog is about...
I'm glad that a saint looks out for ALL of you....

And the guy who didn't care about his girlfriend sounds like a total putz. No protection and drunk and insulting. Conduct unbecoming, punk.

Be Safe Out There,
Anne Eliabeth

At October 11, 2006 9:24 AM, Blogger Rob said...

Yay! St. Michael!

Keep blogging, Gary. I read you regularly and Amy keeps telling me to let you know that. We'll ask St. Michael to keep you in our prayers and add you to our dinner time litany (right after all our godchildren and godparents "Father John at Italy").


Robinamy and offspring

At October 11, 2006 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just happened upon your blog yesterday and have decided that it is my new favorite, and have started reading through the entirity of your history. While doing this I had to stop and ask you something, and I find it so appropriate that your post today is titled Protection...

Whereas most officer blogs are purposefully vague, might post old cases, but nothing too new, and try incredibly hard to obscure their identity you take the opposite tack. You post what happens on a regular basis, have posted your picture, and are VERY up-front regarding who you are.

My question is this: Is this a problem with your department? It always seems that police blogs are hugely frowned upon and I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to you... or are you in a department that is just that cool, whose administration has your back, and doesn't mind? At which point since, if nothing else, I have been able to tell that you are in a department near, if not in the department of, Joe Arpaio?

Anyway, just curious, as it would seem to be a simple task to track down who you are inside your department, and I have become concerned (I have gotten back to October '06, so if you covered this prior to that I haven't read it yet).

At October 12, 2006 5:13 PM, Anonymous LC said...

Didn't know there was a saint for police officers. Glad you are wearing the card. Never hurts to have anything that might protect you. Good questions on the blog and Phoenix feelings. I hope you will answer that question. Your blog is very interesting. It is more than numbers of arrests, bad guys put away, it is a study of human nature. Keep it up. Stay safe.

At October 13, 2006 1:27 AM, Blogger Officer Gary said...

anonymous -you have some good points. I started my blog for family and friends and never thought I'd attract an outside audience. I try to be vague about the people I come in contact with but have not tried to hide my identity. Everyting I do is a matter of public record and anyone could find me (or any other cop) if they really wanted to. I've removed my photos from prior postings and will be more anonymous in the future. To my knowledge, my blog is not out of policy with my department. Thanks for the comments.

At October 13, 2006 8:39 AM, Anonymous Ronda said...

This is by far the greatest blog you have shared with us. So many times we hear of the "creeps" in the world, which don't get me wrong I love reading about them. However, this was so enlightening on so many levels. Let me just say how proud I am that other people in this community care for your position the way your family does. You should feel blessed that you personally met one of God's Angles. If only there were more like him.
As always, we are very proud of you. I am very proud that you took this kind person's gesture to heart. Keep Safe, we love you!
The Hamaker's

At October 13, 2006 9:31 AM, Blogger FroneAmy said...

My husband wants to get a St Michael tattoo. He doesn't wear the St Michael pendant we got him because the chain is too short. It's so strange to believe so strongly in a symbol, but you are already given a symbol that is pretty damn effective against the general public...the badge. Anyway, neat gesture from a total stranger.

At October 16, 2006 9:41 AM, Blogger Jason said...

I carry a St. Michael's medallion in my shirt pocket.

Typical turd behavior.


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