In the phrase, "to protect and to serve", it's the 'protection' part that most people think of when they see a police officer. But sometimes, we have the opportunity to serve the community in meaningful, inspiring, and honorable ways.
Last week was not one of those times.
What started as a minor noise disturbance in an upscale neighborhood ended with much more.
I backed up another officer responding to an incessantly barking dog. When I arrived, a neighbor with keys to the dog owner's house came over and put the dog inside. This neighbor, however, had locked herself out of her own house and was trying for the past few hours to get in. She had two little boys with her about 5 and 3 years old. The 5 year old was still wearing his Superman pajamas and stared at me with wide admiring eyes while I worked on prying open a screen from a backyard window.
His mother explained how he was fascinated by police officers and so I did my best to include him in the 'rescue' operation. I could tell he was excited to have a police officer in his own backyard as he stayed right next to me the whole time.
After removing the screen, he was hoisted through the open window. He walked over to the door and unlocked it to the cheers of mom, me and my fellow officer. He felt the hero that day and I was happy to play my part.
The family went into the house so I let myself out of the backyard through a side gate. I got in my patrol and cleared the call from my computer. As I started to pull away from the curb, I saw little Superman standing in his driveway by himself preparing to send me off with a wave and a proud smile.
I know how much kids love the sweeping red and blue overhead lights so I reached for the switch to make my exit a memorable one. In true retard fashion, I accidentally pressed a second switch that controls the siren. As the ear-piercing whail of a full siren blasted the neighborhood, the boy nearly jumped out of his pajamas and, terrified, bolted for the front door in an all out panic. I turned off the control to the lights but the siren was still blaring as I fumbled for the secondary switch while trying to make my getaway.
I can only imagine the emotional trauma inflicted on the little man of steel.