The other night, one of my coworkers told me two young female officers are “scared to death of me.” This puzzled me, because while I am always sarcastic, I never try to be mean. Well, usually.
Then there was Tuesday night.
Two rookie cops came to the division with an alleged “robbery” and an assault on police. The first cop decided he would be the spokesman, because he was a grizzled veteran with a whopping four years on the job. Wow! The officer explained a female went into a store, shoplifted nearly $200 worth of cosmetics, and when they tried to arrest her, she spit in the other officer’s face.
Even though I already knew the answers to my questions beforehand, I decided to ask them anyway. “Officer, if there was an assault on police, did you follow the protocols?”
“You know, the protocols deemed necessary by directive? When there is an assault on police, the scene has to be held. Did you do that?”
“The store must be treated as a crime scene. Did you hold the store and make sure no one entered or left?”
“Did you bring up all the witnesses to the assault?”
“Did you have your supervisor come to the scene?”
“Okay, then we’re off and running. Every one of those steps are supposed to be completed before you even call up here. Also, a captain or above needs to approve the assault on police charges, and the first question he or she will ask would be, ‘Did they follow the protocols?’ When we say no, what do you think the captain will say?”
“I don’t know.”
My supervisor heard the conversation and walked to my desk. He read both reports and asked, “Why is this coded as a robbery? Didn’t she just steal cosmetics?” The officers said yes, but claimed the offender tried to fight with the security guards. The supervisor then asked if the guards were here. The answer? “No.”
“Okay then, this is a retail theft. Can’t have a robbery without a victim.”
The spokesman then went on a mini filibuster, claiming it should be a robbery, despite the incompetence of both officers and the officers’ supervisor. At that point, I shook my head and started smiling. Not because it was funny – it really wasn’t – but because it was uncomfortable.
Eventually my supervisor went back to his office, and I was getting death stares from the rookie cops. I wanted to explain that my questions were not to embarrass them, but to keep them from making the same mistake again. They apparently weren’t interested, so I let it go.
Circling back to the original point, the two young female cops may be “scared” of me, and the two rookie cops may hate me, but the entire point of being good at this job is learning from the old timers. You may think I’m irascible, mean, or utterly sarcastic, but if you took a moment to see what I’m trying to tell you, you’d be better officers. I guarantee it.