Letter | A Day in the Life

A large majority of the population hasn’t got the slightest idea what a police officer does for a living. It’s best described as hours of boredom interspersed with sheer terror. Those moments of “sheer terror” require millisecond decision-making to get it right the first time. There is only one chance to get it right.

What is seen on TV is one-tenth of 1% of the life of a police officer. He or she drives around in a very conspicuous vehicle so the general population knows there are law enforcers on duty to keep them safe. And to let bad guys know that if they do commit a crime, their chances of getting caught are good.

The remainder of time is taken up investigating crimes, taking traffic accidents, delivering babies in the back seats of cars, tending to the injured, arresting drunk drivers and other law breakers, or answering general questions posed by people because they have no other place to turn to answer those questions.

Most police departments have “ride-a-long” programs. They are interesting for police officers. The public is generally tougher on the public than police officers are. “Why didn’t you stop that speeder?” (5 mph over); “Why don’t you stop that car with the tail light out?”; “What I would like is a juicy murder.”

The police officer asked: “Does someone have to die for your entertainment.” Sheepishly, “No.” Realizing this is real.

It was a joy and a pleasure serving the public for 50 years.

William Stewart


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