Behind the Badge

"Whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished."
Proverbs 17:5

That's not My Car

While I was on the Sheriff's Department, we were all issued a patrol car. It was ours to use on duty and to take home with us. This was done so that at anytime day or night we could be called, and we would have a car to get into to respond wherever we were needed.

When you work in a car from eight to twelve hours a day, you begin to feel like you live in that car. We all felt that way. It was not unusual for us to fix up our cars the way we wanted them. Many of us put stereos in them, coffee cup holders, and other little things that made the long hours go by easier.

Many of us washed and waxed and kept our patrol cars looking much nicer then we did our private cars. We also took better care of them than we did our own cars. You never knew when your life might depend on that car. We took a lot of pride in our cars and cared a lot about them. I remember several times when some dirt bag I was talking to on the street tried to put his feet on my car's bumper. I would tell them nicely at first not to do that. A couple of times I heard things like, "I pay taxes so this car is part mine because I paid for it, and I'll put my foot on it if I want to!" being the nice person that I am, I would always give them a little ride in their car to their jail. You can't beat that, for seeing your tax dollars at work.

One night when I was a sergeant, I was having a cup of coffee with my Corporal and another Deputy at a 24-hour convenience store. There was a counter in the back of the store where the coffee pot was. We were standing there drinking our coffee. In front of the store were plate glass windows, facing the parking lot. My Corporal and I both had Dodge patrol cars, and the other Deputy had a Ford.

As I was standing there, drinking coffee looking out the window, I saw a young woman leave the store, get into her car and back into a Dodge patrol car. I nudged my corporal and said, "Hey look at that, that woman just hit your car!"

The Corporal turned around, looked at the two cars which had locked bumpers, took another sip of coffee and said, "Sorry Sarge, but that's not my patrol car. Mine's over there." He was pointing to the other side of the parking lot.

I almost choked on my coffee as I realized that I had just calmly watched that woman back into my patrol car. There were too many witnesses around for me to choke the woman so I calmed down and called the dispatcher on the radio and asked for the Highway Patrol to be called to investigate the accident. I also had to have the dispatcher notify my Lieutenant that my car and been hit and no one was hurt.

While I was waiting for the Highway Patrol to come, I saw almost every man on my shift drive by to see the Sergeants car. I'm sure they all enjoyed it since I was always on them about being careful and not having any accidents.

by R.L. Dettwiler


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