He was all spit and polish. His uniform was always very neat, his leather gear and shoes always spit shined. He was never late and never missed work. The deputies on his shift liked him. He was a hard worker. He conducted himself professionally and courteously when dealing with the public. But even with all these wonderful attributes, it seemed that people complained on him even if he only gave them a warning ticket. I personally liked him for his honesty and forthrightness but somehow he had a way of making people mad. It was a real problem.
We have had other deputies who could write a ticket or put a person in jail and that person would still think that deputy could walk on water.
In past years, our deputies put in a lot of overtime but were not paid for it until the federal government said that it was illegal to work and not be paid for it.
During this period, one of our deputies who worked the third shift and put in a lot of hours decided he would take a little cat nap at the old drive-in theater on the south side of town. A dispatcher was riding along and fell asleep for a few minutes as well. While they slept, a snow fell and blanketed the whole area, including the windshield and windows of the patrol car. Another dispatcher radioed then and woke them up suddenly. The deputy could not see out the windshield or windows and frantically cried out, “Oh my God, I have gone blind! I can’t see! I can’t see!”
The ride-along dispatcher awoke fully and told him the problem.
It was during that same decade one of our deputies was slowly creeping south down Mouse Creek Road in the wee hours of the morning. The fog was as thick as pea soup. He radioed to the dispatcher that he would be checking out a car that some dummy had left in the middle of the road. A couple of minutes later he sheepishly radioed that the car was parked in the driveway.
Trying to follow the road in the thick fog, he had inadvertently turned onto a driveway!
We do make mistakes sometimes. One trick that was played on a new deputy or police officer during those days was to send him to Eighth and Ocoee to check out a “man with a gun” call. Of course, the man is a statue.
To break the tension, a number of jokes were played back and forth until the supervisors became much more strict and a whole lot less tolerant about practical jokes.
Humor is still very much a part of our work. It is the oil that keeps the machinery of the law-enforcement community from grinding into powder. We just have to keep it in check and away from that which poses a danger or that which is otherwise improper.
I have mentioned before, we have all kinds of personalities with different backgrounds. We have to bring all of the idiosyncrasies and personality types to conform to our job descriptions. But I feel we are strengthened by the different personalities. We have local natives, male and female, along with a number of others from all over the country. Their strengths and experience is enmeshed into the team.
The individual that society produces is who we hire. We are trying to hire the best of the best. As our deputies mature and “come into their own” professionally, we can serve you better.
Thanks for reading.