Cops on vacation: How much to take with you


A few weeks back, I loaded up the family truckster and headed out of town for a much-needed vacation. Wanting to get as far away from the day-to-day stress as possible, I opted for a secluded cabin in the woods. Located next to a fresh stream which ripe for some quiet trout fishing, ours was one of only two cabins within earshot of each other, and the other one appeared to be vacant.

Upon arrival, I get unloaded, cleaned up the truckster, started the charcoal on the grill, and sat my rear end down in a cozy chair on the covered front porch. 

I’d been sitting there for all of about ten minutes when I saw a car full of tattooed thugs come sliding sideways into the parking spot of the now-not-so-vacant cabin. 

You’re Kidding, Right?
My first reaction was “Okay, no big deal. I’m sure they will keep to themselves...”

My buddy who had come along with us on the trip handed me a frosty beverage, and we begin to talk about how the fishing was gonna be the next day.

About 20 minutes into the conversation, my heightened sense of smell — I could challenge the best dope dog back in the day — is alerted.

You guessed it. The “dudes” in the next cabin have lit up a big fat one and were passing it around on their porch.

My face turned at least 20 shades of red I was so angry. My buddy, who is not in law enforcement, knew I was “about to go all cop on their ass.”

Fortunately, he was much calmer than I and helped walk me through our possible solutions to the problem.

My first reaction was obviously to march over there (after calling the local poe-poe), flash my badge, and seize their weed.

That probably wasn’t the best solution.

After talking it through with my buddy, we called the manager of the cabins and explained the situation. Turned out she was a little more upset than I was, not to mention she was a little rough around the edges and she assured me that “I’ll go take care of this right now, we don’t need none of that B___ S___ ‘round these parts.”

All said and done the problem was resolved and I don’t think I saw a single one of those kids walk outside the whole four days I was there. But the point is this: how far removed are you from your job as a cop when you go on vacation? 

Do you choose to not even take a badge and gun, or are you the type who would have gone over to the other cabin and detained all of them and waited for the locals to arrive and make the arrests and search the cabin after a search warrant or consent form was rendered?

Let’s discuss the broad spectrum of what and why you maintain whatever level of your job when you are on vacation. 

With the recent mass shootings taking place, can we as law enforcement officers ever completely let our guard down?

The forum is yours. Stay safe.

About the author

Lt. Hawkes is a 23-year police veteran. In addition to his years of highway drug interdiction, Lt. Hawkes has worked in patrol, K9, investigations, narcotics, and administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Dallas Baptist University and is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Justice Leadership and Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas.  He has been the recipient of both State and Local awards, including the Medal of Valor. His book, Secrets of Successful Highway Interdiction, which can be purchased here, contains eleven chapters on Highway Drug Interdiction.

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