P1 First Person: "I hate this job"
I hate this job. I worked another holiday while it seemed like the rest of the world had the day off with their families. But I stopped to help another family with car trouble make arrangements to get to their grandparents’ house. It made their day that I even stopped for them, like they didn’t expect a cop to care about them. I still get a Christmas card from some folks I helped a long time ago.
But I hate this job. Some idiot tried to run me down in his car because I wrote him a ticket. Had to draw down on him and now the paperwork makes me wish I had just pulled the freaking trigger after all. Then I think about the time I could have shot a guy and didn’t.
His mother later thanked me.
He was a combat veteran and going a little crazy. We got him some help.
I hope he’s doing OK.
But I hate this job. Punk kids flipping me off and laughing. Driving like idiots. Spray painting street signs. They don’t know me like the kids on the league I coach do. Even though some of the players are from the hood, we get along. I get a chance to give them a smile or a hug or joke with them. They hate cops, but they are ok with me. Poor guys don’t have much of a chance sometimes it seems. Glad I can help even if it’s just a little bit.
But I hate this job. Every time I cuff somebody up it’s a ton of paperwork. Gotta cover my butt from every angle to keep from getting sued or torn to shreds by a defense attorney. Sometimes the good guys win.
Somebody goes to jail and you hear their victims testify at the hearing. I take no pleasure in a man in chains, but when you see a victim in tears pleading for some justice and by some chance a judge has an intelligent thought and puts somebody away that is up to no good in this world, maybe I can hold my head up high one more day.
But God, how I hate this job. My back is aching from lugging 30 pounds of gear every day of the world and sometimes it seems I’m driving around for nothing. But the 7-11 clerk is glad I’m here. And the drunk drivers aren’t so glad. And the little kids still smile and wave. Sometimes the grownups do too. The truth is I know a lot of people who are glad I do what I do.
Even my kid thinks it’s pretty cool that I’m a cop.
God, thanks for letting me have this job.