Monday, November 23

Open forum

When I met Noah in college, he was the guy everybody loved: easygoing, kind, funny, quick to laugh. He's still that guy, but people who didn't know him then have a hard time seeing him that way. Why? When they find out he's a cop, the natural progression of creating a relationship changes. Noah's profession makes people uncomfortable.

They remember complaining about the cop who pulled them over for speeding. They don't know how to respond to tragedy within the police community. They assume he's scrutinizing them, because the cops are supposedly out to bust everybody.

Conversations either fall flat, or revolve around his job.

So I want to hear from you. I'm inviting discussion for a reason (a little unscientific research), but if you really want answers, we'll be happy to give them. 

For those of you who are officers or family of officers, what's your take on this? Can you even remember what life was like before you were part of this community?

For those of you who aren't officers or family of officers, what are you interested in knowing about police life? What are the questions you'd like to ask but would feel weird about asking if, say, you met an off-duty officer at a party or a coffee shop or church? Or what TV cop show facts would you like confirmed or debunked? (Hint: I don't know of any officers or detectives who use a shoulder holster.)


P.S. I'll thank you in the acknowledgments for being my guinea pigs.


The Bug said...

I read Stephanie Plum novels, so I think I have the detective life down pretty pat. What - Joe Morelli isn't representative?

Dan said...

Have you ever thrown your baton at a "perp's" legs like they do on T.J. Hooker?

Have you ever met T.J. Hooker?

Have you ever met those guys from C.H.I.P.S? Those guys are cool.

Would Blue Thunder beat Airwolf in a fight?

Have I caused Erins mum to tut yet?

(Delete this comment if it lowers the tone)

Captain Character said...

The police officer at our school teaches the staff how to solve the rubik's cube.

Captain Character said...

The police officer at our school teaches the staff how to solve the rubik's cube.

Dori said...

I had a comment...but now I'm just really curious about the outcome of the Blue Thunder/Airwolf battle...

Back to your research...between military and police, we've been part of this law enforcement community a long time. I enlisted in '93...and I really hadn't lived in the US prior to that--spent 5 years stationed overseas so still haven't for that matter...then my husband got out of the Navy and went right in to the police academy. So, yeah...this is pretty much all I've known for the past 15/16 years.

It was interesting a few years ago when I was working with mainly college students and Sean would walk in--all of the sudden everyone had somewhere else to be. It was a like a ghost town because the cop walked in. Some days I'd just mess with them--hey, look! There's my husband! And they'd be gone. That never got old.

Slamdunk said...

Yeah, the social part of a policing career is difficult for the officer as well as his/her family.

My question: does Noah enjoying plenty of sleeping, eating big meals, and getting paid to lift weights all while on duty? Oh wait, I was thinking of a firefighter not a police officer.

zunzun said...

My husband is not a cop per se (Probation Officer soon to be Parole Officer...maybe I'm splitting hairs!LOL) but it's still a conversation killer to bring up his profession...either that or we start getting a barage of questions as to what exactly they should do w/ their miscreant teenagers!LOL I do know that in our previous neighborhood neighbors both liked that he was but at the same time were awkward around us...this time I just sort of gloss over it and mumble something about goverment and desk job!LOL

Unlike me, my husband is very easy going, generous, kind hearted (I'm evil...ok..not evil..but not as nice) but people knowing what he does assures him being treated as a hard ass ex-Marine current card carrying member of "the man aka the system" so it's a good thing we already had a good pool of friends!LOL

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know what he thinks when he wakes up in the morning.

Is it: "Aww man I have to go work. I'm tired."?

Or "I've been chosen to do this, and I chose to be a part of it. I have to go out there."

Is it a serious thing everyday? Or has it become more day-to-day like other jobs?

Meadowlark said...

@Slamdunk - HA HA HA... "firefighter"... that was FUNNY!!!

@ZunZun - I believe your husband is a "former Marine" - and yes, I'm splitting hairs :)

As a side note, we have no civilian friends so I have no idea if they would treat him differenlty - BabyGirl's friend though ... they think he is the coolest. Who knows why.

Anonymous said...

I guess I don't think it affects us until I start to think about it.

The people we were friends with before are friends for life, people we grew up with sort of people. So they won't be going away just because he's a cop. There have been some awkward, you just don't get it moments, however - even with my mom. With other not so close friends we get the annoying, I must tell you my "cops are out to get me" story. Shadup.

As for making new friends we mostly stick to the LE community so that hasn't been an issue.

Swistle said...

Ooo! Oo oo oo! Here is what I would want to ask:

1. When an officer pulls someone over for a more routine traffic violation (10 miles over the limit, for example, not driving while shooting), does the officer FEEL as stern as he/she ACTS, or is it partly faked for effect?

2. What IS the amount that a person can drive over the limit without the officer feeling duty-bound to pull the person over?

3. I imagine officers are super-annoyed when they are trying to drive and the people in front of them are going exactly the limit or even UNDER, when the officer knows PERFECTLY WELL the person would be driving faster if there wasn't an officer behind them. Also, am I right that the officer would actually PREFER everyone would go a little faster?

4. Once an officer has OBVIOUSLY seen me OBVIOUSLY speeding, my feeling is that it's only annoying if I slam on my brakes as if I think I can suddenly pretend I WASN'T speeding---that it's actually better to just take my foot off the gas. Am I right?

5. WHAT WILL MAKE ME LESS LIKELY TO GET A TICKET (assuming I deserve one but not a big one)?

6. What is an officer SO SICK of being asked?

Oh, this is SO much fun!

Dori said...

@Meadowlark--*heart* you!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Haven't seen Noah in "cop mode," so that's ... a little weird to think that other people don't automatically think he's awesome. Anyway, here are my questions:

Do cops who have to shoot someone in the line of duty feel guilty about it? Or do they view it in a practical way? If they feel guilty, what specifically do they feel guilty for?
What do cops wish the general public knew about them or would quit assuming about them?
Do cops resent hearing non-cops whine about their jobs? ('Cause let's face it: Cops win in that comparison.)
Do people in law-enforcement tend to become more cynical and jaded the longer they are in the profession? If so, do they see that in themselves?
As a cop's wife, how long did it take you to get past the "OMGhemightdietoday" feeling every time he went to work?
Do cops get special training in driving (for high-speed chases and to avoid dorks on the road when they're responding to a call)?

I think that's it for now. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting one. I had pretty neutral at best feelings about the military until a friend of ours became a reserve officer in the British Paras (which is a bit different from most reserve roles) and ended up in Basra for six months. That definitely caused me to rethink and recalibrate a lot of my previously default 'liberal' views.

So I suppose my question isn't so much about 'oh my God, you're a cop' as it might have been. What I would like to ask is, as a gun carrying American officer, how does your husband feel the increasing presence of guns (and machine guns) carried by British policemen on London streets is going to change the style of our policing? How worried should we be? Could he envisage doing his job without a gun as a default tool?

Sorry, those are a bit big and serious.

Dawn said...

This was an interesting topic for me and Hubby on our drive down to Houston. . .

I want to know, does Noah feel his "cop" face/attitude/demeanor leaking into his off-duty life, and, if so, does that please or upset him? (Speaking from a strict observance of heteroglossia, he has to act a bit differently at work than he would at home, but are the two beginning to cross over?)

How have his experiences as a cop affected his view of people and the world at large? Have his experiences drastically changed his opinions of certain stereotypes or social groups?

(A few more incoming, after Savvy's walk. . .)

Mother Ship + inFINcible said...

Do you ever dress up in his cop uniform?

I once dated a fireman and after a glass I mean bottle of wine I liked t put on his giant pants with the boots attached and his fire hat and parade around ...and now I will sign off your blog before I embarass mysef further.

Sandra said...

As an officer, here it goes:

- if at a function with people I do not know, I try to avoid saying what I do for a living because as soon as I say I'm a police officer that's all people want to talk about. It used to be fun, but now I'd rather hear about everyone else's lives.

Dan - I've never thrown my baton, but I've thrown my flashlight at someone before. Also, I swear that two guys I work with actually are CHIPS.

Slamdunk - you just described my beloved ;)

I groan when the alarm goes off and it's time for dayshift. What I would do for another hour in bed...

If you've been caught speeding, just take your foot off the gas.

Just because our job says we are permitted to shoot and kill someone threatening us or another person with death or serious bodily harm does not make doing so any easier. It sucks, really.

My take on life is this - my job has proven, time and time again, that life is a fragile gift. Enjoy every moment, tell those important to you that you love them everyday, and do not for a second take anything for granted.

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