The Little Cop Who Couldn’t: You Must Be “This” Tall to Drive a Police Car
I’m sorry, but some people are simply not designed to be cops. There, I’ve said it. And it’s true.
Ask any police officer and they’ll tell you that it takes a special kind of person to successfully wear a gun and badge. Sure, “law dawgs” come in all shapes, sizes, skin colors, and from varying backgrounds. But there was one officer who shouldn’t have made it past the interview stage, and that cop was quickly nicknamed “The Little Cop Who Couldn’t.”
First of all, for the purpose of this blog we need to assign a name to the officer—a gender-neutral name. Therefore, it’ll be up to you to paint your own mental picture of him/her. And the name I choose is Pat (could go either way with this one – remember Pat on SNL?).
The story goes something like this…
Pat was a unique police officer who stood at a towering 4’10” tall, with shoes on. Not a single supply company stocked police uniforms in child sizes, so Pat’s clothing had to be specially made and ordered from the good folks who live inside trees and bake and sell cookies to support their lifestyle. Even then, a good bit of tailoring had to be done, snipping here and stitching there, to insure a proper fit. And if someone had bronzed Pat’s work shoes they’d have looked a lot like “baby’s first shoes.”
During basic training, one of the practical exercises for the class was to direct traffic at a busy city intersection. Trainees were required to be in full uniform for the exercise, including hats. Well, they just don’t make police hats that small, so Pat borrowed one from a fellow classmate, looking like a kid playing dress-up in adult clothing.
Anyway, the trainee who’d just completed his turn in the intersection stopped traffic from all four directions so Pat could assume the position in the middle of the street. With arms outstretched and a short blast from a whistle, Pat then sharply and crisply motioned for one lane of traffic to move forward. All was going well until Pat gave the whistle another tweet to stop the oncoming traffic, and then turned to the left to start the next lane of traffic moving. Well, Pat’s tiny head turned left, rotating inside the cap, but the too-large hat remained facing forward. The entire class erupted is laughter.
Pat once responded to a shoplifting call—an 11-year-old girl swiped a candy bar from a local K-Mart—and just as Pat was about to enter the store the little kid ran outside. Pat grabbed the little darlin’ who immediately pushed Pat down to the pavement. Pat got up and grabbed the 70-ish-pound kid and it was on.
According to bystanders, who, by the way, called 911 to report an officer needing assistance, the child was absolutely beating the tar out of Pat. One witness told responding officers that Pat resembled one of those blow-up clown punching bags that pops back upright after each blow.
Then there was the time when Pat’s fellow officers responded to a large fight outside a local bar. The dispatcher cautioned that weapons were involved and several people were already injured and down. Pat was in the middle answering a domestic he-said/she-said when the call came in.
Responding officers saw the large crowd and immediately called for backup, which, at that point, meant calling in sheriff’s deputies and state troopers, since every available officer, except Pat, was already on the scene. The fight was a tough battle and officers and bad guys were basically going at it toe-to-toe and blow-for-blow. Officers were outnumbered 4-to-1, at least.
And then they heard it … a lone siren wailing and yelping in the distance, like the sound of a ship’s horn mournfully floating across vast salt water marshes at low tide. Soon, intermittent flashes of blue light began to reflect from brick storefronts and plate glass windows. And then, out of the darkness appeared Pat’s patrol car, bearing down on the parking lot and the fight that was well underway.
Pat didn’t bother stopping at the curb. Instead, the tiny officer, who by the way, had to sit on a pillow to see over the steering wheel (no, I’m not kidding), pulled the car directly into the parking lot beside the action, flung open the car door, and stepped out.
You Must Be “This” Tall
Well, stepped out … sort of. Pat’s pistol somehow had become entangled in the seat belt, which sort of reeled Pat back into the car like a Yo-Yo on the upswing. Pat’s Maglite hit the pavement, coming apart and spilling batteries in all sorts of directions. The pillow fell out of the car and slid beneath the vehicle. And the hat. Yes, the little cop wore the cop/bus driver hat, which, of course remained motionless while Pat’s softball-size head spun around like a lighthouse beacon as he/she surveyed the scene.
Suddenly, as if a magic spell had been cast, the fight stopped, with everyone turning to watch “The Pat Show” unfold. Even the bad guys chuckled at the ridiculousness before them—Pat on hands and knees retrieving lost gear and, of course, the pillow. But, at least the fight was over.
By the way, Pat’s hands were so small that the department had to purchase a pistol that’s a bit smaller than standard cop issue, but Pat’s index finger was still too short to reach the trigger. Instead, he/she learned to shoot using his/her middle finger to pull the trigger. Didn’t matter, because Pat failed to shoot a satisfactory score on the range during the first annual weapons qualification.
So I guess the true test of becoming a solid police officer is not how strong the desire or how big the heart, it’s how well the head fits the hat. And, of course, they must be “this tall” to drive a police car.
Poor Pat, you gotta feel for him/her. Up until 1986, the minimum height for males wishing to become a police officer in New South Wales was 5 feet 8 1/2 inches and for females, 5 feet 4 inches. Now there is no minimum height.