The Hard Facts
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.
The Littlest Cop The Story of Pat
Pat was a unique police officer who stood at a towering 4′-11″ tall, with shoes on (4′-10″ wearing really thick socks and no shoes).
Not a single supply company stocked police uniforms in child sizes, so Pat’s clothing had to be specially made and ordered from a company that advertised, I think, on the back cover of Archie comic books. Even then, a good bit of tailoring had to be done, snipping here and stitching there, to insure a proper fit. Seriously, the little pant legs were shorter than the sleeves on my dress shirts.
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. Besides, not everyone can pull of the “police-hat look.” On the other hand, some look absolutely fabulous!
Anyway, the recruit who’d just completed his turn in the intersection had successfully, without a single crash, stopped traffic from all four directions so Pat could assume the position in the middle of the street. Then, firmly in control of dozens upon dozens of idling vehicles of all sizes and makes, and with arms outstretched and a forceful tweet from a shiny and brand new whistle, Pat sharply and crisply motioned for one lane of traffic to move forward. Cars and trucks zipped by and Pat smiled, nodded, and winked at the drivers as they passed. Pat had it going on.
And all was going well until Pat gave the whistle another blast 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 in laughter. Suddenly chaos broke out. Horns blew. Drivers started moving from all directions. Traffic was soon knotted up like a tin can full of wriggling fishing worms.
Pat once responded to a shoplifting call—an 11-year-old girl swiped a twenty-five cent candy bar from a local K-Mart—and just as Pat was about to enter the store the kid ran outside. Pat grabbed the little darlin’ who then 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 because 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, the kind with the big red nose that squeaks when struck.
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 that 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 brutal, with officers and bad guys were going at it, toe-to-toe and blow-for-blow. Officers were outnumbered four-to-one, 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. Mannequins, fur coats, and hunting apparel were all washed in the same winking and blinking azure light.
Suddenly, a patrol car shot out of the darkness. With strobes pulsing, siren screaming, and headlamps wig-wagging, Pat’s marked blue and white bore down on the parking lot and the fight that was well underway.
Instead of stopping in the street, the tiny officer, who by the way, had to sit on a pillow to see over the dashboard (no, I’m not kidding), steered the car over the curb with a bump and a bang, pulling directly into the narrow parking lot. The car came to a stop not five feet away from the rumble.
Pat didn’t waste any time before flinging open the car door and stepping out, leaving the emergency lights in full frenzy mode, and siren crying out like an alley cat with its tail caught in a fox trap. Then Pat stepped out of the car, sort of …
You see, Pat’s pistol and holster had somehow gotten tangled with the seat belt, reeling Pat back into the car like a Yo-Yo on the upswing. Pat’s Maglite hit the pavement and broke apart, spilling D-cell batteries and the lens and bulb in all directions. The pillow fell out and slid beneath the vehicle.
And the hat. That &%*@ hat.
Yes, resting on Pat’s miniature dome was 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 and the whereabouts of the now missing batteries and seat cushion.
Suddenly, as if a magic spell had been cast, the fight stopped. Everyone, good guys and bad, all turned to watch “The Pat Show” unfold. Even the bad guys chuckled at the ridiculousness playing out before their very eyes—Pat on hands and knees retrieving lost gear and, of course, the pillow. At least the fight was over.
By the way, Pat’s hands were so small that the department had to purchase a pistol 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, though, because Pat still barely managed to shoot a satisfactory score on the range.
So I guess the true test of becoming a 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, you must be “this tall” to drive a police car.
Pat did have a few good officer-type qualities. Such as…
Crime scene photography. Pat was already close to the ground, so locating tiny bits of evidence was a breeze.
Pat could sit for hours at a time, watching surveillance tapes.
Undercover assignments were Pat’s favorite.
Of course, Pat’s drinking was a problem.
And there were rumors of a serious “Binky” habit…
Joining the dive team presented new challenges for Pat.
Pat was tough, though, and managed to singlehandedly bring in even the biggest and baddest of the bad guys.
In the end, though, it was the intradepartmental affair that ended Pat’s career.
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