They Can’t Fire Me, Now BLOG 12

Tuesday, September 11, 1973

Department Vehicle 363 in my apartment basement

Department Vehicle 363 in my apartment basement

I’m off probation, so they can’t fire me. I like that! All I’ve got to do now is show up to work — for the next 28 years.

But, at times, I wonder if I’ll make it.  Am I too sensitive to be a cop? It’s a struggle to be a hard-ass — to show the older guys I’m tough enough. Lots of times I really don’t want to hurt folks’ feelings or make them think I don’t trust them.

Cherry Popped — But Am I Really Tough Enough?

My cherry got popped a couple weeks ago, and for awhile I feared getting fired. It was right after a traffic stop on a VW Bug at Fulton and Masonic. Driver with a beachball-sized Afro — that filled the interior of the car — was driving erratically. As I approached his vehicle, I could smell the marijuana. Then the guy flashed his USF Law School ID and pleaded with me not to arrest him, saying it would end his law career before it even started.

So I got him out of the car and made him throw his stash in the sewer. He promised he’d drive straight back to the dorms, two blocks away. I trusted him. Gave him a break by not arresting him. But, then, I didn’t follow him back to the dorms.

An hour later, the guy rolled the Bug on the other side of the Panhandle. The chick with him was thrown out and seriously injured.

I escaped that one, too. But I wonder …

Two Careers Saved …

My Sergeant Mosley is a month from his retirement,and covered my negligence and my ass. He knew what I’d done, but didn’t make an issue of it. Two careers saved — that law student’s and mine.

But that experience has transformed me. I gotta be tougher even though this job can be dehumanizing; I get that, but I’m losing my faith in the goodness of people. If I make a traffic stop with a friendly attitude, I might get my head blown off. If I make a traffic stop with a chip on my shoulder, I’ll be talking to Internal Affairs about my lousy attitude. No-win situation!

Holding both attitudes at the same time is impossible, so I intend to hide behind the uniform and let it do the talking.The rules are the rules, and the uniform lets me stick to them —

this is all about acceptance and survival.