I’ve been writing like crazy but I promised to post the first chapter of Bad Luck Officer on my blog. Please blame my editor. She made me split my first chapter into two chapters. I agreed with her reasoning but the, now, second chapter is one of my favorites and it’s killing me not to share. As always, if you are visiting my blog for the first time start with Accidents Happen, the first post in the Bad Luck Cadet series.
I woke up Monday morning in sudden fear. I had finished the police academy; I had attained the goal I set for myself; and now I, Suzie Ivy, was a Certified Peace Officer for the State of Arizona.
I must have been out of my mind!
This thought stayed with me as I uniformed up for my first official day on duty as a police officer. Starting with the matching sports bra and panties, black long sleeved undershirt, uniform pants, and uniform shirt with my bright shinny badge in place on my chest, I then put on my duty belt. This consisted of a baton, one set of handcuffs, pepper spray, flashlight, gun and two extra magazines of bullets. My outer bullet proof vest came next and my new duty boots with their academy worthy shine came last.
Note to self– it’s nearly impossible to bend over in all the gear and put on shoes. Tomorrow boots go on directly after uniform pants.
Now, I was ready to hit the streets. Not. From head to toe, the total weight of my gear was twenty-eight pounds. This was more gear than I ever wore at the academy and it was my excitement that kept me from feeling claustrophobic.
I arrived at the police department and was greeted at the door by Sandy, the administrative secretary to the Police Chief. She actually smiled warmly at me and welcomed me into the inner sanctum of the department. This was not her previous response to me, but I was an outsider then. Now I was a member of the department.
Sergeant Spears was waiting for me in his office.
“Good morning, Officer Ivy.”
This was the first time I had been officially called “Officer,” and it felt good.
“Good morning Sir,” I said, as I stood at attention in front of his desk.
“Sit down and relax,” said Spears, “you’re not in the academy anymore and you need to loosen up and be less formal. Please call me Dave while we’re inside the office.”
“Yes sir.” I said as I warily took a seat.
I couldn’t help it. It felt like a trick. Eighteen weeks of proper police etiquette had been drilled into me at the academy and this was my first day on the job. Relaxing or calling him Dave was not a possibility at all.
Sgt. Spears gave me a semi smile and then got down to business. He handed me a blank Arizona traffic ticket combination complaint form and told me to write a citation for disorderly conduct. He handed me another piece of paper, half filled with typed information, and told me everything I needed was on the “27.”
A “27” was not something I had been taught at the academy. I looked at the traffic complaint form and then I looked at the paper. Sgt. Spears saw me staring at the paper and asked if there was a problem. I explained I was not sure what a “27” was but I could probably figure it out.
“The 10-27 is the motor vehicle driver’s license report that you have in your hand.”
I knew that. We had learned all our “ten codes” at the police academy. But I had been thrown for a loop by not hearing a ten before the 27. I took a deep breath and began filling out the form. I asked for the location of the offense along with the date and time and was told we would be driving to the scene and I would enter the exact location when we arrived.
After I finished the paperwork, Sgt. Spears grabbed his sun glasses (I was less than cool without a pair to put on) and we headed out to his police vehicle.
As we walked, he began explaining what was expected of me as an Officer in Training (OIT) and how I needed to always ask if I was not clear on something. Small Town Police Department had never had a female officer and we would all be facing challenges we could not possibly anticipate or prepare for. We would go through a learning curve and adjustment period. And as my supervisor he wanted me to communicate any problems to him immediately.
We got in his vehicle, with “Dave” driving and I riding shotgun, and headed to my first call. The instructions continued. This first week I was to stand back, observe, and let him do all the talking.
“Above anything else,” said Sgt. Spears, “don’t get yourself killed or God forbid get me killed. Keep your eyes and ears open and think Officer safety.”
That was it. We had arrived at my first call.
Small Town is as it says, small. This is a farming and cattle community. There are only thirty-eight square miles within the city limits and then you’re out in the boonies. I found this laughable when I first moved here. The town proper was the boonies to this city girl. Now it was my town, my district and my stomping ground. We drove through one of the less than sprawling housing developments and I saw what exactly my first call would entail.
Mr. Dwaine Piskett was sitting in the middle of the road. He had a large rock in his lap. I’m not talking a rock the size of your hand. I’m talking a big ass rock the size of his lap. We approached and Sgt. Spears asked Mr. Piskett how he was doing.
“I don’t want to speak to you.” Mr. Piskett said to Sgt. Spears, “You is a ugly man an god done handed out the looks the day you was digging through the garbage.”
I stayed in the background as Sgt. Spears requested. I was in shock. This man was speaking trash to my Sergeant. Ten hill runs Mr. Piskett or better yet how about I kick your ugly old ass. This was all in my head and I remembered Sgt. Spears words, “God forbid don’t get me killed.” So I stood back, hand on the release lever to pull my gun, Officer safety thought running through my mind, ready to save my Sergeant.
“Well that may be so, but you’re going to need to get up and move out of the road,” was Sergeant’s reply.
“This is my road. It’s been my road for a hundred years and I can sit in it if I want to.”
It was scary, maybe it had been his road for almost one hundred years. From the 10-27 I knew Mr. Piskett was ninety-two and not far off that hundred year mark. The academy did not prepare me for this specific situation.
Sgt. Spears kept his cool.
“We’ve been through this before Mr. Piskett, you can’t sit in the middle of the road. Put aside the rock and let’s get you moved.”
“This here rock is a gift from God. It’s my rock and you can’t have it.”
“Okay Mr. Piskett,” said Sgt Spears, playing along. “But I need to move you out of the road. You can carry the rock if you want.”
“Are you blind? You’re nothing but a stupid ugly piece of kennel poop. I can’t lift this rock.”
Sgt. Spear’s voice tightened slightly, “Then how did you get it over here?”
“I rolled the damn thing, but at soon as I got here, God told me I couldn’t roll it no more.”
Sgt. Spears looked at me with a slight question in his gaze and then turned back to the man cradling the rock.
“Well Mr. Piskett, this pretty lady here was sent by God to move your rock. I’ve been sent by the Small Town Police Department to move you.”
Mr. Piskett looked at me and asked me if I was sent by God.
I tried to look Godly.
“God wants me to help you with the rock,” I said to Mr. Piskett, “and get you out of the road.”
He got up allowing the rock to roll from his lap and said, “I’ll help you lift it but God said not to roll it, so you’ll need to carry it, and since God wanted it moved now it shouldn’t weigh too much.”
Mr. Piskett and I picked up the rock. He was wrong about God lightening the load. Still I took it from him and, thankful for every push up I had to do at the academy, I carried that big ass rock over to the side of the road and dropped it.
“Angel Ivy, I need you to get that citation out of the car.” Sgt. Spear’s voice held humor although he maintained a straight face.
I walked over to the car and took the citation out. I carried it back over to Sgt. Spears. He told me to finish filling it out with the location information and to issue the citation. Mr. Piskett was now sitting on the side of the road, out of traffic, and I issued him the citation. He signed it and then he said he was thankful for my help.
“God bless you Angel Ivy.”
Then he looked down at the court date I’d written on the citation and said he’d be seeing me in January if God was willing.
Sgt. Spears and I walked away and got back in the patrol car. I was quiet, trying to understand exactly what had just happened.
Sgt. Spears laughed and said I did a great job. He explained Mr. Piskett would stay out of our hair until after the court date because his friend the judge would not forgive two citations so close together.
I couldn’t make sense of the rock and told Sgt. Spears. He said there was no sense to the rock.
This was my welcome to the Small Town Police Department!
Next post “I Don’t Speak Cow”