Home > Stories From Small Town > Policing, Suzie Ivy Style

Policing, Suzie Ivy Style

Recently, my squad car partner Jim asked how I get away with the rules I police by. I laughed because I think it’s a mom/grandma thing.

I’ve written about the juvenile hooligans in town loving my pink handcuffs and it’s true, but there are times they hate to see me coming.

I’m a seatbelt fanatic! I cringe when I see someone not wearing one or God forbid, not buckling up their children. I’m not even a little bit nice about it. The kids in town know my rules. If they are caught driving without a seatbelt, they get out of their vehicle and give me 100 pushups. This goes for every child in the vehicle twelve and over. If they are under twelve, the driver does their pushups for them. I’ve stood by, on the sidewalk, and had as many as six teenagers taking their punishments. Cars honk as they drive by. No parent has ever complained.

The other night, two Mormon missionaries ran a stop sign (they drive a vehicle because we are so rural). I pulled them over and asked what the book of Mormon taught them. The driver wasn’t sure how to answer so I asked if it says anything about running stop signs.

“No, but I’m sorry for running the stop sign.”

“It teaches you not to lie, so thank you for the truth and next time STOP.”

As I got back in our unit, Jim was shaking his head. “How do you get away with these things?” Jim gets quite a few complaints. He’s a good guy and a great cop but he does not have the GRANDMOTHER touch.

I’ve arrived at domestic calls where kids and parents are yelling at each other. I’ve sent them all to their rooms for the night. It’s comical to see adults trudging away with their heads down. These moms and dads have no parenting skills to speak of. I teach them about taking personal time outs.

I never spanked my oldest two children. My youngest was a handful and she was spanked regularly. It never helped her but for the most part made me feel better (It’s too late to call CPS, she’s grown and moved away). On the job, I’ve stood by and watched as parents spank their kids. I’m there to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand but mostly for the embarrassment factor. Usually, I tell the parent they can spank harder.

A young man in high school stopped me at the park the other day. He was with his friends and asked if I remembered watching as his mom spanked him several years ago.

Yes, I remembered. “Did she ever spank you again?” I couldn’t help but ask.

“No, because I was afraid she would call you to watch.” His friends all snickered.

“Well then I guess it worked.”

“Will you watch me spank my kids when I have them because I don’t really want to do it more than once?”

It did work, what can I say?

My granddaughter was refusing to poop on the potty but was made to sit in her pull up on the toilet seat while going. She’s four-years-old. I suggested cutting a hole in the pull up. My daughter said I was brilliant. She’s the one I spanked. She’s a great mom and will be a brilliant grandma. This paragraph has little to do with policing but I wanted to pat myself on the back.

Now let me talk about hugs. I’m a hugger. I’ve hugged quite a few people before I leave them at the jail. They hug me again when they are released and let me know how they’re doing. At the very least, I shake their hand. I’ve had maybe ten arrestees I haven’t done this with. I live in a very small town. Sooner or later I run into everyone. I feel hugs make me safer. I also get wonderful information with whispers in my ear, “I have some info for you.” or “Such and such knows who’s doing the burgs.” All this in a hug.

If you are a big city cop (my son-in-law), you are jumping up and down and screaming by now but that’s okay. I’m hoping you can feel my hug from here.

I love my job. I’m often unorthodox in performing my duties but that’s just me. In twenty years Jim might be able to get away with some of the things I do. His smile needs improvement though.

Bill Trantham is the artist for my caricature. You can find him at http://sillybill.com

If you are troubled about my perspective and the way I do my job, please bypass the chain of command and take it straight to the top. Email President Obama

  1. Suz
    October 23, 2011 at 7:26 am

    This is awesome! It’s the spirit behind all law enforcement, and i’ts what “community policing” wishes it could be. You’re not breaking any laws, you’re thinking on your feet, and YOU ARE BEING EFFECTIVE. Isn’t that the whole point? Law enforcement doesn’t always have to be confrontational or repressive. What you are doing is preventing the escalation of conflict between cops and citizens.

    Men (especially the young ones) are inclined to turn every negative interaction into a pissing contest, which is VERY useful when push comes to shove. Too often though, they forget that push doesn’t have to come to shove.

    People who break the laws already know you can use the justice system (and your fists if necessary) to beat them down. What is the point of playing your trump card first thing? That’s a card you should keep in your sleeve, so you can use it when you really need it.

    Long live the wise old crone – this world needs more grandmas.

    • October 23, 2011 at 8:48 am

      I agree with everything you’ve written. I’ve seen defeat on people’s faces just because I’ve shown up. It makes me sad. I love “wise old crone” I think I’ll own it!

  2. OracularSpectacular
    October 23, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I love this post.

    I’m a teacher, and an unorthodox one at that. Sometimes I lose my temper with the kids and yell but no one complains because they know how deeply I care for the children. They come to me with all kinds of personal problems and I’m a hugger too- it’s often said that a teacher hugging kids is inappropriate but I don’t give a damn because I’m doing it to show I care, not to get my rocks off!

    • October 23, 2011 at 8:33 am

      I praise you for teaching and hugging! Every child needs a hug every day. Your hug may be the only one they get in a week. A sad but true fact. I’ve lost my temper too but that’s when people know I’m really serious. Hugs to you!

  3. October 23, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I always enjoy the comical spin you’re able to perform on the day-to-day duties of being a cop! And I think you get away with your unusual policing style because other people are able to read the caring in the way you carry yourself ~ wish there were even more like you out there 🙂 (tho I have to admit to having run into many caring cops myself!)

    • October 23, 2011 at 8:27 am

      I was just thinking about you! We met during the holidays last year and I love your blog. I will hop over and see what your latest craft is. One of these days it will be something my craftless hands can grasp. Don’t say anyone can do them because I prove this untrue. Good to hear you’ve met nice cops. I work with some great ones.

  4. October 23, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Once worked with a great practical police officer such as yourself. His maxim was that success as a police officer was the same as success in a prostitute – it was all a matter of approach.

    • October 23, 2011 at 8:20 am

      I will look at myself as a prostitute from here on out (at my age that’s a thrill) and keep approaching my job in the same way. Will you write me letters in jail?

  5. October 23, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Suzie, that post was exactly what I needed, waking up feeling crappy today. Do I have to drive down to Arizona and commit a crime and get arrested to get a Suzie Ivy hug? Because I could really use one right now!

    • October 23, 2011 at 11:17 am

      Nope, I’m sending you one long distance but if you drive down, the hug in person will be so much better.

      I think you need to break down the word “crappy.” Pronounced krap-ee

      Slang: Sometimes Vulgar.
      1) extremely bad, unpleasant, or inferior; lousy: crappy weather.
      2) nasty, humiliating, insulting, or unfair: What a crappy thing to say about anyone!
      3) cheaply made or done; shoddy: a crappy job.

      Related words: icky, lousy, rotten, stinking, stinky

      Okay, crappy will do:-) But I hope the day gets better!

      • October 24, 2011 at 5:54 am

        It did, thanks in no small part to “Granny,” the second dwarf, LOL!

  6. October 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Yet another reason why I miss living in a small town!

    • October 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      I’ve got a post coming in two weeks about just that subject. I’m laughing as I write.

  7. October 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I hug my students, but usually I ask them first if they mind if I give them a hug. Haven’t had anyone decline yet.
    I came late to teaching, like you did to police work. I think there’s something freeing about that–we maybe aren’t as concerned about being ourselves in the line of duty. We don’t worry about if our behavior is “police-like” or “teacher-like.”
    Enjoyed the post and looking forward to the one on small-town life!

    • October 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      Oh Melanie, I loved you when I first read your posts at Blogher. This has been the greatest time in my life. I loved being a mother but being free and independent is more than wonderful. I want to be an eccentric old lady (30-years from now) that pinches the behinds of good looking young men because I can get away with it. We have so much to look forward to including years of hugs.

  8. October 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    OMG.. what a GREAT post, Suzie. I LOVE it and, having met you, can totally see you doing all of these things. Your approach is brilliant; and so, yes, there ARE things grandmas can do that beat the socks off the good ol’ boys ;-). I think what I love most about your post was your comment that “hugs make me safer.” YOU would make a spectacular character in a novel, so I hope you’re writing YOU at some point. Small town … love it!

    • October 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      I’m getting ready to start writing my serial killer true-crime book. I plan on publishing under my own name (cringe). It will show my deadlier, no nonsense side (well probably not really) but it will be serious.

      About that ride along? I know the holidays are coming but I would love to have you solving crime with me:-)

  9. October 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Great post, Suzie! And I recognized the dual benefit of the hug immediately. Had an older parent give me “hug” advice for my son and his friends —showing you care, but also getting close enough to do a “snif test” for alcohol on the breath or pot smoke on the clothes. Hugs your way, too!

    • October 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      I’ve worked off duty for homecoming and prom and done the same. It’s a great parent and cop tip!

  10. October 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    There isn’t one officer on our small town’s police force that I can ever imagine offering me or anyone else a hug — of course there also aren’t any moms or grandmothers! I think all towns could do with a little of your unorthodox police duties!

    • October 24, 2011 at 7:05 am

      I couldn’t agree more. My first year I was made to introduce myself by my title and last name. It just wasn’t working for me. I always include my first name now and if talking to young children I drop my last name and title. Most people in town use my title and my first name together. Makes it easier to hug someone when you know their first name.

  11. October 24, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    “i’m hoping you can feel my hug from here.” – LOVE IT!!

    • October 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks Meghan. I love the name of your blog “Made by Meghan.”

  12. October 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I wish you would come to my town! I love your “Grandmotherly” nature. I think most people just want to be listened to and validated and a hug just exemplifies the human-ness of us all. Please let us know when your book is out! Your blog is such a delightful read!

    • October 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      I can see it now, a hug tour. I need an old school bus with the sides painted, “Hugs for FREE.” I will absolutely let you know when the next book is out. Now, back to work on it!

  13. penmouse711
    October 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Suzie – You are an officer I can get behind! I love this story. Keep up the great posts.

  14. October 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Suzie – your new caricature is perfect! – will we see it on a book cover soon? Doing push-ups beats getting a ticket and more memorable – everyone must be so fit 😉 I really admire the way you can handle all these difficult people and the animals like Barney while keeping a great sense of humour. Hugs to you 🙂

    • October 25, 2011 at 7:30 am

      Thanks Michelle, my covers are set with the same theme throughout but instead of a book trailer I’m thinking about a comic strip. I’ll use my cartoon but I’ll need to come up with a few to play other rolls like Sgt. Dickens. It’s in the works.

  15. October 27, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Great read, thanks for sharing!

  16. bulletproofvest101
    October 28, 2011 at 6:28 am

    You’re an awesome police officer and I also like you as a grandma. Hope you get more grandchildren!!

    Protect yourself from immediate death. http://lightbulletproofvest.wordpress.com

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