When the Lord was creating peace officers, he was into his sixth day of
overtime when an angel appeared and said,
“You’re doing a lot of fiddling around with this one.”
The Lord said, “Have you read the spec on this order?”
“A peace officer has to be able to run five miles through alleys in the
dark, scale walls, enter homes the health inspector wouldn’t touch, and
not wrinkle his [her] uniform:
“ He has to be able to sit in an undercover car all day on a stakeout,
cover a homicide scene that night, canvass the neighborhood for
witnesses, and testify in court the next day.
“He has to be in top physical condition at all times, running on black
coffee and half-eaten meals, and he has to have six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of
hands, . . . no way.”
“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord,
“it’s the three pairs of eyes an officer has to have.”
“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.
The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through a bulge in a
pocket before he asks, “ May I see what’s in there, sir?” (when he
already knows and wishes he’d taken that accounting job).
Another pair here in the side of his head for his partner’s safety.
And another pair of eyes here in the front that can look reassuringly at
a bleeding victim and say, “You’ll be all right ma’am,”
when he knows it isn’t so.
“Lord”, said the angel touching his sleeve, “Rest and work on
this tomorrow.” “I can’t,” said the Lord, “I already have a model that
can talk a 250-pound drunk into a patrol car without incident and
feed a family of five on a civil service paycheck.”
The angel circled the model of the peace officer very slowly.
“Can it think?” she asked. “You bet,” said the Lord.
“It can tell you the elements of a hundred crimes; recite Miranda
warnings in its sleep; detain, investigate, search, and arrest a gang
member on the street in less time than it takes five learned judges
to debate the legality of the stop, . . . and still it keeps a sense of humor.”
This officer also has phenomenal control. He can deal with crime
scenes painted in hell, coax a confession from a child abuser, comfort a
murder victim’s family, and then read in the daily paper how law
enforcement isn’t sensitive to the rights of criminal suspects.”
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the check of
the peace officer. “There’s a leak”, she pronounced. “ I told you that
you were trying to put too much into this model”
“That’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear.”
“What’s the tear for?” asked the angel.
“It’s for bottled up emotions, for fallen comrades, for
commitment to that funny piece of cloth called the
American flag, for justice.”
“You’re a genius,” said the angel.
The Lord looked somber. “I didn’t put it there,” He said.
In recognition of Police Officer Recognition Week, I posted this poem I included years ago in my dissertation while researching the impact of repeated exposure to trauma on police investigators. Police Officer Recognition Week will be celebrated May 10-16, 2020.