On Duty…..


Last Thursday I was on duty at 11:00am. I had just stopped a kid who had been driving like an idiot. Thirty miles an hour over the speed limit, rapid lane changes, and following too closely. I contacted the kid, and he met my criteria listed in our “Car Stops” chapter.

He was polite, he was HONEST, and he had all his paperwork in order. He realized he had screwed up and he had a spotless driving record. I did what many of my partners don’t understand. I gave him a warning.

The kid seemed eternally grateful and I walked back to my car with a smile on my face. After all, I was young once too. My Mom and Dad had been called by the cops a time or two about my driving way back then, and I thought the kid would learn more by a warning in this particular case.

I turned off my red and blue lights and prepared to pull into traffic when the dispatcher sent me a message on my computer that made my heart stop. “Jim, call your brother at Mt Diablo Hospital immediately. Family Emergency.”

I worry about Mark being a cop and getting hurt, but I knew he was on vacation so that left his wife, kids or my Mom and Dad. I called the hospital and they put me through to my brother. His voice was strained and he started crying as he told me that Mom had suffered a stroke while at home. My Dad had called 911, and she had been taken by Paramedics to the hospital. No status as of yet. She was having a CAT scan and was being sent up to the critical care unit.

I comprehended what Mark had told me with disbelief. My Mom is 75 but other than a little high blood pressure from time to time, she’s never had any serious medical problems in her entire life. And she’s never spent one night in a hospital. Not one night away from my Dad in 48 years of marriage.

A Police Department is like a family and when something bad happens to one of us or our family members, the pain is felt within the entire organization. My sergeant knew something was wrong by the look on my face when I asked to speak to him. They immediately released me from duty so that I could go to the hospital.

Mark can fill you in from here. JL


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