A Day in the Life of a Police Officer

Posted on August 26th, 2008 in Uncategorized) by Priceless Reflections...by Mel | 0 Comments »

 

One of the things I absolutely LOVE about being a photographer is the wide variety of things / people / events I get to photograph.  I was contacted to this session for an upcoming book, and was a little nervous, in all honesty – because I’m not very “tough” and I really don’t like seeing blood and guts and things.  :-)  So … when I was contacted to to this session – I was nervous, but excited at the same time.  Here are a few things I learned, or if I already knew them, things that really hit home with me:

Cops really DO like Dunkin’ Donuts  :-)

It is a very dangerous job. These guys go to work and realize that maybe, they may not come home if they find themselves on a dangerous call, etc.

People see cops coming and are afraid (ok, so that statement includes me. NOBODY likes to see those flashing lights pull up behind them.  But it’s more fun when you’re IN the cop car and not in FRONT ha ha.

Guns are scary.  I know the whole “guns don’t kill people – PEOPLE kill people” argument that goes on all the time – but when you’re starin’ down the barrel of a shotgun, it is just plain scary (but I did want the shot, so I bucked up, inhaled deeply,said a quick prayer, and took the shot, and then was happy it took only one time to get the shot I was wanting to get.

 

The guys deal with death every day. I witnessed a call where an elderly gentleman collapsed from a stroke while getting his oil changed.  We were the first responders on that.  It was hard to watch.  Then we witnessed another elderly gentleman who had gone into diabetic shock, only to be found slumped over his steering wheel in his own driveway.  Again the first responders to that.

Along those same lines – they are the first responders on suicide calls too.  We had one the day I rode along.  It was really scary.  There are people out there who have reached desperation – and in a very last moment attempt for help, they may call 911.  We responded to a call of a person who was very much in that “almost at the end” situation.  These officers have to deal with people in an emotionally healthy way – trying to get them help, while at the same time making sure that they can protect themselves, if the suicidal person goes “postal” (that’s not a technical term, just as a disclaimer, LOL).  They have to be aware of every single detail of every situation in order to keep themselves safe, and the surrounding people as well.  (They wear bullet-proof vests all the time, I never knew that).   

Strangers are kind.  In both of the above incidents, employees, neighbors, were amongst the first to reach out and offer to do anything in their power to help out.  Often times in this world we go about our daily lives thinking that most people are mean (thus those bumper stickers, “mean people suck” etc… ) But in all honesty – a day with this officer kind of renewed my faith in the general public.  There are so many good, good people out there willing to stop and help if they think help is needed.  And they do it not for recognition, but because they simply want to help.  That was heart-warming.

These guys do a TON of paperwork.  They may have a 9-5 shift, but if they get called on a job at 4:30pm, they can’t just leave at 5pm and hand over the paperwork to the next shift. THey have to stay ’til it’s done, and sometimes that can be hours upon hours.

Handcuffs aren’t very comfortable … I got to try some on “for fun” and was pretty happy when they came off. They are really heavy.

There’s no “quota” they have to fill in terms of how many tickets they’re supposed to give. I had thought this my entire life and always avoided speeding on the last day of every month in order to avoid being one of those unlucky ones picked so they can fill their “quota.” There is no quota.  Go figure.

Identify theft happens every.single.day. in places you’d never expect.  I won’t say more on that only to say I was truly shocked at what I saw just in one single day.

These guys are some of the hardest working guys I’ve seen.  Even though they may appear to drive around looking for donuts – they really aren’t doing that. They are watching our neighborhoods, our streets, our children, and helping to do just what their badge says (or at least I *think* it says that there, maybe it’s on the car….) “Serve and Protect”  … I for one was honored to spend a day with this officer and will be forever grateful now that I know how much they do for our world.

Enough mushy sentiment – here are a few of my favorite shots. 

(that’s the shot above that was the scariest for me)

One other thing I learned – when a cop pulls up behind you at a traffic light or wherever, they can run your plates.  Just randomly.  And so if you have an expired plate – outstanding warrant – or some other issue – they can just randomly find you!  I never knew that.  
So there you have a few of the 800 shots we took in just one shift.  It was truly an eye opening experience and I’d like to personally thank this particular officer, as well as the Miami Twp Police Department for having me come out to do this job.  I learned so much and enjoyed (almost) every moment.  :-) 

 

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