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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #101
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Time, speed, distance and spatial relationships of objects. These are hardly topics that you would assume the average police officer would ponder. But ponder you do. In the never ending quest to answer the question of why, as well as all the other legal necessities of determining the elements of a crime, you launch into a mission to learn as much as you can about the variables of time, speed, distance and spatial relationships. You want to know how to reconstruct an accident or a crime in order to learn the causal relationship between conduct and result.

    It is obvious that in the field of law enforcement it is the luck of the draw whether the responding officer is trained or has the knowledge to determine these things or even cares for that matter. You don’t want to be the guy who arrives at the scene unprepared and ignorant. The easiest way to achieve this is to study the field of accident reconstruction but your department relies on outside instructors for simple advance accident investigative theory let alone reconstruction. So you pay for it yourself and use accumulated leave to attend on your own time.

    Mathematics is not your strong suit. In fact, you were a C student of physics and calculus in high school. In college, you were drummed out of engineering because of your thickness for math. This fact is always in the back of your mind. What if you learn just enough to become dangerous? Still, what you can wrap your brain around inspires you. You become the guy other officers come to with questions about their fatal accidents. You have a skid sled that determines coefficient of friction, a function which helps narrow the speed of a vehicle at the time of impact. You help officers learn that what they write in their reports can have lasting and unjust consequences for persons involved. It is a skill that pays off for you when providing depositions for Civil law suits and criminal court.

    But you never ever classify yourself as a reconstructionist. You would probably be roasted on the witness stand by a qualified mathematician. So you never state emphatically this or that. When your department opens a position for full time reconstructionist, you test out perfectly. Being appointed to this position would avail you to department paid further training at nationally recognized academies. And after retirement provide a very solid income for consulting. Knowing none have tested better, you wait for the appointment.

    Your station commander is not user friendly. You are not his buddy. He is old school. Get out on the road and don’t come back until your shift is over. He calls you into his office and closes the door. This is not the first specialty position you have been appointed to. For a few years now you have conducted inspections on commercial motor carriers. You know more about the trucking industry than most. That fact becomes important in the meeting. Your closest rival scored below you on the test and your commander knows that the Union would back you in an appeal. So he tells you that it is the other guys turn. The other guy is a pain in his ass and he’d like to move him out. If youwant to, you can decline the position and make the commander happy.

    These are the kinds of decisions you’d like to take the time to mull over. Life changing ones. But the commander is adamant. He must know now. To push the issue is to take on the full weight of his wrath. Even though you would be under a new supervisor, word travels quickly and schedules can be manipulated to make a person’s life miserable. Later career choices can be closed off. You give in. And in this quick decision your path is altered for the remainder of your career and life experiences. You walk out of his office having chosen a fork in the road whose promise is unknown.

    There is a chaos theory that defines a lot of what you think is just destiny or coincidence. It says, “when the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.” For visual thinkers like you with dull minds, the double pendulum rod is a lesson in consequences of minuscule sensitivity to condition. You will become a different kind of investigator. One looking into the mind of man but speed, distance and spatial relationship of objects will always be relative. It will always be true that what happens is the consequence of tiny decisions turned tragic. Every time you arrive at a scene, you will look at the glazed eyes of a recently deceased person and promise them to find out the truth about what happened. It is simply all that is left to do.

  2. #102
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    Did you ever get that job you wanted or did him forcing you not to take it end up being a permanent decision? That whole situation sucks.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    That's a profound insight.
    A lot of people have their light extinguished by their associates and surroundings--too often permanently.
    I went back to the beginning of this thread to recall where we started and make sure I was on topic, although I really like reading everything. I noticed this.

    I want to ask my psychiatrist at my appointment tomorrow about this. My mom is so busy, always busy, she runs circles around me. I heard from my aunt that she wore her shoes out as a kid walking around the neighborhood, talking to people, doing things, etc. She has a hard time sitting still, although she is surviving her knee surgery. More recently she has lost track of some things, at 74, and there are a few other things with her energy levels. I often wonder if my bipolar II is similar but a trauma or 2 kicked into the needing treatment zone. I think my grandfather had some of the tendency and he drank it, while starting a LOT of different projects, business, etc. Hypomanic gets things done!

  4. #104
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    The other officer took the job and is making good money as a consultant to attorneys and insurance companies in retirement. I have no regrets. I transferred to a criminal investigative unit where I was involved in many challenging cases and in a few made the difference. My kids will tell you one of my principles is ,”Don’t look back.” I believe that the universe is full of mysteries. Every life dangles from threads of many choices. I can’t go there. It’s like asking, What if Kennedy hadn’t gone to Dallas? The answer for me is.....But he did!

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    Ē I believe that the universe is full of mysteries. Every life dangles from threads of many choices. I canít go there. Itís like asking, What if Kennedy hadnít gone to Dallas? The answer for me is.....But he did!
    Stephen King wrote one of his chilling books about if Kennedy had not been killed, very interesting and scary.

  6. #106
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    I am sort of undecided as to what the future of this thread is. It is a two headed beast. A narrative and a separate flow of simple thoughts. I didn’t purposely plan it this way. It just kind of evolved. There are many stories that can be added to the narrative but so many of them deal with real people's heartaches and losses. I don’t have permission to memorialize other people’s darkest days. So much of my life involved shared misery and shared joy. So I feel like I have to step gently around some and still tell a story. How I do this remains to be seen.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    I don’t have permission to memorialize other people’s darkest days. So much of my life involved shared misery and shared joy. So I feel like I have to step gently around some and still tell a story.
    Thank you for honoring their families and memories. People are so quick to share things that shouldn't be shared when they had so little to do with it.

    I've enjoyed this thread and the sharing of your history. Whatever direction you take it...we'll read it.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  8. #108
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    When the things people say started to bother you, you can’t pinpoint. Things like, “It must have been meant to be” or The Lord will never give you more than you can handle.” Or, “He’s in a better place, now.” Your work experiences show these as shallow rationalizations. Who can presume on another’s “better place” especially after they intentionally placed a rifle barrel in their mouth and pulled the trigger? Or took one too many pills and didn’t wake up. Or flipped a dog leash over the basement rafter and hung themselves.

    You dont recognize any of the classic symptoms of stress. Young and committed to growing in your profession, you register for every bit of training the administration will allow you to attend. You build your resume and in your back pocket you think you have the wild card that will get you out of uniform and into plainclothes. It is smack dab in the middle of an eventful career but you have hit a wall. In a marathon they call it hitting the wall because you don’t see how you can continue but if you persevere you can be refreshed and finish the race.

    Criminal investigation is a specialty position open to every member of your Troop. The Troop is a fiefdom. A Captain’s kingdom consisting of five or six separate stations. Testing is Troop wide and often positions open in stations an hour away in good weather....double in bad. However, each station commander may place a patrol member in plainclothes for a “temporary” position. This is the key to your plan. Your station commander owes you one. You made his life infinitely more tolerable by turning down a position so that he could move someone out of his station that was rubbing him the wrong way. It’s time for payback.

    And so as happens, the criminal investigation unit at your station needs help. You apply by letter and get placed. It is a strange feeling not having to work in a marked patrol car, a uniform that commands attention and a gun belt that weighs ten pounds with all its gadgets. Strange in a really good way. You wear dress slacks or dockers, a button up shirt and tie, dress shoes and a blazer. You get an unmarked car with a radio in it. The only tools are a shoulder holster with a 45 caliber Glock handgun, a set of peerless handcuffs, your mind and your confidence.

    And you get a desk. The desk is empty. It is a blank canvass onto which people’s darkest days will be spilled onto. It will be up to you to give them their due, seek justice and gently let them down by easing them out of their angst and back into life’s mainstream. The truth is the large majority of citizens have no contact with the police except for a minor traffic infraction here or there. They don’t know what to expect when tossed into the role of crime victim. And a small segment of citizens can’t tear themselves away from the police. They appear constantly in your reports.

    As you sit in the old metal office chair that creaks every time you move because like people it has grown old and stiff with age.....you anticipate quite naively the work before you. And there is the phone. It sits there ....quiet for now but soon every time it rings your heart rate will raise a tick and your back imperceptibely tighten just a tad.

    Some calls will be urgent. You’ll have to grab your coat and run out of the office, leap into your car and speed somewhere. There’s is a red light that plugs into your cigarette outlet. You don’t have any emergency lights built into the dash or grill. There is a wail and siren. Many times you don’t use them because it just confuses the public and seems like a bigger risk than just driving like a maniac. So you learn to go slow and get there safely.

    Some calls become a drudgery. The same person checking on their case over and over. Their case was dead the moment it hit your desk. It might be frivolous, it might be legitimate but their isn’t one hope for resolution due to lack of evidence. You know how to be diplomatic and so you take their concerns in and dutifully try to follow up. But it doesn’t change the fact that you’ll have to close the case and let them down....push them back into the current of life. Some will understand, some will carry a grudge.

    This is how it all starts. Thirteen years of work ahead of you and no way of knowing what a wild ride it will be. It’s like being at Disney World with a friend who likes to ride coasters. He wants to go on Space Mountain. You don’t like coasters but you don’t like appearing to be afraid so you get in line. What’s a roller coaster completely in the dark going to feel like? You are soon going to find out.

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    The truth is the large majority of citizens have no contact with the police except for a minor traffic infraction here or there. They don’t know what to expect when tossed into the role of crime victim. And a small segment of citizens can’t tear themselves away from the police. They appear constantly in your reports.
    The way I have heard it (and believe it to be too true), most people only deal with police on either a bad day (for them) or the worst day of their life.

  10. #110
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post
    The way I have heard it (and believe it to be too true), most people only deal with police on either a bad day (for them) or the worst day of their life.
    Probably true, but fortunately for us here in the murder capital of the world, we often deal with police officers in a casual and friendly way. We are, of course the dominant culture, and they work for us, the middle class, "the citizens" as we are described in tv's The Wire.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 10-7-17 at 5:08pm.

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