A gun is a cop’s silent best friend. It’s always there for them when they need it, without fail. And it’s extremely low-maintenance—feed it a diet of fresh bullets along with a little Hoppes gun oil to wash them down, a bath for the little fella a bath every Saturday night, and don’t let them play in the rain and the dirt. That’s about it. But a pistol can be a touch on the sensitive side, so you must to cradle it gently, never letting it fall. And please remember to gently place a hand on their little butts whenever you find yourselves in a dangerous situation. It’s comforting.

That’s all your sidearm will ever ask of you. Nothing more, nothing less. And they’ll remain at your side forever.

I liked the feeling of a pistol on my side. Its weight provided a slight feeling of serenity even though the constant downward-tugging at my belt and waistline could be a bit annoying at times. And there’s that thing about the hammer insisting that it tear a hole in the lining of every jacket I owned. It’s … well, it was pretty darn aggravating, but you get used to it and move on.

Actual jacket with patch.

After all, a little patch, needle and thread, and you’re back in business. It’s the least you could do for your little one. Besides, your department gives you a clothing allowance, right?

A take-home car is another BFF. You drive them for so long that the foam seat cushion conforms to the shape of your rear-end. Unlike your relationship with the gun, though, you can get away with talking to your ride without anyone thinking you’ve finally stepped over into cop la-la-land.

And, we mustn’t forget the graveyard shift sing-a-longs that help keep you awake once the magic “fall-asleep-it’s-four-o’clock” hour rolls around. Belting out Delilah’s middle of the night tear-jerkers while cruising the backroads is almost as good at keeping you awake as a giant mug of jailhouse coffee.

On a more serious note, the bullet hole in the front fender is a constant reminder that the car “took” the one that was meant for you.

Yep, the three of you make a great team—the brains, the brawn, and the … well, there’s no “B” for the car, but it’s definitely an integral part of the trio. You go everywhere together. You’re inseparable. Day-in and day-out you do everything together.

Your two BFF partners are there for you when you’re up and they’re there when you’re down. They’re around during the tough times, through fights, saving lives, and through weddings and divorces. Through good days and sickness. The day you held the kid whose mother had just died in a car crash. And when you comforted the parents whose son took the overdose. When you sat behind the wheel and wept because you couldn’t reach far enough inside the burning car to pull the crying infant from the flames.

For twenty-five years, the three of you sacrificed everything to work in the rain, snow, and unbearable heat. You put in grueling, long hours. You worked with injured body parts and during times when family members were sick and dying. And you did it all for low pay and little recognition for your hard work.

And then the day finally comes … the day when the three of you are no more. You drive to work and park, not in your old space, the one you’ve parked in for years, but alongside a row of fleet cars … strangers. You walk inside for the last time and hand in the keys. Then it’s time to slip off the holster. The instant weight-loss feels horrible. Sliding the badge across the desk is worse. But you know the three of you have too many miles behind you to keep going. It’s time to say goodbye.

After all, there’s always a burger to flip. A mall to guard and shoplifters to nab. Flowers to plant and birdhouses to build.

I think I’ll grab a rod and reel and see if anything’s biting. Wanna join me?

1 reply
  1. Lyn
    Lyn says:

    A moving and fitting tribute to retiring police officers. Thanks, Lee. There’s so much I hadn’t even considered happens in the working-life of a cop.

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