Friday, April 8, 2011

A Motor Officer's Story

This is a guest blog post by a motorcycle police officer who works in a county sheriff's office in a U.S. southern state. He wrote to me two years ago to ask some questions, and then noticed my "writer's block" post a few days ago, and wrote to me again. He contributed the following post to appear on this blog.

My name is ... well ... it doesn't matter. Call me Officer X. I have been serving the citizens of my community for ten years, and have been riding a motor for the past seven. It's not easy work. Lots of hostility sometimes when I write a cite, but as an officer whose blog both BHD and I follow says, "if you got stopped, you deserve it."

I found BHD's website when I was searching for information on why my Dehner boots hurt my ankles when I wore them. I discovered -- after the fact, of course -- that Dehner boots need to be broken in manually by bending them at the ankle to get a straight crease BEFORE putting them on. I found that out on BHD's website and his blog.

I asked him some questions a few years ago, and appreciated the informative and cordial response. I haven't written to him since ... until the other day ... but have been following his blog since I found it.

I have a wife, three kids, a dog, and another child on the way. It's fun being a father. It is also interesting to serve as a motor officer. But you can find out about that in other places on the web, on blogs, and such. What I'm saying is that I am a straight guy; yet, I find BHD's blog informative, interesting, eye-opening sometimes, and helps me understand what a life is like being a gay man in a straight environment. There were a lot of things that I wasn't aware of. I think his blog has helped me serve the citizens where I live, gay or straight.

BHD asked me to answer some questions. Here goes:

1. What do you think about the boots and uniform?

I like to wear a uniform. Sharp, clean, pressed, with shined boots. Comes from my background in the military. I get perturbed when I see fellow motor officers with dirty, crappy boots. It makes them look like they don't care about their appearance. Otherwise, I don't think about it very much. It's what I wear. The boots are a requirement. I like to wear them, but when I get home, the boots come off, get cleaned and shined, and then I put my sneakers on and go play with the kiddos.

2. How many pairs of boots do you have?

I have 3 pairs of motorboots. I get a new pair every year (except this year because of budget cutbacks). I wear older boots when I am on traffic duty, especially in bad weather and when I am stuck in a cruiser instead of on my motor. I wear my newest boots when I have escort duty or in court. I don't own any other boots. (Sorry, BHD, I don't wear boots off the job.)

3. What do you do with your old boots?

Throw them away. By the time I toss them out, they're trashed. While BHD has told me that there would be a market for "cop worn boots" ... I'm not into that, and I don't want to deal with ebay or having strangers contact me about my boots. No way.

4. What manufacturer of boots do you prefer?

I like Dehner boots, but as BHD said, Dehner boots get damaged easily. I ride a Harley and there are times when the bike's exhaust pipes have melted the side of the right boot. Never happens to the left. My Department will buy regular Dehners for me. I have also worn Chippewa motorboots. They're fine, but the leather seems to be thinner and they wrinkle and sag at the ankles. I don't like that. My Department doesn't allow engineer boots, so I don't have any of those chippewa high shine boots that BHD has.

5. Do you ride a personal motorcycle?

I had one, then the kids came along and my wife "suggested" that I get rid of it. I wasn't riding it very much, so I sold it. Other officers in my unit have personal bikes. I seem to be carting the kids around in the minivan a lot these days, anyway. No time to ride when I'm not on duty.

6. Last question: you said that you learned something from reading my blog. What did you learn?

Lots of things... I guess first of all, not all gay men are prissy. No really, that's what I thought for a long time. I'm being honest. Seriously, though, I learned that there is embedded discrimination in the law. I am a man of the law, and enforce it. The laws I enforce are not about gay things, but being a servant of the law, I have learned that some laws force some people to have to deal with things that hurt them. That bothers me. Like BHD can't get his partner's health insurance coverage like my wife can. BHD's partner may have an inheritance tax if he outlives him, where my wife automatically gets the house and our assets tax-free if I die before she does. Things like that. It's not fair. I'm all about fairness.

Another thing that I learned is that people are people and everyone is different. I knew that, of course, all along, but I had some misconceptions and held stereotypes about gay men. Like many people, I called them "gays" until I realized the term is insulting. BHD has done well to explain how labeling hurts.

I didn't know any gay people and didn't know much about them. Then I found out that two guys in our Department are gay. They act like BHD does -- just regular guys. I had thought that if we had any gay cops, they would wash out during training or say or do things that would be noticeably ... well ... "gay." I learned how to look past the stereotypes and look at people for who they are, not for behaviors I might have been told (incorrectly) to expect from gay men. And my fellow cops who are gay will have my back and I'll have theirs -- first they are trained officers. Being gay has nothing to do with it. (I have had to sit some of my fellow officers down and explain that.)

Through this blog, I learned that the lifestyle isn't about being gay. BHD's lifestyle is being a decent, honest, hard-working, and caring man. Someone I'd like to have as a neighbor. So to sum up, I learned that there isn't a "gay lifestyle" as others have said. This newer understanding about people (gay or straight, black or white or whatever) got me appointed to a special Task Force in our County that draws together reps from county agencies with reps of various groups so we can understand each other better and suggest policy changes. (You didn't know that, did you BHD?) I enjoy it.

Thanks BHD for the information that you provide, and for the dialogue.

Closing note from BHD: thank you, Officer X, for this great blog post and for answering my questions publicly. You embarrassed me a little bit, but thanks for the compliment on my character. I'd like to have you as a neighbor, too. Congratulations on your appointment to the community Task Force. Your attitude is spot on for this assignment. Ride safe, and thank YOU very much for your service.


Anonymous said...

I am also a motor officer who reads this blog. This is a great post! Thank you.

I agree with everything you said. I didn't think much about this boots and gay stuff until someone asked me one day about my boots and almost begged to buy them off my feet. Like you, I'm not into that.

BHD's blog is refreshing as he is one gay guy who doesn't go into the porn toilet like many others do. Thanks BHD for keeping it informative, interesting, and as you say, "G-rated." There's so much smut out there. I don't want that.

Keep the rubber side down, and I'll do the same.

Motorman from WA

Only Booted Man in Town said...

To Motorman: I have just privately expressed the same thoughts to BHD about being G-Rated. Very refreshing.

To today's blogger: Excellent post! Keep up the great work.

Only Booted Man in Town (yesterday's guest blogger)