Sunday, May 8, 2011

Reunion with Motorcops

Late yesterday afternoon, I was given time off for good behavior (that is, I had done chores around the house since 7am...). I joined some friends for "a few beers" (in my case, I drank water since I do not drink alcohol.) The friends I met are motor officers who I have known for a while who were getting together with others who are in town to ride on the Law Ride being held on Sunday (when this post appears.)

A personal friend is a motor officer in the county where I live, and he invited me to join him to get together with his friends -- same group who I had dinner with a couple years ago.

I mostly just listened. They have a bond of brotherhood based on their occupation which transcends jurisdictions and isn't inclusive of "us civilians."  They weren't leaving me out, but there were some stories and interactions about which I couldn't comment, because I do not share the same background and experiences.

While I am not a cop, I respect their work and these fine men for their integrity, honesty, and character. They all have good senses of humor -- much better than my own. They told stories of encounters that they have had which were funny in the way they described them. But the stories are theirs to tell, and if I tried to relate them, I would probably mess up.

What were we wearing? Well, I'm happy to say that unlike last time, three of the guys besides myself had boots on. Just regular harness boots on three of us (including me), and the other booted guy was wearing tactical boots. The rest? What can I say? They love their sneakers. No uniforms -- none were on duty or going to an event where a uniform was required. Just jeans, t-shirts, and lots of smiles.

I enjoyed being included for this gathering. I learn a lot each time I listen to what they have to say. One of them (besides me) is gay, and everyone in the group knows it -- and didn't say a thing about matters related to being gay (or straight, for that matter.) Most of their concerns was related to their respective agency's budgets and cut-backs affecting their work, schedules, overtime, and shifts. Pretty typical talk these days among public servants who work in any capacity.

When a part of the conversation got around to budget cutbacks for uniforms, I asked a few questions related to the "boot budget." Each of them told me that they are "making do" with the boots they already have, and do not expect to get any new boots from their respective employers, because uniform allowances were eliminated in three departments, and cut back so much in the others that none said they would do more than replace torn, damaged, or very worn clothing. I understand -- public service agency budgets are continuing to suffer big-time. Most were appreciative that they still have a job, as they know many others whose departments have eliminated motor units completely, or cut them back and some of their friends had to return to regular patrol duty or suffered a layoff.

Life is short: learn from professionals who you respect.

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