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June 03, 2010


Side Note #1:

In my department, criminalists are police officers who are trained in forensics. They don't patrol or take calls, instead criminalist assist street officers and detectives investigate serious crimes.

They don't wear vests or carry a full duty belt.

Side Note #2

Criminalist don't drive marked cars. Their vans and sport utilities have lights, but not cages. They carry equipment not crooks.

Side Note #3

After investigating the driver, we found out he never meant to harm us. He went out shooting and drinking and was too intoxicated to realize the gun was at his side.

Dear RD,
That was still Wa-a-a-y too close. I hope the dude finds Twelve-Step soon. Drinking does not go with 2 of his favorite activities.

Ann T.

And every day I am thankful for the men and women like you who do this job. Sometimes it seems like the community is unsupportive and critical, but know that they don't speak for the majority. Thanks RD, and thanks to H for her contribution. You guys are some of the best people I know.

Reading your story and side notes, it is interesting how different agencies handle those roles. Our "ID" people were officers who transferred laterally into those roles to help investigators.

On a side note, I see the town's parking ticket guy riding in a marked unit with no gun or vest. It is only going to take one instance when a domestic violence victim flags down the marked patrol car with her significant other in hot pursuit with a handgun before the town's chief realizes that perhaps this is not such a good practice.

@ Ann T.

Yes. That was too close. We had an officer shot on the last month on a traffic stop. We don't need another officer shot or another shooting.

It's also way too close for my family who wish I had decided to become an English teacher. I forget they read these posts and it hurts them.

@Teacher T,

Thank you,but I wish the silent majority would speak and tell others what they expect of their police officers.

@ SD,

Criminalists are a step up. They spend their time collecting evidence. They respond to crime scenes or are in the office examining evidence.

This criminalist was on her way to examine two burglar scenes to try to collect prints, take photos, and gather DNA.

As to parking enforcement officers driving marked cars, I think that is a terrible idea as you have pointed out.

Dear RD,
In re your reply to Teacher T, I wish we did it too. Most of us do not follow municipal government, we follow federal doings. The municipal still counts the most for our lifestyle.

But regardless of attention span, we could all send letters of appreciation. Better yet, we could send letters to our mayor telling him we want our police force fully funded.

Ann T.

Dear RD,
In re: your reply to me, I have no good answer. I do think, as unsung as law enforcement is as a profession, their/your family is even less noticed or assisted by the wider world.

I am grateful for their sacrifice, their daily worry and travail also. I mean this sincerely.

If my comment seemed frivolous, that was never meant to be. Mostly I was still imagining the truth you are telling.

Maybe that truth will get some of us to wake up and support you, your brethren, and your families more. It works for me at least.

Very sincerely,
Ann T.

@ Ann,

Your comment was not frivolous, but in writing my posts, I must remember that my family, friends, neighbors, and associates read these posts. My posts worry them. I don't cause worry. I want to share the reality of my job. I want to them to understand why I am exhausted, tired, edgy, or isolated. I need their support or I can't function, but I also need them to understand.

As to your thoughts to my response to Teacher T, letters of support are icing on the cake, but letters to your local government explaining what you expect is the recipe for the cake.


My response to this post is not eloquent - Holy S***!!

Glad to hear you all made it through that call - yes, even the drunk driver. Yikes, that was much too close.

On another note, our criminalists (I'm glad you clarified what you meant by the term) are full time officers who have already put in several years of street level policing before getting 'promoted' to what we call our Forensic Identification Section.

Their mandate is to fully investigate the forensic side of cases, yet they still wear guns, body armour, full uniform and drive a combo of marked and unmarked vehicles. Some of the best emergency cover I've had have been from our Ident Officers!




I am glad this call did not end up in gun fire. The potential for what ifs and coulda beens are enough of a reminder to keep sharp on the most mundane of calls.

On a Side note:

The criminalist has gone out her way twice to thank me for the fast and good cover.

Yikes way to close there! It was great how close you were for cover, since that is sooo important. Take care of yourself.


I happened to read this post after seeing a news bit about a patrol officer being asked to leave a cafe he had gone into to grab a cup of coffee. The cafe's manager seemed to think that the uniformed patrol officer made his patrons feel unsafe. I was furious that a person who would (as their sworn duty) protect that establishment and the patrons in it would be treated so disrespectfully.

I am grateful for the men and women who do this job 24/7/365, and I just wanted RD (and H) to know that.
And RD, there is still time to be a teacher...

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