The relationship of the public towards police officers is unique and far from normal. No other profession has such a range of emotions directed at them. Some people absolutely hate police officers for no logical reason, while others love and admire officers almost to pedestal worship. I, for one, would have it no other way. I enjoy the yin and yang of emotions. Remember, life would be boring eating steak and lobster every day.
As a young police officer working one of Chicago’s most violent housing projects in the 70’s, I was often met with disdain and scorn by people I had never even met. On a very warm summer evening, a young man was standing on the corner proudly displaying a can of beer. Somewhat taunting me to take some sort of action. I did request that he either dump the beer out or move indoors to finish it. My advice was met with contempt and threats. My partner and I exited the squad car and in front of his half-dozen friends asked him to repeat himself. I’m not sure if it was the beer talking or the egging on from his boys, but soon enough came those words that police officers hate. He stated in very clear terms of what he was going to do to my wife when I was at work the following night. In turn I took exception to his threats, as any married man would.
He was eventually transported to Henrotin Hospital where he received a turban to cover the many sutures in his head. He was charged with Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest. He was a hater.
While on a cruise with my wife, we started the day with a nice breakfast at one of the many restaurants on board the ship. We chose the right one.
While sipping coffee, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman from Alaska. He asked what I did for a living and I replied I was a retired police officer from Chicago. While friendly banter took place about Chicago, I explained how I retired early and had left to start a teaching career. At that, I glanced to my left and sitting next to me was the prettiest little girl in the world. She was with her father and her brother. Her head was cocked up-word and her eyes glistened as she continual stared at me. I attempted to carry on the conversation with my new friend but I was drawn back to the little girl in the trance.
She sat quietly staring at the back of my head and when I would turn toward her, she would peer into my eyes and her smile would grow from ear to ear. I needed to ask the father what this was all about. He explained that his 5-year-old daughter loved police officers and when she overheard me tell the Alaskan gentleman that I was a police officer, she put down her cereal spoon and just stared at me. With that, I took out my wallet and displayed my star. I handed it to her to hold and she accepted it as though she was holding the chalice that Christ used at the last supper.
After chatting with her for a few minutes, I gave her a business card with my star on it and my police information. I told her if she was ever in Chicago to have dad call me and I would take them all out on the town. Breakfast came to an end and the wife and I left with such a wondrous feeling.
As you see, the good outweighs the bad in life. Some people are police haters and others are sensible. Remember the good ones and ignore the fools. It makes life so much nicer.
To all my brothers and sisters in blue, lock and load and protect each other. And as always, stay safe.
View Larry Casey’s website at www.StoriesofaChicagoPoliceOfficer.com/ and review his book by the same name.