Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Public Service Announcement Followed Me Home The Other Day

People call the police for a lot of strange reasons. Many calls involve criminal or suspected criminal behavior. Others involve people with honest to god problems that the police are in a position to help with (e.g. Cars stuck in the middle of the street; Lost stuff that needs to be given to somebody). Then there are the other calls ...

There's a popular belief out there that cops are people who are too dumb to get another job. Why, then, do people believe we have some sort of powerful wisdom that no one else has? I understand people asking about legal matters. We're cheaper than lawyers, since we are required to answer the phone and talk to whomever calls. Remember, we aren't lawyers, and don't have all of the answers. If a cop says they don't know, they really don't. We don't like to look ignorant, after all.

What you should do in your personal life, however, is another matter. I don't know if you should let so-and-so move in with you. Chances are, I haven't met the person. I'm not an accountant, and can't tell you what to do with your money (I will advise you not to store hundreds of thousands of dollars in the crawlspace under your house, though, if you ask). I can't enforce a non-existant court order to get your kids back from Dad's house when you are unwilling to go get them yourself.

If a bouncer kicks you out of a bar, it was for a good reason. I can't get you back in (and probably wouldn't even if I could). If the bouncer insulted you, that's not a crime, and I don't know what you should do to get over the experience. Maybe find a therapist. Or another bar.

Some other tips:

A drunk guy walking down the street isn't a police matter unless they start harming themselves or someone else. If we could cart every drunk person away, downtown would be empty every night.

If your friend says she met some guy at the bar and she's going home with him, by all means try and stop her. Don't report her as a missing person when you can't find her later. There's a good chance she went home with the guy.

I don't really like writing reports. Don't say you lost your wallet, then say you want to report it stolen. When you admit the report would be a lie, I'm really not going to write it.

We can't raise your kids. Kids act up. A lot. It's what kids do. Don't threaten to have us arrest them if they won't pick up their toys. It makes them either A) scared to ask a cop for help when they need it or B) make unneccessary calls to the police when they get older and can't figure out what to do.

If some guy you knew in high school 20 years ago calls you out of the blue for some help, and you show up and he's not there, go home. He got the money for his crack from someone else.

I know you think of him as your baby, but your 22 year-old son who lives in the basement room is an adult, and we're not going to go bring him home from his friend's house because his friend is a "bad influence."

Also, even if teenagers don't stay out late against their parents' wishes in your culture, your kid lives here now, where teenagers do all kinds of fucked up things. Your kid is assimilating. That's not always bad.

We are not private investigators. If you don't even know if the person you're trying to find is in the city, there's only so much we can do. Take what info we can give you and hire someone who can devote 12 hours a day to your case. I'm not lying when I say there's no record of the person in our database. Really.

Telling me you're calling from the mental hospital is not going to increase your credibility that the "someone" who told you something bad is happening in your apartment actually exists. Sure, I'll check it out, but don't call me a liar when I say there was nothing wrong. Also, I don't know every drug dealer in the city. Repeating over and over that some guy named "Dave," who sells drugs ("You know Dave, right?"), is somehow involved won't help either.

I also don't want to get into a long conversation about your history of mental illness. I have friends to do that with. And no, I don't know the cop who was really nice to you 28 years ago. I wasn't born yet. Keep calling, and the hospital will get a call from me to revoke your phone privilages.

I don't need to know every bit of history between you and the person who has been harrassing you. If he/she's harrassing you now, that's enough. If I say "fast forward," I'm not trying to be rude. I'm trying to get to the crux of the current problem so I can get the information I need and go back up another officer going to a person with a gun call.

It's OK to flirt with me when I'm standing around downtown. Or inside the gas station/coffee shop. Or pretty much anywhere, as long as I don't look busy. Telling me a man in uniform is sexy will make me happy for several hours.

Sometimes we're happy to give advice. That's a bonus for you (or not, depending on the cop who shows up). It's not our job to make personal decisions for you, however. We're not going to sit around and wait for you to parse down all of your choices. Here's the one piece of wisdom I've picked up in my life; If you can't make the right decision, sometimes making the wrong decision is better than making no decision at all. And sometimes, there simply is no "right" decision.

It's OK to call for help. Just accept that we can't always help, and when we tell you there's nothing we can do, we mean it. You may not like it; we probably don't like it. But despite what some people may say, we are not in a police state, and the cops aren't all powerful. Sometimes you'll have to do things for yourself.

And remember, if there's any doubt at all, go ahead and call. I'll tell you if your call is bullshit, or if there's simply nothing I can do. It's only a waste of my time when you don't accept my answer.

Your Code 4 leader.


Arias said...

Unless something really weird has happened, I think you were alive 28 years ago and therefore I think you do know that officer that was really nice...

Anonymous said...

OK, but this is the kind of thing you should be able to help with. I've been buying crack from Bob the Street Guy in the Seward neighborhood. It's pretty cheap crack, but not as good as what I get from Gary in Linden Hills. But Gary's crack costs more.

Should I go with cheap but cut, or expensive but pure?

DiscordianStooge said...

A: I don't consider a person to be alive until they can talk.

W: Get your crack from Dave.

Anonymous said...

Guys in uniform ARE sexy :)

-the affiliate

Anonymous said...

Dave the banker in Oak Park? or Dave the homeless pedophile in Vadnais Heights?

DiscordianStooge said...


Coming from you, that made me happy all day =D

Mai said...

I'll try to remember all that. But my megalomaniac parrot and I generally handle all that stuff ourselves.

Is your Discordia the same one? You know 'All hail Ris! Discordia rules!"

Guys in full bana are sexy!

Spot said...

This is a Spotty winner. Look for it.

MNObserver said...

Adding to the year-end accolades heaped upon our sexy-in-a-uniform blogger, we have the Discordian Stooge's Zombie post winning a prize as one of Jon Swift's "Best Blog Posts of 2007!"

Jon's list can be found here.

And the winning post can be found here.