Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Get Over It

The large plume of thick black smoke is visible for several miles, causing a multitude of residents to head toward the area and see what is burning. As I once worked this area, I know which streets connect, which ones are dead-ends and which ones are blocked by the canal. This knowledge allows me to avoid much of the traffic and I pop out in line, a few cars behind where the Sheriff's office has a road block set up. The cars in front of me dutifully turn left as directed by the deputy as I reach for my K.B.F.P.D. ID and stick it out of my window. I am in my private vehicle, I have been through this before and I want to be ready.

The deputy waves for me to turn left, an order which I am not going to comply with. I slowly continue toward the scene, I.D. out the window as the hollering and shouting begins. I slow to a stop, pointed towards my objective. My red helmet and my yellow nomex brush jacket are visible on the seat next to me. The deputy approaches my car, his forceful stride and intense glare makes his displeasure obvious that he is quite upset at me for not turning  left as directed.

"I told you to turn left!" he shouts, "You can't be here! Move it"

"I'm with the fire department" I tell him as he snatches my ID from my hand. I want to tell him to go screw himself but I know where that will lead, so I hold my tongue. The deputy is not in listening mode anyway.

He scrutinizes my ID, looks at me and asks in a sarcastic manner "You're telling me that you're on duty and that you have business here?"

Several thoughts flash through my mind at this point, but I suppress the sarcastic part of  MY persona and analyze the situation. My boss wants me here, his boss really wants me here and the big big boss doesn't care if I'm here, but will happily use the product which I will provide. My position is buoyed by the fact that my boss is the IC and is in control of the entire scene.

"Yes, as a matter of fact I do have business here" I replied in a sternly diplomatic manner. I explain my mission, it does not seem to impress him.  My ID receives more scrutiny before it is handed back to me. A forced smile appears on his face as he waves me through, I force one on mine as I drive past.

After parking well away from the scene, I don my gear, grab my equipment and find the IC. I let him know that I am there and what I will be doing, then I go to work.

I spend about half an hour on scene doing my thing. As I am headed back out to the street, I see a brou-ha-ha between two deputies and a teenager formerly mounted on a bicycle. The teenager ends up on the ground, then in cuffs, being walked to the cruiser with his arms cuffed  behind his back, hands pointed toward the sky. The teenager's parents are tailing closely behind, yelling at the deputies, asking what their son did to be treated as he was. The deputies yell back, telling the parents to back off or they would receive a similar fate.

The teenager's mother wisely backs off (odd, I thought) while the father only backs off for a few minutes, before approaching the deputies, still irate and vociferously indicating such.

Several more deputies arrive before cooler heads prevail, supervision shows up and the scene returns to normal. I ask several firefighters what started the incident, no one knows. Know one knows how it was resolved either, whether the kids was taken over to big town juvie or whether he was released to his parents.

Frankly, before my unpleasant exchange with the deputy, I would have written it off to a lippy, punk teenager who ran his mouth off and was treated in kind, with a little escalation thrown in for good measure. As it is, I am not so sure.

I was treated like an asshole because it appeared incomprehensible to the deputy, that someone driving a car like mine could have a bigger reason to proceed to an incident than his reason to maintain control.  Maybe the teenager was more of a control issue than anything else. I truly can't say.

Maybe I just caught the deputy on a bad day or maybe he is just an asshole. I really doesn't matter to me, I resent being treated like a douche-bag, especially before the deputy makes the effort to see what I am about and what I am up to.  Maybe the kid is in the same boat as I.

There are few in the fire service and in my community that are more pro-police than myself. I lived in the periphery of cop world for several years and I understand why some things are the way they are. I'm just saying that all of the money thrown at community oriented policing is a complete and total waste when supporters are treated poorly when there is no reason for it.

An apology would have gone a long way toward soothing my feathers, but I know better than to expect that. So, as a result, this post serves as a big F U to Deputy Culo, who probably ought to think about changing career fields. He has quite a few years left before retirement, I doubt he will make it  before facing severe discipline, his anger won't let him.

Thanks for reading,

P.S. To all of my cop friends out there, I still love ya, I'm just sayin'.