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A Pretty Good Day - By Lt. Tim Cotton

Blauer Blog - A Good Day - Lt. Tim Cotton

I like the month of August. As a seasoned and sturdy Mainer I can tell you that it might be the most perfect month.

The sometimes excessive traffic that July brings us has thinned out a bit. The nights start to get a little cooler and the mosquitoes seem to have moved on after becoming bored with my blood-type.

What is a pretty good day for a police officer? You have read the narratives about the worst day an officer can have, but what is a good day? I will give you some insight.

It starts with a sunbeam being chased by a cool breeze through the slightly opened bedroom window. No one else is up and the extra dark roast Folgers smells stronger than normal. This is a good thing. Putting in that extra half scoop could border on genius. I would compare it to finding a faded and freshly washed five dollar bill in the pocket of your favorite jeans. It was there all along. You just had to reach in one more time.

Even though the dog clearly indicated that she was in tremendous distress from holding back last night’s hydration, she seems to be uninterested in doing the deed that needs to be done. You mention to her that she needs to do the “business” and she notices that the jogger going by the house needs extra motivation. After making threats of going inside, she looks at you as if to indicate that you tried that yesterday, and the day before. You wait. When she is satisfied that she has won, relief is imminent. Is she smiling? I think so.

The coffee is perfect, the bathroom is empty and the hot water flows immediately without the hesitation. The black-sock drawer is full and your shoes are exactly where you left them. The truck starts and “Magic” Matt Alan must have read your mind as Jackson Browne’s “That girl could sing” comes on Sirius/XM 70’s on 7. The only traffic on the road is those that are intent on getting to work by six. None of them dilly-dally. We all have someplace to be.

The parking lot is a decision-free paradise of empty spaces and you get the one in the corner. No door dings today. This is shaping up nicely.

Your gear is where you left it, the Sergeant is in a pretty good mood and you get you first choice in cruiser, beat selection, and lunch-time. The trifecta of a perfect day.

Your beat calls are minimal as the sun rises higher into the sky and there were no burglaries to car or home. At least on your beat. The night-guys did a good job. Probably patrolled the right spots at the right time. He left the car clean and full of gas. Someone pinch me. Am I being punk’d?

You check on the welfare of a woman that had not been heard from for a couple of days. Her family is worried. She answers the door and you smell homemade muffins.

Her cell phone charger was chewed up by the dog and she will get a new one today. You let her use your cellphone and she makes the call. Everyone is relieved. The muffins were excellent. Houlton Farms butter made all the difference. She picked the blueberries herself. It is August after all. She hugs you. It happens. It’s good.

Next up is the report of a man lying in the bushes. There is no man in the bushes. It’s an old, empty Jansport backpack. Nothing in it. It smells really bad. You move on. You feel like the priest in the movie Caddyshack. Playing his perfect game in a lightning storm. Not becoming overconfident you also recall that it was the priest’s last game.

The D-beat guy is busy and E-Beat is stuck on a traffic accident. Your beat remains quiet. Since you still have three bucks left on your DD coffee-card, you get an extra large. No humidity today. The two-way-radio is quiet and it’s double-shot Tuesday on K-100 FM. The Allman Brothers are up next. No one waves you down for directions and you hear both songs uninterrupted. Man, you are so glad that no one has ever tried to remake “Sweet Melissa.” As long as that Bieber kid doesn’t do it.

Two traffic stops for minor violations allow you to warn the drivers to lighten up on the pedal and to get that inspection sticker taken care of. We understand that vacation with family takes precedence to our pesky inspection laws. The car would easily pass. Promises are made and we all move on. Voluntary compliance is the epitome of a successful traffic program.

A counter-complaint comes in and you get called back to the station. These are like being last pick at a Yankee-Swap party game. Chances are you are going to be sorry. Not today.

The woman wants to report that she received a scam-call from an out of state phone number. She did not succumb to the promises of sudden riches. She just thought it might be important to tell someone about it. You thank her and advise her she did the right thing by blowing the signal whistle in the man’s ear. Nice work, Mrs Colvin. Nice work.

Lunchtime comes and the C-beat guy owes you pizza. No one is in the lunchroom watching the television and that means that no one is watching The Price is Right. Bob Barker was the king and Drew Carey just doesn't hold the microphone correctly. Someone left a chocolate cream pie for everyone. You look to up into the clouds through the window of the lunchroom. No sign of rain. No humidity. You hear overhead intercom and the sweet voice of a dispatcher that you have a call pending. The A-beat guy calls in at the same time and says he will take the call since he knows you are eating. You remind yourself to buy him a coffee.

The afternoon run of back to back AC-DC is interrupted by the call of an active domestic on C-beat and you head over to back up your brother. He bought pizza, it’s the least you can do. Even if he hadn’t bought pizza.

The suspect struck his girlfriend with an empty glass and has taken off on foot. He was last seen wearing a pair of baggy jeans and a blue, hooded sweatshirt. Sure enough, he is walking quickly on Union Street. Looking back in the opposite direction. As you pull up, he pays no mind to the man in the blue suit. You have somehow been enshrouded with the cloak of invisibility. “This is not the police officer you are looking for.” You smile.

As you call out for him to stop, you have already warmed up to a jog. He looks 20 years younger than you. Maybe 19 since your started the regime of Just for Men. No one has even noticed. Sure they haven't .

This will surprise him. Santa-cop for the delivery. Moving in fast from the east. He hears you and does not heed your words. Strange. No one does anymore. No matter. You have a pretty good pace going and you note that the baggie jeans are chafing him ever so gently. By the time he grabs his belt loops to avoid becoming a pant-less sprinter, you have taken him into a comfortable and nurturing embrace. The grass is soft and since he was in front, that places him on the bottom. Gravity and your extra 50 pounds are an evil mistress.

His pants soak up the inevitable grass-stains and your indigo-blue does not suffer even one late-season dandelion stain. The handcuffs slide on the sweaty wrists nicely. His knuckles are scuffed and bleeding slightly. He didn’t just hit her with the shot glass. He calls you names. Note to self. Remember that one. It’s kind of funny.

His mouth emits excessive noise but it can be tough having an old guy take you to jail. You ask him if his mother knows he talks that way. He calls your mother naughty names. You assure him that she is a nice lady and that his mother would have caught him just as easily.

Silence never comes even during his thorough search by the corrections officers. It’s 3:45pm before the paperwork is finished. The C-Beat guy owes you another pizza tomorrow. He is still speaking to the victim who confirms that you have her former boyfriend. You hope he stays “former,” but you know things are not always that simple. The DV Detective will follow up further to help her get the resources she needs to stay away from Mr. Baggie-pants. Hopefully he will stay in jail this time. Wish in one hand…your uncle was right.

You turn in your paperwork and are changing into blue jeans and a ripped tee-shirt before 1600hrs.

Little League tonight. Light traffic on the way home. Jackson Browne, “Runnin on Empty” comes on. You realize that tomorrow you get to do it again.

Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone and be kind to one another.

TC (email: cottonblend at blauer dot com)

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