Old School

I have been retired from the police field for over 15 years. When I started, there were no police academies, no required training and no standards. You got hired and the department that employed you was
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completely responsible for your training. Smaller departments sometimes offered no training at all. "Here's a badge, gun, a law book and a map of the town...good luck."  Talk about scary. Back in 1961, I was working for a larger department but we were surrounded by a bunch of one cop towns and would be "back up" for them when they needed it...which was often. One afternoon, a local department got a call for a domestic and they sent their one lone officer to respond.  We had radios back then but portables were pretty much one way only. You could hear dispatch, but you could almost never respond to them. Once you got out of the car, you were pretty much on your own. One Saturday afternoon I walked in to our police station to start my shift,
dispatch told me that they had sent the young officer on a domestic and gave me the address. He had been responding for over 20 minutes and they were afraid that he was lost, had an accident or had arrived on
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scene and was unable to radio out. I jumped into my car and went towards the location. My single red light was on, the siren was wailing and I was driving as fast as I could safely do so. The house was on a dirt road in a farming area and if you went too fast, it was easy to lose control and go off of the road into a heavily treed area, or even into a pond. I turned off of the main road and as soon as I did, I saw the officers car sitting at the roads edge. I turned off the emergency equipment and pulled up behind it and could see the young officer sitting in the car. I walked up to the car. He was sitting there and looked like he was reading a book. I tapped on the window, which made the rookie jump. He rolled down the window and I could see he was looking at his statute book, or law book as we called them back then. I asked him what he was doing. He replied "I am trying to find the law that I can arrest someone for when I get to the house, I don't want to look stupid." We went to the house and no one was home. Maybe it had to do with the nearly one hour response time. "Here's a badge, gun, a law book and a map...good luck." Thank God those days are over!
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