So this week-end, our area got socked with a massive winter storm. Everything was closed--government, stores, schools the Friday before (and the Monday coming)and everybody was warned for days to prepare to stay in.
I wish I could have stayed in, but us cops are essential. That means that like power crews, tree-removal crews, hospital workers and (ugh!) firefighters, we need to show up no matter how bad it is. It sucks, and it's hard sometimes, but people need us and we knew that this was part of it when we applied for the jobs. It's one of the things no one thinks about when they see us taking it easy and getting paid well on the nice days.
Our area got between two and feet of snow in a day and a half. I needed to make sure that I could get in to work because I live 50 miles away from my worksite so I went out into the beginning of the storm the night before and stayed in a motel closer to town at my own expense. No one will ever pay me back for that--it's just something I had to suck up because it's still my responsibility to get in to work and calling in and crying that I couldn't get out because of the snow wasn't an option. (And a note to some of my lazy-ass co-workers, including a few supervisors: Calling in "sick" at the last minute is bullshit, too. Everyone knows that you useless slaps just didn't want to come in, and those of us who did come in like we were all supposed to will remember who put their work on us this week-end.)
No thanks goes out to the motel, a Days Inn that I expected better from. They put me in a room knowing that I needed sleep so I could pull an extended 16-hour night shift later, and then they put a bunch of people in the adjoining room who laughed and swore and made noise all night. The walls were so thin that I heard everything that they said and did, and calls to the desk brought no relief. The desk didn't even call that room like they promised to do--I'd have heard their phone ring through those thin-assed walls. And if that wasn't bad enough, the motel's own maids started yelling back and forth in Spanish to each other at about 8AM, totally oblivious to the fact that people in motels might want to sleep. And of course the power was out, so no hot shower for me, and damned little heat after a spell. And of course the front desk woman totally refused to adjust the bill or do anything else to make amends. I even suggested that I'd call it even if I could stay a few hours past check-out time and try to catch a bit more sleep before reporting in, and she refused that offer too, even though without power she couldn't check anyone else in or out. Fuck you, Days Inn. Next time I have to respond over there because you need help with some drunk or unruly guests, I'll remember this.
It took more than two hours to drive what should have taken less than one. I ran in 4WD the whole way at about 30-35 mph. The roads were in the process of being plowed but far from clean, and the snow was still coming down hard. Other than plow trucks, I was almost the only one out there. The power was out for miles, and the only thing I found open was one lone 7-11, and frankly that was a surprise.
I started work early to fill in for someone who never showed. If I hadn't, the officer from the previous night who'd been held over to cover the slot would have had to work the whole double shift. I started out having to deal with a mess because some idiots decided that they were going to move their whole extended family in the middle of this blizzard and driven a caravan that included a mid-sized U-Haul truck with a car-hauling trailer behind it out into this record snowstorm. They then got the truck and trailer stuck on the ramp from one highway to another and then had the nerve to get upset when they found out that they'd be getting billed for the large wrecker that it was going to take to get them out of the mess that they created. And since I had nothing better to do while waiting on that wrecker, I inquired as to where the car seats where for the infant and two kids under five that were riding in one of the cars. "Oh, they be packed way back in that truck," I was told. So I stroked them with tickets for each of the unrestrained kids and made them open up the U-Haul and dig the seats out. They couldn't understand why, even though the only reason I was here was because they'd just had a crash. It should be legal to just beat some people.
Two hours later, that was cleared up, and I spent the rest of the long night finding and reporting trees and power lines down and shooing drunk pedestrians off of our roads. The bar crowd was in full swing and they weren't letting a lack of cars keep them off the roads. Two other officers actually arrested drunks for being in the roadway and refusing to go back inside, but I was able to get my drunks to at least pretend to comply until I was gone.
Eighteen hours later, I was released to drive home. Again, I was virtually the only vehicle that wasn't a snowplow on the highway. And as I clawed my way in 4WD up to my house out in the country a bit, I pulled up to find my own 100-foot driveway buried under 36 inches of snow, plus the bunch that the county plow had shoved into the end of it. It took another hour of digging just to make a hole big enough to back my vehicle into, and then it was time for bed.
I'm going back in tonight. And if I see that Al Gore guy, I'm going to kick his ass in the name of his so-called "Global Warming".
Oh--and don't mistake me for someone who loves his department. I have a lot of issues with my department right now and we're not exactly the best of friends. However this isn't the time for any of that. This is the time to put that stuff aside and get the job done. That's what being a professional police officer is all about.
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