So I'm driving along one night not too long ago, just minding my own business, when I see a car coming towards me moving at warp speed. As it passes me, I bang a nearly perfect power turn and go after it. I catch the car about a mile down the road and light it up. And just as I stop it, a co-worker of mine pulls up to back me up. Cool.
Approaching the car, I find out that the driver is not Mario Andretti but a sergeant from a neighboring department who is well on his way to being late for work--one that I've stopped for speeding before. Turns out that my partner has stopped him before, too.
Now had this been any other citizen, I'd have smacked him with a ticket or two. But I have this policy against citing fellow officers, so I just give him a mild ass-chewing and send him on his way. No ticket, no documentation. It didn't happen.
Yeah, I know--this is going to anger quite a few people, most all of whom are outside of law enforcement. Tough. But my reason was validated literally a few minutes later when a call came across our radio about shots fired and a bail-out after a car full of gang-bangers doing a drive-by crashed. Suddenly we've got multiple armed suspects running around loose in one of our neighborhoods and we need every officer we can pull in for a decent perimeter and searches of the area. Both myself and my co-worker rocket over to the area as fast as we can, and one of the first things that we see when we pull up to the incident command post that's being set up is the car belonging to the sergeant that we'd just stopped and cut loose. He was on his way in and happened upon our guys starting to set up a perimeter and instead of going on past them to his own department's station, he stopped, offered his assistance, got his tactical gear out of his trunk, and jumped right into the fray with our guys to lend a hand. He also called his own department and has some of his department's officers respond over. I think that the fast influx of officers--theirs as well as ours--was a major factor in our eventually snaring all four of the knuckleheads that bailed out of the car. We also recovered two guns.
Now I've cut countless regular citizens breaks on infractions over the years, but I don't ever recall one of them showing up to help us out when we needed it; I've never had a regular citizen pull up on one of my traffic stops and offer me back-up, or respond and jump in when I'm in a fight. But this sergeant had no problem pitching in to help us out, and he did so without being asked, just like lots of other officers have done over the years and like many more will continue to do. When the chips are down, most cops around here don't care about the color of the shirt or the logo on the car of the officer who needs help--they all respond and help take care of business. We're a family and we're all on the same team even though we're on different departments, and we all share the risks when one of the family needs a hand.
That being the case, it'd be stupid for us to jam each other up over the petty stuff, knowing that we might need to rely on each other later in the shift or the next day. Now that doesn't mean that I overlook felony-level stuff, or drunk driving. I won't do that. But then again, I'm surrounded by professionals who are damned good people here and those situations rarely materialize. But sticking it to one of my peers with speeding ticket? Please. Not going to happen.
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