I had just graduated the Police Academy and I assure you, it’s nothing like the movies. You spend weeks and months learning all about the law, what it means and how you have to follow it. The instructors teach you how to fight and when not to fight. You’re given lessons in shooting and how to handle riots. But the one thing you have constantly drilled into you is how to do paperwork. Everything from traffic tickets to homicide reports, all of these things must be done in the way that the police department wants it to be done and no other way. A rookie is told that if you deviate from the Academy teachings something horrible will happen. Of course, you aren’t given the details of what horrible thing will happen but every recruit is very aware that it will happen!
On my second night in a squad car my Field Training Officer looked at me and said, “Time for you to write your first ticket.”
I froze. I was terrified. But I didn’t dare let the Field Training Officer know because he would think I was simply a frightened female. So I said every fast prayer I could think of. I would’ve offered up my first male child to God if I hadn’t already promised him to God so I could get into the Academy. Many years later when I became a Field Training Officer myself, I saw that even the biggest and bravest man can get the same kind of jitters when asked to do something they’ve never done before.
The Field Training Officer was driving and when he saw a car turn left where there was a ‘No Left Turn’ sign he flipped on the overhead lights and stopped the offending car. I bravely took my ticket book and properly approached the car on the driver’s
side. My Field Training Officer was walking up on the passenger side of the car. I made sure that the driver was in the awkward position of having to turn to face me out the driver’s window.
However, the driver wasn’t really turning although I could see long hair being fluffed up. Even though I knew the driver was probably a woman, I was really afraid & concerned that this was going to be the dreaded shootout at a traffic stop that the
Academy instructors insisted was going to happen. I had my hand on the butt of my gun when I got close enough for her to hear me, “May I please see your license?”
The driver finally turned toward me, her blond hair all curly and tumbling down over her right shoulder. With her stunning good looks, perfect makeup and cantaloupe-sized breasts carefully arranged hanging out of her unbuttoned blouse; she looked at me in total surprise and aggravation! “Shit! You’re a woman!”
By then all fear and even decorum went out of me and I started to laugh! My Field Training Officer had held back as he should but when he saw me laughing he wanted to know why. He came up on the passenger side and looked in the window and he started to laugh also.
But the poor driver had turned very red and was rushing to tuck her ‘assets’ back into their proper place under the buttons of her
blouse. “Really! You should have let me know! Then I wouldn’t have embarrassed myself! How come they let women work in squad cars? It’s better when the men are cops!?”
It’s very difficult to write a traffic ticket when you’re laughing very hard. I suddenly realized that even regular citizens, just like the male officers, would have to learn that now there were female police officers.
Filed under: Tales from the Trenches