Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Old School

I first started police work in a much larger city. In the part of town where I was assigned, there was a bridge maybe 100 feet high over one of the city's main arteries.

One winter, a guy walked out to the middle of the bridge and jumped. I remember his car, still running, parked in the middle of the bridge, and his fresh footprints in the snow on the railing. Anyway, this poor guy landed headfirst, right on the double yellow line of the street below. It was my first such suicide, and it was a pretty shocking sight. One witness, a tough old truck driver who'd seen the whole thing, was crying openly. A crowd gathered quickly while we went about our business.

In charge was a lieutenant, who had been a cop since the Dark Ages. He was gruff and sarcastic, and never without a lit unfiltered Lucky Strike in the corner of his mouth. From about a half-block down the street, one officer hollered to him, "Hey, Lieutenant, should we take him over to the hospital and get him pronounced"? To which the Lieutenant hollered back - in front of about 200 gawking onlookers - "Yes, my boy, but drive carefully - we don't want to lose him on the way."

They just don't make 'em like him anymore.

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