Conversations and the Way They Spin

Many officers I know have had the following experience when attending a function where the officer does not know many of the attendees.  After introductions are made and talk turns to what everyone does for a living, conversations go something like this:

Stranger: “So, what is it that you do for work?”

Officer: “I work for the City of Vancouver.”

Stranger: “Oh really?  In which department?”

Officer: “The police department.”

Stranger: “Where in the department do you work?”

Officer: “I work in patrol/homicide/robbery/dog squad/emergency response team.”

Here is where the conversation can take a turn.  The person asking the questions either beats feet in the other direction (which is usually a clue they have something to hide) or they empty a deluge of policing questions to the exclusion of all other topics. 

Stranger: “Oh, that’s so fascinating!  So tell me, do you know so-and-so?  What’s it like to investigate a murder?  Do bank robbers really wear masks?  Do the police dogs come home with you?  Have you ever had to shoot anyone?”

Like most officers, I really do not mind answering these questions (thus, the blog).  But when all the person wants to do is find out what it’s like to stake out a house, or if the CSI-Hollywood theory on salient fingerprints is really accurate, or how heavy the tactical vests are, it can become a bit overwhelming.  Officers are adept at changing the topic so when the talk becomes too heavily focused on police work, officers usually get the other person talking about fishing/hockey/football/shopping etc. 

I’ve often been tempted to tell people that I do something completely different for a living, if only to see if their reaction to my ‘profession’ is as noticable as it is when I say I’m a police officer.  

What do you think?

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