From Easter eggs to lethal encounters

Yesterday morning, I was elbows deep in jelly beans, Easter bunny gumdrops and chocolate eggs.  Normally, I would have been mentally preparing myself for the upcoming shift, but instead, I was wrestling equal amounts of candy into a few dozen small cellophane bags.  My kids thought it would be a wonderful treat for their school mates before the long weekend.

I just hadn’t counted on me being the one to stuff all the bags.

Have you ever dropped a bucket of jelly beans on a tile floor?  Well, I have.  Trying to avoid stepping on the hard little ankle breakers and then rounding them up is much like herding cats.  I suspect we’ll be stirring up the occasional wayward jelly bean over the next couple of weeks.

The itty-bitty twist-ties that came with the bags were another form of torture, and by the end of it, I was six twist-ties short (*insert expletive here*).

After climbing up into the attic of our garage, I located some ribbon in the bottom of a storage box and banged my head off of the garage ceiling when I stood up too fast.  With a goose egg on my cranium and a boxful of Easter eggs to sort through, I eventually wrangled all the treats together and prepared the remaining bags.

It was with a sense of satisfaction that I looked out over the sea of crinkly cellophane covering our kitchen table.

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My short (and not terribly impressive) foray into Martha Stewart territory illustrates two very different aspects of a police officer’s life.

Yesterday morning, I was a mom surrounded by Easter treats.

Two hours later, I was in uniform, sliding the magazine into my pistol and doing a pinch check before holstering.  My work truck was loaded with K9 body armour, extra gear and a ready-to-work police dog .  My ear was tuned to the crackle of the police radio.

Thoughts of Easter eggs were replaced by the logistics of getting a number of us down to Washington State to pay respects to another handler whose police dog was recently killed in the line of duty.

I looked through scene photos, studied crime maps  and made a note of the licence plate of the wanted man who said he would never be taken alive.  I considered how we would effect an arrest if we located him, and played through the pre-game mental ‘what-if’s’ of a potentially lethal encounter.  I visualized what I would do.

My mind was turning over new information on a suspected drug house, and I made a plan to scope out the area so I would know where to go should the call to 911 come in.

In other words, my mind was where it needed to be – at work.

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The mental switch is a requirement of law enforcement and can be very difficult for the family and loved ones of a new officer to understand.  It doesn’t necessarily ‘get better’ with time so it is incumbent upon the officer to talk to his/her family as their family is a much needed pillar of support.

From Easter eggs to potentially lethal encounters.

Yes, it can be a bit of a transition.

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