By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
Did you ever have a co-worker who was just weird? No matter how hard you tried, you just couldn’t find a common ground. The individual I’m about to describe was that type of officer. I’ll call him Jeff. I don’t think that I ever worked a patrol shift with Jeff but I was around him enough to know he was different. Jeff didn’t get along with anyone he worked with. You think spending Thanksgiving dinner at your in-laws is a long day; try spending eight hours in a police car with Jeff! He was so difficult that officers volunteered to work the desk or jail to avoid spending time with him.
Every so often a police division will loan an officer to another division for a special assignment. If that loan becomes a permanent transfer, they must transfer another officer back. That’s were Jeff comes in. Rampart Division owed us an officer and, just like Fidel Castro, they didn’t give us the cream of the crop. In fact, they gave us Jeff. Now, the short time Jeff was assigned to Hollywood he made quite a reputation for himself. No one wanted to work with Jeff.
I recall two incidents where Jeff called in sick for work. One day, Jeff said he was stung by a bee and couldn’t report for work. Maybe Jeff was allergic to bees. Ok, that’s plausible but the next day at work Jeff couldn’t remember where he was stung. Another time he called in sick saying that he was getting married. Short romance was our guess and we were dying to see who would marry him. Sure enough—Jeff showed up at work the next day still single. Some guessed that Jeff’s bride deflated!
Well as luck would have it we owed an officer to Northeast Division and guess who was at the top of our list? That was the good news. The bad news was that I lived in Northeast Division. Jeff would be protecting me from crime at my house. I figured that there was slim chance that I’d ever run into Jeff but I was wrong. Well not exactly. My wife is a good driver and has only gotten one ticket in her entire time driving. Yes, you guessed right, Jeff gave it to her.
Jeff stopped my wife for speeding. Actually, she was going five mph over the posted speed limit. Now, in my 35 year career I’ve stopped about a dozen police officers for traffic violations. I never wrote one a ticket; the same for firemen. You called it professional courtesy. I have been stopped three times, once in Texas, and never had a ticket. Well my wife mentions my name to Jeff.
Jeff says, “Oh yea. I know Hal.” Jeff wrote her a ticket. We paid the ticket without complaint.
Some nights when I have trouble sleeping, I think of Jeff. I wonder if he’s still a cop, did he ever get married, or just maybe one of those bees actually stung him!