By Hal Collier LAPD, Retired
We are happy that 35-year veteran Hal Collier is sharing his ‘stories behind the badge’ with us.
From the time you’re born, all of us have fears. Some are afraid of spiders, snakes, heights, claustrophobia and clowns. A lot fear speaking in public. I think we all had those dreams of being naked in public. Hell, I still have those. Stay out of my dreams if you want to sleep. Most of us outgrew those fears and moved on to bigger fears. Is the power out or did I forget to pay the Water and Power bill, when is our anniversary? What’s this string tried around my finger for?
We all have those things that scare us, but let’s talk about what scares cops. Most cops love their job but want to go home every day to their family and loved ones, even if that’s a dog or cat. They think safety and might use the best taught tactics, but there’s one thing that cancels out all your fears. That’s adrenalin. It’s more powerful than any drug sold on a street corner.
Cops will run to the sound of gun fire—not away like most people. I’ve seen cops leave a perfectly safe place, behind good cover as we say, to a danger area, just to stop a threat to others. I was once shot at—in a police parking lot no less! Was I scared—no, I was pissed off. How dare some @##$# shoot at me at my house! I’ve seen cops race to a scene of a “shooting in progress call” to be there first. Did you ever see the video of the North Hollywood Bank shootout? Cops were everywhere trying to stop the bad guys. SWAT officers showed up in their workout clothes.
Burning buildings! Cops will run into burning buildings to save people they don’t know—sometimes when there’s no one to save. Unlike firemen who have fire protective clothing, cops will still enter a burning building in short sleeve blue wool uniforms. Cops have done this all the time. Were they scared? No, they didn’t think about their own safety, just protecting the innocent. I’ve been in a few fires and been treated for smoke inhalation twice. Scared? No, I just didn’t have time to be scared or my intelligence is so low that I don’t know enough to be afraid.
America is fascinated with car chases on TV. With the police helicopter lighting up the bad guy’s vehicle, the news copters can follow and get free footage of a real live police chase. They even have a TV show with nothing but cop car chases. Some of these chases are hair raising and dangerous to not only the cops and the car they’re chasing but to any innocent citizen driving on the streets. After thirty-five years, I’ve been in quite a few pursuits. Was I scared? No, just angry that someone would think they could out run me.
Cops can be exposed to life threatening diseases on a daily basis, such as AIDS and Hepatitis. A simple prick on the finger from a dirty syringe in a hype’s pocket or a fight with a blood-soaked suspect. I was once tested for AIDS after giving CPR to a SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) baby. I wasn’t scared but it was worrisome for six weeks until the results came back clear.
Ok, so what does scare a knight in armor? Be prepared to be shocked.
Find out what really scares cops next week, Sunday May 16th for part 2.