By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
Ask most street cops what they consider truly valuable: what is the most important part of their professional life, if forced to, the last he/she would consider giving up.
I feel the answer would be their partner.
Partner defined: “One associated with another, especially in business or action.”
“Associate or colleague.” OK so far.
“Either of two persons who dance together.” (define dance)
“One of two or more persons who play together in a game against an opposing side.” and “sharing risks and profits.” Yes and yes.
You should pick your partner with the same care as you pick your mate because you are going to be as close to and spend as much time with them as you do with the person you married. Choose wisely.
Start with the obvious—you need someone who you can get along with; who will be there when your life depends on it. Someone dependable, someone who will not lose it when the “fit hits the shan.” Trust me it will, and that’s a hell of a time to discover you picked wrong.
Choose someone with a mindset such as yours yet different enough so you complement each other. He/she sees what you might miss and vice-versa. Someone in whom you can see and appreciate the good qualities and ignore the unimportant bad ones; someone you feel comfortable and communicate easily with.
“On the right, by the alley.”
Someone who knows what you are likely to do in a particular situation; who can understand and also convey a message with a shrug, nod, grimace or some other gesture you hadn’t even thought of.
Your Huntley to, his/her Brinkley (dating myself here); during a stop and on your feet taking and maintaining a good position. Moving sometimes as though choreographed. His/her Rogers to your Astaire (yet again).
And when it’s “come and get it time,” and the world is spinning out of control, his Butch to your Sundance.
As the saying goes, “someone who runs TOWARD the sound of gunfire.”
Consider the following:
You begin your tour by seating yourself side by side with your partner in a visibly marked vehicle. You are going to spend the next eight plus hours together directed by the radio to solve various problems.
When free from the radio you are on the “prowl” and “looking for trouble.” Let me repeat that: looking for trouble.
Does this sound like the sort of job description where you drive to the labor pool and pick someone from the crowd? I think not.
You hope to find out before it becomes critical that you have chosen to right person, since by then it will be too late.
They say you are lucky or rich if you have one truly good friend in your lifetime. I would think then that if the same could be said of partners. I am truly blessed.
Ward Fitzgerald and Hal Brasher, both WWII vets, taught me “the game.” Both were my kindly old “uncles.”
Frank Isbell and I were the “proverbial identical twins separated at birth” who found each other, while Richard L. Sullivan “Sully” and I were truly soul mates.
I will lie for you, I will bleed for you, I will take a bullet for you and I will, die for you.
Dedicated to PARTNERS everywhere.
Thanks, Ed. Any readers recall great partners? Leave a comment, let us know who and why.