By Ed Meckle
I remember reading somewhere that a light bulb burns brightest just before it goes out. I hope this not the case as some of my memories are crystal clear, others not so. Maybe some things are best forgotten.
A long time ago and far, far away, I was a young copper working night watch patrol. My regular partner, Frank Isbell and I had just left roll call with the sergeant’s words, “Now let’s see who can find her.” following us. He refered to a wanted notice he had just read for a “Cynthia [whatever], physical description provided. She was about our age and wanted for assault with intent to commit murder. The detective handling the case had made the appeal in person and let us know they “really wanted her.”
Five minutes out we reached our patrol area and turned into a quiet side street. An alley runner crossed half a block ahead of us. Two minutes into the interview it was obvious we had nothing. A young man just off work hurrying to see his new girlfriend.
As I handed him his license, I have no idea why, maybe just to leave him with a good feeling, I asked the name of his new girlfriend.
“Cynthia [whatever],” he replied.
Frank and I exchanged “the” look and I asked, “About my age, yea tall, short hair, glasses?”
A dubious nod.
I asked, “Where did she go to school?
“Manuel Arts High,” says he.
“What a small world. We were in the same graduating class. Get in the car we’ll drive you. I just want to say hello.”
He was such a square kid that even after we cuffed her he still wasn’t sure what had just happened.
Working with a regular partner, someone you know and trust can make life so much easier. Frank and I had an easy relationship, same age, both former Marines. He was one of the best street cops I ever worked with and believe me I knew some really good ones. He was a natural and we were good together. We laughed a lot, finished each other’s sentences and had an almost “spooky” unspoken communication
We had actually developed “routines” for certain situations.
“Officer, do you know who I am?”
This would prompt a reply, “Hey, partner, I’ve got a guy here with amnesia. Doesn’t know who he is.” Or “Do you have any kind of ID sir. Maybe we can help you.”
“Do you realize that I pay your salary?”
“Hey partner, I finally met the guy who pays us.” or “Thank you, sir. You have no idea how much we all appreciate what you do. I can’t wait to tell the guys at the station that I met you. They are going to be so excited. God bless you sir.”
Did this really happen? I don’t know but heard the story long ago.
Late night, officer approaches parked car, strange noises emitted in darkened area.
“I would like to see some ID, please,” the officer says to the sole occupant.
His response, “Who me?”
Leave us pause here for a moment. Any interview that starts this way is going to be interesting.
“Where did you get the turkeys? There are 8 turkeys in the back seat all talking at once.
The reply: “What turkeys?”
I defy anyone, anywhere to tell me of another job that is as interesting, weird, strange and as much fun as this one—and they even paid us.