Friday, June 6, 2014

To Protect And Untangle

I've been pretty critical of the local Police in the past, with good reason. Devin Petelski being killed by the police practice of "silent running" on Venice Boulevard. Ronald Weekley getting badly beaten by cops for skateboarding. Tough guy officers busting up the drum circle. Myself getting pulled over for giving away blankets to homeless people ... Let's just say I haven't been very impressed with our local authorities for quite some time...

But then recently I had an experience that was really nice, and in the interest of journalistic integrity and humanistic fairness, I'll give you the other side of our Venice Police.

I was running late for a birthday party in the neighborhood and zipped off on my bike to head over. I was wearing a new frock that had a kind of train in the back that I wasn't used to, and before you knew it, I nearly get yanked backwards off my bike when the train caught in the gear sprocket thing and stopped me in my tracks, nearly choking me. I had no bike light (stolen every time) and from behind, I must have looked wasted, swerving around all crazy, trying not to fall off.

A bright search light hit me in the face from a car behind me, and I just thought, "Great." I started in with my "Maybe you should go after the bike light stealer" speech when the officer asked, "What seems to be the problem?" I showed him how badly tangled my dress was, wound around and around the teeth of the gear thing, and asked if they might have a Swiss army knife or something in their bag of tricks, so I could cut myself loose and get to the party.

The passenger side officer got out, and while the driver officer held the light on it all, the first guy kneeled down and patiently un-wound the fabric, inch by inch, so carefully that there was not a rip or a hole to be found once he had me free. I was all set to cut the whole bottom off the thing the first time I wore it, and this guy did such a good job, I don't think there was even a wrinkle. I was stunned, both at how patiently and perfectly he worked to free me, but also that they'd stopped to help at all.

After effusively thanking them, I told him that in that night's paperwork they had to write up "Saved damsel in distress". He did wreck it a bit by getting all cocky and saying, "Yeah, I'm pretty good," but other than that, it was super nice and really did impress me. They really are there "To protect and serve," which I think often gets lost in the power trip of it all, but in this case was exactly what they did.

In the rush to not be even later to the party, I did not get the officers' names, but maybe someone will read this and tell them I really appreciated it. And the fact that we're all in this together. Being cool is actually a lot easier than being a dick, both on yourself and certainly on others. We'd all do well to remember this, no matter what our job is.

So, thank you, Pacific division helpers ... And let's all be safe out there.

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