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Cops are human (believe it or not), just like the rest of us. They come in both sexes and in all sizes. Cops are found everywhere, on land, on sea, on horses, in cars, in the air, and sometimes in your hair. In spite of the fact "you can't find one when you need one", they're usually there when it counts most. The best way to get one is to just pick up the phone.

Cops deliver lectures, babies, and bad news. They are required to have the wisdom of Solomon, the disposition of a lamb, and muscles of steel. They are the ones who ring the doorbell, swallow hard, and tell you a loved one is dead. Then they spend the rest of the night wondering why they took such a crummy job.

On TV, a cop is an oaf who couldn't find a bull fiddle in a phone booth. In real life, he (or she)is expected to find a blond boy, "about so high", in a crowd of half a million people. In fiction he gets help from private eyes, reporters, and "whodunit fans". In real life most of what he gets from the public is "I didn't see nuttin". If he serves a summons, he's a monster. If he lets you go, he's a doll. To little kids he's either a friend or the boogeyman, depending on how their parents feel about it. He works around the clock, split shifts, and holidays.

When a cop is good, "he's getting paid for it". When he makes a mistake, "he's a jerk, and that goes for the rest of them, too". When he shoots a stick-up man, he's a hero, except when the stick-up man is "only a kid, anybody coulda seen that". Many cops have homes. Some of them are covered with ivy, but most of them are covered with mortgages. If he drives a big car, he's on the take. If he drives a little car, "who's he kidding?"

A cop sees more misery, bloodshed, and grief than anyone else. His uniform changes with the weather, but his outlook on life remains about the same, mostly upbeat and optimistic, hoping for a better world.

Cops like days off, vacations, and coffee. They don't like auto horns, family fights, or anonymous letters. They have unions, but they can't strike. They must be impartial, courteous, and remember the slogan "at your service". This is sometimes hard, especially when some character reminds him, "I'm a taxpayer, I pay your salary".

Cops get medals for saving lives, stopping runaway horses, and shooting it out with bad guys (sometimes the wife gets the medal). But the most rewarding moments come when, after some small kindness to an older person, he feels a warm hand clasp, looks into grateful eyes and hears....
"Thank you and God bless you son".




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