cops and good neighbors

Image by james.thompson via Flickr

When I moved into my home well over a decade ago I was still a fairly fresh rookie with a young family. People being as nosey as they are, (and my stopping home for lunch/dinner in a patrol car), people learned fairly quickly that a cop had moved onto the street. As the years went by I began to notice a dynamic that was never explained in the academy. How you balance being a cop with being a homeowner.

One of the first hurdles I remember was trying to figure out which battles were worth fighting and which were not. The neighbor kid with his loud base thumping while I was trying to sleep? That needed to be addressed. When I stepped out the door and yelled (had to) “HEY..THATS WAY TOO LOUD!  TURN IT DOWN!!” the kids snotty buddy decided to reply with “It’s not after 11 PM yet…” alluding to the Town’s noise ordinance hours (which he didn’t know also includes unreasonable noise at any hour). After I replied with something like; “would you really like to test your knowledge of the law?” I recall the neighbor kid murmering “shut-up..he’s a cop”. The radio was turned down.

Funny thing is, I heard some other neighbors clapping from their windows. Apparently they either didn’t have the nerve to say anything or perhaps they thought it was the “cop on the streets” job.

Then there are the irritating things that just are not worth the hasstle. The neighbor down the street who thinks that they can park in either direction in front of their home because they obviously think that they are special and don’t have to obey the parking laws. Or the friends of the guy across the street who decide to park on the “No Parking” side of our street, just because he feels like it. I’m not about to walk over there and lecture them about it. All you will get then is complaints filed with the building inspectors office if you let the grass get too long, or calls to patrol to complain when a visitor parks their car over the sidewalk while in your drive way. None of that has happend to me mind you, but I have seen it happen to other coppers. I haven’t determined if this sort of behavior (petty violations like parking) is simply arrogance or if they actively think “I’ll park however I want, the “neighbor cop” won’t want to stir up bad blood over it”.

Then theres the issue of the other neighbors who don’t like these parking headaches either,but somehow think I should be deling with it vs THEM calling in a complaint.

Don’t get me wrong, all of my neighbors are decent people. If they were assholes, I would “take care of business”. In a way that would almost be easier, but the fact that they are otherwise good neighbors tends to cause me to overlook these minor issues.

BUT is that part of the “Quid Pro Quo”? Is there an conscious aspect to this? While they wouldn’t park in front of a No Parking sign if one of my co-workers was driving down the street, they don’t have any qualms with doing it otherwise because we have a “go along to get along” agreement?

And to add to the issue is the fact that I as the “cop on the street” have to be sure that I adhere to every law and ordinance because sure as shooting the murmers of “he thinks he can do whatever he want because he’s a cop” would start going around.

 It’s stuff like this that I bring up when the “Cops are just people with a job like any other” debate starts up. Like it or not we have different expectations of behavior on AND off duty and people treat us differently even when we are at home.



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