As the Christmas holiday approaches, our police department, like many throughout America, Officers are given the opportunity to vote for the Police Officer, Dispatcher and Reserve Officer of the year. There is also a “Toilet Seat” of the year award which is for preforming the most stupid thing possible, without getting the department sued, which I have proudly won. In December, our Chief claims that he accurately tallies the entries provided by the department and the employees with the most votes in their respective catagory is selected for the annual awards. The Chief also requests that a brief synopsis of what outstanding or heroic action the Officer had accomplished during the year should be included when casting the vote, so popularity is not a factor. In the private sector and other working environments, the concept behind giving these awards is to recognize employees who have excelled through out the year or for recognition of a remarkable heroic action.
The announcement of who wins the Officer of the Year is made at the annual Christmas party, where a variety of people associated with the Police Department are invited. A guest list may consist of current employees, spouses, friends, family and retired Officers. At one of our more memorable Christmas parties, the Chief, standing in front of everyone, made the declaration of the winner of the prestigious Police Officer of the Year award, “From the numerous outstanding Police Officers on the force, and you Officers are doing an amazing job…..the Officer of Year goes to…..the envelope please…..wait for it…..Elizabeth, my lovely office assistant, give her hand.”
The Assistant Chief gives a enthusiastic clap which disrupts the stunned silence of a shocked crowd. If I could read minds, the general consensus of the audience would be, WTF? I would like to remind the reader that I am writing fiction, but this is unfortunately a very true fact of the story. The police crowd and guest could obviously could do the math very quickly, concluding the obvious, the Chief is having sex with Elizabeth. Elizabeth was initially hired as a full time dispatcher. Over the years she worked part time as the Chief’s office assistant and less time as a dispatcher. Eventually she was working for the Chief full time as an office assistance, although the department was short on dispatchers and could not cover all the shifts. No Police Officer would ever vote for this very angry, disgruntled office assistant, and of course, no one had. It was a very awkward and embarrassing moment for everyone but the Chief, who was oblivious. The audiance shocked stares went from the Chief, to Elizabeth, who was walking up to accept her award, to the embarrassed third wife of the Chief. The Chief, always believing he was the smartest person in the room, seemed perplexed at the lack of applause and shock of the crowd. Elizabeth proudly accepts a nice wooden plaque, her hard earned award for being Police Officer of the Year.
The award with Elizabeth’s name engraved on the plaque is shamelessly displayed in the police department, next to awards of other Officer of the Year recipients, as a constant reminder of what type of accolades sex and blackmail will get you.
The days following the Elizabeth of the year sex award, rumors were flying and Officers were curious. And curious Officers with time on their hands seem to always result in trouble. When a curious squad of officers were taking a break, the question was did Elizabeth earn her award in the Chief’s office or at some out of town motel. Most of the pro-active Officers knew the Chief’s office well. Not for him proving that leadership is based on inspiration, not domination, on cooperation, not intimidation, but mostly for Chief proving his ignorance on Police topics. Most of my Chief visits were based on some kind of self induced issues I created, like someone taking the toilet paper out of the bathroom right before he goes in, promptly at 9:30 am every morning. My weekly Chief visits gave me much needed time to day dream and contemplate whether working in an intelligent hell, or a stupid paradise would be better. The Officers confirmed that none of us, even after repeated visits, had run a black light around the Chief’s desk. It was decided, we needed “training” in capturing blacklight photographic “evidence” and the area of the Chief’s desk would be a good place to conduct the training. We could then post our training results throughout the department. What could go wrong?
Entry into the locked administration offices at night would seem problematic for amateurs, but not Officers. The Chief locks his door when he leaves for the day due to the patrol rifles in his office. Why would the Chief put the patrol rifles in the admin office locked away? The Chief decided the rifles would be safer in his office than in patrol cars for use by Police Officers enforcing the law against armed criminals. The Chief explained this policy in a officers meeting. The Chief said the proper procedure for accessing a rifle or shotgun, “For an emergency that may involve a life and death situation which may require the use of a rifle for additional fire power against a armed assailant, the Officer or his backup should have dispatch call a supervisor, who would then unlock the admin office. The supervisor could then fill out the appropriate forms and issue the Officer or his backup, a suitable rifle after checking qualification records.” Brilliant! The only ones on the department not qualified to shoot a rifle was the Chief, due to a rifle “accidental discharge” and one Reserve Officer who was born in the 1800’s.
No amount of common sense could persuade the Chief from swimming in the deep end of the tar pits of insanity. The Officers, instead of swimming with the Chief, kept the department’s biggest door ram and lock cutters, just around the corner from his office. In case of emergency Officers would self issue a rifle by breaking down the Chief’s door. Other Officers just kept their own rifle in their patrol car. Historical note; the 7 year policy was changed after a union grievance and a lot of bitching. The supervisors were not going to open the Chief’s door for Officers to do some training, which left Plan B.
None of the Police Officers were entrusted with a key to the entire department. We had to go to an outside source to get a key. You may think someone entrusted with the keys to a entire Police Department would be difficult to persuade to open locked doors to gain access to guns, but you would be wrong. Our outside source with a key to the Chief’s office and access to the police rifles, was Huey, a mentally disabled member of a special needs cleaning crew. Huey was a goofy, tall, happy fellow, always eager to help and came every night to clean the Police Department. Huey had keys for everything in the department including the guns.
Huey arrived in the evening as usual. I approach Huey giving him a donut, “Huey, could you open the Chief’s office so we Officers can check his desk for sperm.” Huey just giggles and opens the door. Huey watches our training as the black light revels a stain pattern behind the Chief’s desk, best described by Huey as, “eeeeewh.” The Officer with the camera came to the realization of the severity of his actions being in the Chief’s office taking “sex crime” training photos and left with ugly memories but no evidence. I was laughing with the other Officers and left, thanking Huey, hoping the images did not scar him.
Without incriminating evidence photos but feeling generous and wanting to preserve a moment in history, I purchased a small framed reproduction of Jackson Polluck’s painting titled, “Shimmering Substance” circa 1946. I hung it next to Elizabeth’s Officer of the Year award.