September 01, 2008

Herman's wandering night stick

Herman was a rookie who envied the older beat cops who looked like recruiting posters for "A Few Good Men." One eight-year veteran could twirl his night stick so fast it became a blur. Holding the leather thong in one hand, he’d twirl his baton, and with the other hand, tip his cap to young women. The girls loved it.

Herman wanted to be a police icon, but he dared not practice stick-twirling in the daylight. Alone on the street late one night, Herman twirled until his fingers were numb. Suddenly, oops! The stick got away from him. As if with a mind of its own, the spinning baton traveled through the air then plunged like a harpoon into the plate glass window of a Main Street department store. Knowing he must account for the damage, Herman wrote up the incident report, fabricating the facts of the case:

"At approximately 0230 hours, this reporting officer (R/O) heard the sound of breaking glass at the above incident location. R/O observed a juvenile fleeing the scene and gave chase. Suspect ran north for two blocks, turned east for one block, then south for an undetermined number of blocks where R/O lost sight of aforementioned suspect."

Herman notified a store official and his supervisor. At the end of the shift he turned in his report and went home. The next night he reported to the squad room for roll-call. The sergeant read aloud from the pass-on book, relating incidents from the previous 24 hours, including Herman’s store window incident.

The sergeant paused, looked up at Herman, and said, "You’ll be happy to know that we found the vandal who broke the window on your beat last night." Wearing a big smile, sarge reached under his desk, and with his thumb and first finger, held up Herman’s night stick. "We recovered this at the scene. Even has your ID carved in it."

Herman paid for damages but soon resigned to pursue other interests. The sergeant was grateful for Herman’s career decision to leave law enforcement.

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