Police handle other people’s problems

Mandi Steele

Mandi Steele

Mandi Steele

Last summer, I had the delightfully wonderful experience of earning my first ticket. I’m sure this is an experience to which many can relate. The “tough” cop gets out of his car, comes toward your window, and only one question speeds through your mind, “Is he going to give me a ticket?”

If he lets you slide and you drive away without a ticket, he is “friendly” or maybe even a “nice guy.” However, if you get the ticket, he’s a “jerk,” “pig” or worse. I didn’t think I deserved my ticket (Is there a time when we actually think we do?). I didn’t run that stop sign like he said — it was more like a rolling stop. But, I was slapped with a $75 ticket anyway and a scratch on my previously perfect driving record.

I’ve often wondered about some of these ill-tempered cops. Why is it that they think they’re better than us? Why do they always seem to have this mad-at-the-world attitude? And why is it that they tend to be oppressive, conceited and grumpy in the first place?

Maybe I’ll never know the answer, but I think I have a couple of clues. Listening to those who are around criminals all day long (judges, cops, etc.) tell their stories can be really eye-opening. In fact, my brother was a dispatcher for a while, and the stories he would come home with were absolutely crazy.

In his opinion, cops seem to be ill-tempered because their job is basically to solve other people’s problems all day long, and as I can imagine, they get really sick of it. They are around the scum of society all day, and I’m sure their outlook of the world probably gets a bit dim. My brother told me that probably eight out of every 10 people arrested were either druggies or drunkards. He told me about one such incident with a drunkard. A man got arrested for beating his girlfriend. While the cops were outside talking to the girl, the guy managed to crawl into the front seat of the cop car and grab the cops’ radio, saying over and over again, “I want to lick your *****.” A real winner, huh?

On a recent visit to one of the uglier parts of Joplin, I had the opportunity to meet several drunks. I was helping a reporter write a story about a house that burned. The neighbors of the individual who had lost his home all looked like they were drunk or high. Everyone was blaming someone else for the fire, and one man, who reeked of alcohol, started threatening a woman nearby while he held a hammer. Yes, these are the people the cops have to deal with daily. So maybe cops aren’t the most pleasant people around, but cops do have a lot to cope with — us.