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Have you ever shot someone?

It’s pretty interesting being a cop. 

Despite the shelf life the job has, each day presents as a new and exciting chapter with something different always going on. A lot of boring stuff too, but for the large part a fair bit of variety. One day you might find yourself helping an old lady who’s fallen down the stars, the next pulling dead bodies from a mangled car wreck. 

It’s no wonder really that cop shows and books are a large part of our entertainment. People are fascinated with the job police do. Just think about the last time you saw the red and blue flashing lights on the side of the road. Did you look? What’s going on there? 

Police TV shows, particularly detective stories (think Law and Order, NYPD Blue, CSI, The Shield, Blue Bloods, The Bill – the list goes on, and on) portray cops in all manner of situations. Fast moving, exciting, thrilling, challenging, hard work one hundred percent of the time, right? Breathing only for a glass of wine at the end of the day, all to wake up and do it all again tomorrow. 

The reality is that police work is a lot of paperwork and very few car chases, foot pursuits and shootouts. That wouldn’t make very interesting TV; watching a detective compile a brief of evidence for two weeks at his or her desk. A spilt coffee on a computer keyboard probably the most exciting thing to see. A pursuit of a stolen car might be the 436th vehicle a traffic officer has intercepted, with the previous 435 drivers swearing about the ticket they got. Not very exciting. 

People generally have a lot of questions about police work and by-and-large most cops don’t mind talking about what they do. There’s the stock standard questions of course:

How fast does your car go? Does it have a ‘special’ chip in the engine? Do you know my cousin in Sydney? How many donuts do you eat a day? Why don’t you go get the real criminals (as they drive away – more of a statement than a question) Is that a real gun? and…

Have you ever shot someone? 

The truth is, 99.99 percent of cops have never, thankfully, fired their weapon outside of the pistol range. Chances are, they wouldn’t want to talk about it if they had, assuming they weren’t mentally scarred for taking someone else’s life. But the possibility is always there for any cop working the street. 

In case you’re wondering… no I haven’t either. A couple of close calls that could have gone either way.

 

The public shouldn’t ever be afraid of asking police questions. They’ll soon set you straight about the realities of the job, the legal system and the expectations of the public. And, it’s not like TV and the movies. No, they can’t develop the forensic samples from your break-and-enter overnight. No, they can’t get the chopper up to look for your 17-year-old that’s late home from the nightclub. And, no, they don’t know your cousin or uncle. 

Most police are more than happy to have a yarn about what they do. Just don’t ask them to look up your ex-girlfriend.  

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Linc

Yeah mate – I’ve shot someone – got him in the leg…

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