Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cop Attitude

Let me first state I like cops. They have a difficult down and dirty job. In my line of business I deal with men and women in all forms of law enforcement; local, county, state, and federal, both current and retired. Over the years I've had relations with the DEA, Treasury (what many of us refer to as the Secret Service), U. S. Marshals service, Border Patrol, the FBI, ATF and its police force the BATFE, and various wildlife protection agencies. You name it, I've dealt with it.

When they come into my shop they're on my turf, and there are rules; we're equals, leave the cop mentality at the door.
They carry weapons and so do I, and they know it.  Many of these men have become friends, not close, but we're on friendly terms, a mutual respect if you will. I've purchased, through private sales, firearms from many of these nice men. I've helped them repair their guns; as a matter of fact a couple of months ago I helped a retired policeman clear a jam from a handgun. He tired for hours to clear the stuck round and came to me for help. No big deal, it happens.

Cops and I have swapped rifles, gear (never swap a holster with a cop, it'll be worn out) and I, at the request of an officer, sold her late father's estate which consisted of several handguns, rifles, and a few shotguns. It was fun and she was very happy with the proceeds, and I enjoyed helping her. Even purchased a couple for my collection.

I've sat with marshals and debated the merits of knives, Glocks versus Beretta, night patrols, shooting matches, and if local news stations should have access to police scanners, they said, no. I've stood in my parking lot as they opened the trunks of their cars to show me their favorite custom built shotguns, all the while scaring the hell out of the local moonfleas.   

I've been invited and have shot at the local police range by a couple of police firearm instructors; I qualified, by the way. It was fun, hot out in the blazing open to the sun range, but fun. I felt out of place and as is my way, when I wasn't on the firing line, I stood aside and quietly watched, observed. I felt honored.

I've had this relationship with these fine men for close to thirty years. For the most part my dealings with these gentlemen and women have been friendly and fun; for the most part. But ever so often one will come in with an attitude. You know the type, I'm a badass and I carry a badge and you don't, little booger. That kind.

It's been awhile but I still remember him. A detective, burglary division. Short, even in his high-lift shoes, bald, chewing gum popping swagger.
I heard my chime ring and after a quick glance at the door buzzed him through. He walked in and took a seat. I was busy and remember I'd dropped something on the floor and had bent to retrieve the object.

Then, "Hey, is that a gun on your belt?" I remember thinking, 'one of them.' Guess my cover shirt slipped a bit too high.

"Yes, it is."

"What is it?"

"Glock 27 in .40"

"You licensed?"

Sigh, "Yes, officer, I'm licensed, and as you well know since I'm a business owner in this state I don't need the license while I'm conducting business."

Then the sarcasm, like venom dripping from his mouth, "Do you even know how to use it?" This, from a kid half my age. From a boy that doesn't even know me. A child that wasn't a gleam in his father's eye when I took the oath.
I turned to him and gave him my best fake Clint Eastwood look and said, "Yes, I know how to use it." Tried to stay all cool and stuff. Hoping this problem would walk back out the door of my shop.

Chew, pop, chew, swagger, stand and walks over and, get this now, reaches to touch my weapon. Now, we have a problem.
As he reaches I turn my body away and said, "Isn't gonna happen, pardner." He swells....pop, chew, pop. Then, "Hey, I just wanna look at it."

Me, "Give me yours and I'll hand you mine."

Steps back, all five foot four of him and glares up at me and said, "We, never, allow, a, civilian, to touch, our, guns." Indignant. Gives me the 'ole glare. Then, "Why would I let an amateur hold  my weapon?"

I waited for a second, smiled, again in an attempt to keep the situation on friendly terms, then replied,

"My point, exactly."

He didn't get it.