A long time ago in a distant land . . .
I spent a year as a Metro Transit Officer in Washington, DC. Then I spent time as a Deputy Sheriff in the Land That Time Forgot. Calvert County, Maryland. It has gotten bigger and more modern since I left; in fact, just last year they got streetlights. I remember one conversation I had with a local; in which we discussed the lack of a mall, only one movie theater, and how upsetting it was that they took, “Green Acres,” off the county’s PBS system. The highlight of the conversation?
“You know there isn’t one escalator in the entire county,” I stated.
“Escalator? Escalator? What’s an escalator?”
Sorry for the digression…
After a year in DC, I left to become a Deputy Sheriff. I had to take some extra training as when I was with the Metro Police I rode the subway, in Calvert I’d be in a car, or, as they like to call it a MOP, Mobile Observation Platform. Once I had completed my intense training of driving around, finding the good places to eat, sleep and hide from the general public, I was cut loose. On my own cruising, the mean streets of Calvert County.
Well, there I was in my Mobile Observation Platform, on Rt. 4, looking for speeders. Now there are several ways to do this, for the big boys, there’s radar, for others VASCAR, but for me there was pacing. Pacing is when the deputy, me, follows a speeding vehicle for about 2/10ths of a mile, pacing their speed.
After pacing a blue 2 door Chevy for 2/10ths of a mile I activated my emergency equipment, lights and siren for those of you not familiar with cops. The vehicle pulled over to the shoulder of the road, I got out of my Mobile Observation Platform, and things went bad.
As I was exiting my vehicle, my mace canister bumped the door lock. Ever notice how life becomes a slow-motion sequence at times? Unfortunately, I had already given the door a gentle push and watched the door slowly click shut. I stood there, listening to the traffic pass by, and prayed silently, that through some magical intervention, that my door was a jar. So, there I was, vehicle running, lights and flashers on. Undaunted, and deep in prayer; I turned and introduced myself to the driver of the speeding Chevy.
Hello, I’m Deputy Parks of the yada-yada-yada, you were traveling at yada-yada-yada, license and registration please. I slowly walked back to my car, this was the moment of truth, my defining moment as a deputy and, yes, my friends, it was locked.
What to do? Call for assistance? Let the entire county know I’d locked myself out of my car? Be fodder for harassment for the rest of my career? What would Inspector Clouseau do?
I calmly walked back to the driver of the Chevy.
“Ma’am there is a sight problem. I need you to drive me to Headquarters.”
Fortunately, the station was only a minute away. I snuck into the station, grabbed the extra set of keys, snuck out the door and had the lady drive me back to my deserted car; on the side of the road, with the lights still flashing.
I unlocked my car, gave her my thanks, swore her to secrecy, and a warning always make sure she exited her car with the keys.