Roman: Car is shared office, refuge
Editor’s Note: John Roman is a traffic officer for an Orange County police agency who recently launched a blog, Badge 415 (badge415.wordpress.com/). His posts focus on the human side of police work and safety tips. Roman, a cop for 20 years, has handled more than 5,000 accidents as a collision investigator. behindthebadgeoc.com will share some of his columns.
The car is your traveling office. It’s a vehicle that is handed off from shift to shift with little or no rest, similar to the person who drives it. Its worn and stained seats reflect what the driver has seen and been through with little or no support when they need it most.
The car is your shelter from the heat, rain, wind, cold and everything else Mother Nature wants to throw at you. The car can also be your happy place. The one place you can sit and just be alone. The car is your escape. The one place where no one can bother you for a needed break until the radio disrupts the silence.
The car is a place where life long bonds are formed with the partner who shares it with you.
It’s your way of escape from the last call, the last idiot, the last crash, the last tragedy or the last dead body.
The car is a friend that won’t betray you. It takes you to danger and it rescues you from it.
The police car is where you have to settle disputes over the phone between your kids or your spouse while you’re at work.
It is a symbol of trust and fear. Trust by those who need us. Fear by those who are doing something wrong. The car restores order at the sight of it as it rolls in hot to chaos. The car can save you, but it can kill you if you don’t respect its speed.
The black and white transports you to the dark side of humanity where the lowest scum live and prey. It takes you to the saddest stories and the worst things in the world. It takes you to places a normal person can’t imagine with the highest high and to the lowest of lows.
It’s part of an emotional roller coaster with twist and turns that very few will ever know because they are not part of this world.
The police car is the one symbol that brings smiles to the faces of children as we drive by. It doesn’t matter if the child is rich or poor, speaks English or not. They all joyfully yell out “Police” when they see it.
And finally and most importantly: The police car is driven by the Good Guys.