Did I earn my police pension? I will answer with some memories.
A group of officers and I chased a man with a gun into an alley at about 4:00 o’clock in the morning on a hot summer night. We had him trapped in one of the backyards, but the officers searched with no luck. I began re-searching the same yards using my super bright, (but against department regulations) flashlight. While illuminating a row of thick bushes along the fence line, a sudden flash reflected back to me. It came from the chrome barrel of a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
I shouted for the offender to show his hands and he did so immediately avoiding a clip of Remington .45’s coming his way. Thirty seconds and all were safe. As simple as this scenario was, we have all survived many of these on the road to retirement. I like to tell people I earned my pension in about thirty seconds.
The more common answer to this question is: we fought with the guy who threw the Christmas tree out the front window. We sat under viaducts avoiding the celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve. We removed the suicide victim on Mother’s or Father’s Day. We dodged eggs on Halloween. We fought with the druggy son and the alcoholic father. We searched garbage cans for missing children and red-lighted injured coworkers to the trauma center.
We missed all types of family functions: weddings, birthdays, along with baseball and football games. Volleyball and wrestling, as well as teacher’s meetings and school plays were never attended. The common family functions were the abnormal and sleeping seemed like another person’s privilege. To boot, we all worked second and third jobs so our families could live like normal people.
When people see me and ask about my pension, I simply say, “I earned it.”
To all my brothers and sisters in blue, lock and load and protect each other. And as always, stay safe.
– Larry Casey
Note: View Larry Casey’s website at www.StoriesofaChicagoPoliceOfficer.com/ and review his book by the same name.
(Feature image: Needpix.com)