Stay Vigilant, Stay Alive: A Day In The Life Of A Police Officer
Mid afternoon and the sun is high in the sky. Children can be heard playing outside with their friends through the open window in the bedroom. But three pm is an early start for Police Officer Joseph Devlin.
He generally begins every day the same. With a schedule of working four days on and four days off, there isn’t much room for deviation. After his alarm wakes him up from his few hours of sleep, he goes into the kitchen for his first cup of coffee. Day one back to work always seems to catch him the hardest. While enjoying his coffee, he reads the paper and checks out what is new in the world. He reads the sports and the comics but pays particular attention to any new law enforcement information that he can find. He finishes this routine by checking social media, checking his personal email and watching the news.
After a relaxing morning it is time to shower, walk the dog, and pack up his gear. “The forty-five minute drive from my house to headquarters can sometimes drag on”, he said, “but I love what I do so I don’t mind the drive”. Upon his arrival at work he changes and gets dressed in his uniform. With all of the gear he wears, this process can take anywhere for five to ten minutes, sometimes longer on hot days. The proper supplies that he needs, such as pen and paper, are awaiting him at the front desk where he signs out his radio. He checks his radio and firearm to make sure they are secure and the battery is fully charged.
Before heading into roll call, he checks the department website and email to see if there is any news alerts that he should be aware of right away. He is also checking for safety alerts, BOLO (be on the look out) alerts, memos, training orders, and court notices.
After all of that is complete, he heads into roll call just in time before the Captain presents the events of the last four days while he was off duty. “The Captain goes over a various amount of news before he sends us on the road” said Devlin. The Captain assigns cars and partners for the shift and ends with a cliché phrase. “You know it gets me sometimes how cheesy this phrase is but it’s true how accurate it can be” he said. When asked what the phrase was, he replied “stay vigilant and stay alive”.
After roll call is over, Devlin goes to his assigned car and checks to make sure there is no unreported damages. Him and his partner split the work of checking various other items in the car before they leave the parking lot. Some of these items include lights, radio, camera, computer, oxygen tank, and loading the shotgun.
He turns on the music and the radio then leaves for his assigned sector. He is now ready to protect and serve the town of Union. His first official order of business is to call in to dispatch and tell them he is in service and ready to respond.
The beginning of the shift has menial tasks, such as checking to see what businesses are open and which have closed for the evening, driving around checking empty parking lots, and checking for traffic infringements. Throughout his shift he checks for any criminal activity that may be occurring, responds to service calls, welfare checks, and medical aids.
It is now mid way through the shift and it’s time for a break. Devlin calls in to dispatch and him and his partner sit down for a half hour dinner break at two in the morning. When they finish, they immediately go back in service and repeat this for the remainder of their eleven and a half hour shift.
The end of the shift is finally near. Devlin and his partner go into headquarters and finish any last minute paperwork. They log in how many tickets they wrote, arrests they made, places they checked up on, etc. Anything that they did while on duty they must log in. Then they gas up the car, replace used equipment, and sign in everything that was signed out.
When his release arrives at 6am, he jokes around with his friends before heading to the locker room to change. “One of the most important things I do when my shift is over is I take a minute to reflect, I thank God for making it through another shift alive”. Then he packs up the rest of his gear and heads home.
Another long drive home and he arrives again. He walks his dog, showers, and goes to sleep for another few hours until his alarm wakes him up; a constant reminder to do what he loves all over again.