Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ride Along with Officer Dye, Part 2

Continuing the story of my ride-along with Ann Arbor Police Officer Steve Dye.

So, Steve and I headed out to "serve and protect" - ever vigilant for the call over the radio for "2-David-1". Within 30 minutes, only a mile away from my own home, we chased down our first law-breaker.

OK, so it was just a woman who was using the bicycle lane to make an illegal right turn. I'm not saying that I've never done that same maneuver in the past. I'm also not saying that I have. I am saying that I definitely won't ever do it in the future!

This led to a theme for the day. As Officer Dye put it, "Impatience will lead you into trouble." Almost without exception, the various tickets that he issued while I was with him were because people were trying to take shortcuts to save time -- usually only a matter of seconds. People would speed, make illegal turns, and cross into the oncoming lane -- all because they were in a hurry -- and it ended up taking more time than if they had just slowed down and followed the rules.

There's probably some sort of life lesson in that.

Officer Dye was always smiling and friendly when he walked up to chat with the offending motorist. He believes that they already know that they've done the wrong thing, so no need to make them any more unhappy than necessary. He's not there to punish people, just make it safe for everyone. Some people just need a little reminder.

This was something that really struck me about Steve. He was always friendly to everyone. He would joke with his fellow officers. He smiled at the motorists. When we stopped at Briarwood Mall to pick up a security tape, he would stop occasionally just to say hello to some of the store clerks. Some of them obviously knew him, but others had no clue who this grinning, 6'3", uniformed giant was entering there store. He said that he thought it was important to let everyone know that it was a person who drove around the cars with the flashing lights, not some nameless, faceless authority figure.

When he was younger, he first wanted to be a doctor, then thought that being a Navy pilot would be a great experience (unfortunately, being 6'3" and needing glasses put the kibosh on that plan). He then decided to follow in his dad's footsteps and join the police force. After almost ten years now he still counts himself as fortunate.

"I have a job that I look forward to every day and it pays my mortgage. What more can I ask for?"

So, can you say the same thing about your job?

4 comments:

Spencer said...

Yes!

Greg Peters said...

Cool for you! What makes it such a great job?

Spencer said...

Primary for me is that the work continues to be interesting and (mostly) challenging, and that what I do makes a (positive) difference in real people's lives. Having generally friendly, pleasant, and helpful co-workers is also a plus.

Greg Peters said...

I agree with the idea of making a positive difference in people's lives. I'd much prefer working on a small project (read "one that doesn't pay as much") that someone will be using day in and day out, rather than a big project which will sit and languish after I complete it with no one using it or caring.