I worry about finances, I worry about the girls, I worry about throwing out my back, I worry about the constant pain that has begun invading my left leg, I worry about the bills, I worry about my mother, I worry about whether I'm ever going to be able to retire, I worry that I am going to grow old and die alone, I worry that Hillary Clinton may actually be elected President, I worry about what to make for dinner ... I worry about a veritable cornucopia of craziness while I'm trying to fall asleep at night and then I worry about the fact that I've been lying there for over an hour, I'm still awake, and I have to get up in less than 6 hours!
Now I have one more thing to add to my list of worries thanks to my good friend Miz Cyn (she of the post below this). We were having one of our fairly regular long distance chats last evening when she told me that she had run across an article in the local
Stockton, sadly, has a pretty high crime rate though it has come down in some areas in recent years. In a recent blog post by Michael Fitzgerald, Metro Columnist for the Stockton Record, he stated that:
"Homicide – murder – is down almost 10 percent over 2005. Rape is down. Aggravated assault, which put Stockton in the Hall of Shame in 2004 and ’05, when the city suffered the state’s worst rate, is down 2.4 percent. On the other hand – a hand with sticky fingers – Burglary is up 11.7 percent. Robbery is up 11.9 percent."All in all, Stockton is no longer #1 in the State for crime but has been bumped down to #2 and replaced by Oakland. Good news but not exactly grounds for releasing the pigeons and resting on one's laurels. Rather that means that the police need to continue to work hard at fighting crime and can't really afford to relax their guard.
Stockton had definite crime problems when I packed up the UHaul (well, Hertz-Penske truck actually) along with my 6-year old son and headed East. Unfortunately, when I packed up that truck there were certain items that I couldn't take with me - items in the form of people I cared about such as the aforementioned Miz Cyn and her family, Grandma Edith (my beloved grandmother-in-law from my first marriage), and some people that I still really cared about at the Stockton Police Department where I had dispatched for almost three years before turning in my headset.
I was one of those dispatchers that honestly cared about the people on the other side of the microphone and that made my job that much harder because I was sending men and women I truly cared about into some very scary situations from time to time. For every brave cop out there patrolling his or her beat, there is a very nervous dispatcher sitting on the other side of a console hoping and praying that every one of them comes home healthy and accounted for at the end of his or her watch. I was that dispatcher on many a 5 pm to 3 am shift and I continued to be that dispatcher even when I was no longer dispatching. Once a dispatcher, always a dispatcher ...
At any rate, you're probably asking yourself what on earth events of 20 years ago have to do with the here-and-now and what it said in that article that has me adding to my list of worries. Either that or you're bored to tears and are just continuing to read to be polite! Well, here's the thing - it wasn't so much what was in the article but who they quoted in the article.
Shortly after I began dispatching at SPD, I met a patrol officer who became very special to me. I probably worried about him more than I worried about the others (okay, I admit it, we dispatchers have favorites) and I'd say a special prayer for him each shift. After I left California he continued on at SPD and eventually was promoted to Sergeant while I continued to worry about him always afraid that I would someday get a phone call from Cyndi with the worst news I could have heard. Thankfully I never got that call though I did get a call about another dear friend, Timmy White, who died after being beaten by a suspect with his own flashlight following a foot pursuit. Timmy was a Patrol Sergeant, too. Obviously there was reason for worry; Stockton was not a nice place at times.
After spending a few years as a Patrol Sergeant, my favorite cop became a Detective Sergeant which took him off the road and out of the "direct line of fire" and I was able to relax a little bit. That's not to say that Detectives aren't in danger, too, but as a Detective Sergeant he was mostly patrolling his desk and the paperwork that constantly came across it. I wasn't too worried about a fatal paper-cut or an occasional stapler accident!
Well, now it seems that I am back to worrying as he has now been promoted to Lieutenant (a position I distinctly remember him saying he never wanted) and is back out on the streets with the Patrol Division. It was he that was quoted in the aforementioned article. The man is once again out there with the bad guys with the guns and the knives and Lord knows what else gangs are arming themselves with these days. Granted, he's not patrolling a particular beat and probably spends most of his time behind the Watch Commander's desk as opposed to the wheel of a cruiser but still ... I worry. Again. Always.
I wish I could tell him congratulations on what I'm sure was a well-deserved promotion and to please, please, please be careful but, due to reasons I won't/can't go into here, we haven't spoken in years. I hate that. It sucks. All I can do is worry and say a little prayer. Again. Always.