I promised myself I would leave the week before Christmas
…the 18th of December; the day I’d complete thirty-years’ service.
I’d worked more Christmas days than I’d care to count.
I’d patrolled the streets on winter nights, fingers numb from the cold. I’d trudged my way through the snow on many a New Year’s Eve, missing the celebrations with family and friends.
It was time to hang up my boots and go have some fun.
But when the time came…
I just couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do, it was like I had unfinished business. Justice doesn’t serve itself, I was still bound to the promise to do my duty. It seemed crazy to put on my uniform and leave the warmth of my home when I didn’t have to — but I did.
I missed Christmas dinner, again. Then I worked a bitterly cold New Year’s Eve when I could have been tucked up in bed. I strapped up my boots and went back out on patrol into a manic night; streets spilling with drunks and the inevitable alcohol-fuelled fights.
Another call came in.
A dozen young men clashed outside a disco, battling amongst themselves. I was the first and only cop to arrive. I didn’t know if they had weapons or if they would turn their hostility towards me. I stepped out of my police vehicle to face the brawl.
Two of the young men were on the ground, being kicked on their heads and bodies — despite being motionless. I had a duty to protect. I approached them knowing my nearest help was eight miles away; colleagues tied up with their own troubles. They could do with my help, as much as I needed theirs.
I put my hat on and marched over to the affray. My presence made them think twice. Three men took to their heels and ran like startled birds. The others wary, they moved away; keeping their distance. I let them go. A police officer’s first responsibility is to preserve life. I called for an ambulance, then administered first-aid.
Evidence is secondary to safety. Once established, I took statements, viewed CCTV and…