When my husband first moved out of the academy and into patrol, everyone was called appropriately by their name & title. Slowly, he became more comfortable as time went on so his personality started to shine more. He began to nickname left and right. This is when I lost track of who was who in the job. If you can’t keep track of everyone in the play then how can you follow the plot?
Well, it’s really really hard. These days, I have to stop him and say….who is Slim again? Why do you call Stan the Man, Stan the Man if his name isn’t Stan? He is the master of play on words, puns and bad puns. He even nicknamed the swing set/club house in the backyard for the kids.
One of his co-workers was nicknamed after an animal. This isn’t because he acted like an animal but late one night, he made a funny face at my husband. My husband captured the kodak moment on his camera phone calling him Zoboomafoo. Have you ever watched the PBS show, Zoboomafoo? It’s about a lemur but it’s geared towards children. He also showed our son a picture of the human Zoboomafoo, which we received a very awestruck response to this revelation. Everytime this co-worker called, the goofy picture showed up as the “contact icon.” It always made me laugh.
Well, Zoboomafoo was responding to a call one night at a local bar with his sidekick, family man. The local bar had a roudy crowd at last call so patrol asked for assistance from the Flex Squad before it escalated. My officer arrived on the scene but spent the initial time looking for Zoboomafoo & family man, as my officer was further away than them so they should already be there. They never showed up. When other officers arrived, they back tracked looking for Zoboomafoo & family man finding them five minutes away where they had been T-Boned by a drunk driver that failed to notice their lights or hear their siren when going through an intersection. Both Zoboomafoo & family man suffered injuries as a result of the accident so they were sent to the hospital.
Notice it’s called an accident? I always found this ironic because even if it is called “an accident,” legally, no one deals with it as an accident. Someone is always at fault. Think the drunk driver knew he or she was going to hit an unmarked police car sending two city officers to the hospital when the driver got behind the wheel? Would the driver take it back if that was an option? I hope so. Was it the driver’s fault? Of course! Maybe we should revise the definition of “accident?”
Back to the story at hand….Zoboomafoo became a good friend of my officer’s many months prior to this accident. They had the same work ethic & approach to the job. Family man, on the other hand wasn’t always on good terms with my officer. The only thing they had in common was that they both have a wife and three children. Family man didn’t have a good approach to the job; however, he had an affinity for prescription drug cases. This wasn’t the focus of the Flex Squad’s goal when they were expected to pursue the gangs and drug dealers in the zone outlined for them. The squad always believed family man’s focus on prescription drug trafficking was due to a family member’s abuse of them so they let it be.
The following morning both officers were released from the hospital. Zaboomafoo had extensive damage from glass in his eyes because he hit the review mirror and went through the windshield. Unfortunately, he did not want to go on light duty so he down played his injuries while family man purposely played up the extent of his injuries for extra time off. Since the whole unit sat at the hospital, there was no hiding the extent of their injuries from anyone. It was quite clear the intentions of both on how they would deal with their jobs & injuries when leaving the hospital.
What do you think of an officer who plans to milk the system at the expense of other’s? That same officer pushes everyone in his unit into over time to take up his slack, which takes them away from their family. What do you think of an officer that doesn’t seek the medical attention he needs to further his career so he isn’t classified as an officer that is milking the system? What if that officer has a permanent injury that will affect his job? Shouldn’t he receive worker’s compensation for a line of duty injury?