The American Caliban (substitute) wrote,
The American Caliban


I used to know a guy who was a New Orleans cop. He'd also been in the Navy and been a zoo keeper. I got the impression he joined the force for the right reason: decent pay with overtime for someone without a fancy saleable degree.

At the time he left the force (1996 I believe), some 40 officers were up on felony charges. Some of them had called out hits on other officers. I remember him saying that anyone who could get out of that department did. I never asked him how much of the corruption he experienced himself. Since his personality was "straight arrow", my guess is that he made his bargain with the job as much as he could without getting murdered or being unable to sleep nights. It can't have been easy. His final choice was to leave the city and move to Oregon and start over. I had dinner with him during his trip West when he came through L.A. Some things I remember from our conversations:

"See that security guard outside the warehouse there? You know, if you've been a cop you can always get a guard job, but I'd never do that if I could avoid it. I remember once I got a call for a robbery and assault. I show up at a warehouse just like that, and there's a guard down on the ground all bloody and broken, and a guy beating the hell out of him with the guard's own flashlight. I got out of the car with my gun, and the guy dropped the flashlight, held up his hands with the wrists together, and said "Go 'head and arrest me now! I respeck the po-lice!"

[While watching some scene in a cop bar on tv in his hotel room] "Now, now. That is not a cop bar. Where are the wasted, whisky-soaked detectives shooting into the ceiling? Where are the drug dealers? Where are the women having sex with Coke bottles on the bar?"

"The absolutely only thing I miss about that job was the food. Cops eat free in New Orleans."

He was doing tech support, and then he was a campus cop for a while and then I think he moved to PA and I lost track of him. Gregg, if you find this say howdy, and please correct anything I got wrong.
Tags: neworleans, personalnarrative
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