Sunday night, we were reaching the end of our call and I was making my way back home. As I turned the last corner, I stepped to the side of the street to allow a slow moving police car to pass. The car slowed to a crawl as the officer looked me up and down. He stopped directly behind me and the officer got out of the car. I told Red, "I think I need to let you go. The cops are here." The officer was calling for my attention just as I was getting off the phone. Having worked with cops and knowing I hadn't done anything, I was not worried. However, I was suddenly aware of the large black hoodie that I was wearing.
|Ever since Ted Kaczynski, hooded sweatshirts|
bring this image to everyone's mind.
(removing my hood) "Yes, sir."
OFFICER: "Can you tell me where you were coming from?"
"Sure. I was coming from that end of the street headed to my house. It's right there."
I pointed it out. I was about four houses away from mine.
OFFICER: "Were you over by the nursing home at any time tonight?"
"Yeah, about twenty minutes ago."
OFFICER: "One of the nurses said you were loitering in the parking lot looking in people's cars."
I started laughing as I shook my head and denied looking in cars. Although, I must admit that with my attire, I must look foreboding.
I spent a couple of years working dispatch at the sheriff's office and was familiar with these types of calls. Police get dozens of calls a night to check out suspicious persons that typically turn out to be nothing. This was one of those times.
I told him that for the last few months, I did this every night as I made my phone call. I talked on the phone and wandered around the neighborhood. At the end of my street is a dead end. It comes to an open field about the size of a city block. On the other side, is my church which shares a parking lot with a nursing home.
That night, the same as many other nights, I had walked across the field and paced in the parking lot while on the phone. Being a large open space, I walked the length of the lot back and forth several times as I talked. I guess it could be said that I had loitered there, but I was not looking in vehicles.
About the time I finished with my explanation, another officer pulled up and got out. Before I could stop myself, I blurted out, "I get two officers! COOL!" At this point, the first officer had already decided that I was not a threat, but the look the new one shot me abruptly reminded me that he did not know that yet.
Both officers were very professional and did a proper follow up by asking my name. I identified myself and followed it with mentioning that I worked at the sheriff's office for two years and even worked at the city police department (where these officers worked) for a month. At that point the first officer recognized me. I was free to go.
As I made my way back to the house, I was able to answer Red's text messages.
"Are you in trouble?"
"Why do the cops want to talk to you?"
I wasn't paying attention and missed the opportunity to have fun with that. Maybe next time.