Saturday Story

Street Lessons

When you’re “on the job” fun was where you could find it, or make it. Sometimes you made mistakes that could cost you your job. You sometimes hoped the Sergeant has a big enough sense of humor.

When you first come out of Recruit School, you start off walking a foot beat for 4 to 6 months.

This is the time you find just how boring walking around at 3am can really be. The stores are closed, most of the people are asleep in their hotel rooms, and the ones that are walking around are not the ones you want to get to know very well.

Then there were the hookers of both sexes. And sometimes it was hard to tell just who was really what. After four or five wrong guesses a rookie starts to learn to look real hard before you call someone sir or ma’am at 3am on Kalakaua Ave. “She” might have a baritone response. Until 1973, men dressed as women had to wear a button that proclaimed, “I am a boy”. Otherwise, they could be given a citation for being “Dressed to Deceive”.

Hookers teach a young cop a lot. You learn how hard you can push someone who really can’t complain. You learn how to treat some people as second class citizens because of what they are or do. You get your first taste of power by ousting hookers, pimps and junkies because they usually won’t, or can’t complain about what you say or do to them. There are always exceptions that will make one complaint. After the first one you don’t have any trouble finding “blue buddies” who are glad to help teach the “scrotes” the error of their ways.

This isn’t good or bad. The good or bad depends on how the new officer uses his new found power. Some cops just love leaning on people and like leaning on the second class ones most of all. The sense of power can be overwhelming, especially if the officer is a minority member himself.

The fun is probably what others would consider violations of rights. But second class people don’t have “rights” as long as you don’t arrest them.

It was one of these lonely 3am mornings. Six or seven rookies were standing fronting a market place waiting for the wagon to pick them up and return them to the station to complete the night’s paperwork. A janitor was hosing off the sidewalk in preparation for the next day’s business.

Standing a short way off were 5 hookers doing the same thing, waiting for their ride so they could complete the nights work. They were dressed for a working night in mini-shirts, hot pants, and high heels.

The two groups did not converse, it just wasn’t done. As the janitor washed the sidewalk one rookie walked over, took the water hose from him and started to wash the sidewalk. As the other young cops stood there wondering what the hell he was doing, the rookie washed further and further away from the store and closer and closer to the “working girls” standing on the curb.

Since the two groups made it a point to ignore each other, the girls didn’t know what was going on until the water began splashing over them spraying their legs with muddy water, dirt, and debris from a well-used sidewalk.

They started to yell and curse and try to avoid the stream of water washing back and forth over them. After several minutes the “bath” stopped and the young officer handed the hose back to the startled janitor and returned to this loudly laughing compatriots with the comment,

“I told them I’d clean up this town!”

As the wagon arrived to pick up the loudly laughing officers it added insult by splashing water from the gutter over the sidewalk and onto the “ho’s” on the sidewalk.

Nobody cared. At least nobody in the wagon.

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