In my travels I happened along a small act of community caretaking that brought a smile to the both of us. It was not so much what was done for a motorist with a disabled vehicle, but the degree of enthusiasm and resolve shown by a young police recruit in stepping up to the plate for a citizen in need that I found inspirational. So here’s a “hats off” to her and the WA Criminal Justice Training Commission for fostering such spirit.
Due to traffic, I needed to detour from the ordinary route and drove Southbound on First Avenue South in Burien, which takes us past the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission’s academy–where police recruits usually train for their Basic Law Enforcement Academy. It was on Friday around 4:50 p.m. and we were just coming in to Des Moines on Marine View Drive approaching Seventh, Avenue South. Ahead a pickup truck in the turn lane broke down and a couple kids were struggling to push it off the roadway, resulting in some minor congestion. About three cars in front of us I saw someone quickly jump out of one of the cars and ran full speed ahead toward the pickup, which was about 150 to 200 feet away, and lunged into to it with all her strength. It was evident she was one of the newer recruits attending the academy, as she was still in her navy blue BDUs, and white shirt having her name on the back. She ran full steam up the the tail gate and began pushing it like a champ. I had to wonder if it was not only motivating for her to help out a stranger, but also the challenge of shoving a heavy vehicle off the road bare-handed–as fast as possible. It was a true “go for it!” moment either way.
Surely she and possibly another recruit were heading home for the weekend and could have very easily just drove past, or at least waited until their car was upon the pickup and just stopped, casually walking a few feet over to help push. But, instead she went for it with heart and with gusto. If she is that resolved to immediately help a disabled motorist, I can’t wait to see after she’s off signed of from her FTO and chases down an armed robber. Now that’s the kind of partner you want!
To most people I am sure this is just the case of a broke-down car that needed to be moved. But the enthusiasm I saw with this Recruit I found inspiring. It reminds me of a few younger deputies and officers decades ago who immursed themselves in the work, and that it became their life, their integrity, and cultivated the will & the strength they summoned to take anything thrown at them. No matter what kind of call comes over the radio, no matter who you might face, no matter what you are up against, you WILL take care of it, win, and survive. A recruit who will take charge, as she did when she had no obligation whatever to help another person–especially after having endured a long week at the academy–she’s certain to do well in her career.
If her’s is an example of the recruits now coming out of BLEA, what a great time to be a Field Training Officer. My compliments to her and her TAC Officer.
By Darren Smith