samedi, décembre 06, 2014

When police came to my rescue

There's been a lot of cop-bashing  in recent weeks.  People are quick to draw general conclusions from specific incidences.

Clearly, various police departments need reform and some officers need to be reined in - put a gun in someone's holster, and they run the risk of becoming a different person entirely when they feel under threat.

In addition, I'm not, it need hardly be said, African-American.  Last night at my gym I spent some time chatting with the fitness supervisor, who is an African-American male. He's been stopped by local police more than a few times.

 It was painful to listen to his story,  but educational for me.

That said, being female still carries its own particular vulnerability. Generally, I wouldn't be stopped by a policeman unless I was doing something wrong - but I am now and then the target for the mentally unstable, oversensitive to the strange coincidence, or put in the spotlight because of my public persona.

 In some of those situations, having a good relationship with local police has meant a lot to me.

A year or two after I moved in here, I came home to music blaring from the basement. Grabbing my car keys, I hustled out to the car, and called the police. Within minutes they were here, to investigate what turned out to be a mysterious case of alarm clock radio. Silly, I know - but to a female coming back to a house alone (a rare ocurrence), their search was reassuring in the extreme.

A few years ago, a professional on the western Main Line began to write me angry and frankly bizarre emails after I politely said "no thanks" to his advances.  A visit to the police in the borough where he lived was actually most illuminating - and he hasn't tried to reach me since.

More recently, departments worked together in collaboration with my editors,  on the case of a man in the Lancaster area who had become obsessed with me and was sending me strange messages.

There have been other times when I've felt concerned, but haven't called the local gendarmes - and other times when the safety of my children was involved, and I did.  It's wonderful just to know that they are available, 24/7, though I'm careful about involving them.

For this single mom, it does take a village - neighbors, friends, family,  all keeping an eye out. And for those police, part of the network, I am and will always be, grateful.