After so many years I still remember the day when two on-duty uniformed police officers got into a heated argument.  Actually, the argument was a carryover from the night before which occurred in their cohabiting apartment.  As the argument unfolded, I was dumbfounded by the whole incident and surprisingly unprepared when the shouting match escalated to the point when each other drew their weapons and threatened each other.         


It was a hot and humid summer afternoon and I had just started my work shift of 3:00 to 11:00 pm as a police rookie.  I was on my third week as a police officer and this day I was assigned to a senior female uniformed police officer.  Since I was a rookie, I was “riding shotgun”.  For those who may not be familiar with this term, it means I was riding in the front passenger seat in the police cruiser.  And sure enough immediately situated next to me was a vertically mounted 12 gauge shotgun in its rack. 

The incoming shift of police officers had just gotten their “briefing” by their police sergeant and we were in the parking lot placing our equipment into our assigned police cruisers.  This was my first time riding with a female police officer in my short three week tenure.  Corporal Annie was a 10-year veteran of the police department, single mother of a six-year old daughter, and part of the “old guard”.  In contrast, I and another twenty-seven new police officers had just graduated from the police academy three weeks earlier and we were the, “rookies”.  


Corporal Annie and I loaded up our assigned “police unit” with other essential police equipment – hand held spot lights, batons, duffle bags, weapons of ammunition, flares, and the like.  As we departed the police department’s parking lot, Corporal Annie instructed me to radio in to the police radio dispatcher and advise them we were in route to refuel the police unit.  At 3:30 pm the city’s garage fuel station was still open.  Unknown to me, Corporal Annie’s estranged boyfriend also a police officer heard my radio transmission over the air waves and he too headed to the city garage.  We arrived at the city’s gas station and Corporal Annie instructed me to pump the gas.  I was pumping the gas into the police unit when another police cruiser arrived at the gas station.  Corporal Annie exits the police unit and said, “Oh shit, here he comes again”.  It was her estranged boyfriend.  Police Corporal Joe was a 12-year police veteran who I later learned had been cohabiting with her.  

Corporal Joe parked his police unit next to ours and exited the vehicle and hurriedly walked towards Corporal Annie.  I did not need to be an experienced police officer to detect he was fuming mad.  Corporals Joe and Annie got into a steaming argument over some infidelity issue.  Apparently, they had been at it since the previous night at Annie’s apartment and this was a continuation. I being a rookie was shocked and I did not know what to do if anything. They were cursing and shouting at each other.  It was a good thing no other city garage personnel were around.  Then without warning Corporal Joe pulled out his gun and pointed it at Corporal Annie.  She reciprocated and I was there standing in disbelief not knowing whether or not to intervene or pull out my gun and command them to drop theirs   It was so unreal and unexpected.  Everything happened so fast.  I was stunned and unprepared to handle this intense situation.  A high-risk situation I was not taught at the police academy.  I did not know these two police officers since I was just a rookie.  I did not know their extreme capabilities much less their true intentions.  All I knew was this was not suppose to happen.  For a moment I thought about calling the Sergeant on duty via the police radio but I didn’t.  Maybe because I had already been “briefed” by the “old guard” on the “police code” – cops don’t tell-tale on cops. But for whatever reasons I did not call the police, maybe because we were the police.           

The hot confrontation between the two police officers ended like it started – in a flash.  Both corporals re-holstered their weapons and Corporal Joe sped away fuming mad on his police cruiser.  Afterwards Corporal Annie and I completed refueling the police unit and we left to commence our “protect and serve” duties of the day.  Throughout the afternoon she told me her life story without me even asking.   

Throughout my police career I always had second thoughts about riding with a female police officer.  But a bigger lesson I learned over time as a cop was this – never get your honey from where you get your money.  The two just don’t mix.    


Story by Luis C. Castillo

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