When working the graveyard shift it sometimes got real boring. So the patrol units began to look for things to do after 4 hours and in the deep nights. A couple of units would have a signal via the radio that would tell us where to go when it was dragging. One night we decided to do a stakeout. So we loaded up our trunks with fishing poles and bait. There was a new school being built on the edge of town that used to have a fish pond on it and it hadn't been covered up yet. So 3 of us met at this location and drowned a worm or two. We laughed and we had one of the best shifts for a long time. We answered the dispatcher when she'd call if we missed a time check. The only thing we really caught these nights was bites from mosquitoes that also liked to hang around the pond. It was disheartening when the pond was drained and the concrete slab was placed over it. Things change when progress moves forward, however it was fun while it lasted.
On the northeast side of town was a huge public park named Long branch. There were several sections of it with many pavilions, tennis courts, picnic tables, and a playground for kids. This park was DARK in the middle of the night. There was a curfew but I don't recall what time it was. The park also border a large cemetery so normally there wasn't a lot of people around the upper portion of the park. One cold night a Sergeant called me to meet him close by as he needed a back up unit for a car he spotted down near the creek bed and he was so sure it was kids parking down there. So he told me to walk towards the tail lights that were reflecting back at us when we turned our flashlights toward the creek. OF COURSE I had to go first from the east side as I had the furthest to go. Well, after about 10 minutes I found the 'tail light' and I let the Sergeant know I was on location and it was safe for him to come down as it wasn't going anywhere. So he comes flying in, running down to see what I had found. I was laughing so hard because this 'tail light' that he saw was a reflector nailed to a tree!! He was so disappointed. Lesson was that some things are just not what they seem to be!
Our badges were issued to us by the city and they were as important as our duty weapons. We always had to know where they were. If we lost either one it resulted in a disciplinary action, usually a suspension.
After working the uniformed patrol division for 4 years I was ready for an investigator job. So I started in the burglary and theft division of the detective unit. My partner was a seasoned detective named Jim Schultz. Jim was a mild mannered guy that never let his feelings show. He was always precise and calm. It seemed that I was the only one that could make him laugh to tears! One night we had to do surveillance on a building near the high school. We had parked so far away that neither of us could see the back door of the building because of darkness. So we had to get out of the car and prowl closer and try to stay quiet and hidden. It was about 3 a.m. and we'd been there for about 4 hours and there was nothing suspicious, but us. It was cool and off course I had to go to the bathroom. I am doing everything I can to keep from wetting myself, when Jim finally looked at me and said, 'I'll race you to the car.' and off he goes. I tried to run but my kidneys just said WHOA! He beat me and he thought that was just great fun.
The next morning as I am getting ready for work I can't find my badge. I am panic stricken. I go to the office and ask Jim if he has it and his answer is NO. I check the car and it's not there either. So I go back to the office and tell Jim I can't find it. He says we have to go back to where we were last night and look.
Of course he is giving me the devil for losing it and scaring me about what the Chief is gonna do if it is gone.
When we get to our destination he sends me out to the wooded area to search. He goes into the building we'd been watching and after about 30 minutes he comes out with a cup of coffee and shows me my badge.
I just look at it and him and ask what the ????
He said the owners of the building call the PD this morning and told him they found your badge when they were sweeping the parking lot. He just wanted to watch me worry a bit!! He laughed and laughed until he wore his cup of coffee then it was my turn to laugh.
In all 3 of these situations, laughter became a form of salvation for our peace of mind and sanity. There would be days when laughter was not an option and crying would show weakness.