I have been a reserve deputy for about 18 years (the volunteer kind), I started it back then to give back to my community, my partners in this project are full time officers. Ten years ago we decided to put our experiences on paper and started the task of writing a book we then self published. The topics are still relevant to this day as sadly crime continues to increase in most cases and many still fail to use much common sense.
I wanted to post one of our stories that received a ton of attention in the press from years ago as a sample of what we offer in the book and also to show that the cops you might either hate or love do care about what you think and are there to protect your safety. There has been so much rhetoric in the press about cops lately I wanted to toss this out there to show a different side of the story….
You can see more of the stuff we have done for free on our site… or grab a copy of the book if you need an inexpensive gift for a family member that just does not get it… http://www.coptalk.info – The book is on Kindle also….If people like these types of post I will post more in the future… Feel free to comment and give your points of view…
Also we have been asking for questions for our podcast we do – If you submit a question to us – Something you have always wanted to ask a cop but were afraid to ask – you are in the running for a free copy of the book.
Submit your questions here:
Here is the story from one of my Partners Jim:
Where have all the Parents Gone?
Please be patient with me as you read the following, and keep in mind that my words come from the heart. If anyone gets offended I should probably apologize but I’m not going to. When I started this project I vowed to always speak boldly off the record, and this is something that needs to be said. Or rather asked…
Where have all the parents gone?
My words come from 24 years of being a parent to your kids when you’re not around. 24 years of frustration in seeing kids desperately seeking love and guidance. And not finding it at home.
I don’t have any children. Sometimes I ask God why that happened. Other times I’m almost thankful that it didn’t happen.
My brother Mark on the other hand, is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. One just entered one of the most challenging stages in her life. High School.
I remember back when I went to high school. What was different then as compared to now, is attitude. School was fun back then. Most the time I actually looked forward to going. You’re not really thinking a whole lot about the future then, but I was encouraged to do well by parents and teachers who didn’t expect me to “Be the Best”, but to always try and “Do my Best”.
The difference now is attitude!
I frequently get dispatched to group fight after group fight when the local high school lets out.
Fights that started over one kid looking at another kid the wrong way.
Fights that involve the use of guns and knives.
Fights that involve one kid wearing red and one kid wearing blue.
I arrive at a fight call and the attitude I get from these kids is appalling.
They spit on the ground at my feet (the universal sign of disrespect towards cops),
They walk or run away from me while yelling obscenities,
And they display the most defiant demeanor I’ve ever seen.
Where’s all this anger and hostility coming from? I grew up in a rough city, but my Mom and Dad always taught me to treat the Police with respect. I knew that if I didn’t do anything wrong, I never had a reason to fear the cops. After all, the cops were there to keep us safe. Why would I show disrespect to someone who was there to keep me safe?
Years ago, my Mom would always make cookies at Christmas time for the local police and fire department. (She still does it to this day) My parents would always take Mark and I to go with them to drop them off, and she always MADE us take them in.
When we were really little, it was cool. The cops were really impressive in their uniforms and the firefighters let us sit inside the firetrucks. In junior high school I was thinking that I was pretty cool. Too cool to be doing this Santa thing at the police department but, it made Mom happy after going to all that trouble.
I remember feeling a little self conscious, but wow, all these cops who were inside the station always came out to personally thank us and it seemed like they really appreciated the thought. They didn’t make me feel like a dumb little kid. They made me feel like it really mattered to them that we appreciated their efforts. They asked us where we lived and they always made a point to drive by and wave on a regular basis.
Hey, don’t get the wrong idea here. I wasn’t some little cop groupie. I had no plans to even be a cop until I was 27 years old. It had everything to do with respect. My parents taught me to respect those who took an oath in life to protect us.
I’ve had my turns screwing up in life. I remember going to the senior ball and scoring a couple bottles of champagne that I had kept on ice in the back of my car. After the dance was over my girlfriend and I drove out to a secluded area overlooking a lake and met a few other friends.
I remember a bright flashlight being directed in my eyes and my first thought was
“I’m in deep —- now”. Two officers from the local park police had seen vehicles parked in an area closed to the public, and they had walked in on foot to sneak up on us.
I was respectful and honest while answering their questions. They found my champagne and made sure that I hadn’t been drinking. (yet) They called my parents, and my girlfriends parents, to see if they knew where we were at. Of course they didn’t. But I could tell by the cops conversation what my Dad had asked. “No Mr. Lambert, he hasn’t caused any problems, he’s been very cooperative.
The Cop looked at me, shook his head and smiled. “Jim, your Dad says you have 30 minutes to drop Sharon off and get home or it’s going to be the worst night of your life.”
“And by the way, when you drop off Sharon, when you see her Dad it probably will be the worst night of your life!”
The cop made me pour out the champagne and said the infamous “you’re free to go”.
I asked him, “that’s it, I’m free to go?” The smile faded a bit as the cop told me that if he ever caught me in a similar circumstance in the future the outcome would be entirely different and not to my liking.
I could have been cited for a minor in possession of alcohol.
I could have been cited or arrested for trespass.
I could have had my license suspended.
I could have had my car towed.
But the officer had appreciated my honesty and respect. I didn’t try to lie my way out of it. I didn’t spit on the ground at the cop’s feet. I didn’t use profanity towards him. I didn’t have attitude. I just went with the flow and figured I’d take the rap for what I had done. It was wrong. And it was no one’s fault but my own.
But the course of following what my Mom and Dad had always taught me, being respect to others and taking responsibility for my own actions, led to me getting one of the biggest breaks I can remember from my teenage years.
That cop had done his job.
He made sure that I hadn’t been drinking and that I wasn’t a danger to other motorist on the roadways or to ourselves.
He had let our parents know what we had been up to so that they could handle it appropriately.
And he had acted in a professional manner and had treated me with respect.
To this day I remember that night when I stop kids in similar situations.
I can make a good kid hate me, or I can make a bad kid hate me.
I’ll stick with making bad kids hate me. They don’t get any breaks. Spit at my feet, and I’ll spit back by making that arrest for trespass and towing your car. Call me every name in the book and I’ll find just as many violations in the vehicle code to set your wallet way back! Act like a disrespectful punk trying to be a big shot in front of your friends and I’ll make you look like the biggest class clown in history!
On the other hand, show a little class, take some responsibility for your actions, accept the phone call to Mom and Dad, and realize that the cop is there to ensure your safety, not wreck your night. You might get the break I got way back then.
However, a main ingredient in my situation, was caring parents who ensured that they would handle the matter at home. Caring parents, not over protective parents.
I’m still amazed by the parents who don’t care where their kids are at or what they’ve done wrong. Many times they blame us and threaten us with law suits.
No shock that a cop is calling at 3 in the morning wondering if you know where your 16 year old daughter is at. You didn’t know she was with a 19-year old with a bottle of vodka and a box of condoms?
No questions. Except for the one that makes me want to haul your rear to jail!
“Is she under arrest”
“Where is she?”
“And what right do you have to search their car? Do you have a warrant? I want your badge number, my lawyer is going to hear about this!”
Or how about…
Me: Mrs. Smith, I need you to come out to where we’re at so you can pick your son up. He’s been drinking beer and I have to release him to you.
Mrs. Smith: Can’t you just let him drive home? I have to get up for work tomorrow. They were just out having fun. Just tell him to lock the car and to walk home. It’s not like he just killed somebody, he just had a little to drink.
Me: Mrs. Smith, it’s 3 am and your kid is 10 miles away from your home. I need you to come and get him. I’m not going to let an intoxicated juvenile walk home at 3am. I can’t understand your lack of concern here.
Mrs. Smith: Now you’re calling me a bad parent? Why can’t you just bring him home? That’s your job isn’t it? I have to get up early for work tomorrow. Why are you making such a big thing out of this officer? Weren’t you young once?
“Yes I was young once but I had responsible parents looking out for me you lazy pathetic irresponsible moron who shouldn’t be a parent!”
I have to argue with you to come get your kid that just blew a .13 on my alcohol tester?
A 16-year old kid that should be home in bed for school tomorrow!
A 16 year old kid who hears me arguing with you on my cell phone and laughs in my face because he knows you aren’t going to do anything about this.
You won’t do anything about it until I knock on your door one morning to notify you that your son Billy was killed in an automobile accident involving alcohol. And even then, you’ll blame me, or someone else.
Your kids need your support and love. NOW, not LATER.
One of the best sayings I’ve heard is:
“ The teenage years are too late to start parenting!”
Start early. Start young. Start at that “take the cookies to the police department age!”
Look at these pictures.
What’s a 6-year old kid doing walking home from school along a busy street by himself? Crossing busy railroad tracks without supervision. Whatever happened to YOU being there after school to be with your kid. To see how his or her day went. To let them know you care. Do you know how easy a target this child is to the criminal predator? No you don’t or he wouldn’t be out here all alone!
Two more youngsters walking home from school along busy streets. These kids are too young to be out here alone. When you get the news that your 5-year old was hit by a bus after running out in front of it, will you blame the 8-year old brother who was supposed to watch him? Hello!!!! You’re the parents here. Where the hell are you?
These young children turn out to be the ones walking down the street with “Attitude”.
Looking for trouble wherever they can find it. Their family becomes their friends because they have no family at home. No love. No support. No Guidence.
Where have all the parents gone?
I live on a big boat on a beautiful river. Behind my big boat, I have a smaller jet
boat that I use for cruising around the delta when I feel like going 45mph instead of 12mph. The other day I was taking my dog “Gilligan” out to his favorite beach in the jet boat.
We passed 3 little kids no more than 8 or 9 who were swimming out to the channel buoy.
A channel buoy located in the middle of the boating channel! I looked at Gilligan and wondered why my “Mutt from the dog pound was wearing a life vest, and why these children weren’t wearing any!”
I was the one looking out for Gilligan in case anything happened to him. No One was watching these kids in case something happened to them. What’s up with that?
A river with a strong current.
A river with no visibility. We’re not talking the crystal clear waters of Hawaii here….
A river with no lifeguards.
What happens when one of the kids gets fatigued swimming against the current and disappears under the water?
What happens when a drunk boater blast through the 5 mile per hour marker and runs over these kids with a propeller spinning at 4500 rpms?
Where have all the parents gone?
Why does this bother me? Two weeks ago a family had a get together along this very same river. A 7-year old drowned while swimming along the shore line. He didn’t know how to swim. He lost his footing and slipped into water that was over his head.
In an instant he was gone.
In less than a minute, a family picnic turned into a panic when they noticed he was gone.
In less than a minute, that boy breathed his last breath in dark murky water.
Where have all the parents gone?
• You have a responsibility to be there for your kids!
• You have a responsibility to make sure that they are safe from the dangers of the world!
• You have a responsibility to help prevent the cops from having to do your job!
• You have a responsibility, in making your kids know that they have to be responsible themselves. To take responsibilities for their own actions. To know the difference between right and wrong.
• You have a responsibility to give your kids the love they need. Not $500.00 to keep themselves amused while you and your wife leave and go away on business or vacation through the weekend.
You wonder why your house got thrashed after your kids had a beer party at the house and a fight broke out. Stains on the carpet, broken furniture, cigarette burn holes on the couch, missing personal items, and a kid in the hospital with a broken face.
I call you on the phone from your house and you have the nerve to ask me what I’m doing in your house without a search warrant ?
“Gee, I’m sorry sir, but 12 of your neighbors called in about the 100 kids over here unsupervised, who were smashing beer bottles in the street. Squealing tires in their cars, yelling profanity, smoking marijuana, loud music and then we got called here after a 15 year old kid was beaten unconscious with a baseball bat in your backyard.”
But hey, you’re right on one point. I don’t have a search warrant to be in your home right now. But I’m kind of thinking that “If you were home being a parent, then I wouldn’t have to be here!”
Where have all the parents gone.
I don’t care what you say to this. Behind every bad kid, there’s a lack of parental supervision.
I’ve worked in affluent areas in my county where love is replaced by money and expensive gifts and cars. These kids have no respect for anyone and anything, and if they do something wrong, mommy and daddy’s lawyer will get them out of it. No responsibility. No parental support.
Where have all the parents gone?
I’ve worked in violent crime ridden areas in my county where mom and dad are gone all day just trying to make enough money to keep the utilities on. Sometimes working 2 jobs.
Area’s where the kids have guns in their hands instead of cans of beer. I’m talking 12-year old kids here. I got into a vehicle pursuit one night of a stolen car. I radioed to dispatch and my back up units that the car was occupied by 2 subjects who were crouched down in the front seat. The pursuit lasted 3 blocks before the car lost control on a turn and spun out.
I jumped out of my car with my K-9 partner and prepared to unleash a 130lb Rottweiler on the two subjects who refused to sit up in the car. They couldn’t sit up. There were already sitting up as high as they could. The driver was 12. The passenger was his 9-year old cousin. They could barely see over the dashboard.
Where’s your Dad? “I ain’t got no Dad”.
Where’s you Mom? “She’s with her boyfriend”.
Who’s her boyfriend? “I dunno”.
Where’s her boyfriend live? “I dunno”.
Where are you supposed to be at right now? “At home.”
You’re supposed to be home all by yourself? “I always stay at home by myself.”
Where did you get the gun? “I don’t have to tell you shit Cop, I know my rights.”
That’s coming from the mouth of a 12 year old.
No respect for anyone or anything!
I ask you again, “Where have all the parents gone?”
To all the good responsible parents in the world who provide love and support to their kids, and who teach them “right from wrong, To the kids who grow up in the world showing respect to others whether or not they learned it at home, To the parents who make their kids feel like their KIDS and FAMILY instead of roommates or burdens, To the parents who MAKE their kids take responsibility when they do wrong, we salute you with all our hearts.
We rarely have contact with you because you do a great job at home. Your efforts do not go unnoticed and we are truly thankful for you.
To all the violent “kids” who are incarcerated in juvenile detention facilities across the United States, who would just as soon put a bullet in your head at an ATM machine than swing a baseball bat at a little league game, I have a question to ask you…
Where have all your parents gone?
The criminal justice system isn’t working. The kids get younger and younger. The violence gets worse and worse. The hatred gets stronger and stronger.
Why did my Dad put the fear of God in me for having two bottles of champagne in my car on prom night, and in this day and age the parents want to sue me for illegal search and seizure?
How can you punish a kid for doing wrong, if he hasn’t been taught right from wrong at home? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start holding 2 other people accountable!
My favorite saying…Every action has a reaction.
If you’re a good parent, you’ll have great kids and reap the benefits.
If you’re a bad parent, you’ll more than likely end up with 15 years of hell on your hands.
If you can’t swim, don’t jump in the river. If a career means more than properly raising a family, don’t have kids. If you do both, one has to be way more important than the other.
If you haven’t figured out which one that is yet, then maybe you’re the one that can answer the question for me…
“Where have all the parents gone?”
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