Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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Yesterday I met Canine Officer Evo of the Tucson Police Department. He and his human trainer were at the Cops and Rodders Car Show. This free annual event is sponsored by the Tucson Police Foundation. My partner Bob always brings his antique VW bug to be in the show and I always attend. This year was graced with perfect weather and some really artful vehicles of every kind. My favorite collection this year was old firetruck and cop car toys that a regular exhibitor brought just do try something different. It was also especially lucky because the restored firetruck that normally sits in the lobby at station one permanently happened to to out for some kind of repair, so the retired firefighter who works on this beauty drove it over to the park to be in the show. I love all the firetrucks. They are spectacular works of mechanical art. I was thrilled to have a chance to meet and ask questions of the retired firefighter who has done the body work on these antiques and is rightfully proud of his work.
The police are set up to meet the public and answer questions all day. They are divided into specialties according to training and equipment they use. The SWAT team is very popular because the robots interact with kids and pass a bottle of hand sanitizer, etc. They dress up in jumpsuits and stand next to their big vehicle. The helicopter lands and the crew hangs out all day. People love looking inside the cockpit and meeting the cops on our local beat, since they are usually flying over us shining big obtrusive lights around our hood. There is a booth with their heavy military artillery, a place with TPD recruiting information. At the end of the display I spotted a woman wearing a walking patrol uniform. I asked where she gets to do that, and the answer was downtown and 4th Avenue, a more urban part of town. The same officers do bike and walking patrols. We had a few in midtown and really wanted more on duty here, but they were canceled. Now we have no boots on the ground in midtown, which we regret because air support can only accomplish so much without a coalition on the ground to hold the territory. We have the helicopter on a very regular basis, but are not comforted by our relationship with it. It does not make any sense to us to cancel bike cops because the budget is too tight, and use the helicopter instead. There is such a thing as efficiency. I was feeling annoyed, as I often am, at the priorities (or total lack thereof) of government spending when I saw him, everything I have ever wanted in a police officer.
The canine unit has only 10 dogs. Not all of them are social, and therefore would not be brought out to meet and greet the pubic. Evo, however, is a total party animal. I had no idea they were loving, or that they even were allowed to party with the public. Imagine my surprise and delight when I came down to his level to say hi to him and was given big fat kisses all over my face. He just would not stop with the kissing while he showed me his tummy. We played for a minute and I fell deeply in love with him while his other fans waited to meet him. From little kids to adults, he charmed the humans as no other cop there had the power to do. His trainer opened the back of his car so his fans could see how he rides and answered the millions of questions we had. A very loud and aggressive lemonade vendor came by shouting out his wares. He meant no harm, but his shouting voice was out of place. Officer Evo did not bark to react like a pet dog might, but you should have seen him come to attention. His ears went shooting up and he left his PR job completely to focus on the risk the lemonade guy might pose. At that moment he displayed situational awareness the humans just can’t achieve. He had been there winning hearts and minds since 7:30 am when I met him about 2 in the afternoon. He showed infinite patience and stamina. Of course he is much younger than the human cops. He is only 4.
I learned a lot yesterday even though I just went to see the vehicles. I came away with the following impressions:
I would like to see more paws and boots on the ground in midtown. Can I get an Amen?? If you don’t live in Tucson, gentle reader, then this may not seem to apply to you. Your city may also do inappropriate law enforcement stuff rather than more effective stuff just because they can. If they don’t, you are fortunate.
[…] next post here will be devoted to Officer Evo and a new canine officer on the scene this year, Officer Cookie of the bomb squad, a lab who loves […]