I think back over my life as a young cop and I realize that I was just playing cops and robbers, only with real guns. Actually, I was playing Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger (click here to listen to the famous opening) , Gene Autry, Sky King, Sgt. Preston and Yukon King, The Cisco Kid, and who could forget the series of old “B” films, The Three Mesquiteers. These western heroes all rode around on beautiful horses with names like White Cloud, Trigger and Champion. They carried either one or two .45 Colt revolvers on hand tooled leather holsters with a lever action Winchester Model 1874 in a saddle scabbard.
Now it was my chance to carry a .38 Smith and Wesson Police Service Revolver, a .12 gauge Winchester pump shotgun and ride around a 1970 Plymouth Fury. We would roll up on calls where the townspeople had problems with bad guys and do something. We tried hard to catch someone in the act or at least follow up and identify and arrest a real bad guy. The district officer does not have the time or resources to do this and very few had the luck to arrive before the bad guy was long gone. We only caught the angry spouses or neighborhood squabblers.
Street patrol could be exciting. I remember making friends with some neighborhood kids at 38th and Euclid. The KC Chiefs had a program where they would send out a bus to the police station and we would invite kids to go to the game. I made arrangements with the mother of this 10 year old boy to attend. A few days later, I got as call from the dispatcher to go to their home. I figured the mom wanted to thank me. As I rounded the corner on 38th Street, there was Mom hiding behind a stone pillar pointing a handgun at a neighbor man a few feet away. I saw her 2 daughters, both had kitchen knives, screaming at other teenagers down the street. The little boy was standing there screaming at Mom. The Postal Carrier was trying to reason with the neighbor to back off and go home.
I broke all the rules. Without a word to the dispatcher (if others arrived Mom would go to jail), I yelled at Mom to take the gun inside and put it up. She complied immediately for some reason. The Postal Carrier and I got between the neighbors and the two girls with kitchen knives and convinced them to go inside with Mom. I walked to the neighbor and he was screaming for Mom to be arrested. I ordered him inside his home and he complied.
I returned to Mom’s home and she told me of her grievance, something about the neighbor man yelling at her kids. I returned to the neighbor’s home and calmed him down. I drove to the station because it was end of the shift and never mentioned this to anybody.
Kind of like the Lone Ranger where I ride in, settle a dispute and drive away with no paperwork required. And all they could say was: “Who was that masked man?”