Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges

I was a young police officer, in only about two years, but I had a degree in English Composition, so when I asked to go to Report Writing Instructor school, I was allowed to go. When I got there, the class was made up of about thirty students from various law enforcement agencies around the San Francisco Bay Area, and even a couple from out of the area. It was interesting talking to police officers from outside my direct jurisdiction and especially talking to officers from weird agencies like my own university police department. There were two officers from a parks police department, a guy from a local railroad police department, and three from a nearby military base. They said that all three had to attend because no one in their unit knew how to read, except them. I made friends with the deputy who was sitting beside me in class who came from a nearby county, that we will call Santa Cruz County.

As the class was in Emeryville (where Pixar is headquartered), after the second day of class, two deputies from another county, that we will call Scary County, invited a bunch of us to dinner in San Francisco, right across the bridge from where we were staying for class. About eight of us went and the two Scary deputies told us stories, like that their Sheriff was still upset that he couldn’t just roll around the county in a police car and collect protection money from the business owners like he used to. And that a marriage certificate is only good in the county that it is issued in. You know, “jokes.” Some of the other officers began leaving money on the table and heading back to the hotel in Emeryville. I was too young and new and didn’t realize that was a smart move here. Neither did the Santa Cruz deputy.

Finally, the server brought the bill and set it down on the table. One of the Scary deputies flashed his badge (which looked VERY similar to the SFPD badge), and said, “SFPD doesn’t pay in this establishment!”

The server, very flustered, took the bill and left. My heart was nearly beating out of my chest. I made eye contact with the Santa Cruz deputy and he nodded and took out his wallet and put three $20 bills on the table. I did the same. Thank God I carried cash back then. And then he and I left the restaurant as the manager approached the table.

As we were leaving the restaurant, we saw two SFPD officers leaning against their car on the other side of the street. I wish I could say that it was me, but it was the Santa Cruz deputy that made a beeline toward them.

“Hey, you guys might want to go in there. There might be a problem.” And then we hopped in my Toyota and drove back across the bay.

The Scary County deputies did not show up for the rest of the class.

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