From this book, I want you to receive a better understanding of why I chose the profession that I did, why I stayed with it until retirement and how I received so much pleasure from it. I want you to see what I saw and feel the emotions that I felt … All of them!
I don’t remember seeing a Police Officer until I was about 10 years old. On the Outer Banks where we lived, there wasn’t much need for law enforcement … There was no crime! Everybody knew everybody else and besides that, there was no place to flee … The Ferry was the only way off and on Hatteras Island. Most tourists hadn’t found us yet and everybody just left their doors unlocked. I remember going to the grocery store quite often when the owner wasn’t even there. He’d leave a note on the door and leave the cash register wide open. We’d get our groceries, make our own change and go home … No big deal. The only problem I can remember was a drunk I’d occasionally see stumbling down the road. Before long though, somebody would stop, throw him in the back of their truck and take him home.
My first encounter with a North Carolina State Trooper was a very colorful experience. We had moved inland and I was a newly licensed driver, driving my Dad’s car on a lonely country road. It had just turned dark and I was in a hurry to see my girlfriend. The dash lights weren’t working and I wasn’t sure how fast I was going, and didn’t really care. I was eagerly anticipating female companionship … It was an emergency! I was clipping along pretty good and not another vehicle was in sight when all at once, there appeared a large Christmas tree with a siren in my rearview mirror. It was a State Trooper, who had been following me with his lights off and he had just turned all of his resources on at the same time … I almost had a heart attack! I was so greatly frightened that I drove off the roadway and out into a tobacco field. He casually walked up and introduced himself and then he told me why he’d stopped me, as he checked my car for damage. There was none. He was kind enough not to laugh in my face, but I caught a glimpse of his sense of self-satisfaction as he wrote my ticket. I suppose I was impressed by the professionalism he displayed and the joy he must have felt inside. I don’t remember his name, but in more ways than one … He had me!
Now, I’ve done my time … I’m a retired North Carolina State Trooper.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol renders the image of highly trained, polished, professional and polite Law Enforcement Officers. It offers one of the best training programs and facilities for Police Officers anywhere. It is a very proud organization representing a very proud state, but behind the scenes we can get kind of rowdy, with one another and with those close to us. If you’d like to formally meet a polished North Carolina State Trooper, drive 100mph through North Carolina … But if you want to take a behind the scenes view, come with me and I‘ll give you a tour of my experiences. To get things started, I’d better set the stage. I hope the following information will help you understand the rest of this book a little better.
In North Carolina, blue lights are used by Police Officers and no one else.
North Carolina State Troopers normally work alone without riding partners.
We were issued a new Patrol Car every year or so, which we drove home at the end of our shift each day. This vehicle could not be used for off-duty driving. These vehicles were serviced and bodywork was done at centralized Highway Patrol Garages. I was a frequent visitor and was the recipient of much of their handiwork. They were and still are, good! One would be hard-pressed to find better work done anywhere.
Our Radio Dispatchers were located in the same area. Our lives depended on the information they gave us and the manner with which they gave it. We worked on different frequencies than other Police agencies, but our Dispatchers could relay needed information. They assigned calls to each Trooper, so I made it a point to suck up to them.
Radio repair is also done in the same general area and Technicians maintained our electronic equipment. We couldn’t do without them.
Unless otherwise mentioned, I always drove a marked Patrol Car. The colors were always black and silver and to me, those colors always looked good. For years, North Carolina State Troopers won awards for being the best-dressed and best-equipped in the Nation. Yes, we were a proud bunch! Wouldn’t you be?
A Trooper writes tickets or makes arrests for violations that are “clear-cut and substantial.” (That‘s where the individual Officer’s judgment comes into play) Our policy of impartiality has always been a main ingredient of the respect that the organization still enjoys. I’ve never known of a Trooper who was told by a Supervisor … “Don’t give, so and so, a ticket.” Regardless of how powerful the defendant might be, the Highway Patrol would always back the Trooper.
Persons arrested are usually handcuffed and placed in the front passenger seat of the Patrol Car. A Trooper either learns how to be diplomatic or he has a lot of fights. You might call it diplomacy … I’ll call it bullshit. Since I greatly prefer loving to fighting, I’ve spent my whole life honing that skill. Sure, I’ve had many close calls and I count myself fortunate indeed not to have had to kill someone to survive. Granted, it is a dangerous job and ample caution must be taken when constantly dealing with unknown characters, but an abrasive nature in a Police Officer only compounds the problems.
I’ve always tried to look at it like this … Lawbreakers weren’t breaking the law because they didn’t like me, so why should I take it personally. Nothing inflamed me more than to see another Officer abusing a prisoner. As far as I’m concerned, we all came out of the same pot … We’re all family and I wouldn’t treat a family member like that.
Before you get in too deep, heed my advice. As tempting as it may be for you to jump around and read these stories out of sequence, don’t do it too much … You may miss some of the development. As needed, terminology will be explained and characters expanded as the stories progress. But if you slip up sometimes, that’s okay too.
When I decided to remain a Trooper, without other ambitions or goals, I focused on enjoying my livelihood, as you’ll see when these stories unfold.
Hold on for the ride of your life! Have fun!!