Over the years, members of the Lodi Police Department often write articles to enlighten and educate the public about new and/or upcoming laws, police procedures and personal experiences from a police officer's perspective.
However, I think one important topic has been unintentionally overlooked. That topic is the acts of kindness displayed by the citizens of Lodi.
We sometimes read in the local newspaper or watch the nightly news about an individual who went out of his or her way to help another, sometimes by putting themselves in harm's way. For those who have done such a heroic deed, my hat's off to you. But one thing I have noticed about the citizens of Lodi is the frequency of their kindness.
In past Behind the Badge articles, officers would explain an average work day performed by an officer. The stress of going to calls where people are being victimized or injured in traffic collisions can be depressing and overwhelming at times.
Recently, there was a shooting in the area of Garfield and Pine streets. Officers were on scene for several hours investigating the crime, me included. We were all very tired, but focused on the job at hand. As the sun came up, people were getting ready to start their work day and realized that something had happened in their neighborhood during the night.
One such resident saw the many police officers and PARTNERS directing traffic and collecting evidence. The resident drove away, but returned shortly with coffee for all police personnel working the crime scene. The gentleman's actions made a lot of officers realize Lodi has a lot of good people living here. The simple act of getting coffee broke the spell of the gruesome crime scene.
This made me think about how many times over my 20-plus years working for the Lodi Police Department that an anonymous person took a moment out of their busy lives to do a good deed for a police officer.
I remembered eating at a local restaurant and when it was time for me to leave I asked the waitress for the bill. She informed me that a young couple paid for my meal as they were leaving. I never got a chance to thank them, because I didn't know who they were. So, if by chance, you are reading this article, thank you for your kindness.
I remembered when I was assigned to the Special Investigations Unit and other detectives and I were dismantling a drug lab. It was in the month of July and the temperature was over a hundred degrees, and we were hot! We were wearing chemical protective suits and air tanks while removing the dangerous chemicals. The process often takes hours for proper collection and disposal. The outfit is designed to be sealed so there was no outside air cooling us.
A lady who manages a storage unit facility happened to be driving by and noticed what we were doing. She later returned with hamburgers and cold water. She didn't have to take the time from her busy day, but she did. For that, we thank you.
At the end of our shift we often discuss the events of the day among ourselves. One thing that is mentioned is a citizen's kindness displayed towards an officer, such as buying the officer a cup of coffee. Even during this tough economic time, occasionally someone will spend a little extra to show their thanks. For all of you who anonymously purchased an officer's cup of coffee while in a coffee shop drive-thru, thank you.
Lastly, many of the police officers who currently serve the citizens of Lodi came from another agency. Those officers routinely comment on the difference of the Lodi community in comparison to the community where they were previously employed. The citizens in Lodi take pride in their community and their police department.
At the end of the day, the residents of Lodi are the reason why we work here.
Any comments, questions or advice for Behind the Badge can be e-mailed to Jeanie Biskup at firstname.lastname@example.org; mailed to Lodi Police Department, 215 W. Elm St., Lodi, CA 95240; or asked by phone at 333-6864.