Now, I love my job. I get to play Cops and Robbers all day and get paid for it (although nowhere near enough). Plus, bumping the siren and speeding through a red light never, ever gets old.
But there are drawbacks, chief among ‘em having people figure they can do my job for me. See, just like TV shows have made everybody think they’re a lawyer or a doctor or, I dunno, a model, people now have no problem telling me how to investigate a case.
I’ll be in court giving evidence and I get a juror asking if we thought to use a spectral analyzer on the bootprints. Did we try a hi-res scan of the security camera footage? How about a UV scan on the murder weapon? Let me tell you, the NYPD’s hardly got the budget for a fingerprint kit, let alone the money for me to drive around with a Hummer and equipment straight outta Star Trek.
I’m not trying to bitch and moan here, it’s just a little annoying when I’m at Thanksgiving dinner and my uncle’s asking if we remembered to use that experimental laser array to check for gunsmoke residue. C’mon, I work for the NYPD, not S.H.I.E.L.D! Lousy coffee, yes. Experimental laser arrays, no.
Besides, we don’t need that kind of equipment to catch bad guys. More often than not, criminals do our job for us. A lot of the time they give us everything we need, right up to and including the smoking gun.
I mean, I’m sure there are some ‘criminal masterminds’ out there, but the majority of skells just aren’t that smart. That’s why they’re criminals, right? And, hands down, the dumbest of them all are drug dealers. I got more stories of moronic mopes from my time in Narcotics than the rest of my years in the NYPD combined. I mean, some of these guys should just have strolled into the precinct asking to be cuffed.
Where to start? Maybe with the dealer who lit up a joint during interrogation because we were “stressing him out?” Or how about the mook who used his glock to shoo away pigeons? And then there’s the goof who, after being arrested, asked for his crack vials back, since we “weren’t gonna be using them anyhow.”
Sometimes you look at these guys and think, for all that effort, you could actually have gone pretty far in the legit world. I mean, take the dealer who printed up flyers advertising his weekly specials. He even paid homeless guys to hand them out, get better “circulation.”
‘Course the flyers made clear exactly where he could be found dealing… We just strolled over there and cuffed him on our lunch break.
So the next time you’re watching one of those fancy police shows where they bring out equipment that’s on loan from NASA, just remember that most of the time you don’t need an infared thermometer or a spectral transmitter to catch the bad guys. You just need common sense. And criminals who don’t have any.