I’m the low man in a six-cop department. I generally agree with seniority and the way it works, but I’ve got a question.
Our policy says two officers can’t take vacation at the same time. When hunting season comes, sometimes three guys are off. I hunt prior to the major hunting season. Last year I was cut off and had “no more than two guys off at once” thrown at me. If they can do it, why can’t I?
Most of the guys have worked together for 10 years. Another guy has the same problem I have even though he’s in the middle of the seniority list. I believe the good ol’ boy club remains pretty strong here. When I ask for time off lately, they want to trade shifts. Why the hell can’t I take the day off and get charged for it? I earned the time, and I want to use it.
Without sounding like a whine-ass, what should I do?
Dear Bambi Killer: I could fill the tank on my black and white and drive till it runs dry without finding a six-cop department. Not that I don’t appreciate the troubles a hard-working, hard-hunting cop from such a department has to endure, however. And for a bit more perspective, I know plenty of coppers who set up their whole schedule around hunting. I understand the pull avid hunters feel to get out into the woods or wherever they hunt and do their thing, so all you other Bambi killers hold off on the hate mail for me making fun here and just send me some venison.
Seniority has its place in the cop world, and I’m a big supporter of it—in its place. If you have no time on and your beat partner has plenty, you should be answering up for some of those calls and giving the old timers a little break. For any two officers in the exact same position, seniority should dictate shift preference and days off. Not vacation, you whine ass, but scheduled days off.
Senior officers better not start taking advantage of this though. When they start work—and we all know at least one old timer like this—and go directly to some quiet parking place and sit on their lazy, fat, fourth point of contact all day, then the hell with them. They’re still getting paid, and they should be out handling some things and earning their money. Years ago a crusty old bald lieutenant told me all the old timers who claim they want to work only patrol and are out not doing a damn thing are the guys who tried and failed to move into something else.
Wait, wait, hold the hate mail. I know there are plenty of old timers who love the action and hate the brass and want to be left alone to work their beat and kick some crook butt. These are not the losers who take advantage of their time on and do nothing but collect a check.
Every cop should look around at the senior cops in their agency and figure out who is whom. All young cops should find the hard-working salty dogs and go learn from them. They should avoid the Retired on Duty cops and the hate and discontent they tend to breed.
With that in mind, Bambi killer, you should take a page from the playbook of the crooks you send to the slammer. Ol’ Bullethead ran with a real tough crowd back before I started wearing my current uniform. We were all rock solid with enough testosterone to launch us to Mars. One of the guys was dating a deputy from the local jail. She told us if we ever got booked we would get sent straight to the Young and Tender section of her jail because the hardcore crooks would eat us up. I think most of us would have been fine after killing some low life, but that would be extra charges and is a whole different story.
My point: If you’re getting your tail kicked over leave owed to you, it will continue until they’re all gone and you’re the old guy sticking it to some other young cop. You don’t sound like you want to get worked for most of your career and start working over some other hard-working cop, so you need to end it sooner rather than later. So, the time is ripe for making a stand, or you and the other guy will be getting pooped on for years.
Make your stand together and see what happens. Work it out so you can quit worrying about hunting Bambi and go hunt some crooks.