________ February 25, 2015 ________

Our Adventures:  Grand Rapids Police Trip!

We’ve been doing a LOT of field trips, this year.  I’ve been trying to schedule one every month, just because it’s good for us to get out and try new things, learning in the process.  It’s with a homeschooling group I’ve hooked up with very loosely… and I’m pretty sure the women have no interest in me as a part of the group, but that’s fine.   It’s not really about that, anyhow.

Having said, yesterday was our February field trip: to the Grand Rapids Police department.

It was a horrible day for it.  I had something going in the morning and something going in the evening.  Which occasionally happens, but then we also had something going late morning after the morning something, and something planned for the night after the evening thing, and with the field trip in the afternoon… that was a FULL day.  And as all of that wasn’t enough?  The weather decided to deliver a decent snowstorm for all of it.  Oi. My. Vey.  And of course this would also be the event that I’d been dreading for two weeks… because I happen to loosely know a GR cop, and didn’t really want to run into him.  Ever.   But regardless of everything, I was bound and determined to do ALL of the things that were set before us, and so we took off, headed into town.

The morning stuff was all accomplished, and we made our way downtown… ironically to the same car park we’d used when we went to the Opera, for the January field trip.  Only this time we were there at a bad time, and had to go up… up… up… I was concerned that there wouldn’t BE a spot for us to park in!

The kids had MORE fun on the carpark elevator ride than the entire rest of the field trip. We had to park all the way up on Level H… and that elevator *FLEW* down (and had windows, so they were watching as we dropped. Fast). They were yelling “AHHHHHHHH!” all the way down, and apparently you could hear them outside of the elevator, because when we got to the ground level, there was this guy there, and he was laughing his *hiney* off.   And it was at us, because he was smiling broadly at me, eyes twinkling, and the only time anyone ever smiles at me is if we do something astoundingly stupid or hilarious.  It was aimed at us.    And it called for an actual response.  I was like, “Whewwwwboy.” ((((giggles!!))))

It was c-c-c-c-c-COLD yesterday. Windy as all-get-out and nearing blizzard conditions around the noon hour.  And naturally I didn’t know where I was going, and parked on the west side of the building with the door on the north (but didn’t know it), and we walked ALLLLLLLL the way around the building before finding the dadgum entrance. By which time we were red-nosed and snow-dusted and the homeschool group looked at us like (((((O_o))))) and I was all, “Well, we had to tour the OUTSIDE of the police station, first. ((snort.)) Cuz I’m an idiot and say idiotic things. Which could be part of the reason nobody talks to me, ever, at these things. Or at any things. Which is mostly okay, because I’m not really the homeschool mom type, so they’re cut of a VERY different cloth, anyhow.

I should state up front, too, that I can tell who in our homeschool group are nice ladies by how they treat the guides.  We had a policeman taking us on our tour, but there was also a security guard woman who was older and kind of… un-hip (I’m being kind)… and only ONE other woman besides me talked to her and was kind to her.  The other three moms didn’t so much as look at her or give her the time of day.  They were ALL about the cop.  Hugely telling, that.  Just as an aside.

DSCF6175 (164x293)We were lucky – the guy I didn’t want to see was not our liaison.  ((I have bad luck, and therefore had been concerned.))   No, our liasion was Officer Dixon, which made my kids squeal happily at the ‘Alias‘ reference, but it’s an inside joke, so we got more ((((O_o)))) looks from the homeschool group, which is typical.  Anyhow, he met us, led us inside, and began our tour.
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The kids LOVED the K-9 dog the best, of course.  It was an all black German Shepherd named Bobby, and he was ALL about his chew toy (which my kids said was just ‘nasty’ looking, but if it made Bobby happy…).  But he was very sharp – apparently cops send to the Netherlands for their dogs, because American pooches are wimpy.  Who knew?
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Then we got to see inside of a police vehicle.  They’re apparently phasing out the Crown Victorias, because Ford has stopped making them.  Now they’re all going to SUVs.  Kind of sad, but it makes more sense… what with 4WD and more useable space and everything.  The kids were allowed to sit in both the back seat AND the front seat… even in the driver’s seat.  We all wished they showed us more about the stuff in the car, but it was still very kewl.  Aaron was the last one in the driver’s seat, so Officer Dixon showed him how to turn on the lights.  He thought that was seriously awesome.
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I DSCF6188 (592x392)don’t think the tour before ours (we were split into two tours within our Homeschool group) got to see inside the SWAT tank, but it just happened that the chief of operations was walking by while Officer Dixon was telling us about it.  He (the chief of operations) seemed curious about our little group and hung out for a minute or two with us, and he graciously went in and got the dude in charge of it, and asked him to open ‘er up for us.  The kids really liked that, too.  I personally liked the turret, on top.
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The SWAT dude was the only guy in the building that intimidated me and had my respect.  He was an ex-Navy SEAL and looked like he could pound me into the ground with one thumb.  And he exuded the ability.  As you can tell from the picture, I was standing back.
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DSCF6191 (416x304)There were a LOT of guys openly curious about who we were/what we were doing as we made our way thru the building. It wasn’t like a big class going thru – there were five moms and 13 kids, between us, so our group was pretty small and probably didn’t look like a typical tour.  The dispatchers all stopped working  and were staring at us (except this guy, who was taking a 911 call), and people were walking by and stopping to listen/check us out. It was almost like they didn’t want to do what they were supposed to be doing, and we were more interesting. R’something. Weird.
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Officer Dixon was really nice, but… I guess I’m just too jaded about cops.  He said his uniform was a ‘weapon on his person’ because when he walked into a room, it commanded ‘respect’ and… he searched for the word ‘authority’, but he really should’ve owned it and admitted it was fear.  People fear cops.  They just do.  Okay, not me… I mostly hate them.  Bad experiences, all.  And I don’t buy the ‘angels in uniform’ press the states have been trying to promote on-line.  When you have a badge, you think you’re above.  Whether you believe you do, or not.  Except SWAT guy.  He *WAS* above.  Hanging upside down, ninja style.  He freaked me.  ((Just a little.))
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Still… it was fun seeing what a cop carries.  Mostly because I can pretty much match him, on a good day, and even exceed his stopping power.  Alright, so I left my firearm locked in the car – I figured it had to be illegal to carry in a cop shop, CPL or no.  But I forgot to lock up my spare clip.  So he was all “This is pepper spray”, and I’m fingering mine.  He was all, “And these are bullets… this thing that holds them is a clip.”  And I’m silently all, ‘In my purse…’.  And he said, “And this is my gun…” and I’m mentally grumbling about being presently unarmed.  And he pulls out his radio, and I’m internally reciting my call sign number.  And his cellphone… BTDT.  But I need me one of those batons.  That I liked.  And maybe a pair of cuffs.  I do, after all, have four sons.  ((heheheheh.))  And I up his ante with my spring-assisted knife (I locked that up, too… just in case there was a metal detector inside the door, but there wasn’t), and my paracord bracelet handy for strangulation… should’ve recommended that.  Mostly I kept quiet and just smiled to myself.
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Cuz no matter what cops pretend to be, benevolent happy guardians is NOT what they are.  Their job is not to help or save you.  They are law enforcement officers – their job is to see that law and order is maintained.  Just sayin’.  And they aren’t going to rescue me if there’s trouble.  Worse, they’ve got it better than I do.  If there’s trouble?  A cop can run.  I have five littles and have no choice but to hold my ground.  By all rights, I should be allowed to carry grenades.  FYI.e
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But the tour was nice.  The kids were given goodie bags on the way out, with Jr. deputy badges, so they were playing SHIELD agents in the car before I even got out of the car park.  They were also given wooden yo-yos, which… I don’t think I’m going to rest easy until they’re ALL confiscated.  Do cops not know what boys do with yo-yos?  They swing them around on a very long string, crashing things.  Just sayin’.
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As for my part, I was just SO. RELIEVED. to have the thing over with, and to not have seen the guy from high school.  Not that he would’ve even recognized me or anything, but… I just don’t like the stress of the thing.  I had to wear full make-up, for pity’s sakes (okay, partly because of the moms, partly because of the cop intimidation thing).  Brian didn’t complain… he always goes, “Wow, you look nice, today!” and I always roll my eyes and say, “Full make-up day, honey.”  And he goes, “Oh.  Well.”  And of course this conversation only happens on full make-up day, so there’s that.  ((snort.))  But still.
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It was an adventure.
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