As the years passed, Holly’s fascination with badges, “suits of arnor” and weapons never waned but she was no longer receptive to plastic, tin and “pretend,” although she would sometimes stand before a mirror, saying “I am Officer Holly Redmond. What’s going on?” Most times, she could barely get the words out without laughing nor could Henry and Sara when they were hiding behind the door watching.
Henry had taught her to always refer to officers as just that. Officers. “They’re not the heat or the pigs or the fuzz,” he said. “I don’t even want you to refer to them as ‘cops’. I find that term disrespectful,” he said.
On Holly’s sixteenth birthday, Henry bought her a Remington 870 shotgun, just like the one he carried in his cruiser. A Smith and Wesson 38 special handgun would follow a year later. He was thinking of college and protection. She was thinking “police force.”
Hours and hours spent at a shooting range yielded an excellent marksman or as she constantly corrected Henry, “marks-woman.” Henry bragged to his fellow officers “hell, she could shoot the wings off a fly and leave him thinking he was still a maggot.”
When asked if she was going to become a third generation of the city’s finest, Henry always said “no. I want her to go on to higher education and put these bastards away with a slap of the gavel, not a shot from a weapon.”
When the subject of college was broached, Holly always dismissed Henry and Sara. “I’ve got plans,” she said, “and my plans include school but not the kind of school you’re talking about.”
Henry and Sara would be disappointed when Holly enrolled in the academy just days after she graduated from high school. Having already been taught to shoot like a seasoned “marks-woman,” was an advantage, not to mention the family name and history.
She was inquisitive and her mind was like a sponge, soaking up every snippet of information. She aced all the written tests and it went without saying that she could out-shoot most of the instructors.
When her graduation day arrived, Henry and Sara were proud but there was an element of sadness that they tried hard to hide. They, especially Henry, knew what the real world was like. He knew that in law enforcement, your life could change or end in the blink of an eye. That’s what happened to his father and although he had never told Holly, he had barely escaped a fatal shot more than once in his career.
He knew drug dealers and what they would do to protect their territory and their interests. He knew the rule of most gangs, which included a random kill and extra points were offered for the murder of a “cop.”
Fate is kind to some, luck rides with some and others become sacrificial lambs. It’s the law of nature.
As a “rookie” Holly would most likely spend the first few years handing out parking tickets or riding the desk, taking reports. Henry knew she would be chomping at the bit to see some real action but he hoped she could keep her naiveté as long as possible.
Alvin, Henry’s long time partner saw the concern on his face and offered the old adage “don’t worry. Fate protects the young and the foolish.” Henry stared off into space and said “she’s young, yes. But she’s certainly not foolish.”
Alvin patted him on the back and said “hell, she’s no different from you or me. All of us have at some point wanted the one ‘big collar’ that would put our picture up there on the wall. She’ll be fine.”
Henry looked at him with a cross between hope and sarcasm and asked “and you know this how?” Alvin smiled and said “I’m a bit psychic. I just know things.” Henry snickered, gave him a one hand shove and said “get outta here.”
Just as Henry had hoped, Holly was assigned to a desk taking reports such as an Elvis sighting just ten minutes earlier or a frantic woman who was sure that Jimmy Hoffa was buried in her back yard.
When Holly complained to Henry and Sara about the ridiculousness and mundaness of her job, Henry reminded her that she had to pay her dues, the same as he and everyone else before.
Holly could often suffer from wanting “instant gratification.” Henry reminded her that patience was a necessary attribute, especially in the police force. “You can’t just run into a house and arrest somebody without getting the necessary information,” he said. “You have to listen and make a decision based on that information. Don’t be a know-it-all. Don’t be gung-ho. Don’t be handcuff happy and don’t be trigger happy.”
“Above all,” he said, “you are an authority figure but that position is never to be abused. Don’t be a bully. Your job is to protect and serve, not berate and abuse.”
“It doesn’t matter how someone lives. It doesn’t matter what kind of car they drive. It doesn’t matter how they smell. It doesn’t matter if they speak broken English. You are to treat everyone with respect. Follow your intuition, not the aggression you see displayed on television or from other officers. I would say to you ‘treat people the way you would wish to be treated or more importantly, the way you would wish your mother and father to be treated’.”
Henry smiled and said “okay, end of lecture.”
To be continued______________