Officer Mike Herb recently got off of probation and was nice enough to send me an update. Many of my regular readers remember Officer Herb from Academy Class 196. If you are new to the blog, check out his first story by clicking on this link: http://hpdcareer.blogspot.com/2008/07/day-one-on-streets.html
Open Road, by Officer Michael Herb:
On December 11, 2008, I went to work wondering if tonight would be the night…the very first night that I was given my own “shop” (police car). I walked to the radio room to get my radio like usual and there it was. Looped over the antenna to my radio was the key to my own shop. A nauseating excitement came over me. I sat in roll call waiting to hear my assignment…and then…the Sergeant called my name. I fumbled for the words I was supposed to say, “Here, sir”. My Sergeant looked right at me and said, “You’re off probation now, right?” I said “yes sir” and he said “Well you’re on your own tonight.” The nauseating excitement lingered after hearing the words from my Sergeant.
I remember riding around on my first night just praying for calls that I was confident I could deal with. I kept thinking…please, no screwed up calls. Thankfully my first night was on a Thursday, not a Friday or Saturday when we are most busy. I had a chance to get my feet wet. And then it happened…an hour into my shift, my first call. My thoughts suddenly changed to…please don’t let me screw this up! I was nervous but suddenly my fears were put to rest. Other units were checking by on my call. I arrived with two other units. My first solo call wasn’t as solo as I had imagined in my head. I felt confident that if I didn’t know the answer, one of the other officers would…right? Thankfully, the officers helped me survive my first call, and the rest of the calls on that night.
Well, it’s now been over a month and I have to say I still get the feeling of nauseating excitement every so often. Hearing an officer call for assistance, running ‘hot’ (using my lights and sirens), or the occasional time when I get dispatched to a call that I have never been to before. I would be a liar if I said my training taught me every type of call I would ever get. I mean let’s be realistic…no two calls are ever the same. One thing my training did teach me though was how to find answers and solve problems. I may not know the answer or how to handle a call but that is why we have backup units and specialized divisions. As I heard my trainers say so many times…call someone that knows the answer or ask for a unit to check by to lend a hand. You never really have to fly solo or go it alone.
My first month on the streets has reaffirmed something I have talked about frequently. We are one big family here at HPD. Though I often thought it in my head…no one here is going to laugh at you when you ask for help (they might snicker a little when you ask that silly question) but they’ll always answer it, no matter how silly. They’ll check by with you even if they don’t think you really need help. Specialized divisions like Homicide, Narcotics, and Burglary and Theft have phone numbers you can call 24 hours a day so that there is always someone there to answer your ‘rookie questions.’ I guess the moral of the story is that just because there is no senior officer or training officer in the passenger seat doesn’t mean you’re really ‘flying solo.’ Your help is only a radio transmission or a phone call away. My brothers and sisters in blue make sure I always (at least appear to) know exactly what to do when I get on a scene. Even more importantly, my brothers and sisters ensure that I am always safe.