“My Cop” Officer Donawa

I had my 3rd. ride along with a cop and this was different because I rode in my neighborhood with Officer Donawa who I will refer to as “my cop” because that is exactly what he was for 4 hours.
I met him at the police station and received my marching orders, wear your seat belt at all times and stay in the cruiser unless he invites me out.
As usual I started out being noisy and asked him if he was married, and he is. Do you have any children? Yes, one son 4 months old. I said I would like to see a picture of him when we stop. We stopped immediately and I was shown a picture of his son. I should describe him as handsome being a boy, but he was absolutely gorgeous. Although my cop was wearing a bullet proof vest which is both heavy and constricting you couldn’t help but notice his chest expand with pride.

He met his wife at gymnastics and the story sounded like he chased her until she caught him.

My cop went to Culinary School where he became a chef, and still loves to cook. Lucky wife.

Now the ride and my experience.

We rode the streets where I have lived for 33 years, and right around the corner he showed me streets, businesses and schools I never knew existed.

We stopped at a development on Cumberland to check on a condo that is behind a 6′ fence and an unlocked gate. He walked into the courtyard saw sliding windows were intact and the front door secure. All’s well. Later I thought he had no idea if someone was behind that fence and would have done him harm.

At Sam’s warehouse there was a man panhandling and my cop stopped and told him “first and last.” The man picked up his belongings and walked off. I asked what he meant by “first and last.” First and last warning.

At 45th and Military another panhandler standing in the medium strip and when he saw the cruiser moved to the sidewalk. The cruiser made a U-turn, stopped the car and rolled down the window to talk to him. The man started to walk toward us and was told not to approach the car and he kept coming. Another warning was given and my cop jumped from the car and approached him saying he told him not to approach, why did he continue to walk to the car? The man apologized and was told to leave the area. He did.  I had to ask why he got upset with the man coming up to the car. He explained I was his responsibility and you never know what they will do or weapon he might have. Never thought of it glad he did.

We checked shopping centers where it was plainly marked “fire lane no parking” and cars were parked. He left the cruiser to speak to a man sitting in his car, and all of a sudden he turned and jumped back into the cruiser and once we got on 45th. St. the sirens and lights came on and he was traveling east and moving quickly. Once he passed the light he moved even faster, and explained there is a problem at 45th and Greenwood involving a truck and train. If you are familiar with 45th. St. there are 3 travel lanes and we were traveling in the middle lane. At one point there was no traffic in the right lane and with lights and sirens blaring do you think motorist would pull over as the law demands. Two cars didn’t. What would their response have been if we were rushing to someone they loved in need of help. Unbelievable.

When we approached Greenwood he was going to make a left hand turn, and what I didn’t realize is there were 2 cruisers behind us. The traffic moving east and west was stopped at the traffic light and my cop instead of making the turn, stopped at an angle and blocked cars from moving if the light changed. I can explain this now but at the time my mind went to he was going to jump the curb, and we were going to end up in a field. While this thought was running through my mind his arm reached out across me in a protective manner. I now understand the meaning of adrenaline rush, and his maneuver requiring skill and care which was exciting.

Well it turned out to be nothing. A semi was parked in the field, facing north and south and there was a lone train car on the track and everything seemed OK. We rode up Greenwood just to make sure we were at the right place. We were.

When we were leaving there was a car parked at the lights again on Greenwood and the driver had on his emergency flashing lights. My cop radioed one of the cruisers that followed us down and asked for assistance. He wanted another cruiser to stop traffic while he pushed the car across the street. I asked him “Your going to push him across the street”?.  Yes I am can’t have him holding up traffic. As he was getting into position a family member came and assisted the driver.

Sometime during his shift he was the first officer to respond to a call for a man named Johnny, a homeless man, complaining of chest pains. Johnny was transported to St, Mary’s Hospital, and my cop wanted to check on him. When we entered the emergency room Johnny was in the hallway, on a stretcher sleeping, and was to be admitted when a room became available.
We proceeded to the nurses station and when the nurses looked up they were all smiles and welcoming him. He introduced me as his partner and the smiles got wider.
The two officers that followed behind us on 45th St. named Officer Bales and Goldberger met us in the hospital and their tradition is to have ice cream after shift and they  invited me along. Of course I went, and it was
the perfect ending to a ride along.
So Johnny will never know the cop came back to check on him and a broken down motorist will never know a cop was preparing to help. I realize I can’t be greedy calling him “my cop” He was everybody’s cop that day.

Stay safe Officers Donawa, Bales and Goldberger, stay safe everyone.