My friend, and former Chief of Police, Thomas Dinardo, is a man of many personas, more than “good cop/bad cop.” As he would tell you, each of the personas has its particular use and purpose. Not all of the personas are appropriate in a particular situation. Some are frequently in use, and some get taken off the rack, dusted off, and put into use only under special circumstances, and then returned to storage. As Tom would tell you, the trick is to know what persona needs to be utilized. That takes years of experience.
Being a cop and doing police work involves a lot more than just carrying a gun and arresting someone. In fact, Tom would tell you that good cops are frequently called upon to improvise plans to deal with all sorts of different events which are not criminal in nature. People frequently unknowingly create situations that require police assistance. He would also tell you that much of police work involves defusing situations so as to not arrest anyone or create alarm. Consider the following event and ask yourself how you would have handled it in real time.
Judge Eleanor Stein presided over the misdemeanor and small claim court in Kokomo for a number of years. “Judge Ellie,” as she was locally known, was an elegant, educated Jewish grandmother. She brought judicial decorum and impeccable manners to the local court, where the underprivileged, uneducated, unwashed public routinely appeared. I always thought she brought class to the system. I liked her a lot.
Judge Ellie was not long on legal knowledge, which is not generally needed in small claim court, anyway. She rarely found criminal defendants “not guilty,’ which often irritated the defense bar. On the other hand, she could hardly bear to put anybody in jail, which evened things up with the prosecution. It all worked out most of the time and, as they say, justice was served.
One afternoon Tom was waiting to testify in Ellie’s court. He was reviewing his notes in the case. At that time the criminal defendants were also seated in the same row. The study of his notes was interrupted by Judge Ellie, who asked, “Officer Dinardo, would you approach the bench?”
Tom got to his feet and warily walked up to the bench looking for a reason Judge Ellie had requested his immediate presence. Seeing nothing out of order Tom quietly asked, “What can I do for you, your Honor?”
At that time, Judge Ellie leaned far over the front of the bench, turned and lowered her head so no one could see or hear what she was going to say to Tom, who moved as close as he could get to her. “I want you to take care of that for me,” she whispered. She jerked her head back the opposite way, her eyes never leaving Tom’s, as she tried to direct his attention to the opposite direction she was looking. Tom turned slightly, scanned the crowd, and told her he did not see anything.
“Not there, Tom, over there,” she said, motioning with her head.
Tom turned to the new direction and scanned the criminal occupants of the first row. At first only the usual suspects were observed. And then, Tom’s supernatural powers of observation zeroed in on Bob Dough, who was seated right in front of Judge Ellie. Bob was completely oblivious to the goings on around him as he was quietly talking to himself and the demons who had been occupying the bottle of wine he consumed before court. Except that the alcohol was not the problem. Not by a long shot.
Unfortunately, Bob had lost the crotch of his Goodwill pants, which had allowed his unrestrained immenseness with all related attached parts, to come to a state of quiescence on top of his chair in direct line of Judge Ellie’s elevated view.
Tom immediately said, “I’ll take care of it, Judge.” Tom positioned himself between the offended judge and sat down in front of Bob.
“Bob, what is the matter with you?” said Tom. “Your crank is falling out of your pants, man. We can’t have this."
At which time, the half inebriated, partially conscious Bob put both of his feet on the floor, leaned over to get a better view, and moved his knees further apart. Of course this allowed Bob’s now totally exposed member and its lesser lights to, literally, fully escape Bob’s pants and to allow them fresh air and the sun, much to the horror of some and amusement of others.
“Oh my goodness,” said Bob. “What am I going to do? I can’t go home, I have to testify in my case.”
“You are going to have trust me on this, Bob. I’ll see to it that your case is last so you have time to change and get back here. Now go home and change your pants.”
Bob headed toward the court room door, running a gauntlet of curious eyes. Just as he was almost to the door, Tom said, “And Bob…remember that underwear is not optional in court. See you later.”
Judge Stein said, “Officer Dinardo, the court is in great debt to you today. Thank you.”
“No problem at all, your honor. I am always here to protect the community…from whatever.”