A Story: Making It Through The Rookie Years

“I worked with Dave in the ninth precinct. Dave was a class act and a fun guy. He was always inviting everyone out for drinks after our shift was finished on the 4×12’s. I admit I declined the invitation often because parenting on a hangover is tough! Those rare occasions I did accept were filled with hysterical stories revolving around Dave and his antics at work and the bar!

One particular night I decide to “belly up” at the bar. It’s not crowded, most likely a week night. It’s only a few of us inside and after doing a shot with Dave he starts telling me he’s thinking about quitting the job, saying that it just sucks.

He’s still a rookie and I’m well beyond my rookie years by the time he’s telling me this. Being a rookie in the NYPD means dealing with a whole lot of nonsense: standing on long foot posts every day and getting all the crap assignments; getting handed all crap arrests that keep you on your feet all day at the hospital; all day on your feet at central booking. And, finally, signing out after 16hrs and then returning to work the next day or some cases in a few hours later and repeating same process. It can be discouraging. So, as I’m listening to Dave, I make a joke about it but he’s telling me he’s serious about quitting. Dave tells me he was a cadet and that they helped with college while he was a cadet and that he has his bachelor’s degree. So I’m trying to convince him to stay, and he’s adamant that it sucks! He’s quitting! I ask him:

‘ How old are you?’
‘ 23 ‘ he says
‘ You have a college degree? ‘
‘ yup ‘ he says
‘ Put your hand in your pocket what do you have? ‘ He’s smiling as he’s doing this.
‘ A couple of twenties ‘ he says
‘ Your friends? What are your friends doing with themselves? ‘
‘ Nothing ‘ he says

I said: Dave, you’re 23yrs old with a college degree, a cop with a  career in the NYPD. You have a twenty dollar bill on the bar with some extras in your pocket. How many of your friends that are doing nothing can say that?

He smiles and says: yes… lets do some shots! Your brother never quit. Your brother stayed a cop. I will always remember him smiling!

It’s hard to parlay all your thoughts into typing sentences. After hearing your father, yourself and Dave’s fiancé speak about him, I guess my point is that Dave chose a path of righteousness, that requires unselfishness, compassion, and bravery. It’s easy to forget about compassion and become selfish doing this job. Dave never lost sight of that. May Dave & God always be in your heart and blessings!

~ Chris P., NYPD

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