“Sarge… you wanted to see me?”
“Yeah, I did, Barry. I gotta talk to ya about something, here. Listen, the lieutenant and I, uhhh… we’ve been going over everyone’s activity and stats this last quarter and we’ve… uhhh… we noticed something concerning with your numbers and all, you know? Your stats, Barry, they’re kind of low lately. Actually, for quite awhile now, they really aren’t what the LT and I are looking for from the shift.”
Barry felt a slight jolt, a tiny surge of adrenaline over what he suspected – no, knew – was coming next. “Sarge, look, I know we had this talk a couple months ago and I think I’ve stepped it up with the traffic stops and community contacts, just like you both asked, but I’m not coming to work and screwing off. I work hard; you know that!”
“Barry, no one says you don’t work hard. We just question are you working smart for this shift, you know? It’s not just you, either; we have to have the same conversation with Carson and Potts and Lawrence, too. You all worked under Lt Quarles before, and he did things the way he did and it was good for him, but we have a different focus here, a different motivation. You’re all stepping up a little bit, like we asked, but it’s still…”
“What about all my arrests, Sarge? What about the cases I hold onto and work? What about the ‘Attaboys’ from the Financial Crimes dicks for all the cases I clear that they don’t have to mess with? It’s not like there are any more crashes in my beat than anywhere else in the county. It’s not like I’m blowing my calls off all day long on other deputies - like some guys on this shift - but they get away with it ‘cause they bring in six easy tickets everyday come hell or high water…” (Easy, Barry, easy… stop while you’re ahead! Whoops, too late).
“Okay, Barry, that’s just it! You’re. Not. A. Detective. Got it? The LT says, and I agree, this is a PATROL unit and you – and Carson and Potts and Lawrence, too - are expected to act like PATROL deputies. Got it? Take your calls, write up the initial reports, kick ‘em to the dicks, and move on. Got it? Write more tickets – six a day would be a good start, in my opinion! – and cut the fancy stuff. We’re getting our butts kicked, numbers-wise, by some of the other squads and the LT is very unhappy. You know he wants the Traffic command when it comes open in a couple years; his readiness is reflected in his team, right? It’s my job to make him happy and you and your little “detective wannabe” buddies are going to help me do that, aren’t you? Or will we need to take this matter beyond the “friendly little chat stage?”
Nearly choking with rage, Barry bit back his next words, finally muttering only, “Got it, Sarge. I got it.” He loved being a cop. He loved patrol and the car and the uniform and helping people. He also loved numbers and detail and puzzles… he had double-majored in Accounting and Information Technologies and worked in finance before joining the Sheriff’s Department looking for greater excitement and adventure. Under Quarles for nearly four years, he was allowed to spread his wings, hold onto some of the fraud cases and put his education and experience to work. He had a ball and hopes of someday joining Financial Crimes full-time. Now…? Investigative spots were hard to get and some other lieutenants wanted and encouraged their crews to be well-rounded; those would be the deputies he’d be going up against for investigations assignments.
“Good, Barry. Good. Okay, hit the road, let’s start hearing you call out some more stops. Bring in some of those citations the boss loves to see. And forward me whatever you’ve done on any open cases you have; I’ll kick ‘em to the dicks so you won’t have to worry about that anymore. Sound good?”
“Yeah Sarge, sounds great…” And Barry shuffled out of the office, a sour ball forming in the pit of his stomach.