During my short time as a reporter, I’ve interacted with a lot of cops covering stories… and because I keep getting pulled over.
Coming from California to Iowa, the speed limit was part of the culture shock. On a typical street in Iowa, speed limit is 25-30. In Cali, it’s 45. Highways in Iowa are 50… in Cali it’s 80 or somewhere around that… but I digress.
But interacting with cops for stories has become a weekly thing for me. They are a good source of official sound to use for many stories we cover. They are knowledgeable about a plethora of subjects and have a lot of experience in dealing with many things the news covers.
But to keep this short and simple, here’s some of the reasons why I have a newfound respect for law enforcement (despite the fact that they keep pulling me over):
Of the many times I keep getting pulled over, I’ve only gotten one ticket.
Seriously, I’ve only been here six months and get pulled over at least twice a month. Most of them are really nice and let me off with a warning. I don’t even have to tell them I work in news (although, I know several people that use their on-air position as an excuse to get out of tickets).
They are so easy to get interviews with.
Cops know media is going to contact them for almost everything. They are all so willing to give us interviews, it makes our jobs A MILLION times easier. (I wrote in a previous blog post how difficult and annoying it is to find someone willing to speak on camera, so this is a HUGE plus). Plus, they always give well thought out answers.
They help us find other stories and people to talk to.
Cops are always walking around, covering stories with us reporters and are always walking up to people saying, “Hey, the news is here… can you do a quick interview with them? It’s really easy, it’d be really helpful, you don’t look at the camera, etc.” For some reason, when cops ask people to help us out, people are much more willing (not complaining).
They always offer us food at events.
Cops know how little we get paid in small markets. Whenever we cover an event where there’s food being served, they always offer us to take home a heaping plate. One of my coworkers went to an event and explained this scenario:
Reporter: Alright thanks so much for speaking with us today.
Cop: No problem. Hey, if you want some food, help yourself.
Reporter: Oh okay, thanks!
Cop: No seriously… eat. I know how much you get paid and you must be starving.
They always offer to help carry our stuff.
As an MMJ, we carry so much equipment, it’s hard for us to get around anywhere. Cops always offer to help us carry our stuff… and it’s much appreciated.
They help put a good name out for cops, even though many people give them a bad reputation.
Not all cops are bad. There is probably one in several thousand who does something stupid or entirely unacceptable who just makes cops look like bad guys. I already knew that, but working closely with them made me realize it even more. They’re people with families, feelings, and they’re just trying to do their jobs (and their jobs are NOT easy).
Most people’s interaction with cops is serious and under-appreciated. But getting to work with them behind the scenes (aka when I’m not getting pulled over), I get to see their real personalities… and some of them are downright hilarious. Again, they’re real people with real emotions… just like everyone else.
When it comes down to it, they know how to get the job done.
Last but most certainly not least, seeing all the rough work they do, makes me appreciate the life and job I have. Being a cop is such an honorable thing. I already knew it was a tough job before being a reporter, but getting to see first-hand all the training they have to do to prepare them for life-threatening-dangerous-is-my-middle-name-they-could-be-killed-in-a-moment’s-notice scenarios, makes me realize I could never do their job and that not just anyone can be a cop. They risk their lives every day and deal with a lot of heat and backlash from the public. They have families to go home to, yet every day, they wake up, put on their serious face, and get to work, putting their life at risk despite all they have to lose. It takes a real hero to wear that uniform (not to mention, they don’t look bad in em… not too bad at all).