“If you want to go and take a ride with me [. . .]” – Nelly
My department is perpetually understaffed, it is notoriously difficult to hire to capacity, and even when it would appear that all of the slots have been filled, someone a) drops out of the academy, b) gets injured and is out of work or on light duty for (what seems like) eons, c) quits, or d) retires. By “department,” I mean the police department as a whole, not my department of analysis, which, BTW, is at its maximum capacity with its overworked, stressed, and under appreciated employee. Yes, employee in the singular. Me. Just me. There is one person providing crime data and analytics to not only the entire staff within my PD, but to outside agencies and individuals from all levels (municipal, state, federal, etc.) as well. Believe you me, just about every in-house individual needs something from me on a daily basis; these requests are in addition to the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual reports and statistics that are expected from me.
The joke around here is that even after over six years, I have yet to be “broken.” Am I jaded? A bit. I mean, I see some shit, and I’ve taken some shit. You have not lived until you’ve had someone double your size, who you don’t even know, screaming at you to not look at them because they hate you, trying to get to you through bulletproof glass. Note: “You have not lived until [ . . . ]” is purely for dramatic effect. I am well aware that a plethora of people encounter far, far worse. I just want to reiterate that I am a civilian employee so my interaction with this person was no more than giving them a smile as I walked by the lobby window. I had even given them my last bottle of water to help calm them down when they first entered the lobby, clearly in distress. Weeks later, I gave a lost dog my last bottle of water. I think the dog was more appreciative . . .
I’m known around the station for being happy, for always smiling, for being bright, shiny and glittery, as well as easily amused. I am also known as the office’s MacGyver, but that’s another story. I’m referred to as “Happy Amy,” “Sunshine,” etc. So, as I was writing in the above paragraph, the running joke is that even after many not so pleasant experiences, the amount of stress and pressure that I face daily, and the overall negative environment, I’m still all of those things I listed; to recapitulate: “for being happy, for always smiling, for being bright, shiny and glittery, as well as easily amused.”
Now that the background has been established . . .
A random individual strolled into the lobby yesterday morning and requested a ride-along with an officer. I jokingly told an officer, who happened to be standing nearby, that it appeared he was about to be assigned a ride-along, to which he essentially replied, “NO.” This is the same officer who, when I was a brandy new hire, retorted, “Great!” when I enthusiastically asked, “How’s it going today!?!” I then overheard him tell a lunchroom full of people, “Actually, it’s been really shitty, but she’s just so nice, I didn’t have the heart to tell her.”
Continuing on . . .
After this officer said, “NO,” a colleague in the records department responded with, “Take Amy for a ride-along!” The officer misunderstood this suggestion and stated, “YES! Let people ride along with Amy . . . then everyone would want to work here; we’d have a line out the door!” Not only was I amused, I was deeply flattered, for I truly do try to be a positive presence here. This officer’s remark confirmed that for the most part, I’m successful in my attempts to bring some overt happy into our workplace.