Local officers deserve more than just a wave


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Yesterday was a normal day here in Winters. I went out in the morning to pick up trash that people toss out their windows as they drive along Putah Creek.

I was surprised at the amount of trash I found because only a couple weeks ago, there were hundreds of people picking up trash for our annual creek cleanup day. I don’t know how much trash was cleaned up at that time but I know that two large dumpsters were rented for its removal.

One of the dumpsters is still sitting near the community garden next to our water treatment plant so I threw yesterday’s trash in with the trash collected last week. I guess trash collecting will never end. That’s just the way it is. There will always be a certain type of person that will throw their garbage out along the creek and there will always be a person like me to pick it up.

OK, keep reading because I’m close to coming to the point of this column.

While I was throwing my trash into the dumpster, I looked up to see one of Winters Police department’s finest standing there talking to a lady that spends her time working in the community garden. Out of respect, I waved at the police officer like I always do when I see them; she smiled and waved back at me.

I was thinking how sharp she looked in her police uniform. I’m sorry I don’t know her name because I think a good citizen should go out of their way to know each and every police officer that serves their community. If a citizen doesn’t know the police officer and the officer doesn’t know the citizen it complicates things. At the very least, it makes the officer’s job a little bit harder to perform. A simple wave of respect is not enough.

I’m sorry to say that I have been a problem for the police in the past but those days are long gone; I’m an old man now. I don’t know if every police officer in town knows me or my past but I don’t think that really matters to them. If I cause them problems they will handle it like they always have and always will. Keeping the peace and enforcing the law is what they do. It’s as simple as that.

OK, I’m getting to the point now, so here it is!

Like I said earlier, yesterday was a normal day here in Winters, but Monday, Oct. 2, was different with the shootings in Las Vegas. That makes it a special day; a day to remember. Take a look at the news videos taken in the midst of the shooting and there in the horrific chain of events displayed in the video before people are running is all directions with terror on their faces. The fear must have been immense.

Now look at the videos again. There in the middle of all the fear and terror with people running everywhere to get away from the sound of gunfire, you will see people in police uniforms running the opposite way, toward the gunfire. The fear and terror inside the police officer is no less than the fear and terror inside everyone else, yet they are driven to address the problem. They are either going to stop the violence or die trying.

That police officer I waved to at the community garden, the one that looked so sharp and I didn’t know her name, would place herself in harm’s way to protect me. I have no doubt at all that this is true.  It doesn’t matter that she didn’t know my name; the end result would be the same. She will not run away from trouble, ever. Even the worst of society’s criminals have a healthy respect for the abilities of the average police officer and rightly so.

So, in the end, my point is this: “On a normal day in Winters, California, a simple wave of respect is not enough.


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