The Cop Column
December 2008
Sgt. Rick Hord
Okaloosa County Sheriffís Office

A Copís Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

            This year, could you help me get rid of bad days at work? That may sound selfish, but  when I have a bad day, itís almost always because someone else is having a worse day. If you could pack your sack of goodies with a few things, I wouldnít have very many bad days. Here are a few ideas:

            For every new camera, i-pod, GPS, and other small valuable: could you include a note pad? That might help the new owner to write down the serial number and save it in a safe place.  For jewelry or other valuables that donít have serial numbers, maybe you could leave a note suggesting the new owner take a few good close up photographs. Sadly, some of these nice items will get lost or stolen. When I try to find stolen property, serial numbers and photographs sure help.

            For kids and adults getting bicycles: could you remind them to ride on the right side of the road, with the flow of traffic? Quite a few people ride facing oncoming traffic, unaware thatís the number one cause of bicycle-versus-car crashes. A new bicycle is an excellent opportunity to teach youngsters about traffic laws, such as stopping at stop signs. When I stop a kid or a  grownup who just pedaled right through stop sign without so much as slowing down, theyíre usually astonished to learn they should have stopped.

            For parents: Could you introduce all the parents to the parents of their childís friends, and then make sure they stay in touch with each other?  I canít tell you how many bad days could have been avoided if the parents communicated and conspired with each other half as much as their kids do.  I see kids every day heading straight for trouble, while the parents remain clueless.

            For people who drive a car: could you remind them to be alert for emergency vehicles with flashing lights? Youíd be surprised how many drivers donít see me at all when Iím coming down the road on an emergency call. An even bigger concern is the number of drivers who keep cruising on down the road without slowing down or moving to the other lane when Iím stopped by the side of the road. Thatís not only a safe and prudent thing to do, but itís the law in Florida: move out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, or slow to 20 miles per hour less than the speed limit. 

            For everybody: Could you remind them of some one simple thing their parents taught them: count slowly to ten before saying or doing anything when theyíre angry. If parents arenít teaching that lesson any more, they should. Any time someone acts impulsively out of anger, several people are likely to have a bad day.

            Thank you, Santa. I know my suggestions are nothing new for you; youíve always done your best to spread cheer and goodwill.

            Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!