Your gun. Your badge.

I want to be a cop so badly, but only so I can break the rules. Nothing crazy, maybe I’d be just a little too overzealous, maybe I’d get to the point where I’d have pissed off one too many of my superiors in an effort to cleanse the city of crime. Crime, justice, yeah, yeah, big words, I know. Really I just want to be a cop so I can eventually get to that point where I’m in my captain’s office and he’s chewing me out for my gung-ho attitude or my devil-may-care lack of respect for protocol. And I’ll say, “But captain!” and I’ll throw my hands in the air, “You don’t understand!” and the captain will just shake his head and say, “Sorry Rob. I need your gun and your badge.” And that’s why I want to be a cop. I really want to see if, with enough reckless behavior, your captain will actually call you into his office and demand your gun and your badge. Just like on TV. That would be so awesome.

I’d try to act all disappointed, like, “come on captain, you can’t do this to me!” but I’d really just be trying not to smile, because I wouldn’t be able to believe that this is actually happening, that police captains actually say that in real life. How did it make such a seamless transition from reality to the screen? Maybe after one too many warnings, a certain officer back in the day is getting reamed out by his captain, and he’s thinking to himself, alright, I’ll just take my lumps and get back to work, when all of the sudden the captain says, “Sorry, but I need your gun and your badge,” but this would have been before it had ever made it to TV, so this cop would have been caught totally off guard. “What do you mean you need my gun and my badge? Don’t you have your own?” and the captain would have had to say to the cop, “Do I really have to spell it out for you?” So the cop hands them over like he’s told, but then he just stands there for a second, even more confused, and the captain finally looks up and says, “What?” and the cop says, “Can I have them back? Are you done looking at them?” And the captain says, “Jesus, I really do have to spell it out for you. You’re done! Off the force! Take a hike!” So that cop gets so depressed, because he never saw it coming, it’s not on any of the cop shows yet. So he goes to nearby cop bar, but he’s not a cop anymore, so he feels like a fraud. He goes home to get wrecked by himself, but he has a revelation and decides to use his own personal turmoil and turn it into creative energy. So he starts writing cop shows, all different types of cop shows. And in every single cop show, the cop takes things a step too far and has to go in for a meeting with the captain. And every time, every show, he writes the same thing, “Your gun and your badge.” And now when cops screw up, they at least have a better idea of what’s coming.

But if I ever get called into the captain’s office, I’ll make sure that I forget either my gun or my badge somewhere back home. So, when asked, I’ll just say, “OK captain, here’s my badge, but I lost my gun. I have no idea where it is. Sorry. I meant to tell you earlier, but I was afraid I was going to get in trouble.” And the captain will be so pissed off, but what is he going to do, fire me again? I’m sure there will be some extra paperwork to fill out, but at least I won’t lose my gun. And that’s when, in TV anyway, and I’m assuming in real life also, because the stuff on TV has to come from somewhere, things always start heading in the right direction. Finally unburdened by the limits of policeman bureaucracy, a former cop is free to finish the case that got him kicked off the force in the first place. And after I prove everyone wrong, I’ll be welcomed back to the precinct with my old job, and a promotion, and brand new badge and gun. So now I’ll have two guns.

It must be the greatest day of an officer’s life when he or she gets elevated to the rank of captain. Is there a captain’s training program? At what point do these new captains get filled in on the essentials of the whole “I need your gun and your badge” protocol? It can’t be as simple as just calling someone into your office. If I were a captain, I would have to be physically restrained from exercising this power on a daily basis. My whole precinct would be out of cops after maybe a month. And I’d keep sending requests to the commissioner, calling him up, “Hey commish! I’m telling you I need more cops! Send them over quick!” And maybe the commissioner would send a couple more cops, but after a while he’d get pretty suspicious. There would be a knock at my door. Thinking it would be the new cops the commissioner sent over, I’d stand there with my hand out, ready to immediately ask one of them for their badge and gun, you know, to set an example for the other new cops. But these wouldn’t be cops, they’d be from Internal Affairs. They’d be asking me why I’m firing so many cops. I’d be surprised and wouldn’t know how to respond. My answers would contradict each other. Finally they’d remove me from the building and start searching my office. And they’d look in my desk. They’d open the drawers. They’d look in the closet. And they’d find gun after gun after gun and badge after badge after badge.