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Police Stress takes a HOLIDAY?

by Hal Brown, LICSW,
Police stress therapist and police special officer.

That time of year again.

More drunks on the road. Back seats full of presents and you're hauling the loving parent  off to jail and trying to get a Protective Services worker out to the station to take two screaming toddlers off your hands.

You're trying to figure out how to work your shifts and still have time with the family. And then you find yourself begging some clerk for a Furbie at Toys Might Be Us when he reminds you that you arrested him for shoplifting last year.

While images of wives shot dead by irate spouses under festive Christmas trees dance in your head when you respond to "shots fired" at a residence.

Unwashed low-lives in crack houses are scoring rocks wrapped in red and green holiday foil, and puking on your boots, while Silent Night rings out of the ripped-off bomb.

You have to figure out how to cuff Santa in front of fifty kids and their parents because the jolly old gent groped a six year old.

Good Samaritans make headlines for things you do all year, like the mall Santa who gave mouth to mouth to an infant who was turning blue. The generous merchants chipped in to give him a $20 mall gift certificate - (which pretty much tells us how much a life is worth to them). And Samaritan Santa gets to appear on national television as a hero.

But on the other hand -

there's something incredibly tranquil about being the only one on the road at 3:00 AM on Christmas eve with the newly fallen snow hiding the usual grit and grime (sorry southern cops, your loss) - and not even the FCC or your chief cares when the dispatcher sends a few moments of God Rest Yea Merry Gentleman over the airwaves. You triple click your mike and so do a half dozen cops on your frequency, and you know you are part of something beyond words.