On the local beat...Baltimore County Police arrested a guy who was hanging around a 7-11 Store (for our far-flung readers, this is locally pronounced "Sem-Elem") and claiming to be a police officer. He had all the regalia - polo shirt with POLICE in big letters on the back, badge on a chain 'round the neck...air gun..
Air gun? Gives it away. That won't be enough on the streets. A fleeing felon will keep right on a-fleein' if the only thing he has to fear is a ping-pong ball popping on the back of his head.
But I'm not making light of this, because beyond making Halloween an everyday holiday to parade around in his get-up, this guy was making fake traffic stops on real cars, the police say. Not good. Let's have a trial, and get him off the street if he's guilty.
I can almost hear his defense atty. now. "Your honor, my client has a long-standing interest in law enforcement, and when the chance to purchase a silver Chevrolet Impala and some used police equipment and clothing presented itself, he availed himself of the opportunity to augment the sworn forces of the County Police in his efforts to bring crime to a standstill."
What he WON'T say: "Your honor, my client is a kind of a schlub who's never quite gotten out of the starting gates in life. Rather than achieve anything on his own, he decided it would be faster, and certainly easier, to just dress like people who had achieved a certain status. Also, free donuts, ya know?"
Of course, it all might just be a merry mixup. Only the judge can say the guy is guilty. But I can tell you about another person I ran across (not quite literally) who decided to play cop.
It was Saturday, September 7. It was warm in Baltimore. We were working the day watch out of Retirement Squad. The boss is Peggy Clark. My name's Mark. Shortly after 1 pm, we left the house to go to the annual Parkville Towne Fair near our little neighborhood. It was the usual street fair: booths for arts and crafts, churches, retirement homes, roofers, window installers, high school alumni associations, beer garden...you know the set-up. We were en route to park where I always park for this gala celebration: the parking lot behind the physical therapy office where I always wind up after a doctor visit. We were driving down Linwood Avenue to get there, and an old dude was walking down the middle of that street, waving his hands to me, indicating that I should drive no further.
OK. So I'm trying to dodge Father Time, as well as a Hyundai, because there is not enough space for all of us on the street. It would be great if he would step on the sidewalk and let me continue, but he is determined not to let me proceed, until I keep proceeding, as does the Hyundai. I guess he figured that I didn't realize that a police car was blocking the intersection at Harford Rd, but he really enjoyed the few moments he got to spend trying to tell me how and where to drive.
I bet later he went home and set up a chart for who got to park in his driveway next week.