Briefings started at 2:00 PM. I got to sit with the officers while they discussed the shift that was just beginning. Among other things they were two cars short, so they had to find replacements at a sub-station in the city.

I rode for four hours with a police officer. He allowed me to stand nearby and listen in as he conducted business: a stolen purse, an illegal muffler, a report of some drug pushing, a stolen credit card, and a group of homeless guys near a city building. Because of a work conflict, I wasn’t able to ride at the most interesting time – night. The officer told me I could call him and ride again, this time at night.

I was impressed by the officer’s professionalism. He was always kind to the people he dealt with, even when he had good reason to suspect they up to no good. A homeless guy he had to frisk got a kind word and a bit of humor.

The police work very hard. The area we covered was huge. I really wondered how he kept from feeling completely overwhelmed by the scope of his work. I appreciated the officer’s sense of humor. I think it is part of what helped him to do his job in the right spirit.

I am gaining immense appreciation for the people in Merced and other cities who give sacrificial service to their fellow citizens. Often without thanks or awareness. And often in spite of thoughtless complaining.