It’s Hard to Count What Didn’t Happen in Police Work

My wife is a retired firefighter. So, with me being a retired cop, you can imagine the supper table “war stories” we’ve told over the years. Add to that her father was a cop in Massachusetts for 36 years, and you realize she’s spent a lifetime immersed in public safety. But though we have a common reference base there are still aspects that illustrate differences in quantifying what police officers and firefighters do. And, speaking of the latter (not to be mistaken with ladder), my wife is fond of telling me firefighters are better-known as “heroes.”

While our respective professions’ commitments to public safety are alike, such as is conferred with the terms New York’s Finest (NYPD) and New York’s Bravest (FDNY), there are practical differences. One difference is a record-keeping distinction that can make it difficult to quantify all of the benefits to society of the police officer: it involves counting. Something, as an English major, I tend to avoid—unless I’m counting on my bartender to bring me another pint.