After an arduous meeting with the local Alderman and his political cronies, the District Commander instructed me to furnish the beat officers with a cell phone provided by the Alderman’s office. Now the Alderman’s constituents could call the beat officers directly for issues pertaining to their neighborhood. They no longer had to go through the normal procedure of calling 911 and speaking to a police dispatcher. I realized that tying a beat car down to the every whim and fancy of the proverbial crazy lady in the neighborhood would completely remove those officers from any real police work. Begrudgingly, I handed the cell phone to beat officer, Curt. I instructed him, per orders from the District Commander, that he respond to the needs of the citizens on the beat. When the tour of duty was over he was to pass the cell phone on to the next crew with the same instructions.
A week went by and I followed up on the progress being made with the new procedure. The cell phone was missing. Officer Curt and his partner searched the squad car to no avail, the phone was missing. I submitted a short report and it was quickly forgotten.
A few days later, after a particularly warm evening, we all stopped at the local watering hole for a cold beer. The subject of the cell phone came up. Officer Curt smiled and informed me that immediately after receiving the cell phone the night of the meeting, he drove directly to the river and threw it in. He didn’t think it was a good idea for a beat car to by-pass the 911 dispatcher and be at the beckoned call of civilians, so he took it upon himself to correct the situation. I smiled and congratulated him on his resourcefulness.