Phoenix Buries Another Cop:
Here’s What Cops Really Are…

 By Jim Berlin 

My Phoenix PD buried another brother yesterday, Dave Glasser, shot in the line of duty. Four thousand citizens and officers from as far as Colorado and Illinois came to salute his sacrifice.

A beautiful young wife widowed, two little kids left without a dad – killed by garbage disguised as a human. Garbage sent to hell on the spot by other officers.

When you mention cops most folks recall a ticket they got that was, of course, never deserved. Believe me: real cops in big cities have neither the time or desire to write traffic citations.

They spend their tour of duty “chasing the radio” – racing from one criminal call to the next. On weekends in the precinct Glasser served (400,000 residents) it wasn’t uncommon to have 50 priority calls waiting when they hit the street. I know…because I ran that very precinct 40 hours a week for six years as a night shift lieutenant. It was the busiest shift in the busiest precinct in Phoenix–America’s sixth largest city.

I spent the first 35 years of my life not really knowing what cops are about. After college and  the Marines I dove into the heady worlds of journalism and advertising. Both pursuits were staffed with clever, intelligent people – folks I considered the Crème de la crème. But as Elton John sang in “Border Song” – Holy Moses, I had been deceived.

When I took my place in the The Thin Blue Line I discovered cops to be the wittiest, brightest  and most clever beings I’d yet encountered. A shiny cross-section of warriors, adventure-seekers, humanitarians and Mother Teresas with daggers beneath their habits. Partners I remember…

Patti, a 120-pound woman I never worried about once the fight was on. She turned into a crazy saber-toothed cat.

Jimmy, a black dude offered major-university scholarships in football and baseball, who would have taken a bullet for me. And I for him.

Anonymous, the funniest guy I ever met…who once dramatically raised his hands during a vicious multi-family fight and demanded silence: “I need to use your bathroom!” he shouted. The combatants waited in silence until he reappeared three minutes later and proudly announced: “I just dumped the Father of all Turds in your toilet. Do you have a plunger?”

That was the end of the family fight.

Big-city street cops…God, I loved them so.  And so did Dave Glasser. I’ll see you at the next call, Brother.