Red pencil on desk.

Okay, Who Wrote the Police Policies and Procedures Guide?

Thank you all for coming today. I appreciate you all making time for this important meeting. I know you’re anxious to return to your beat and tackle the paperwork for the latest perp you picked up. Just kidding! We all hate that paperwork, right? Look at Ralph there—he’s not even laughing! Anyway, I’ll keep this short and simple. We just want to know one thing. Who wrote the police department’s policies and procedures manual?

Dan, was that you?

No, okay. I thought it might have been you, because everyone knows you’re a good writer. Your reports are like mystery novels. Have you ever thought of writing a book? You’ve basically got a lot of good material written already. You’d just need to change the names, dates, locations, events, and writing style, and add more backstory. It’s all there! Oh, and it’d need to go through the public relations department, who will transform all the sentences into responsibility-obfuscating passive voice.

Okay, back to business. Rob, did you have a hand in crafting our policies? I recall you serving on a commission at some point. Oh, that was to revamp our preschool curriculum. I remember now—you guys did a bang-up job. I think it was smart to drop the demonstration of how to take down a crazed crackhead. The kids liked the fact that they got to vote for a volunteer, but the preschool teachers were really causing us some headaches in the media, what with their cellphone videos of crying schoolchildren and all.

Now, I know at least some of you must have been involved in determining the procedures we follow. Who here has at least read the manual? Jeanine, you like to read magazines. Did you accidentally pick up the manual and start reading it one day? Can you tell us when we’re not supposed to riddle unarmed black people with bullets? No? Well, worth a shot. Ouch, sorry about the pun there.

Well, until we get to the bottom of this, we’re going to face some scrutiny from the public, who seems to think we overreact to their general misbehavior and shouldn’t be roughly arresting them for committing misdemeanors in response to our harassment, throwing them on the ground for resisting arrest for their misdemeanors, pushing them into suicidal depression while being isolated in jail for their multiple counts of resisting arrest, and sometimes arresting kids or shooting people in the back for no good reason at all. I’m afraid there’s already pressure to make us turn on the body cams that we’ve been wearing. Stop groaning! I’m sure there’s a button or something easy we just have to push, if someone can find the operating instructions.

In the meantime, let’s just try to do our best. Our official department response to possible violations of our procedures will continue to be the following: We know there are some bad apples on our force, so someone should really find that apple tree.

Well, I suppose there’s nothing to do now. I’ll liaison with the neighboring precincts and we’ll find out who knows anything about our policies and how to reform them. I’ll need some of the detectives’ help, though. John, you’re our best investigator. Can you check to see if there’s a name on the manual? And can you find a copy of the manual? No one seems to know where one is. You might check with the police academy. Or the departmental bookshelf—I think someone put that in an evidence locker. Rich, was that you?

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