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by Peter Moskos

October 2, 2014

Everywhere signs

The eighth in a series from Sgt. Adam Plantinga's excellent 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman:
Police stations are papered in signs. Some offer guidance, like the one that says: In the absence of detailed instruction, please do the right thing. Others suggest a certain approach to life like the large No Sniveling placard. There are signs for district BBQs. Someone always seems to be selling a gun or a boat. Cops advertise their side jobs out to other cops—services in home remodeling, mortgage services, and party planning. The police assembly bears a large communicable disease chart to remind you what’s out there, a chart which includes tuberculosis and antibiotic-resistant staph infections as well as more exotic maladies, like Lyme Disease, pinworms, and whooping cough. The chart kindly reminds you that Hepatitis can last up to seven days outside the body. There are so many contagious diseases that can be passed from prisoner to officer that it makes you wonder why anyone in law enforcement bothers to come into work at all.
My favorite sign, as I've said before, was the one that said: "Unlike the citizens of the Eastern District, you are required to work for your government check."

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