COPS: The Winter Carnival Edition

by Caleb Powers | 2/3/06 6:00am

One of my favorite TV shows is "COPS." As the inspiration for a decade's worth of reality TV moronic garbage, I suppose that deep down I hate it with all of my heart and blame it for the undoing of America. However, as quality entertainment, I find it second to none. Watching any given episode, you can expect a polite but hilarious exchange between citizen(s) and officer(s); a fast-paced, exciting, and decidedly impolite interaction; or field sobriety testing. Being a fan of humor, action and people nonchalantly leaning on old pick-up trucks, "COPS" is my perfect storm of entertainment. Consider a recent episode -- a "Guns and Drugs" edition -- that featured several typical examples of the polite exchanges of which I write.

Example 1: Officer to Idiot: "Horatio, son, next time you're in your car and an officer asks you for your driver's license, and you decide to hand him your entire wallet, you should probably take all of the heroin out of it first."

Example 2: Assaulter to Officer: "I guess you're right, sir. I should've reached for my phone and not for my shovel."

I myself recently had another one of these polite interactions, though not as funny. I was pulled over by the Hanover Police Department for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign upon my return home from Foodstop. To make matters worse, I didn't have my wallet on me, and therefore could provide registration but no license. To compound the situation, the passenger in my car was my Indian roommate, who I am pretty sure never bothered to get a student visa. I also have several unpaid parking tickets. It's always my plan to never pay any of them, but they always manage to get back to my parents, who are as displeased with the subsequent bill as I am. Who gives parking tickets at 1:10 a.m.? Hanover P.D., that's who, and I hate them with all of my heart for it.

Back to my story, though, where we get to the big twist: I got off with a warning. No ticket. Just a polite interaction with a friendly police officer, telling me to shape up. There was no reason to be upset. Except for, of course, the fact that it was the middle of the night, there were no cars around, and I was pulled over for stopping for one second instead of the requisite three (okay, it was a pseudo-stop. You do it, too). Up to now, my point may be elusive, so allow me to clarify: The most important word in "Hanover Police Department" is "Hanover."

(Before I continue, I need to say that I understand writing this article could be like putting a bullseye on me and my 2002 Infiniti QX4 with Illinois license plate 393-0067, but I think the risk is worth it.)

I can understand why somebody would want to become a police officer in a busy city where crime is a serious problem and there's always an adventure waiting for you. I can also understand why somebody would want to become a Safety and Security officer, a job where you can meet all kinds of people from all over the world and mess with the drunk ones. However, becoming an employee of the Hanover Police Department doesn't really have either of those draws. Instead, it seems like more of a "noble" job that people might just kind of fall into, like enlisting in the military, teaching primary education or working in private equity management.

So, it seems to me that the average Hanover police officer is bored pretty much all the time. That is, except for those giving parking tickets. They're probably too busy cackling (not laughing) as they follow me around town waiting for me to stop in the wrong place. Besides them, though, it's pretty much an empty set as far as constructive uses of your time go. That's why big party weekends like Winter Carnival can be exciting for them. Alums looking to "rage" like the good ol' days are everywhere. Students looking to "rage" like those same alums claim to have done are even more ubiquitous. Instead of pulling you over for having a faulty tail light, H-Po can come up to you as you walk home and ask you what's up, assuming that your response will be somewhere between slurred speech and vomit. This is a range of responses that cannot generally be considered advantageous when dealing with authority figures.

Considering all this, there are three rules you should remember as Winter Carnival festivities begin next Wednesday: First of all, be safe. Don't make your friends take care of you. They probably don't like you that much anyway and may just leave you to soil yourself on a couch at Chi Gam. Secondly, when you're walking home, avoid the places over which H-Po has jurisdiction as much as possible. Skipping/falling across the green can lead to an arrest, whereas skipping/falling home through Novack will just get you to Dick's House. I guess skipping/falling home should be avoided anywhere on campus, but sometimes you just get a hankerin' for some skippin', you know? I know you know. Third, and most important, have fun. Class is cancelled. If I see you studying in Novack at 1 a.m. on Friday night, I'm going to yell at you, or at least give you a stern look as I skip past you.

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