Self-respect offended in

run-ins with police officers

To the editor:

I’ll be 87 soon, and I confess to having two faults that are known to most who know me. First, I am short-tempered when it comes to certain misunderstandings, and second, I make typing mistakes.

The latter is not entirely attributable to old age, but to having been trained to type on an upright typewriter, having mastered the placement of my fingers on the keyboard.

Since the innovation of the electronic machines, my left hand knows its place and those fingers hardly ever miss the correct key. But the right-hand fingers move erratically due to the appended keys, so that the misplaced return of the right fingers causes all those frustrating errors and necessitates correcting them.

What’s true of my fingers is also true of my attitude in mystifying circumstances.

As a former school principal who has dealt with students and a bit of murder and mayhem, I consider myself in good standing with the police.

However, in two instances in town, I’ve had a run-in with two police officers.

The first instance was a car accident on the property of a gas station where I had purchased a tank of propane. I took responsibility and the owner called the police. OK. I asked if the owner and the officer knew each other. My mistake. The officer took offense. Consequently, the officer followed me to my residence, got out of his car and approached me. He had, as yet, to speak when his phone rang, which he answered, and then turned, walked away and drove off.

Recently, I went to the police station with a bag of meds. I entered the lobby looking for the disposal box which used to be in the lobby.

I turned to the darkened, glassed-in “reception desk,” saw a finger pointing, looked around some more, went out into the outer lobby, found the cleverly disguised receptacle, having thought it was of another kind.

I returned to the desk officer, who had been sitting in a darkened corner. I never clearly saw his face. I was angry that he had not risen from his position to attend the desk. He may have felt that he had done his duty. I happened to disagree.

We had a heated exchange. I asked to see the chief, the lieutenant. I was told that neither was available. I said that I would wait.

Subsequently, a sergeant came out, approached me. We had a chit-chat. I vented. The officer was reasonable. I left.

In both cases, I believe, my self-respect was offended as much as officers thought theirs was, and, in my view, the good name of the department takes the hits as much as I do mine.

At my age, I’ve become the child, while the officer is the adult. I’m clearly not ready to accept that.

Gerard Coulombe