Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Geek Cops

Like most public libraries, we have a patron or two here that occasionally require more than just the help of librarians. Luckily, we're located right next door to the local police department, and we're in a town that has pretty low crime rate, so when we call for backup, as it were, we usually get help very quickly.

So today, I'm in the kids room, and I see one of our regular patrons involved in some sort of altercation with our pay phone. He's slamming the receiver repeatedly, and he's on "the list," (those individuals with whom we no longer engage in the dance of public service.) I call my supervisor, who comes up, assesses, and calls the police.

A few minutes later, I see the full force of our local police department in action. I'm watching through the panorama of windows in our kids room; it's like great television. First, from stage left, comes a cop in full gear, striding purposefully. He looks like he's ready to rumble. Then, following behind, like synchronized swimmers, two more police officers. I know they are police officers only because their polo shirts say "POLICE" in jaunty blue letters. They are in shorts. And they are RIDING SEGWAYS!! Rather than feeling relieved someone was here to handle the phone slammer, I had to laugh out loud at how silly they seemed.

They scooted around in peppy circles while waiting for the patron to finish his phone conversation. Was there anyone on the other end of that call? Hard to know.

I suppose, especially for here, it's good that our cops look more nerdy than threatening. I can see the advantages of it. But it's hard to imagine them segwaying down the road after someone who'd snatched a purse or something.

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