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It’s a fact of life. When you become a police officer you can’t just punch out when that 5:00 whistle blows. It would be nice to escape The Job. To be able to switch into “condition white” and experience life as an oblivious civilian. But once you become attuned to your environment, seeing it with a cop’s eyes, crime is everywhere. Rarely does it give you time off . . .

I read an article from the Chicago Tribune about an off duty officer driving an unmarked but lights flashing vehicle. He stopped to investigate what he thought was a traffic accident. He tried to make contact with the occupants of one of the damaged cars from inside his own vehicle.

Someone standing outside one of the cars involved shouted at the off-duty officer. He forced himself into the cop’s car. A struggle ensued. Ultimately, the off-duty officer shot him. The subject was not critically injured.

Road rage incidents are rare but they’re extremely dangerous for everyone involved. Acts like this happen to law-abiding citizens, too (obviously). If this whacko charges an off-duty cop in an unmarked police car equipped with emergency lights how safe are you? More safe than I am.

You can drive away from a road rage incident; either before, during or after the fact (not forgetting to phone 911 ASAP). I can’t. As a police officer I’m always on duty, in “police mode.” Sure, some of my colleagues would drive away. But most wouldn’t and I can’t. Not me.

It drives my wife crazy. But they’re out there. People so blinded by rage or confused by drugs (most likely both at the same time) that they don’t know or care with whom they’re dealing. In this case, the perp is lucky to be alive. And the off-duty cop? He’s lucky he was never “off-duty” to begin with.

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  1. Chris, I usually don’t have a lot of good things to say about cops. I guess that comes from thirty years of being a lawyer and seeing what bad things bad cops can do. But I really enjoy and appreciate you sharing a perspective with us that we might never otherwise see.

    Grazie mille.


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