BJ Schneider Bio
The author didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. He just new he wanted to serve. In the mid-1980’s he joined the army and became a helicopter crew chief. After the army he worked as a policeman and paramedic for over twenty years. Whether working a cop, an EMT, chief cook and bottle washer, safety manager or podcast host, he is always promoting his beloved city of New Orleans. His stories, sometimes humorous, sometime serious, are always poignant portraits of the Big Easy.
BJ Schneider currently lives in the New Orleans area with his family. As well as being an author, he is an instructor and public speaker in fields of emergency medicine and security. You can contact BJ at www.wordsoffthestreet.com
Being a young cop can be tough. I’m not talking about the long hours or the danger. I’m not even talking about stresses and emotional tolls. I’m talking about dealing with one’s own ego.
At twenty something years old, you’re full of testosterone, or as some would say, piss and vinegar. It can make you act, well, like an asshole. It’s hard to keep your ego in check especially after they strap a gun to your hip and pin a badge on your chest. You’re “shit hot” with a capital S. You’re the baddest of the bad and have no problem letting everyone know it.
These traits tend to show themselves on the job, especially during traffic stops. You have the feeling of power as you pull over John Q. Citizen for a traffic infraction. It is your world, and John Q is just passing through.
A speeding luxury car is spotted and pulled over. The two officers take their time making their approach. The passenger officer walks up to the area near the trunk and looks through the window. His job will be to cover his partner by listening and watching everything that happens.
The officer behind the wheel, let’s call him Officer Friendly, swaggers on up to the driver’s window and taps on the glass with the end of his flashlight.
Our driver powers down the glass. Looking as innocent as he can, he asks, “Yes, Officer?”
Here is where things got a little off track. Officer Friendly did not ask those immortal words all police officers know. “License, registration and proof of insurance please.” Instead, he said, “Let me see your pilot’s license, pops.”
Our driver does not argue. He doesn’t take offense to this verbal mistreatment. He simply pulls his license from his wallet and hands it to Officer Friendly.
Now here is the tricky part. Officer Friendly looks at the license and knows he has been had. His smart-ass bluff has been called.
Our driver has to be very careful not laugh. He can’t let on in any way that he is doing anything other than complying with the officer’s request.
Our young Officer (Not So) Friendly (Anymore) stares at the license. He is trying to decide how to save face when the passenger officer figures it out. It takes every bit of self-restraint his partner can muster not to slide down the fender of the violator’s car in a fit of laughter.
It is the moment of truth. Officer Friendly bites the inside of his cheek as he hands the pilot’s license back to the driver. “Slow it down a little. There are a lot of pedestrians out here,” he says as he backs sheepishly from the driver’s door.
Another lesson from the street. Always be careful what you ask for. You just might get it!