Thursday, January 06, 2011

IMPD: Not Always In Trouble

While Tam and I -- not to mention the local media -- have made much of the very public failings and foibles of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, both as an institution and individual officers, the many good things done by the majority of local police who show up every day clean, sober and honest tend to pass by unremarked.

Nor is all of that work much like what television and newspapers might lead you to expect. For instance, my commute to and from the Skunk Works take me through a hardscrabble neighborhood on the near Northside and both Monday and Tuesday night, as I approached the light at College and Fairview Ave.,* I saw the red/blue lights of Indy's Finest, parked in the Southbound lane. Waiting at the stoplight each night, I saw an officer wrestling a manhole cover back into position! Tuesday night, a female officer about my size was struggling with the thing and as the light changed, a citizen was approaching at a jog, clearly intent on helping.

Last night, one of the utilities or maybe the street department was busy replacing the entire assembly.

Think of it. There's no excitement to it, no recognition in the offing. It's hard, dangerous work; the manhole in question is well out in the intersection and even a police car all lit up is only a shield in one direction. I suppose there's self-interest in putting the cover back, since the first time someone drops a wheel in that opening, it's almost certainly going to end in a 911 call, but avoiding the bother is hardly worth the effort involved in manhandling a heavy hunk of steel the care and feeding of which the city has a whole other department for. Nope, those IMPD officers were out there clearing the road 'cos that is what they do. It's hard, dirty and dangerous and they show up and do it every day.

It makes me even more annoyed at the halfwits that give their department a bad name. The good guys deserve some recognition, more than they get.
* More than a lifetime ago, my maternal grandfather had an office in the building on the Southeast corner of that intersection; he did time and motion studies for industry. Back then, there was a drugstore with a soda fountain on the Southwest corner, where his son and daughters could do time and motion studies of various ice cream-based treats. Just a vacant lot there now. I'm not sure if that neighborhood is on the way up or down right now, but it hasn't given up yet.


Anonymous said...

They do indeed deserve recognition for the often-mundane, sometimes-very-dangerous, unlauded work they do. My hat's off to all good LEOs.
FWIW, last year I wrestled a manhole cover back into position on the street where I work--while walking on a cane, with a leg held together with stainless steel. I just couldn't see troubling a cop with it.

Chuck Pergiel said...

What's the deal with all these manhole covers jumping out of their places? I smell a conspiracy! First it's Indianapolis, then it's Tennessee. When will it stop?

Montie said...


I am pleased to see a positive post on the popo (understandably hard to come up with in Indy).


Perhaps Indy is experiencing the same problems that we are here in Tulsa:

Fortunately, the Sheriff's Office arrested two major players in our manhole cover / storm drain grate thefts trying to sell them at a salvage out in the county, but I suspect there are others doing the same.

Often, if they have muscled the cover out of place but are interrupted before loading them up, they'll abandon them on the spot.

Oh and I might add, they are damned heavy and hard to put back alone and yes doing that in a busy intersection, one does feel quite exposed with only your car and its lights as your shield.