Although in one of my stories a long time ago I pointed out that a Chicago police officer and I had delighted in a beautiful sunset while standing next to each other on a packed el, I have written at length about bad experiences I have had with police officers. The truth is that I’ve had lots of positive experiences and good relationships with officers, particularly officers in the Evanston Police Department. But somehow the bad experiences override the good ones.

A woman (whom I shall call Penelope) recently told me a story about a positive experience she had with some Chicago police officers several years ago. It is not the first time Penelope related this story, but this time I decided to share it.

Penelope – who looks like a teenager – was looking for a certain CTA brown line (el) station. It was somewhat chilly outside and almost dark. She spied a couple of officers at the counter of a 7-eleven store and decided to ask them for directions. One of the officers told her that the station she wanted was temporarily closed but that she should wait for them to finish their purchases and they would direct her to the red line. She waited for them outside the door. When they came out, they gave her a cup of cocoa and told her to go with them; they were going to drive her to the red line.

When they arrived at the red line and Penelope was getting out of the squad car, one of the officers said: “Don’t talk to any strangers.” Penelope laughed when she repeated the warning the officer gave her. He had assumed she was a child. Kudos to these officers. I liked this story.

Penelope has an abiding faith in police officers even though she has witnessed some strange shenanigans by some of them (like the officers who were going to ticket a woman for being parked with “the passenger door open and a leg sticking out”). Penelope maintains that police officers are like any other group of humans: some good, some bad. Penelope is right. I have to keep reminding myself of this.

Although in one of my stories a long time ago I pointed out that a Chicago police officer and I had delighted in a beautiful sunset while standing next to each other on a packed el, I have written at length about bad experiences I have had with police officers. The truth is that I’ve had lots of positive experiences and good relationships with officers, particularly officers in the Evanston Police Department. But somehow the bad experiences override the good ones.