Monday, April 28, 2014

Rick Ander­son: From Horseback to Helicopter

During a long career as a cop I conducted patrols from horseback, bike, boat, and car. I also did foot patrols and even walked a barefoot beat, wearing only shorts, T-shirt and concealed pistol, while guarding a beach in a resort town plagued by a rapist running rampant. I learned a lot, was exposed to greater and wider degrees of humanity, and loved it all. But of all the modes in making a go of it, my favorite method was by helicopter.

I patrolled by car my first few years as a Maryland State Police trooper. One minute I’d be dealing with a speeding motorist, the next saw me en route to a homicide. In between I investigated major burglaries and petty thefts, intervened during domestic disputes and broke up bar fights. There were a few undercover assignments along the way, and of course the boredom of working graves on frigid Fridays in mid-February. But when my long-awaited transfer to the  Aviation Division was accepted, I felt mixed emotions. While I loved the interactions that come from performing patrol activities, Aviation promised new opportunities and challenges. And although the change was bittersweet, once I made that leap from car to helicopter, there was no looking down . . . I mean, back.

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