I'm a huge dog lover. Invite me over for brunch and I will play with your dog, not your toddler. I let my dog sleep next to me in bed, even if my Beyonce doesn't exactly love it. Person dies in a movie = sniffles. Dog dies in a movie = hysteria.
My friend Yvonne heads up the Minneapolis Police K-9 Foundation and mentioned they sometimes will set up ride alongs-- meaning you get to buzz around town with a Mpls cop and his/her dog.
Hmmm...Tell me more, Yvonne.
Apparently you sit shotgun (NEXT TO AN ACTUAL SHOTGUN! Seriously, where most cars have a cup holder, a cop car has a shotgun holder), tracking Minneapolis crime, sometimes speeding across the city at 120 mph in the pursuit of bad guys. And did I mention there is a four-legged trained assassin in the back seat? This sounds insane; sign me up!
I met Officer Fahey at the Mpls K-9 kennel on a sunny Friday afternoon. Super nice guy. He introduced me to a few of his fellow officers and gave me a quick tour of the place. Next, we headed out to his car to meet Dutch.
I've heard a few rumors about Dutch. High energy, hard working, and extremely protective of Fahey. He's a newbie to the program and came from the Netherlands or Germany or Austria or somewhere that produces fierce crime-fighting canines. I have this theory that all dogs have a sort of kindness toward women, but the second I approached the car and said, "Hiyeeee Dutchie!"... BAM! A ferocious erruption starlted me so much that I actually let out an embarrassingly Carrie Bradshaw-like scream. Dutch is an incredibly handsome doggy, but he would've thought nothing of tearing into my forearm had he felt I was a threat.
With Dutch in the back, Fahey & me up front, we headed out on the Minneapolis streets. Unlike regular patroll cars, K-9 units patroll the entire city. They're extremely useful when it comes to sniffing out bad guys. Tip: If you ever decide to break into someone's house and the cops come, they will warn you before they release the hounds. Just give yourself up right then and there. The dog will find you and you will regret it (see this video, *not from the Mpls PD, but still a good example*).
We drove around the town, chatting about restaurants (especially ones with good vegetarian food-- his wife is an herbavore), our families and jobs. An hour in, we were finally summoned to a creepy warehouse where some sort of motion sensor had been set off. Exciting! Once we arrived, Fahey & Dutch met up with two other officers and scoped the place out while I waited in the car. Fifteen minutes later, they returned. It was nothing.
The remainder of the shift was pretty uneventful, which made me both happy (I live in Minneapolis, so less crime is good, right?) and bummed (I wanted to see some action!). We stumbled upon AZ Canteen later that evening (my jefe's food truck) & ate some dinner-- which was awesome because A) great food and B) I tricked the staff into thinking they were getting a ticket. Bwahaha!
Although the ride along wasn't as scary as I'd anticipated, it was an amazing experience. I don't know about you, but in my life, cops rarely show up for good reasons. They're always trying to give me a speeding ticket or telling me to turn down the music or stop peeing in public. Experiencing things from their side was enlightening. These guys regularly put themselves into extremely dangerous situations. I can't even imagine showing up for a job like that every single day. I gotta hand it to his wife and young kids-- Dad works a lot of hours doing scary biz, and his canine partner comes home with him every night (he has a heated kennel in the garage). Not exactly your average family pet.
We returned to the station just as a shooting was reported near Lake Street and Hiawatha. It pains me to say this because I never, EVER want to hear someone was shot, but I couldn't help but think, "Come ON!" But the shift was over and it was time to go.
I never heard about the shooting on the news, which leads me to believe no one was killed... but it was certainly eye opening to learn about things happening in the city that just aren't making headlines. It's a scary world out there, people. But for this gal, the scariest it got that night was saying goodbye to Dutch. I approached him from the side and calmly pet the scruff of his neck. He barely noticed; my heart, on the other hand, almost exploded. Fahey said we should go again sometime, I readily agreed. Then, I got into my car and drove home.