Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fort McHenry: Calm Before the Storm

               This week I have been shadowing officers on the prowl. We surveyed fort McHenry by foot, bike and vehicle and I witnessed traffic stops. I’ve adapted to the “routine” day; this means I’m aware that I’ll never know exactly how the day with unravel, no matter what is planned. There’s always someone I haven’t met, or something I haven’t done or learned.

                For example, yesterday I learned about diplomatic immunity. While one of the Rangers was checking for expired registration, he pointed out a license plate with the word “DIPLOMAT” printed across the top and began to explain that diplomats from other countries have immunities that exempt them from lawsuits or prosecution from the host country they visit. US diplomats also receive special privileges in other countries that cooperate with international law.

Not 30 minutes later I was radioed to respond to a MVC in the front parking lot. When I arrived, I was addressed by Ranger Rick with a stern look who said, inaudibly to the people in the collision, “Go over there and tell Bill that it’s a diplomat…”. It was a minor collision with no injuries and minimal damage, but addressing a MVC with a diplomat has a more complex process of guidelines than those of your average fender-bender.

                 After speaking to Bill, I photographed the collision for an incident report and noted to myself how coincidental the timing of the collision was, after just having spoken about “if that guy were to get into an accident…”

                Today was an initiation into the other jobs that Rangers have: the jobs that people don’t write books like Ranger Confidential or Blood Lessons about. Today I’ve typed away in the administrative office, changed broken locks, made maintenance inspections on government vehicles (in excellent condition), and assisted with yesterday’s incident report.   These are quieter tasks than training and patrolling but are still necessary to the function of the division.
                All FOMC staff know that this week is just the calm before the storm that is the “Star-Spangled Sailabration.” Next week, as boats arrive and the Blue Angels practice and perform, visitors and staff will navigate around thousands of people, hundreds of buses, and closed roads. I hope for the best and (with ICS, NEMA, EMS training and the nature of law enforcement) am prepared for the worst. I look forward to seeing many of you next weekend!

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