I hit the ground running when I got back to DC and was back in Baltimore on Monday. It was my first time back since the riots and I saw the mall and burned out stores, but none of the crowds or hostilities that we all saw on TV. I think the people are ready to work on things and make Baltimore the great community that is should be.
It was Police Week in DC and there were officers from all over the world coming in to celebrate and honor those who have fallen in the line of duty. One of the first big events is the arrival of hundreds of officers who rode in the "unity ride" . Officer Alarcon from Gardena PD was riding in it and had nobody to meet him. I left the office and took the train over to the National Police Memorial to cheer him on when he arrived. There were hundreds of families , kids holding up signs and everyone cheering each other on as the riders arrived from a journey of several hundred miles. I high-fived some riders and clapped until my hands hurt, all the while feeling so out of place sweating in my dark grey suit. Raul arrived and greeted me with a big sweaty hug. He said he rode alone at first, but this job is about brother and sisterhood, so the guys from Oregon adopted him and he rode with them to which he was grateful . It's an amazing site to see and I am glad I came down to greet them.
The Candlelight vigil was next with what must have been 10,000 plus officers in attendance, from all over the world, all wearing uniforms of various colors and representing those nations. I saw a large formation of officers in white shirts and asked them where they were from. Aruba they said! So funny because many many years ago Detective Chaffin and I vacationed in Aruba with our families and visited the Aruba police academy!
The memorial service at the capitol building is always a huge deal, this year President Obama was set to speak . I worked the event welcoming officers in the crowd and getting to know some people, in turn letting them know what the Office of Community Policing (COPS) is and what we do. The English "Bobbies" were a huge hit as always , dressed in those neat uniforms and helmets. I spoke with a few and they ended up being friends with Lt Siobhan Eliot from the London Metropolitan Police . She is a good friend to all of us at Hawthorne Police and showed myself and a few HPD Officers aronnd London during our visit,
I am currently in Bangor Maine waiting to teach Coffee with a Cop at the Brewer Maine Police Dept. I could not fly home to L.A. and then fly to Maine the next day since that's about 9000 miles. I decided to just go from DC and make the best of it. I rented a car and drove to Bar Harbor Maine with the mission of eating as many lobsters as I could. Maine is beautiful and the 90 mile drive from my hotel was scenic and peaceful . I was determined to eat a real lobster roll, not some tourist version so I wanted a "shack" . Well I found one I found a lobster shack in Trenton Maine on the side of the road and went for it. OMG the lobster roll was delicious! I have had them in L.A., but its not the same I guess. I think it would be like getting Mexican food in Maine...yea, its "Mexican food"....but we all know, it's not "really" Mexican food...
Full from my lobster roll I drove into Bar Harbor and drove through Acadia National Park. The leaves were so pretty and there was a chill in the air, it also smelled much saltier then the beach at home. Also Maine does not have sand beaches like we do...its all rocky, but really neat. I took some great photos which I will post and enjoyed the day before heading back to my lonely airport hotel. I miss everyone at home a lot, but I am proud of the fact that Hawthorne PD is able to make such a huge impact around the country with Coffee with a Cop. I think I am safe in saying it is now the largest, most successful community policing program in the WORLD.
Well everyone, I hope you are enjoying following my adventures...its been fun taking the pics and sharing them you all!
Sgt Chris Cognac