The adversarial relationship between the Black Community and citizens has been drilled into our heads by both fact and fiction. Yes, there are problems and issues that involved excessive force and provide a breeding ground for angst and anger.  At the same time recognizing when someone breaks into your home, takes something of value who are you gonna call? It’s not Ghost Busters!  You’re calling the Syracuse Police Department.

Very few people witness the SPD as they perform their duties which that at times forces split second decisions.  And we’ve grown familiar with adversarial relationships that are symptomatic of larger issues. This isn’t about the larger issues. This is about, who you call when there’s a law enforcement issue? At the end of the day, their individual response has a lasting image on those they interact with.

First of all there are two career paths that result in the most thankless positions in our society. Police Officers and Public School Teachers, they hold positions where the word “thankless” isn’t part of the job description. And these pillars of our society should be well equipped and compensated.

That being said, my story is about a good encounter with the Syracuse Police Department. It’s easy to criticize as the old adage goes, “any jackass can kick down a barn”.  But we rarely take time to simply say, “Thank you” to those who keep our city from unraveling into absolute chaos.

While paying the Spectrum Cable bill I took advantage of the free charging station in the customer waiting area. As I plugged in the phone, that little voice in my head said, “don’t forget your phone” and of course as I was called up to the CSR, I left my phone on the charger.

Once the bill was paid I remembered, “My phone!”  In a panic I searched for the IPhone, which by then had disappeared from the table where I foolishly left it. After what seemed like forever, I was able to convince Spectrum’s security to let me view the security tape so we can see what happened.

Viewing the digital recording, it was clear that shortly after I left the seating area to pay my bill, a woman sitting across from me proceeded to pick up my phone and secure it in her pocket. Once she grabbed the phone she stood next to me as I paid my bill. Then she exited the Spectrum payment center.

I then pleaded with security to call the Syracuse Police, which they did. Due to the crucial task of scheduling priority calls first, I was informed that there would be a wait.  I then drove home to activate my “Find My IPhone” app on my computer and IPad.

As I viewed the map, I saw nothing but one green light at my house, indicating there’s one Apple product at my location. But, no phone signal to activate the tracking feature. Then suddenly, a light turned green and beeped. The once obscure phone was able to send a signal indicating its location!

After notifying the Syracuse Police Department of the items location, I made a decision, “I’m going to get my phone”. I sped through Syracuse from the Far West end driving in what seemed like an erratic pattern, as I played the new Syracuse driving game, “dodge the pothole”

I arrived at the corner of Smith St. and Erie Boulevard east; as I parked I notice two police cars. As I drew closer to the corner I spotted the woman from the Spectrum Payment Center video siting in the back seat of a Police vehicle, and on the console was my IPhone.

This wasn’t a slam dunk; the police had to make sure I was identifying the right person. They were not going to willy-nilly arrest her, or give an appearance ticket just on a possible identification of a perpetrator. I had to be positive in my identification.

At that time it dawned on me; how many times do those in law enforcement have to track down people who have no regard for other people’s property? I can’t even conceive of trying to solve a murder or facing the myriad of challenges a Syracuse Police Officer faces every day on the job.

Perhaps, this is a long way of simply saying thank you to the Syracuse Police Department, something we don’t say enough. Thank You to those men and women in blue, who perform their jobs with integrity and purpose. It matters.