“A policeman is a composite of what all men are, I guess, a mingling of saint and sinner, dust and deity. What that really means is that they are exceptional, they are unusual. They are not commonplace. Buried under the froth is the fact, the fact is that less than one half of one percent of policeman misfit that uniform, and that is a better average than you’d find among clergymen.
“What is a policeman? “He of all men is at once the most needed, and the most wanted, a strangely nameless creature who is sir to his face and pig or worse behind his back. He must be such a diplomat that he can settle differences between individuals so that each will think he won, but, if a policeman is neat, he’s conceited, if he’s careless he’s a bum, if he’s pleasant, he’s a flirt, if he’s not, he’s a grouch.
“He must make instant decisions that would require months for a lawyer but if he hurries he’s careless, if he’s deliberate, he’s lazy. He must be first to an accident, infallible with diagnoses. He must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and above all, be sure the victim goes home without a limp.
“The police officer must know every gun, draw on the run and hit where it doesn’t hurt. “He must be able to whip two men twice his size and half his age without damaging his uniform, and without being brutal. If you hit him he’s a coward, if he hits you, he’s a bully.
The policeman from a single human hair must be able to describe the crime, the weapon the criminal, and tell you where the criminal is hiding but, if he catches the criminal he’s lucky, if he doesn’t he’s a dunce. “He runs files and writes
reports until his eyes ache to build a case against some felon who will get
dealt out by some shameless shamus. The policeman must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy, and a gentleman. And of course, he’ll have to be a genius, because he’ll have to feed a family on a policeman’s salary.”