Friday, June 3, 2011

Pack Rat

The annual retirees' luncheon at LPD was hosted yesterday by the department's current management staff.  The turnout was great, with over 60 in attendance.  I enjoyed hobnobbing with some of my former colleagues and supervisors from the mist, all of whom are much smarter today then they were back then--just like your mom and dad get a lot smarter when you have kids of your own.

I was among the attendees with a speaking role, and I told them about my new job, and briefed them on an innovative technology we have created and are now testing at LPD.  Many of them remember Lincoln's last stretch with a public safety director, from 1954 to 1970, and they all remember the pre-technology days of onion skin, carbon paper, staple-pulling, and a file cabinet full of mug shots in Records. They are pretty amazed at what's at an officer's fingertips today.

Among those in attendance was the Grand Forks, ND police chief, John Packett, who was a lieutenant at LPD when he left in the mid-1980's for an interesting succession of management jobs before landing in Grand Forks.  I hadn't seen him in years.  Back during his LPD days, he was the sergeant of my motorcycle squad, and the guy who taught me to ride an Electra Glide. I'd never ridden a motorcycle of any kind before, but I drove a yellow '71 VW, and familiarity with a stick shift was apparently sufficient to mark me as a pre-qualified candidate.  "Same thing," he told me, "except the clutch and shifter are in a different place." I promptly crashed into a fence on the maiden run down the empty midway at the State Fairgrounds.

Sgt. Packett's squad, of course, referred to itself as the Six Pack, and we all had nicknames: Pack Rat, Danko, Butch, Furb, Din-Din, Frenchie. Back then, everyone had a nickname, and fifteen tickets for the shift was considered a reasonable "goal."


Anonymous said...

Check this out

Eric said...

Why does it seem like the nickname "Flounder" (Animal House) is missing from that Six Pack???

I know the city has limited resources, but is there a time in the future where we can see more motorcycle cops than the city already has out on the streets? Cruisers are so easy to spot for anyone wanting to break traffic laws (reassured not me)... I can guarantee 'ya 100 to 1 that the motorcycles are much more effective. Any chances that we will see more of them?

Anonymous said...

I like the new blog title, Chief! I know it's early into the new position but how are you doing?

Anonymous said...

As part of your instructions when learning to ride that Electra Glide did they teach that a complete stop could be made without putting your feet down? I had to demonstrate that ability to one of your motor officers to avoid a ticket in about 1969. I might be able to do it without falling on my butt now but I wouldn't want to bet on it LOL..

Gun Nut

Tom Casady said...

Gun nut-

You bet, that was indeed part of Sgt. Packett's training. First time I tried it in the real world, I fell over at 56th and South Streets, just like that tricycle skit on Laugh-In.


Okay. It's an adjustment, but I'm excited.


Hard to say, but Nebraska weather is always a bit of a limiting factor.

Anonymous said...

Tom-I fell over on my Harley in the parking lot next to McDonalds at 53-O while watching a guy doing a burnout in a '69 Road Runner on "O" Street. I was trapped and had to have a couple kids from McD's lift the bike off my foot. My first reaction was I wanted to shoot myself or chew my leg off and leave before Sgt. Frakes got there to check out my broken mirror. As I recall I got a pink slip and had to walk the beat for a couple of days.

The worst part other than the embarassment was that I didn't get to write the RR pilot a ticket.

By the way, I think my motor squad was the "Magnificent Seven". And I've got the ring to prove how cool we were.


Anonymous said...

Is there anything more embarrassing than than laying your bike down at a slow speed or standing still? It always seems to happen to me when there are ladies around I would like to impress. I have never injured anything but my pride but that has been dented several times.

Done in once by a pothole next to a sexy young lady and my foot doesn't reach the bottom before I am down. Almost identical situation caused by a boot lace hooking over my shift lever at a red light. Another time I forgot to take off my disc brake lock when pulling out into street at 12th & "O". I guess in fifty years of riding I am lucky to have survived.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Gun Nut-Here's a more recent one. I teach motorcycle safety at the local H-D dealer. I had 12 beginning riders and the other Instructor standing around watching as I gave them a demo ride to show how it's supposed to be done. I stopped, hopped off the bike and walked away without putting down the sidestand. Needless to say, the bike crashed to the ground. I just took a bow and got a round of applause from the students. One broken turn signal. Slightly deflated ego. Oh well. We should go riding sometime when I'm in the Star City.


Anonymous said...

John Packett, if your reading this, how come I didn't hear from you when you visited?