A Cop's Thanksgiving

There is obviously a critical need for first responders and medical personnel to be on duty. You don’t have to be an Allstate agent to know that “trouble never takes a holiday”. Neither does crime or death. In reality there are other jobs which...


So you have to work on Thanksgiving... again.  The overtime pay is good, you might have even signed up for the shifts, but if you have a family you probably wish you could be with them no matter what your circumstances are.   There is obviously a critical need for first responders and medical personnel to be on duty.  You don’t have to be an Allstate agent to know that “trouble never takes a holiday”.  Neither does crime or death.  In reality there are other jobs which require employees to work on Thanksgiving holidays, and it seems like the list is growing longer every year.  You got to love capitalism.  But in this day and age you have to love employment too; so you work. 

There is no typical day for any patrol, traffic, investigative, or supervisory office on any given holiday.  It could be dead quiet and extremely boring, just busy enough to make the shift pass quickly, or even unimaginably horrible.  This Thanksgiving all you are hoping for is a low key day, with minimal paperwork so you can enjoy the station’s potluck or slip home for a portion of the family feast.   You’re hoping for the parade detail; that can be pretty entertaining.  Maybe you will be able to catch some football. But, as you know, that isn’t probable.  In fact the whole holiday weekend, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the Monday after, can be a law enforcement nightmare related to calls for service.   

Thanksgiving Eve: 

Thanksgiving Eve, sometimes referred to as “Black Wednesday”, is unofficially considered the busiest bar night of the year.  It is the overall 2nd most popular party night of the year (I am sure you can guess #1).  Think of all the college kids heading home for the first time of the academic year, it’s like the scenes from a spring break in South Beach in your own town.  Or how about the company parties or happy hours with coworkers before heading home for the long weekend?  It seems like everyone has a reason to celebrate; and they do to excess. 

Thanksgiving weekend is also the most traveled holiday period of the year with almost 90% of those traveling doing so by car.  43.6 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home for 2012 Thanksgiving holiday. This all relates to an increase DUI related traffic accidents.  Thanksgiving tops the list of the deadliest times to be on the road (followed by Labor Day and Independence Day).

Thanksgiving Day: 

Partner violence typically increases 22% on Thanksgiving.  There are increased calls as family members who normally aren't together get into more than just heated arguments.  You also get custody battle calls related to shared parenting.  Add alcohol and football upsets to the mix and police officers have their hands full.  If your department covers the FD you will be busier than usual.  Cooking fires occur twice as often on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.  The good news is that contrary to popular beliefs, the number of attempted and/or completed suicides does not increase on Thanksgiving, or Christmas for that matter (rates do increase on New Year’s Day).  Actually these holidays are associated with a lowered rate of suicide.  It is believed that the increased family and social support structures during the holidays may actually be protective against suicide attempts. 

By Thursday evening, after  most of the games, while everyone is stuffed the only thing left to look forward tois raiding the refrigerator for that turkey sandwich (best part of the holiday as far as I am concerned) and the bargain shopping of Black Friday.  Which now starts at about 1800 Thanksgiving Day?  And you all know what that means.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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