by Robert Haig


Street stories of retired Sergeant Robert Haig Detroit Police Department


Every police officer should start their careers walking a beat. It puts you in direct contact with everyone and everything in your precinct. Mix in smells and sounds, and you become part of the street. You actually could feel it breath. As a young officer, I was paired with a good partner one day, and we hit our beat ready for action. As we patrolled down Woodward, we saw a Siamese kitten cut across the road. Kittens were not rare, but a Siamese cat was. You learn quickly not to touch people or animals unless you absolutely have to. They carry way too many passengers. Cuteness took precedent, and my partner picked up the kitten. It purred and climbed his jacket, perching on his shoulder. It rolled under his chin, caressing his face with its tail. My partner was in love, and said he was keeping it. I asked what we were going to do with a kitten. He tucked it inside his coat and said we could walk to the base. He would call his girlfriend and she would come and pick it up. It sounded okay to me because we had five hours of walking left. We might as well burn up some time. We had gone only several steps, when a local prostitute began yelling at us and ran across the street. She stumbled several times, and a swerving car just missed her. She put the evil eye on us, and asked where we were going with that cat. Felix (he had been named after the famous cat, moments earlier) peeked through my partner's zipped jacket. My partner informed her he was going to give the kitten a home. "You can't do that," our girl said. I asked her why not. "I saw you take that cat from the momma cat," she answered. No, we told her, we found it. "No you didn't," she screamed. "I saw you take her from the momma cat." She began circling us, and flapping her arms, vehemently accusing us of breaking up a family. Her volume increased as we pleaded our innocence. "These officers took that baby from the momma cat," she trumpeted. No we didn't, was our response. This battle of accusations and innocence went on for several minutes. A small crowd had formed, and traffic began slowing. Suddenly and at the same moment, my partner and I realize what in the hell are we doing. We are police officers for crying out loud, trying to do a good deed. We quickly turned from the small crowd and our accuser and stomped off. I glanced over my shoulder to confirm we weren't being followed. I could see her standing there, still pointing a finger at us, and informing everyone who could hear, "There they go. There they go, right there. They done took that baby cat from the momma cat. Done took that poor baby from her momma. Lord, have mercy." We made it back to the base, and my partner's girlfriend met us. She took Felix home and my partner kept that cat for fifteen years. Felix outlasted the girlfriend by ten years. In the end, I never felt so bad about doing something so good.

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