Thank you all who have served in the Armed Forces, are serving in the Armed Forces and who have given their lives while protecting our freedoms in the Armed Forces.
Today in the United States we honor our fallen military personnel. The men and women who chose to serve their fellow man through service and the ultimate sacrifice (their life) for our country.
If you know a veteran thank them for their service. If you are a veteran (as I am USArmy) thank you for choosing to serve. If you have a photo of the veteran please post it on face book atleast for today.
Thank you all US Service members (and military service members through out the world). Have a safe day and I hope you had a nice weekend celebrating with your friends and family.
(PICTURED HERE is IAWP member Birgit Farrier and her husband Victor who is a military recruiter. Thanks for your service Vic.)
(Pictured in this photo are IAWP President - BTP Chief Inspector Jane Townsley and IAWP member - BTP Chief Inspector Theresa Ferguson)
Back to my April post about Six Degrees of separation and how close we all are/can be to internationally recognized events occuring around the world. We (IAWP members) have the distinct honor of having in our midst, amongst our members and in our leadership many women who make the command decisions that keep event goers safe on the grand scale of things throughout the world. Our IAWP president Jane Townsley is the British Transport Police (BTP) Chief Inspector in charge of the Olympics planning and operations. I had the opportunity to visit her at BTP's Force Headquarters and to see the inner workings of Major Events planning. Chief Inspector Townsley's team has the Olympic focus yet while I was there I met members of the teams in charge of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, The Para Olympic and other major events like Futbol. These teams plan for ever contingency and work like a well oiled machine. They do not reinvent the wheel. They use knowledge from all interested Law Enforcement Agencies and first responders to plan for a safe experience for the attendees. I cannot share all that I saw yet I will assure you if you are coming to the 2012 London Olympics (or any other events this summer) you are in good hands because conscientious eyes have ensured your safety.
As an American Law Enforcer I was quite curious to see how the LVMPD style of policing differed from the London "Metropolitan" Police force. I walked into the Tottenham Police Station and joined the queue to see if I could get a tour of the police station. I brought my retirement credentials. I was in line for 20 minutes as a person in front of me was clearing up his warrants. The line behind me grew longer as more and more people entered and the lone officer working reception continued to work with this guy at the counter. There was a sign posted that said it appreciated our patience as we wait to be assisted.
After about 30 minutes I caught the officer's attention and asked him who I needed to speak to inorder to get a tour of the substation. He had me wait as he went back to talk to his sergeant then he buzzed me through so that I could come into the back area. I was given a tour of the substation, it's booking area and interview rooms. They can house up to eight detainees at their facilty others can be milled out to other substation on a space available basis. Individual squads with their sergeants and officers rotation from correction duty (working bookings at the station) to foot patrol, riot control and mobile (vehicle) patrol. The constables can and do perform all police/corrections duties. At LVMPD we have police officer who work the streets and corrections officers who handle the jail. It was very interesting to see how it is done in Europe.
What's a retired copper to do while living in a local London neighborhood than to journey into the culture, into the daily life, into the daily workings of local Londoners. I walked the bus route I had previously travelled by bus to see what happens on the sidewalks in the neighborhood. We all know what is happening on the streets can be missed when just driving by; the dialogues, the interactions, the arguments and the everyday activity that make the streets come alive. I travelled in the light of day and in the darkness. The faces changed very little as darkness fell. And as it got deeper into the night (I went out about 10pm) more men could be counted than women. They stood outside the few businesses that were still opened; the pizza parlors and mini grocery stores smoking cigarettes and telling tales. Many languages were being spoken. Some I recognized, others I did not. They were not phased much by people's comings and goings as long as they kept moving. They give you a look and size you up. A quick once over as if to read "do you belong or are you an outsider?" The conversation stopped if you were preceived as an outsider. It continued on without a second thought if they saw you as another local daily commuter. As long as I was not talking I was seen as the latter. I blended in with the London culture. Just another Londoner on their daily commute.
I am living in the Wood Green area of London and have been exploring my neighborhood to see what it has to offer. There are many stores, shops, eateries, bars and pubs. I went with my boyfriend last weekend to my closest Pub to experience a tradition British Pub. It was an Irish Pub. People were very friendly and greeted us as soon as we walked in. There was live entertainment and the singer was signing American and British songs. The atmosphere was lively. Everyone seemed to know the words and got up to dance and sign along to many of the songs. They even sung "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Almost Heaven, West Virginia". I was amazed to know they knew those songs by heart. They also have a better grasp of US geography than most Americans do and definitely they know more geographically about the US than we know about the UK.
Last night on my way back from town I decide to stop into my local pub again. I was alone so I wanted to see how that experience and reception would be. One gentleman held the door and welcomed me in and an elderly black man who had been there the last time we were in greeted me immediately with a hearty handshake and ask me "Are you well?" The owner of the bar smiled at me as I came near the bar.
There were quite a few people in there for a Thursday night (which is a work night). I ordered a drink and was not sitting alone too long before Adam, a young Physical Education teacher, and Chris had joined me and a silent dark haired fellow who just listened in and nodded (never got his name). The topics were varied as we discussed "where I was from?", "what brings me to London?", "how long will you be here?", "how do you find London?" and "do you live around here?" These are the question I hear on the bus or the tube or at the store anytime someone hears my American accent.
The topic of discussion turned to local politics (it was the day of a Mayoral election)and who had or hadn't voted. Sadly not many of the pub goers had voted. Then we went on to discuss the anti-social attitude of Londoners on the tube (underground train) and other public modes of transportation. One of the patrons described the time on the tube as a time of solice when they could take time for themselves. Not interact, just disconnect and move along in the commute. He said most people avoid conflict and idol chit chat because Londoners are reserved and do not want to have to yell over the sound of the train moving from station to station to converse with someone. They find this a very annoying habit when seen in foriegners like Americans, Canadians and Australians. We tend to engage our fellow travellers and inqure about directions, things of interest or just how their day is going. If it has to be conducted in a loud voice, Londoners will not do it. It's amazing how one can sit or stand inches away from another human being (picture a packed train) and not talk to them or oft time even look at them. I find commuters interesting.
One person mentioned that most Londoners are miserable, hate their jobs, dislike the fact they have to commute and just want to get home to the telly (tv) to get some rest and to look forward to the weekend. On the weekend it's time for the friends, family and the pub. Yet that leads to the question; "Then why are all you lot in the pub on a Thursday?" It was a very insightful evening indeed.