Posted on 2 Comments

Prior to graduating from the police academy, strict protocol began to loosen up, with the instructors relaxing a bit. Even our sergeant toned things down. The relaxed atmosphere encouraged students to ask more pertinent questions about day-to-day operations about our new careers. Simple things you wouldn’t consider on other jobs are big deals in the police world.
Since it was two days before graduation, we were pretty sure we’d all be sworn-in, but there was always a nagging doubt. We were told by our sergeant when reporting to our respective stations, “if you’re smart, you’ll remain standing until everyone is seated. Only then, should you grab an empty seat, and keep your mouth shut.” He went on to say there’s a hierarchy to the seats and the worst thing you can do is sit in some old salts seat — unless you like being humiliated.
Old street cops are the most complicated creatures known to man. Years of exposure to the worst scenarios imaginable turns him/her into a cynical, sarcastic, hilarious, demented, sharp-tongued salt who can clear a room or obtain a confession with a simple, well-practiced steely-eyed stare. These guys seemed to live on nothing but coffee and cigarettes back in the day. The last thing you’d want to do is sit in their seat.
You see, “Line=Up” or roll call rooms are ready rooms where officers get ready to hit the streets. Officers are read highlights from reports, getting “caught up” on what happened while they were off since the previous night, or past couple of days, during days off. You’d be amazed at what can happens during the 14 hours of off-duty time.
While the sergeant reads roll call, the old salts usually finish the incident with a wise crack, or comment, which is usually hilariously funny, while cutting to the quick of the matter with brutally honest observations. This relaxes the mood, while at the same time, officers start putting their game face on. Every police shift, no matter the department, has back row seats — and they’re reserved for the older officers.
These officers are your first stringers if handling calls were a football game. They know how to analyze and separate the chafe from the wheat — setting the tone for what to do next. It’s amazing watching from a beginner’s standpoint. No matter how crazy, violent, and confusing things were, these old pros wade right on in, decipher what the problem is and have both parties satisfied with a simple solution. Slack-jawed rookies would just take it all in, trying to understand what it was they just saw.
Backrow Boys come in all shapes, sizes, sexes and demeanors. Most sergeants love having them around, knowing they make short work of the most complex of calls. It’s not uncommon for the sergeant to ask a Backrow Boy, “Whata Ya Think?” These guys are the salt of the earth. They love working the street and it shows. The best way to punish a Backrow Boy? Make him work the desk. They want the freedom to roam the streets, extinguishing what mayhem there is and finishing it off with a sarcastic joke or statement.
Backrow Boys are a far cry from the discipline taught at the academy. With maverick attitudes, they rule the world while towing the line. But don’t let them fool you! When it comes to kids, dogs, the elderly, or anyone else with vulnerabilities, these guys/gals are the first to step up and help them out. God forgive you if a Backrow Boy catches someone abusing or taking advantage of these poor souls. They don’t play that game! Period!
They’re usually last on scene and first to leave after everything is resolved. If an arrest needs to be made the Backrow Boy simply says, ”you take it kid,” with a wink and a nod. He knows whoever takes credit will be weighted down with hours of paperwork, processing, transporting,  and finally a trip to the jail. What seemed like a generous gift keeps the Backrow Boy on the street where they want to be.
Backrow Boys are not limited to men either. Some of the saltiest officers I ever worked with were women. To achieve Backrow Boy status, one simply has a love for working the road, has a well-developed sense of humor, thrives on resolving conflict and loves being a street cop. One is not awarded Backrow Boy status, but rather one evolves into it.
As far as the nemesis of the Backrow Boys goes, the five “officers” who beat a citizen to death in Memphis are a perfect example. These five people wearing the badge are not officers, but rather criminals in uniform. You see, due to low enrollment, the standards were lowered for hiring which resulted in thuggery and misfits abusing authority. A true Backrow Boy would be the first to stop this atrocious behavior when witnessed. Cops are held to higher standards and Backrow Boys make sure it happens.
Here’s to the unheralded heroes of the police department where rank has no meaning to them, but respect is earned on the merits of the people handling the brunt of the calls while loving it.
From American Handgunner magazine


It is with great sadness that we inform you of the recent passing of Retired Sergeant Bruce Grigg #1813. Sergeant Grigg served with great honor for 30 years. For those that had the honor of knowing him, you knew you were in the company of a man that cared a great deal for the people that worked with him and for him. Our prayers remain with his family and friends. Rest easy Sarge; we will hold the line!

May God bless Sergeant Grigg!

With deep respect,

YOUR SJPOA Board of Directors 


Went on a little walk with an old guy (Larry Lundberg) and his wonder dog. Had a great shoot! (Dave Wysuph)

Old Style Selfie

Golf Fun for a snowy morning


Fun things to do when there is a good snowfall, elsewhere in the US!







2 Thoughts on “021623

  1. I worked a lot of ‘mids’ as a patrol officer, then a patrol sgt and prior to leaving SJPD an FTO Sgt. I have to agree with some of the points in the narrative about midnighters. After a while we believed (with some truth to the matter) that anyone out on the streets after 2200 hrs was either a suspect or a victim. Further that the ‘department shrink’ (Dr. Roberts) became aware of this possible syndrome and pressured the administration to conjure up a new rule regarding officers working mids: if you worked mids for three shifts in a row (a year) you were required to work another shift for at least four months before transferring back to mids. I really enjoyed those times with the San Jose Police Dept.

    Sgt B. Fair, #1169, San Jose Police Dept, 1965-1978

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 GB. You can upload: image, document, text. Drop file here