MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Welcome to "Metro Connection," I'm Rebecca Sheir, and in case you haven't noticed, the hordes are arriving.
MS. REBECCA SHEIR
No, not the cicadas or the Poltergeists, for that matter. No, we're talking about summer interns, thousands of summer interns. Many of them fresh-eyed and super eager to make their mark on politics, or at the very least to have a grand old time in the nation's capitol. And so today, as a tribute to the annual intern influx, we're doing a show all about rookies.
MS. REBECCA SHEIR
We'll meet young activists trying to change the debate on immigration reform.
MR. RAYMOND JOSE
Today, I'm going on legislative visits, trying to gauge whether we can get swing votes.
And we'll hit the beach with high school grads savoring their first taste of freedom.
MR. RYAN GIELEN
People have an incredible time. They take a lot of stupid risks and they have a lot of fun. It's a crazy time.
Plus, we'll hear from a rookie musician who landed a coveted one-year gig with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
MS. TAMI LEE HUGHES
I think it's breathtaking. It's like what music would sound like in heaven. It's just beautiful.
But before we get to all that, if you watched any movies or TV back in 1990 you might remember this movie trailer.
The Rookie is your classic rookie cop/veteran cop flick. The veteran's all set in his old-school ways, the rookie's just getting his feet wet, and inevitably, at some point, the rookie decides he's ready to step up his game.
MS. KIMBERLY CURRY
Like on TV they make it look so cool. They jump out of the huge, like, black trucks and they bust down doors. You know, "Police, everybody show me your hands."
Kim Curry is a rookie officer with the Montgomery County Police Department.
So I have to ask, in your experience so far, you know, you had those childhood dreams and visions of this like really exciting life. How does it compare so far?
Yeah, put it this way, I haven't jumped out of a black SUV and kicked down anybody's door.
But at age 25, Curry has seen a fair share of action during her first 18 months as a patrol officer in Germantown, Md. I recently joined her on the overnight shift, riding shotgun in this totally tricked out SUV.
Oh, my God. This is quite the setup.
Yes, it is. It's pretty intense.
And with help from continual updates on a laptop computer…
…and a flurry of messages over the police radio…
…Curry handled all sorts of incidents around Germantown. At 10:00 p.m. or so we responded to a 911 call from a potentially mentally-disturbed woman who claimed voices were threatening to kill her.
Then we pulled over a driver who blazed his way through a no-turn-on-red light.
And a little bit later, we provided back-up to a senior officer who'd stopped a kid for drinking in an abandoned parking lot. By the time we arrived, the officer had cuffed the 19-year-old, who, apparently, had initially lied about his name and age.
Kimberly Curry says her initial inspiration for getting in on all this action was her uncle.
Growing up, my uncle was a police officer in this department for years. And he just always had a very demanding like presence. When he walked into a room people paid him so much respect, and I just admired that. And that helped push me in to it.
Was it super intimidating, I mean, when you started?
Oh, yes. I mean, you have all these people with brass on their shoulders, and you're like, "Is that my sergeant? Is that my lieutenant? I don't know who that is." In the academy, you had to -- get this, you had to address them by their rank, yet you could not look at them. I'm like, "Without sounding like an idiot, how am I supposed to know what your rank is if I can't see your shoulder?" But we mastered the art of glancing out of the corner of our eye to catch their rank.
Curry says she and her 30, mostly male classmates, also had to master all kinds of law, constitutional, criminal.
Day one, we get there and there are two stacks of books on your desk, and you can't see over top of them.
But Curry made it through, and now ranks as PO1 or Police Officer One, which she tells me as we drive around Germantown, is basically the lowest rung on the ladder.
You describe, like, your position as bottom of the barrel. I mean, you still get to do a lot of stuff.
Yeah, I mean, we have full police powers. So I get to do, like, everything a PO3, which is the highest patrol officer, I mean except for like sergeant. We get to do all of the same stuff, but bottom of the barrel, meaning if I go on a call with a PO3, he calls the shots.
And quite often, Curry says, she actually prefers being so deferent.
And there are times when you get on the scene of a call, and you're like, I feel like a rookie. I don't know what to do with this. And then sometimes I run calls with the officers who just got out of the academy. So I'm the senior car. Uh, that's weird. I'm like, I have six months on you. Like, that's it.
But sometimes, she says, those six months can make a big difference.
It's fun because then I actually feel like I know what I'm doing and they don't.
And it's true. Curry says since getting out on the street, she's learned all sorts of things, the neighborhood, the people, not to mention all that cool police lingo. Here's one I'd never heard before, 41.
41 means okay?
Yeah, 41 means okay. That comes from the old 10 Codes. We don't use those anymore. But 41, it's easier than "I'm okay." And then sometimes, even if you say, "I'm okay," you use our phonetic alphabet, "I'm Ocean King."
Curry says in the police force, you're considered a rookie for the first five years. And once her five years are up, she hopes to get promoted and, ideally, keep protecting and serving the community here in Germantown, a place she's truly grown to love, even if it's nothing like a movie or TV show.
I mean I have some that I like, but it's really hard because you're like, that's not real. It doesn't happen like that. You enjoy when you're like, oh, I’m going to be a cop. I'm going to watch these shows. It's going to be awesome. But that's Hollywood, you know.
The reality may be far less glamorous, far less dramatic, but PO1 Kimberly Curry says she can imagine being a cop for the long haul. For her, that would be positively 41, if not Ocean King.
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