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I was a boot (an LAPD term used for rookies). My partner and I received a radio call of a, "Death Investigation." Police officers in Los Angeles have to investigate most deaths, primarily to determine if they are natural or if their was foul-play. This one went like the usual...elderly man, died in his sleep peacefully in his bed, however, we couldn't identify him to contact his next of kin. During the course of searching his entire residence, a very small studio apartment in East Hollywood, I finally went for the top dresser drawer. Inside I discovered an envelope, packed with hundred dollar bills. There must have been a few thousand dollars in it. I am not going to lie, the temptation was there, if not for a fleeting moment. But I didn't join the LAPD to bilk people out of their hard-earned savings, even if they were dead and not in need of it anymore. I joined because I felt it was absolutely crucial for people like myself to stand guard and protect those people who couldn't protect themselves. I know, corny, but wearing the badge and uniform meant a lot to me. It still does. To this day I know no one would have ever known if I had taken the money, but I tucked the money back into the envelope and placed it back where I had found it. I eventually identified the man and called his family and as a side note mentioned to them about the money in the dresser. Every police officer has moments in their career where their personal integrity is challenged. That was just one of many of mine.
submitted 08.27.07

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