I realized I never talked about what happens when we are assigned two (or sometimes more [gasp!]) beats to patrol. Let me tell you, it ain't pretty.
First, a beat consists of a specific area of our little hamlet. There are six beats overall here and that's enough. Really there are seven if you count our small downtown area. This has been carved into another beat because, well, lots of people park there. I pity the guy who must patrol this beat all the time because, while any of the beats can become downright boring after a month's time (we rotate after that), the downtown area can become simply unbearable after a week or two. There's just not that much there. Of course the shop owners and the regulars get to know the downtown beat person pretty well, and we get to know them. I think it's harder on us. The shop owners think they can park in front of their place of business all day. Of course they can't, but why would they want to? Don't they want their customers to have a convenient place to park to patronize their business? I don't get it. Unless they think that they work so hard that they are entitled to a little laziness. Costly laziness though.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Two beats. Usually when you have two beats, doing a lot of marking of tires is out of the question. Why? Well, usually when you respond to a request for service or a Desk Call, as we say, they are invariably in the other beat - not the one you are in at the time. Then, you can be sure that the next desk call will be all the way on the other side of the beat you just left. It really taxes your vehicle and your nerves. You just can't get anything else done! This morning for example, I had two beats. I had the other beat's eight o'clock sweeper zone to patrol, we had a roll call at nine-thirty back at the station which I would barely be in time for, then I had my regular ten o'clock sweeper route to do. So, what happens? The Desk gives me a call to do "after your eight o'clocks" all the way on the other side of town (Damn you, Murphy and your law anyway!). Now, there were three other PCOs out there in the field who had nothing to do in the morning. Do any of them "buy" the call for me? Of course not. Those lazy bastards. I called the supervisor and asked her if she would have one of the others do the call for me. She did and I was happy. Still pissed off, but happy (This is simply a taste of what's coming when I write fully about my colleagues. It's coming, I promise).
Having two beats is a royal pain. But, it beats having no beats. Anyway, I prefer beets.