I had the greatest privilege of being a backseat passenger in a Flying Squad vehicle. No, I am not part of the blue light brigade and neither are the Flying Squad.
The Flying Squad are my heroes, They are my Men in Blue. Exactly what every woman imagines, every petrolhead fantasizes about, every South African citizen hopes for, every speedfreak can become addicted to.
"Would you like to put your bags in the boot?" the Warrant Officers asks/suggests. This reminds me of exit row seats on an aeroplane, where everything must be stowed away in case of an emergency. Gladly I put my bags in the boot. With a grin, I climb into the backseat and say "Nice vehicle, what you clock her at?" Both officers turn and look at me. "280" is the simultaneous reply.
No time to chat, as the radio squawks and we're off. Seat belts fastened behind their seats for quick exits, bullet proof vests on, and the first call comes in. Blue lights flash on and we hit the off ramp at 180km/h, do a handbrake turn and head in the opposite direction on the highway.
Now the sirens scream on. My heart is racing and the two officers are busy with buttons and dials and talking on the radio and driving and the officer in the passenger seat is guiding around vehicles, that don't move out of our way, with hand signals and instructions for the driver.
We are on the straight and we're knocking on 240km/h door. It doesn't feel fast at all, it just seems everyone else is going incredibly slowly and I want to curse the vehicles that don't move out of our way quick enough. The driver mentions to me, as he weaves and dives into spaces, the various advanced driving courses they all take and the psychology of civilian drivers they are taught.
He says that's why they don't feel the need to cuss other drivers. I do giggle abit and say "Oh it's only a SLK" as we pass it in a blink.
Barrelling down on a little Chevy Spark that got such a fright she stood on her brakes, made me realize what these guys need to deal with before they even get to the scene of the crime, because you see, they are called for "In progress" crimes, which are high danger.
Firstly they need to arrive at the scene and that is why they fly. So do think twice next time you choose not to move out of their way, someones life could depend on you doing just that.
The whole time that my escalated heart rate was drumming in my ears, my erstwhile companions sat calmly, every once in a while reaching a hand out to balance on a handle. Wiping my slightly damp hands on my pants, I ask lightly "So does, different kinds of music make you drive faster?"
And my new hero reaches over and flips a switch on his steering wheel and I hear Hors Tokolosh. "You know Jack Parow is like a South African Vanilla Ice, hey." says he, my Knight in Shining VeeDub, cruising casually at 260km/h.
I can forget at that moment that we on the way to a scene, where people are dying or already dead. I can forget about the bulletproof vests or that they are actually extremely worried about the civvy in the backseat. I can see them as two guys. They both married, the one has two kids and the other three. Both have been with the Police Force for about twenty years.
I talk about the ride I had, in the vehicle, for I couldn't live with what those officers see and deal with on a daily basis. I couldn't understand, the way the public has misconceptions about them, I couldn't deal with not knowing if they going to make it home, after shift.
All I can say is, that I am grateful they are the Men in Blue, in my city and I am proud of them and extremely grateful.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.