Story by Martyn Linton
In October 2017 I wrote about my happiness at being awarded the first ever Lincoln Award given by Section UK.
I had applied for the Arthur Troop Scholarship to attend the US to take part in a course titled Gangs The Transnational Threat – Target The Entire Gang. There were other candidates for this scholarship but no one from the U.K. was successful. Applications are reviewed by the international board. The Lincoln Award is a U.K. alternative.
The course is one that is attended by various US law enforcement agencies and dates are announced as and when so I had a wait to find out when I could attend. That’s date is this week and after two flights I now find myself in St Petersburg, Florida.
I arrived late last night and when I got to my room I introduced myself to the bed and crashed! I woke up later on and the minus five hour time difference threw me at first when I saw 7am. I went back to sleep!
I got up a couple of hours later and went for breakfast. The friendly waitress kept the coffee mug topped up. Today was a day of leisure. I decided to go for a walk so after studying a map off I went. I was armed with a Section UK challenge coin for the first cop I bumped into who said hello.
I covered about six miles during my walk. I walked around the marina, explored an area with local bars and visited the local court house. It was a hot day and all of a sudden the heavens opened and within minutes I went from dripping sweat to being the UK’s contestant for the unattractive wet t shirt competition. I didn’t care as it was nice to cool off.
I headed back to the hotel to dry off and change clothes. Then I ate lunch which was washed down with a bottle of Melbec. The boring stuff followed. Ironing of clothes that had been stuffed into a bag for the journey.
A bit later on I went downstairs and sat at the bar where I got talking to a couple of locals and other people who lived in the US but were visiting the area. The question was asked where I was from and why I was there. I was comfortable to tell them. It was a nice atmosphere where I wasn’t watching my back. Those who know me will know how I have my back to a wall and people watch when I’m a bar. I blame working doors when I was a youngster and my career.
I was very taken back at how the US citizens view the role of a Detective. Firstly there is the it’s a type of promotion view. Then there was the general respect for law enforcement. What followed was general chat about the difference in crime trends and interestingly the debate about legalising of Cannabis. In the US some states have legalised it.
The highlight of my afternoon/evening was an email from a lady called Gail who has been my link to the course. This is a lady I will meet in a couple of days but already have labelled a ‘International Legend’. The email was to invite me to have a ride along with a local Dog Handler. Who am I to say no?
Tomorrow (or later today) I visit the Pinella County Sheriff’s Department. I am truly taken back by the hospitality the US are giving me!
This opportunity would not have been possible without my membership to the International Police Association.