Columbus, OH – An effort to boost police morale within the Columbus Police Department has been met with support and criticism. Last week Columbus Police Chief Tim Jacobs replaced the standard audible police siren tone with Wagner’s classical music masterpiece, “Ride of the Valkyries.” Although officers and a majority of the general public welcome the modification, some critics are crying foul.
“Morale was at an all-time low,” said Chief Jacobs. “We wanted to make a change that would have an immediate effect on the morale of our officers so we decided to think outside the box a bit.”
B&S spent an afternoon in downtown Columbus to observe the application of the new controversial move. A holdup alarm from a nearby bank triggered a response from officers and within seconds, we heard our first modified siren.
The faint sound of trumpets slowly approached us from a distance. As the music/siren grew closer, a strange feeling of fear came over us even though we did nothing wrong – the trumpets implied that justice was on the march. The music grew louder as our first glimpse of the patrol car appeared down the street.
A police cruiser slid around the corner at no less than 65 miles per hour, almost striking a parked car and some pedestrians. The screeching tires and revving engine could hardly be heard over the volume of the majestic trumpets and I could feel the percussion of the bass from the trombone in my chest. As the cruiser passed, an officer was leaning out of the passenger side window firing shots into the air from his pistol, screaming at the top of his lungs.
“I love this job again,” said Officer Randy Schultz. “I don’t know what it is – when I flip that switch and that music comes on, I feel like I can leap over a tall building. I’m back, baby! I’m back!”
According to Chief Jacobs, sick time is down and some officers are even volunteering to come into work on their days off. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I guess they just needed a little culture tapped into their lives – something worth fighting for.”
But not everyone supports the new modification. According to some citizens, they say the new siren is a danger to society. “Ride of the Valkyries? Is that what you call that shit?” said a man identified only as “Ski.” “It should be called “Ride of the Crazy Ass White Boys, bruh, I’m telling you.”
Ski described an incident where he and his friends were just hanging out on a corner (not doing anything wrong) when they suddenly heard the terrifying masterpiece rumbling their way. “It was so loud bruh – then outta nowhere, all these cops came runnin’ down this hill with their nightsticks up over their heads and they was screaming like they was crazy. We just took off running. I ain’t never been so scared, bruh. I got away, but we still ain’t seen ‘Lil’D’ or ‘Pookie’ since.”
Local civil rights groups have expressed concern over the increased morale of police officers and are looking into litigation to bring back the traditional siren and traditional indifference that go along with it.
“Research shows that Godless, cultureless, and uninspired police work is the fairest form of police work,” stated Christine Link of Ohio’s branch of the ACLU. “There’s no room for inspiration of any kind when it comes to enforcement of the law. We are playing with fire if we allow the police to become inspired by anything,” added Link.
Memorials for ‘Lil D and Pookie are scheduled in Baltimore next month where police morale is at its lowest.