My father worked as a police officer in Sacramento. He grew up during the great depression, and served in the Navy during World War II. When he returned home after the war, he eventually landed a job with the Sacramento Police Department.
He told this story of his hiring by the Department. He had passed both the physical and mental tests for the job, completed his interview process, then had to be measured. Sacramento police officers had to be five feet, nine inches tall. Dad probably stood on tip toes to reach that height, but they
hired him anyway. They needed men of his caliber.
During his first several years on the police department, Dad worked in sequence all shifts: day, swing and graveyard. During those times, we saw him mostly on his days off.
Eventually though, Dad landed a job with the Detective Division. They worked Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I saw my dad much more often after that.
Raising a family with four children, on a police officer’s salary, required all of Dad’s time and energy. When he wasn’t working at the police department he often worked off-duty on various
security assignments like concerts at the Memorial Auditorium, football games and dances. The extra money he earned really helped our family, but it meant time spent away from us.
Eventually though, Dad’s pay increased giving him more recreational opportunities.
Dad’s favorite hobbies were hunting and fishing. My brothers and I went on fishing trips with him and by the early 1960’s, I began to go hunting with dad. I didn’t actually shoot, but rather stood by his side and retrieved downed birds after he shot them.
Spending one- on-one time with my father always seemed special and these hunting trips proved extra-special.
I remember the first day of hunting season each year took place on September 1st. On the night before that hunt I hardly slept, so when the alarm went off at 4 a.m., and Dad came in to wake me, I had already dressed.
Dad cooked breakfast, then made us lunch, and off we went out to a ranch somewhere near Lincoln.
That in itself was an experience.
This was before Indian Casinos, and before the building of the new highway out to Lincoln. We drove to Roseville first in the dark, then took a small rural highway out to the ranch where we hunted with
several off-duty police officers. It stood next to a stream called Raccoon Creek. I don’t know if I ever saw any raccoons there. They must have hid while the 25 or so policemen hunted.
When we got to the ranch, I remember driving on an old dirt road, parking next to a grove of oak trees, then walking out in the dusk to our hunting spot. Dad always chose the same place
to hunt, and he always shot his limit of 10 birds. He was a good shot. I retrieved every bird and put it in his hunting pouch.
After the hunt, we walked back to the grove of oak trees where we had parked, to eat our lunch and enjoy the camaraderie with the other policeman who had hunted. After lunch, the officers
often sat out targets and did some practice shooting. Sometimes, someone’s prized new hunting cap became one of those targets.
The men of the Sacramento Police Department really enjoyed these annual hunts and in the end, a good time was had by all.
For me though, these trips were about more than just hunting, they were about spending time with Dad. I will never forget the good times we shared together.
I stopped hunting many years ago. I enjoy seeing the wild turkey, geese, quail and pheasant when I take my daily rides on the American River Bike Trail. Now the days of hunting with my dad are just another happy Janey Way memory.