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Cops must get credit when it is due

The action of traffic constable Sandip Patil, who took the initiative to ferry stranded student Shivang Kshirsagar to his examination centre, can only be commended. Exams are already a tense time, and we can imagine how panicked the youth must have been, being stuck in a traffic jam with only minutes to go before the TYBCom exam started.

But a policeman on duty is not the person one would expect help from. In fact, the student’s father asked Patil if he could use his motorcycle to take him to the centre. Of course, Patil could not lend his official bike. But, embodying management principles that often remain within the pages of textbooks, he thought out of the box, asked his colleagues on the spot to cover for him, and himself took Kshirsagar to the centre, in time to answer his paper.

Most of the time, the news is about police inefficiency, mismanagement, high-handedness and corruption. But we should not forget that the bulk of the police force is made up of stalwarts like Sandip Patil foot soldiers, often unrecognised, who stand by the credo of doing their job as best they can. Citizens who are bent on breaking the rules are only one kind of obstacle in their path.

And when it comes to the traffic police, it does not help that they keep hearing angry, often rude words hurled at them by motorists. So Sandip Patil could have taken this opportunity to refuse to go out of his way, and carry on doing his duty as a traffic policeman. He would not have been faulted. But he stepped beyond his role, put himself in Shivang Kshirsagar’s shoes, and went the extra mile (literally, in this case) to help him.

Patil did not lose anything by this act. But Kshirsagar gained a great deal. And his father put his appreciation down in a letter to the joint commissioner of police (traffic) - also something that we appreciate. There are many instances of the police being helpful even when it is not expected of them. But we tend to take it for granted. Perhaps as citizens we can record these acts, in addition to pointing out lapses, so that the cops get credit where it is due.

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