San Diego, Part Two: I’ve Got Friends in High Places, Chief

T gets a tour of the Chief's toy collection on his recent visit to San Diego.

One thing T gets to do every so often when he visits his Grandma in San Diego is stop by her old workplace. But this isn’t just any old office building – it’s the downtown San Diego Police Department Chiefs’ Office. My mom was an administrative assistant to the Assistant Chiefs (those just under the head honcho) for just over 20 years before her retirement a few years ago, so needless to say she left a lot of friends behind but hasn’t forgotten them. And down the hall at the other end of that long and large office area resides the top officer himself, Chief Bill Lansdowne, whom she never worked directly for per se, but of course she did work with him for many years just the same.

There’s one reason and one reason alone T looks forward to visits at this office: the toys. No, not play guns (please); all the Chiefs have accumulated quite the police memorabilia collection over the years as they’ve held rank. Between the toy police cars, helicopters, engraved medals of honor, plush toys, and other tchotchkes, it is T’s idea of police paradise.

Chief Lansdowne’s office in particular is a special museum of sorts dedicated mostly to toy police cars and helicopters. When he’s between meetings, the Chief has always been more than happy to entertain visitors – especially kids – and show off his collection to anyone with interest. Well, guess what, T was more than just interested. In fact T was so involved in hanging out and rolling the cars back and forth on the floor that it wasn’t until the Chief had to leave for his next appointment that we finally got T to leave the office (since the Chief was shutting down and locking up for the day).

With toys like these, T could play all afternoon in the Chief's office (and he kind-of did!).

But there were many other offices to visit with many other things to see. In fact, one Assistant Chief asked T how he spelled his name – “ie” or “y” at the end – and T emphatically yelled “Y!” This brought forth a plush moose with T’s name emblazoned across the chest. Now what are the crazy odds of that happening (and, no, that officer’s name wasn’t the same as T’s).

Other than the moose, some other things T hauled away on this visit were: a miniature police car with working red flashlight and a special medallion coin (from The Chief); a whistle and some free Slurpee coupons (from the moose-gifting chief); and many, many stickers from all kinds of folks. Candy, snacks, and other treats were also forthcoming from a variety of sources.

T also has a very nice chat with some of the chiefs about guns, jail, and bad guys. Good times.

Oh and on this same trip to San Diego and after our visit to Petco Park, T managed to sneak in a visit at the downtown fire station, too! When we were heading to the game, we passed the fire station and waved to the firemen barbecuing on their balcony, and they happily waved back. Then as we were leaving the ballpark and walking back to our car, we walked past the fire station again. This time the fire fighters were taking a break out front on the sidewalk with their garage doors up and trucks in plain view, and T just went right up to one of them and asked to sit on the truck. Of course they were happy to oblige a little dude’s wishes. I am so bummed I didn’t get any photos of T on the truck, but after such a fun-filled day already at the police station and then the ball game, needless to say I’d already used up my camera battery.

It’s no wonder T is so into police and fire play right now… with friends like those, why role play anything else!

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