A Day in the Life of a Federal Reserve Cop

          The mission of the law enforcement unit of the Federal Reserve Board is to provide a safe and secure environment for staff and others on Board-designated property, exercising teamwork and extending excellent customer service.

Federal Reserve website


Despite the high-minded goals expressed in the Federal Reserve Police Department’s Mission Statement–which, by the way, it took about a hundred of the hundred and two years the Fed has been in existence for the “Governors” to agree on–the average day of a Fed Cop’s life is a mixture of inflation fightin’ and crime-stoppin’, NOT “extending excellent customer service.”  Jeez it frosts my ass every time I hear somebody say that, like I’m the concierge at a hotel or somethin’.

Boston Federal Reserve Bank:  Skyscraper . . . or washboard?  YOU make the call!


Uh-oh.  Here’s a nasty bit of trouble.  A “junkie” scoring a “dime bag” off his “pusher”–big as life, right here in front of the Federal Reserve Building, affectionately referred to as “The Washboard” but those who know and love it, or hate it as the case may be.  I put all those words in quotes so you’ll know they’re street slang, the way Time magazine used to introduce concerned parents to drug argot like “reefer” and “Mary Jane” and “toke” back in the 60s.

I sidle up to the two miscreants, maintaining my professional cool so I don’t spook them.  I need to see them consummate the transaction in flagrante delicto, as we say around the station when we lapse into Latin, in order to make “the collar.”

“You have the right to price stability and also to a free copy of Regulation Z, ‘Truth-in-Lending.'”


“How much?” the junkie says, and the pusher replies “Whadda ya think?  The standard price for a dime bag is ten bucks.”

The junkie reaches into his pocket to take out his hard-earned cash.  Probably been pickin’ deposit bottles out of trash cans the better part of a day to come up with anything near a sawbuck.  Time for me to make my move . . .

“Hold it right there,” I snap and I see a look of fear in the pusher’s eyes.  Too bad for him, he’s cornered behind one of the convenient security barriers that are strategically positioned to prevent scofflaws from breaking into the building and taking advantage of the subsidized cafeteria within.  (Try the tapioca!)

“You got nothin’ on me copper,” the cornered rat says as he tries to distance himself from the aluminum foil packs of “smack” or “horse” or “The Big H” that he drops on the ground.

“I think this one right here might make a good Exhibit A,” I say, and I take out my handy pocket scale.  “Let’s see how much this bad boy weighs.”  The little needle teeters back and forth like the see-saws of my youth before it lands on 22 milligrams.


“You,” I say to the junkie.  “Take a look at THIS!”

The guy edges over–not sure if I’ve got a “sting” going–but I move to assure him.

“Look, pal,” I say.  “Fighting inflation in the consumer sector is EVERYONE’s business, okay.  I’m may need you to testify that you did NOT get a full 25 milligrams’ worth of controlled substances for your $10.”

The poor guy looks at me like I’m his guardian angel.  “You’re not going to arrest me?”

“Arrest you?” I scoff.  “If I put the cuffs on anybody, it’s gonna be this mook over here,” I say, nodding my head in the direction of the other party to this so-called “victimless” crime.

“I oughta throw the book at you,” I say to the pusher-man, “but I’m gonna let you off with a citation.”  I take my ticket book out of my back pocket, lick the tip of my pencil–and try saying THAT five times fast–and check the little box that says “Contributing to Increase in Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index.”

“This here’s a warning,” I say, and the guy’s got a look on his face like he narrowly missed getting the maximum penance the priest used to hand out for thinking impure thoughts–a rosary a day for a month.

“So–I’m free to go?” he asks, as if he can’t believe his good fortune.

“There’s just one catch,” I say, narrowing my eyelids the way Sister Mary Joseph Arimathea used to do before she sentenced you to a week’s worth of eraser-banging after school for playin’ pocket pool with yourself.


“What’s that?”

“If you ever do it again, I’m gonna have to write you up in the Federal Reserve ‘Beige Book.'”




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