Officer Jeff Stagg has been an Honor Guard “TAPS” bugler for the past 31 years. (Photo/Indy Public Safety Foundation)
This month’s poem – written to be sung to the tune of Billy Joel’s classic “Piano Man” – is by Officer Jeff Stagg of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD).
“I have always enjoyed writing lyrics to tunes of well-known songs to fit a special event, person, or topic. My late mom was a professional musician (pianist and organist), so I was surrounded by all kinds of music growing up. I sang and played the trumpet,” said Stagg. “After recently hearing Billy Joel’s classic ‘Piano Man’ I thought of a couple of police-related lyrics that would fit the tune and acknowledge all my law enforcement brothers and sisters.
“I am in my 41st year as a police officer, all in uniform and working on the street. I still love this side of the job and all we are called to handle during a shift. Although I will admit that at the end of some shifts, my 64-year-old body reminds me I’m not that 22-year-old rookie anymore!”
Officer Stagg has served as a negotiator on IMPD’s Hostage-Crisis Negotiation Team for 24 years and has been an Honor Guard “TAPS” bugler for the past 31 years.
POLICE MAN (TO BE SUNG TO THE TUNE OF BILLY JOEL’S CLASSIC “PIANO MAN”)
It’s 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday
Day shift troops wait for roll call to start.
There’s a new cop sitting next to me
Who followed me in from my car.
He says, “Sir, can you share a good memory?
You’ve been a cop for a very long time!”
I said, “Son, I have more good than bad ones,
And like you, I was once in my prime!
In 40-plus years as a street cop,
I always made time for my wife.
God blessed me with her and our daughter,
As I faced a job loaded with strife.”
I said, “Rook’, all these cops are amazing
Doing cool jobs, and there are all sorts.
Like defusing a bomb, patrolling streets on a bike,
Or galloping downtown on their horse!
The sarge of our shift is a friend of mine,
Over years we’ve calmed many a brawl.
He and these cops in the room with us,
Will be there, no matter how bad the calls.
These days, being a cop has been tougher,
Just listen to what’s said on the news.
But don’t let their words pull you down none,
We’re in a battle that we just won’t lose!”
It’s a pretty good roll call for a Saturday
And the shift sergeant gives us a smile.
‘Cause only three troops ‘called in sick’ today,
It’s the most bodies we’ve had in a while!
And our radios sound like a carnival,
All our prisoners smell like a beer.
Folks will walk up and say after the melee,
“Man, we’re glad you cops are here!”
All of us cops have our memories,
Not just old vets like me with gray hair.
We’ll keep seeing the good, but more of the bad,
Wearin’ the badge ’cause we’re pretty rare!
We honor you, Jeff Stagg.