The are many strange symbiotic relationships in nature’s rich tapestry. In the African country of Uganda, scientists have recorded extraordinary interactions between warthogs and mongooses, where the latter will groom and clean the former as it lies immobile in the dirt. Under the sea, there is a species of wrasse that survives by swimming straight into the mouths of much larger and scarier predators - picking dead flesh and parasites with their tiny teeth as their customers sit, relaxed and open mouthed. None of these partnerships, however, can match the history and significance of the bond between police officers and doughnuts.
Thanks to a combination of scabrous depictions in pop culture and the realities of a job that can occasionally call for long waits in a car with snacks, the police’s obsession with doughnuts is a well-documented phenomenon. Over the years, many departments have tried to rebrand as an elite, fitness focused, doughnut-free operation, but all to no avail. Try as they might, police can’t escape their doughy, sugar-dusted companions. Nothing provided greater proof of this than events that took place on December 31st in Kentucky.
In the middle of the afternoon, officers in Lexington were summoned to the scene of a major road traffic incident on the outskirts of the city. As he headed into town, the driver of a Krispy Kreme-carrying lorry had noticed smoke billowing from the back of his vehicle. Pulling up on the side of the road, he quickly called 911 to report what was fast becoming a major fire. By the time the cops arrived, it was too late. The driver might have made it out safely, but his entire payload of doughnuts had gone up in smoke.
Rather than try to hide their emotions or present a stiff upper lip, Kentucky officers made it clear that such a loss was too much even for Lexington’s finest. The police department’s Twitter feed was soon flooded with photographs of grieving state troopers, crying, wailing and sobbing as they tried to get their heads around the tragedy that had just taken place. This was a massacre on a scale that none of them had ever seen. Dozens of unopened, delicious doughnuts, tragically denied the chance to end up where they rightfully belonged - inside a cop’s tummy.
In times as trying as these, it’s understandable to expect support from your nearest and dearest, wherever they may be. This case was no exception. Almost immediately, messages of support came flooding in from other police departments around the country, all of whom clearly understood what their Kentuckians compatriots were going through. “This literally hurts my soul. Prayers to LPD as they deal with this loss. #IDonutThinkWeCanRecoverFromThis,” the Louisville Police Department commiserated. The NYPD, in a somewhat typical display of bravado, offered to send assistance via helicopter, with sprinkles. We all have our own ways of dealing with grief.
As depressing as the unnecessary destruction of doughnuts is to any normal police officer, there was a silver lining to the brave men and women of LPD. As a result of this disaster, Krispy Kreme committed to send the station a selection of free doughnuts, to help them through this dark time. Proof that, when any relationship ends, life still goes on.