Police officer Melissa DelPilar talks about working the night shift

A Wicker Park cop talks about working nights

Photograph: Martha WilliamsOfficer Melissa DelPilar of Chicago's 14th District Police

Melissa DelPilar, 36, works the 9pm–6am shift in the 14th police district, which covers much of Wicker Park and Bucktown

What’s the weirdest call you’ve ever answered in this district?
A ten-foot python. They called us saying there was a snake in the apron of their garage, and I was met by a python. It was literally the width of the garage. The head was sticking out one end and the tail went out the back. No one knew of any neighbors owning that type of animal. With these things, it’s a case of someone who can’t handle their own animal—you know, someone left a door or a window open.

What’s the hardest part of your job?
I’d say that in this particular area, it’s dealing with the people who are drunk. They’re in relax-and- enjoy mode, and at some point they’ve over-enjoyed and sometimes they don’t understand why we have to intervene and stop their fun.