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Dear Abby: The letter from Gordon Pad-wick, reminding us that not all the members of the police force are "officers," really got me mad! When are people going to quit picking on the police? Not only do they get blamed for everything under the sun, now Mr. Padwick declares they are not worthy of the title "officer" - after so many of them busted their tails to earn a badge. Get a life, Mr. Padwick!

My husband is a police officer - a darned good one! He puts his life on the line every time he walks out the door. Sure, he writes tickets and takes those who deserve it to jail, but he also helps pull people out of wrecked cars and holds wounded people in his arms until the ambulance gets there - and he comforts the loved ones of those who are critically injured or dead.He works on Sundays and holidays and has missed his own children's birthdays and our anniversaries. Furthermore, when he's off duty, when needed, he'll rush to assist other officers from whatever department may need help.

You bet my husband is an officer, and for your information, Mr. Padwick, my dictionary's definition is similar to Abby's - only hers says, "one charged with police duties," and mine says, "one PERFORMING police duties," which could mean if you called "911" in an emergency for which you needed an officer, they wouldn't send a "captain" to your house - they would probably send a plain, ordinary police officer.

- A police officer's wife

in Oklahoma

Dear Wife: Thanks for a great letter. I'm sure you voiced the sentiments of many police officers' wives. If Mr. Padwick ever goes to Oklahoma, HE may need police protection.

Dear Abby: My son is a 21-year-old senior at a college located about 1,000 miles from here. When "Jack" came home for Christmas vacation, he dated a girl nearly every night of his vacation, so he was obviously very fond of her. When it came time for Jack to drive back to his college, this girl decided to drive along with him - and fly home. (She took a week off from school to do this.) They were caught in a snowstorm and had to stay in a motel overnight. Then she stayed at Jack's apartment at college for a few days.

The girl's mother approved of the trip, but I did not. And when I told Jack how I felt about it, he became very angry with me.

Please give me your opinion of this, as I respect your judgment.

- Worried mom

Dear Mom: Your son is 21, and legally an adult, so he didn't need his mother's permission to allow his girlfriend to drive 1,000 miles with him and sleep over at his apartment. (You do not mention the girl's age, so I am assuming that she is close to your son's age, and therefore of a legal age.)

Legalities aside, you should trust your son's judgment and common sense. If you are concerned about the possibility of this young couple sleeping together, I'd say you are typical of most mothers.

Dear Abby: You have just added fuel to a long-smoldering fire with your preference of the word "teaspoonsful." Baa-baa black sheep had wool - three bags full. However, if it had been three bagfuls, that would have merely indicated a quantity sufficient to fill three bags.

Now, if that sheep were to take a three-teaspoon dose of medicine, it could take either three teaspoonsful (using three individual teaspoons) or three teaspoonfuls (filling just one spoon three times). In my pharmacy practice, I have yet to see anyone use three separate teaspoons to take a dose of medicine.

Check the directions on almost any bottle of cough medicine, and you will see "teaspoonfuls." I give it my vote!

- Leo J. Hegner, Beaver Falls, Pa.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)

1993 Universal Press Syndicate