Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One would think...

One would think that an officer with two years on would not have to be told not to drive his cruiser down a grassy hill into a soft muddy field when it's been raining for two days.

One would think that, wouldn't one?

I have a new bill from our contract towing service that suggests otherwise.

Care to guess what tomorrow's roll call topic is going to be?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The day after

Seven drivers failed to heed yesterday's warning and now have court dates for DWI, including three with BAC's high enough to trigger the mandatory jail time provisions of our DWI laws.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

Supposedly tonight is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year due to all of the college kids being out and about.

I have extra manpower for DWI enforcement.

Tonight looks promising indeed. So fi you must drink, don't drive. If you do drink and drive, I have several designated drivers who will be looking for you with an aim to getting you where you belong: our station.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stationhouse chuckles.

A quirk in our station is that of our two urinals in the men’s room, if you flush both at the same time, the water backs up into the one on the right and flows out on the floor in front of it. Most people know this and avoid using that one, especially if someone is using the one on the left.

Today, our Deputy Chief was in the building. He did not know this. Guess which one he chose to use?
One of our brand-new rookies was in there, too, using the one on the left. When both flushed at approximately the same time, guess whose dress shoes got a good soaking?

Our rookie has now achieved rock-star status among his peers, and he has the distinction of being the only one out of his recruit class whose name and face are now known to the Deputy Chief.

Bet we get a real plumber in to fix that thing now.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The high cost of being stupid...

So tonight, a bit before midnight, I’m approaching an intersection with a divided four-lane road ahead of me. I see a car on that road cross the intersection at what my training and experience tells me is about double the 35mph speed limit on that road. “Someone’s about to get it,” I tell myself as I turn onto that road behind the speeding car. I accelerate to catch up. The area is devoid of streetlights and pretty dark. I'm also driving a slick-top so I'm pretty sure that the guy didn't spot me as he'd gone past.

The car is still moving fast, but I’m moving much faster and should be close enough to hit my lights in another few seconds. There’s only one other car between me and my prey, and that’s a red Ford in the left lane who is actually driving fairly close to the actual speed limit. I’m about to pass this Ford on the right and my hand is on the light switch because I’m going to light that speeder up just as soon as I’m directly behind him when all of a sudden…

What the @#$%! That Ford just shifted into my lane and hit it’s brakes, forcing me to punch MY brakes hard enough to engage the anti-lock system. My clipboard hits the floor and my coffee in the center console cup holder sloshes out of the cup.
I brake hard to get some distance between me and the obvious airhead in the Ford, and then I jump to the left lane because I’m not about to let one inattentive asshole keep me from that speeder. But just as I get back on the gas, the red Ford jumps back into the left lane and brakes again.

That did it. Screw that speeder. I want THIS guy now. My lights and siren go on and the red Ford and I both pull to the right side. In the heat of my desire to catch my original target, I was willing to scratch the first cut-off as the action of a not-paying-attention bozo. But the second time…that was clearly on purpose and both times he nearly wrecked us. I calmly put my stop out on the radio and walked up on the driver who, like his passenger, was an early-twenties white kid wearing a sports jersey, a few too many neck chains and his hat on backwards.

“Good evening. My name is Sergeant Krupke, Xxxxx Police Department,” I began calmly. “”Let me see your license and registration.” As soon as he handed them to me, I glanced at them briefly then tucked them into my belt while telling him to get out of the car. Once he was out and I’d walked him back up onto the sidewalk, I got to the meat of the matter, channeling my inner R. Lee Ermey.

“Just what exactly do you call that totally asinine display of driving?!" I shout at him. "You damn near wrecked us both not once but twice. What the hell is wrong with you?!” Actually I'm not really all that angry at this point, but sometimes it helps to employ a bit of theatrics to get your point across. And it works with this kid.

“I-I-I-I didn’t mean to, Sir…” he began, stammering.

“BULLSHIT!” I shouted. “That was 100% on purpose and don’t you even consider telling me anything different. I’ll tell you exactly what that was! You saw me coming up on you and decided that you didn’t want to be passed, didn’t you?” I was right in his face now, nose-to-nose, acting just like an old drill sergeant that I personally recall from my own younger days.

“I-I-I- didn’t know you were a police car, Sir…” he offered.

“Oh, so that makes it ok? Hell, I’ll bet that you two thought that it was pretty damned funny for a few seconds there, didn’t you?”

“Sir , we didn’t know that you were the police…” he repeated.

“So it’s ok to try to kill anyone who isn’t the police? Is that how it works? Do you even realize that your stupid stunt could have gotten all three of us killed?”

They both looked at me wide-eyed with their mouths open. The driver was shaking now. Maybe I was finally starting to get through to him.

“You’re actually damned lucky that I am the police,” I exclaimed both sharply and loudly. “Anyone else might have knocked your head off for that, and they’d have done it with my blessing!” I paused, staring at him. “But you lucked out, because I’m not going to knock your head off.”

“Th-th-thank you, Sir…” he replied.

“Oh, don’t thank me yet,” I told him as I pulled my cuffs out. “You’re under arrest for Reckless Driving, Unsafe Operation, and being a dumb-ass without a permit.” I may have been a bit theatrical, but truth be told, I was getting more pissed the more I thought about what this joker'd done. And it was either take him in or just cut him loose with a couple of tickets. Frankly, the latter option just wasn't working for me so I hooked him. Maybe next time he'll think twice before trying to cut off another driver just for fun.

So as I write this, his (dad’s) car should just about be arriving at the impound yard on the flatbed tow truck and he’s waiting for his turn before the magistrate in the morning. His pal’s probably still hoofing it, too, seeing as how he didn’t have a cell phone with him.

"Can you call me a cab, Sir?" he asked when I told him that he could leave.

"No, I'll call you a dumbass just like your friend here. Start walking."

I’m willing to bet that if you ask either of them, they're wishing that they'd just let me get that speeder.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I ruined his night...

But sometimes that works out better for all involved.

Last night I was parked watching traffic on a road that comes away from the nightclub district. (Yes, we CAN do that, and I encourage my officers to scope out those roads and stop as many people for minor traffic violations as they can. Inevitably, each will get at least one DWI a night that way.)

As I was sitting there, I saw a car turn off onto a parking lot across from me and park. It's lights went off, and I decided to give it about a minute or so and then go check it out.

A minute later, I rolled up behind it with my lights still off, and when I was right up on it's back bumper, I lit everything up. Putting the location and tag out on the radio, I got out of my cruiser and walked up on what I honestly expected to be two drunks hurriedly getting re-dressed. Instead, I found a sheepish-looking guy driver with a semi-conscious female passenger who was covered in vomit and clutching a plastic shopping bag which turned out to be filled with more vomit. (I guess that she was going to save some for later.)

I started out by pulling him out of the car and putting him on my front bumper while I checked her out. Yep. She's still alive. Just drunk as hell. So I went back to talk to him and after determining that he's not drunk, started with the usual questions:

Q. What's your name?
A. Steve Xxxxxx.

Q. What's her name?
A. Robin.

Q. How do you know Robin?
A. I met her in this club we were both in.

Q. When? Tonight?
A. Yes.

Q. Where are you going now?
A. I'm taking her back to her place. She's had a bit too much to drink.

"Well aren't you the gentleman," I said. "Stay here."

Then I went up to talk to "Robin".

Q. What's your name?
A. Stacy Xxxxxx.

Q. Who's that guy?
A. That's Dillon.

Q. How do you know Dillon?
A. I met him at the club. He's taking me back to my place because I'm not feeling good.

Q. Yeah, Alcohol'll do that to you. Do you think that it makes sense going home with a guy you don't even know? And just to let you know, his name's not Dillon.
A. Yeah, he's ok. I'm safe with him. He's gay.

Q. And how do you know that?
A. He told me.

Yeah. OK. Nice try, "Stillon". I've only known him for five minutes by this time, but even I know that he's not gay. And I also know that he's not taking this gal anywhere, much less back to her own apartment.

"Stacy, You're not going anywhere with that guy. It's just not smart or safe. I'll get you a cab, but he's not taking you anywhere tonight. She started to say something but then began to heave as her stomach began rejecting more alcohol and whatever else she'd consumed. I quickly closed the door lest she get any on my nice clean parking lot and she turned her head and barfed on the center console.

Aw, hell with it. I called an ambulance. Even if she's not danger-drunk, (and she might well be at this point), a ride in an ambulance and a spell in the Emergency Department will sober her up and hopefully drive home the point that drinking that much is dangerous and expensive. Plus while she's in the hospital, Dileve or whatever his name is can't show up and talk his way inside. The I went back and explained the facts of life to Romeo, who was still sitting on my bumper. I impressed up on him my belief that picking up drunk girls in bars and taking them home is probably not a smart thing to be doing. I also got his driver's license and ran his name, documenting it in case it turns out that someone drugged her in this bar. By the time the ambulance showed up, Steve had a pretty clear understanding of where I was coming from and what I thought that he was up to, and he had a car that was going to remind him of Stacy for a long time. (Hell, I could smell the puke ten feet away from it as the EMT's got her out of the car.)

Now I could have let him just go on and take her home, especially since she wanted him to, but if I did, I'd be just as culpable for whatever happened to her later as him, and that just wasn't going to happen. At that point, I don't care what a drunk girl tells me she wants. My job is to protect and serve, emphasis here on "protect" and sometimes that means intervening and making the right decisions for people who can't make them for themselves. If Stacy still wants a date tomorrow when she's sober, she can always go back to the bar and ask around for "Dillon". Hopefully by then, he'll have gotten his car detailed and bought a few pine tree air fresheners for it. But until she's competent to make that call, my job is to make sure that no one else makes it for her. THAT is what being the police is all about.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Back to the blog

Yes folks. I'm back.

Sorry for the absence, but I had a temporary reassignment that put me in a position that didn't exactly give me a wealth of tales to relate, but now I'm back on the street with a new squad of officers and the stories are about to start rolling again because these guys are kicking ass and taking names out there. So stay tuned and I promise to make up for the dearth of posts these last several months.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ah, the joys of citizen complaints

So one of my officers comes in and tells me to expect a complaint call any moment. Oh, Joy.

Having just had an encounter of the unsatisfactory kind with a citizen, he's following the time-honored protocol of racing back to the sergeant to get his own side in first.
They learn so fast, these new college-educated officers...

Anyway, he tells me about how he stopped this guy, and right from the get-go, the guy was all bluster and attitude. Now my guy is professional and I consider him to be one of my best, but even he has a boiling point, and this loudmouth finally reached it and got my guy pretty hot, too. So the stop ended with my guy handing out a few well-deserved citations, all of which were based on observed violations committed before the discussion got heated, and he sent the guy on his way after giving him his name, my name, and the station phone number, all of which he is required to do under our department's policy when citizens request it.

After hearing about the stop from my guy--someone that I tend to believe because I've known him for a while and I know how he deals with people (like I said, he's one of my top officers), I come to the conclusion that the guy he'd dealt with is basically just some sort of an asshole. Still, assholes call to complain just like regular people do, and it's my job to listen to the complaints and take appropriate action.

A few minutes later, the phone rings. My stalwart officer, my consumate professional, picks up the phone and gives the department name and his own per our policy.

A few seconds go by. He looks a bit peeved. He hits the "Hold" button and hangs the phone back up.
"Hey's that cocksucker that I was telling you about. He's on Hold for you."

Only the guy is not on hold. My officer--one that until a minute ago I'd considered one of my best and brightest--had mistakenly hit the Speakerphone button instead of Hold.

And now the phone nearly explodes off the wall. "WHAT?! What did you just call me?! Did you call me a cocksucker?! How dare you! I'll....

Striking like lightning, my officer reaches out, picks up the phone handset, and drops it onto the cradle again, cutting off the call.

"Whoops. Sorry about that, Sarge."

I figure that he'll either call back here tonight, or else he'll call into the Chief's office tomorrow. And as it's been a few hours now and he hasn't called here, I'm already working on my latest "Dear Chief" memo.
Hopefully he'll read his memos before attending to his messages so I can at least get my side in first.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dopes, a dope, and what happens when you dope off.

So yesterday, I get a call from our undercover unit supervisor, asking if I can provide a jump-out squad to help snag a group of people that they would like to arrest after observing a number of them engaging in drug sales transactions. Now I like requests like this, because it gives me a chance to put a number of my less-experienced and/or less-motivated officers to work. I walk through the station and corral several of the ones that I want, than call for a few others to meet me at a specific corner a few blocks away from the park where the suspects are loitering around under observation. A quick call to the lead detective gets me the descriptions of the ones he wants, and so armed, we convoy up to the park, split into two wings—one for the north end and one for the south end—and sweep into the park to isolate the group and help the detective grab the suspects.

Predictably, as we swoop into the park, several people suddenly get up from the benches and tables in one corner of the park and begin to rapidly scatter. We all split up and began putting the Habeus Grabbus on the ones we wanted. I drove after two guys who started to run off, pulling ahead of them with my cruiser and jumping out to nab one. I sent the rookie riding with me after another one. Typical rook: “Which one should I get?”
“The guilty-looking one! The one RUNNING! Sic him!”
So charged, my rook ran off and grabbed the alleged crack-head in question. Other officers and detectives also went after various and sundry other mopes—uh…”alleged” mopes—and when the dust had settled, we had nine detained.
I lucked out; mine was a guy that I’d been locking up from time to time for a few years, so at least we had our shared history to talk about while I searched him.
Now picture this scene: A park. In the park—a ring of police vehicles, all with lights flashing. Inside that ring, there are groups of uniformed police officers who have several people in handcuffs that they are searching. And into the middle of all of this rides Miss Oblivious on her bicycle.
I see her as she rides around my cruiser. I yell at her to stop and go around, but she’s listening to her ipod and doesn’t even bother looking at me. I have my hands full of crack-head so I can’t go after her, so I yell to my rookie to stop her. My rook, having just handed his crack-head over to a detective, steps into her path and yells “HALT!” so loud that people a block away reflexively stop doing stuff. Bike Gal startles out of her stupid zone, tries to swerve around my officer, strikes a decorative chain barrier about two feet high that borders the sidewalks, and topples off of her bike into a muddy flower bed. She’s not injured, but by the time she gets to her feet, even the crack-heads are laughing at her. I hand my detainee off to a detective and walk over to make sure that she understands the error of her ways. But she’s not feeling sheepish or apologetic at all; she’s furious and immediately launches into me about my rookie “knocking” her off of her bike for no reason. She wants his name, and my name, and starts telling me that she’ll be going to her doctor to get checked out and that…”
I cut her off before she can get to the lawsuit threat that I know is coming. I point out the police vehicles and police officers that she was riding around and between, and I let her know that she’s right on the edge of being locked up for interfering in a police operation. I tell her that if she’s injured, I will arrange for a medical evaluation, but it’ll be subsequent to her arrest for disobeying my lawful order to stop. Only slightly cowed (because her father knows a city councilman in a nearby municipality that has nothing to do with our jurisdiction), she argues that she, as a citizen, has the right to go wherever she wants to go and that we have an obligation to protect her right, not interfere with it. She then demanded my name and badge number again.
She didn’t get arrested, mainly because we had all these crack-heads to deal with, but she got my name and badge number written down for her on the mandatory appearance citation that my rook issued her. Maybe she can bring her daddy’s friend to court with her.
As the day wrapped up, we had seven arrests for possession, possession with intent to distribute, and/or possession of narcotics paraphernalia. We also seized all the cash that the “alleged” sellers had on them.
The icing on the cake: A fairly new but undeniably lazy female officer from another squad tried to sneak back early from an overtime beat and when I saw her in the station half an hour earlier than she was supposed to be, I assigned her to do the strip searches on our two female arrestees, both of whom were morbidly obese homeless women who stank to high heaven. I'm sure that she'll try to lodge some sort of a grievance for that, but since she was on the clock on my shift, she'll doubtless find out that I can assign work to whomever I choose, even slaps from lesser squads.

Sometimes, work’s just fun in spite of itself.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year...or not.

I’m back, after some time off for vacations and training.

And it didn’t take long for people to reaffirm my belief in the inherent stupidity of some of our local citizens. All it took was a car broken down in the center lane of a multi-lane road yesterday. Flares were set out and I had two other offers trying to push the car over onto the right shoulder to lessen the hazard resulting from such a traffic obstruction. Like a good sergeant, I’d positioned my car just inside the flare line at an angle blocking both the center and right lanes as best I could. However, no sooner had I positioned my cruiser then I observed a gray Volvo approach my car, slow to almost a stop, then proceed to go around my car on the right, using half the shoulder in his effort to get around my marked police cruiser as it sat there with all lights flashing and the arrow board pointing clearly to the left.

Seriously? Is he really trying to pass me and drive into our scene?

Yep. He sure was. He went right around my car, running over a flare as he did so, and then began trying to angle around the car that was being pushed by my other officers.

Well this needed to be addressed, so I pulled out after the guy and stopped him just after he went around my other officers and the car that they were pushing. One of those officers had tried to flag him down, but he drove right past that officer, too. I got him to stop about half a block down. Needless to say, I was not in the best of moods when I approached the driver.

“Do you make it a habit of driving through police scenes like that?” I asked him.
“I didn’t know that you wanted me to stop,” he replied.

“Sir, my car was right there blocking the lane. You drove around it on the shoulder. What were you doing?”

“Well there was room to get around…” he started.

“No, there wasn’t.” I said. And even if there was, why would you go around a police car with it’s lights on like that? You almost hit my officers back there, and then when that one tried to stop you, you swung extra wide to go around him. What’s going on in your head there?”

“I could see that all you guys had was a stalled car…” It was at this point that he gestured to the woman passenger beside him. “I knew that I could get through and I need to get my wife to the hospital,” he said.

OK. Now that MIGHT be a plausible reason. And me being one of those nice guys willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, at least initially…
“So what’s the emergency?” I asked. “Do you need an ambulance?”

“Oh, no medical emergency,” he replied. “She works there, and she’s going to be late.”

Usually it takes some work to convince me to arrest a person for misdemeanors on a holiday, But he managed. He got locked up for crossing a police line, and his wife, who doesn’t drive, was taken to the nearby hospital by one of my officers. (Hey, I’m not a total meanie…although I did tell the officer to drop her off where everyone could see.)