Nov 29, 2005

Equine Stealth

Last night Doc and I were 80 yards out on the west side of a house, where supposedly an escapee from our county jail was hiding out.  You probably heard about it, 9 felons went out the roof of the maximum security section of the local jail.  Considering that this was the "Maximum Security" area, I assume that the "Minimum Security" area has walls like a Japanese tea house. Anyway, there we were (acting like a bush) observing the house, ready to provide cover to other SWAT team guys that were making their way up from a field on the other side.  Of course our entry guys pride themselves on being stealthy as they negotiate over the fences, gutted trailers and torn apart engines, which made the approach a bit akin to traversing Omaha Beach. 


Two entry guys in particular, Eric (point man) and Uriel (cover), were moving up to the northeast corner when Uriel sensed movement on his 6.  Turning slowly, four feet away from Uriel's nose, was a horse.  The horse had walked up to them in complete silence and scared Uriel into a heart-stopping shudder; and this from a man who grew up around horses in Michoacan, Mexico.  Now Eric was still focused on point; Uriel, of course, being the typical cop that he was, wanted to watch Eric have the same reaction he'd just had.  Uriel reached forward, tapped Eric on the shoulder, and motioned for him to check behind.  By this time Mr. Ed had crept up even closer, right at Uriel's side.  Eric turned and saw the horse; and because Eric had grown up around blondes and lutefisk in Norway, Uriel was not disappointed by his reaction.

Doc and I had a much less eventful time; we were just cold.  The escapee was not found, but maybe next time we'll get him and place him back into that paper sack called the county jail.

Nov 19, 2005

Have Gun Will Travel

This last week, Detective Mendoza and I went to San Diego to pick up a murder suspect who was caught at the border.  After picking up the prisoner, we went to the airport and met with the TSA people.  These are the people who take away the nasty fingernail clippers and inspect your dirty loafers.   We presented our bona fides in order to fly on the plane while armed; this included our badges, letter from the chief, qualifications, affidavit from the Pope, testimonial from our third grade teacher, and a notarized statement promising that we would not shoot the pilot or make holes in the plane.  We were then pulled out of the long, x-raying, shoe removing, metal detecting line and taken to a by-pass room.  All was going well; the TSA guy was inspecting the paperwork and found it to be all in order (because I think my third grade teacher forgot who I was), then asked,

"So, will both you officers be traveling armed?"

I then explained to him that only I was armed, and Detective Mendoza was not, as he would be sitting next to the prisoner.  This seemed to not make any sense to the TSA guy; he said,

"So he (Mendoza) does not have a gun?"

"That is correct."

I could see the "TILT" look in this guy's mind.  

"Is there any problem?" I asked.  

Mr. rocket-scientist TSA guy replied,

"If he is not armed, he will have to go back through the inspection line."

"But, here is the proper paperwork, he COULD be armed, but is not."  

"Yes, but if he is NOT armed, he has to be inspected for dangerous items."

"But he is AUTHORIZED to carry any dangerous items!"

"But because he's NOT carrying anything dangerous, he has to be inspected."

I thought about arguing further, but I suddenly remembered that I was dealing here with a federal employee (no offense intended FBI, DEA, US Marshals, Homeland Security and military).  I kept my mouth shut, told Mendoza I would see him on the other side, and thought that perhaps it was me that had the problem.  After Mendoza and the TSA guy left the room, my prisoner looked at me said,

"That's the stupidest thing I ever heard of!"  

Well, we made it back alright; my shoes still smelled, and no one maliciously trimmed my fingernails... I should not complain too much.

Nov 10, 2005

Communing with Nature

I just can’t seem to get away from dogs, domestic or wild.  Most of my experiences with canines have not been good, but every now and then they help me out... like the other day. 

Long story short- Two guys in car.  One guy shoots other guy in back of head twice, first guy dumps body.  Cops find car full of blood (looked like the prom scene from “Carrie”) and are suspicious.  Cops pick up first guy, and then round up some of his buddies.  Buddies tell cops general area where first guy dumped body.  Detectives (me and partner) spend days looking for body.  

OK... now you are caught up.  My partner and I are out along a hilly, rural road looking at the beautiful autumn scenery; the colored leaves, the crisp air, the wonderful sights of fall... oh ya... and hopefully to find where a corpse was dumped.  In spite of the lovely sights, the prosecutor’s office tells us that if we cannot turn up with a body, they are going to release the suspect out of jail for lack of evidence, so we are not in a good mood.  As we turn a corner on this obscure dirt road, my partner says,

“Hey look, a coyote.”

 Sure enough, a coyote was sprinting out of a hollow about 50 yards away from the roadway.  Then the coyote stopped, turned around and looked at us. It seemed to be saying,

“Get lost, city boys... I’m hungry.” 

My partner and I stopped, and decided this was the best sign we'd had in three days.  We both got out of the car and started looking in the area we had seen the "Wild Kingdom" screen test run from.  After awhile I got a sniff of dead body, but after Feckless Fireplace Foibles I thought my nose may be out to lunch on locating the dead and decaying, so I did not get too excited.  Then I saw what looked to be a bit of blood, then a drag mark.  I looked around some more and saw another splash of blood, and some other drag marks in the underbrush.  I leaned over, placing my face as close as I could to the ground, trying to see any sign, slowly walking along...

Now, have you ever done something, like swat at a bug, or dribble coffee on yourself, then look around real quick to see if anyone saw you acting stupid?  Well, there I was, bent over and looking intently for more drag marks and/or blood when, under some brush, just a few inches from my nose, was a decomposing hand.  Me, the tough, veteran homicide detective went, “YAH!”, and jumped put near a foot in the air.  The first thing I did was look around to make sure my partner had not seen my screaming/levitation act.  Thank heavens; he was around the bend looking somewhere else.  Attached to the hand was the rest of “other guy”, looking none too bad for having been out for 6 days; the pathologist put it, "Limited animal predation activity".

Sorry Wile E. Coyote, it’s back to chasing roadrunners for you, but thanks for helping me keep a killer behind bars.

Click link below for a video of the crime scene: