Nov 25, 2006

Lost the Race

     I have never been skinny.  Now I run, I work out, I try to watch my weight, but I have never had that thin, runner's physic.  However, one night, I was on a stakeout with someone who did. 


     We had been getting reports of car prowls in a particular area, so Officer Tom and I decided that we would stake out the area, to catch some of these criminals.  We walked into a bin lot, where large fruit bins were stacked about ten feet high, intending to use the bins as a vantage point.  As soon as we walked between two rows of bins, we noticed a stack of stolen booty.  The crooks had evidently already been busy, and had been stashing their ill-gotten gains between the bins.  Knowing that the bad guys would be back for the stash, Tom and I climbed up onto the bins and waited. 


     Within 15 minutes, two guys walked into the narrow aisle and started picking up the stolen goods.  Tom and I leapt down off the bins, screaming like we were marauding Huns.  The two crooks took off running, with Tom and me in pursuit.  Now these crooks were somewhat of a reflection of Tom and me- one was stocky and slow, the other thin and fast.  Tom quickly outpaced me, being able to run much faster than I.  And who did he catch and take to the ground?  That's right, the slow fat one.  And who did I get to chase?  Correct again, the skinny fast guy. 


     After four blocks, the guy gave up, when a backup officer in a patrol car drove in front of him.  The final indignity is that the skinny-fast bad guy gets a ride in the patrol car (albeit in handcuffs), while I have to walk the entire four blocks back to Tom, who was resting comfortably on an apple box.  I wanted to say something witty and insulting to him for making me do all the running, but I just couldn't catch my breath.


Nov 24, 2006

Fifteen Seconds of Fame

A news gal came at me a few weeks ago, asking to do a story on a cold case. She was so excited about the story, she said, "This will be a REALLY long story, a HUGE segment on the news, it might last up to 2 minutes! You be the judge if I have what it takes to leave this 2-bit town and hit Hollywood.

Giving Up

     Most of the time when a very funny report crosses my desk, it's because some criminal has made a mockery of natural selection and redefined the term stupid.  However, every now and then it's not the crooks who make me giggle...


     A patrol officer was in a foot chase with some miscreant the other night.  Foot chases are always tough for cops; we are loaded down with guns, ammo, radio, bullet-proof vest, cool sunglasses, nightstick, cell phone, and two glazed donuts.  The guy actually out in front doing the felony two-step only has on him a sweatshirt, filthy jeans, a pair of shoplifted Adidas, and $60.00 worth of amphetamine coursing through his veins.  So the best we hope for is keeping the defendant in sight until the cavalry arrives. 


     Said bad guy (let's call him Freddy Felon) is running toward his own nearby house.  Freddy goes right into the front door and locks it behind him.  Not wanting to follow this guy into his own home without backup, the cop sets up a perimeter, which is quickly formed around the house.  Cops then spend about 15 minutes pounding on the doors and windows, demanding that Freddy come out and play; but there is no answer.  About an hour later, the patrol supervisor arrives on the scene with a warrant to search the home.  Because of the particularly violent history of Freddy Felon, the cops do not wish to risk their lives going in after him, and why should they?  CS gas is pumped into the house. 


     After delivering enough CS gas to clear Berkley University, Police finally enter and check.  With gas masks on, 5 cops search high and low in the house, pulling open cabinets, tipping over furniture to look underneath, but no suspect is found.  About 3 hours into the search, as things are winding down, one of the cops on perimeter hears a sound coming from the area of his car.  He looks and sees someone frantically pounding from inside the back of his patrol car.  He goes over, and there is Freddy Felon, seated in the back.  The cop opens the door and the guy screams, "What are you doing to my house!" 


     It seems that just before the perimeter guys arrived, Freddy went out the back door, right after he entered the front door, and hid in the back yard.  But as soon as all the police cars arrived, he knew that he would be found, so he surrendered to a police car, only to find the driver had already gotten out to help secure the house.  So he decided to sit in the back seat and wait for the officer to return.  He then watched the entire event unfold, kicking in his front door, tossing gas into his house, hearing all of the searching go on for the hours he sat there. Freddy spent the entire time yelling that he was in the police car, but no one could hear him, and police car rear doors cannot be opened from the inside. 



Nov 3, 2006

Declining Times

     You all know how much I try to keep this blog clean, and not  depend on “potty humor” to entertain.  However, this time it’s not about the humor, it’s about a decline in the very fabric of our culture.  


     As proud Americans (and a few proud Brits), we all want to have fresh, blue-tinted water in the head (or “loo” for those on the east side of the pond).  This is all about to change, and it’s the fault of the environmentalists.  That’s right; those people who are taking away our Hummers and making us scrounge through our trash like starving rats in order to “Recycle”.  


     Case in point: I was returning from teaching a sniper school a week or so ago (you can still do that with a shoulder injury) when I stopped for lunch.  Having eaten junk food during the entire week of field instruction, my… er… well, let’s just say that the train was finally moving and it was full.  I went to the one and only restroom in the business; completed the task, and then went to flush.  


     There was a sign over the toilet that said, “Environmentally Friendly” and in small print added, “The least water per  flush” (not sure if that was a boast or a warning).  I pulled the lever; there was the sound like that of a mouse sneezing, and nothing much happened.  The contents of the bowl did not go down the drain as is usual.  If anything, the “flush” (if you could call it that) just made it angry.  Then there was a knock at the door, the only other customer in the place wanted in.  I pulled the lever again; nothing happened.  Evidently the thing had to recharge; and there I was, in this bathroom pushing the lever like I was trying to start a Sopwith Camel.  I ended up running the sink for about 5 minutes until the toilet had enough pressure to make another attempt.  I washed my hands and ran out without looking at the result.  


     I have found the reason behind all the violence associated with eco-terrorism: all of the hemp-wearing granola-crunchers installed these things in their apartments… it would make me want to blow up something as well.  

Oct 22, 2006

Past Injuries.... Part IV

     OK, I’m sick and tired of recalling the times I got hurt; a guy dwells on that stuff too long and pretty soon you’re in the fetal position on Dr. Freud’s sofa, babbling about how the ATM machines are stealing your brain.  So, here is one of many stories about how those around me got hurt, sometimes by my actions, although never by my intentions. 


     The first one that comes to mind was the first time I was really, really scared while working.  It started in the County Jail receiving area.  I was helping another officer book a heroin addict.  You actually don’t see too many of these any more; heroin has been replaced by methamphetamine, a drug that is preferred I think because prolonged use negates the need to buy expensive toothpastes and brushes, as it makes your teeth rot quickly. 


     Anyway, here is this doper, getting booked for something, and I was standing behind him.  All of a sudden, this guy goes nuts!  I have no idea why, maybe cause he could not get the in-room Jacuzzi upgrade, or maybe because the ATMs had just taken too many brain cells.  The guy yells out at the other officer, and then takes a swing at him.  I grabbed the guy’s long, greasy hair (which reminded me of a filthy mop that needed to be replaced during the Carter administration) and pulled hard. 


     What I did not know is that the other officer, doing a great job of ducking the haymaker, had gone low and grabbed the guy around his legs and lifted.  My pulling high and his lifting low had the cumulative effect of flipping this guy like a burning pancake.  I saw his feet come up, and some of the dirty hair came out in my hands, I then heard his head hit the concrete floor like a rotten pumpkin thrown from a bridge. 


      Time sort of went still for a moment, and then the only thing my brain registered was how much blood was coming out from under his very still head.  I could only think: “Oh, my Lord, we killed him!”  I was certain that the world was one heroin addict less, and that I was going to jail for murdering Mr. Mophead.  Just then, I heard the sweetest sound ever; Mr. Mop rolled his eyes and said, “I ain’t gonna resist any more.”  Those were his exact words. 


     I was so happy that I clapped my partner on the shoulder and said, “He’s OK!”  My partner just looked at me and said, “Ya right, everyone’s supposed to have blood pouring out of their head like that.”  OK, he was bleeding pretty good, but at least he was alive. 


     I saw him in court a few days later; some stitches were in his head, right about the same place where he was missing a large patch of hair. 



Oh look, an example of shameless self-promotion:



Oct 14, 2006

Past Injuries.... Part III

     I used to be on the bike squad.  It was a great assignment; you got to wear shorts, lots of fresh air, and my calves were rock hard.  You’d think that with all of the cardio, I would have lost lots of weight, but I actually ballooned like a pro baseball player’s bicep on steroids.  The problem is that one of our assignments involved checking in at the stop-and-robs (mini-marts) throughout the shift.  Man, did those BBQ burritos, chicken fingers, chili dogs and jo-jos taste good; not only that, you could buy three for a dollar. 

     Another responsibility involved patrolling an area along the railroad tracks where all of the bums, winos, and street people hung out.  I resist the PC title of “homeless” for these people, because that whole attitude suggests that society is somehow to blame for their lot in life, and that they are, in whole, unable to do anything to improve their lot in life.  The truth is that the vast majority of these people are alcoholics, some are drug users, and a few are mental health patients.  Our area, like many others throughout the US, offers several services for these people.  However, most of these services just make life on the street easier; they are not designed to actually encourage people to earn a better life.  Which is compassion; giving a wino free food so that he can spend all his welfare money on cheap booze, or actually holding him accountable for his choices, encouraging him to stop a self-destructive lifestyle and others to not join him? 

     Sorry… waxing political.  One time Officer Tom and I were biking up to a local drinking spot, and I peeked around a corner.  I saw a regular, Jose, receiving a, er… well, a “Lewinsky” from someone who I could not see.  I called Tom over (this kind of event needs witnesses in order to make a better story in the muster room) and said, “Some gal is (servicing) Jose!”  Tom looked and said back, “That’s no gal, that’s Alfred!”  I took another look and sure enough, it was another regular, Alfred. 

     We called them both out and asked what happened; Alfred said that he was doing what he had to do in order to get enough money for a 40 ounce bottle of beer.  Jose already had some beer, but had on him $1.67, which together with what money Alfred already had, would have bought him his own bottle.  So we charged them both with Prostitution and reached for the open bottle of beer that Jose had in order to pour it out (Drinking in Public is also a crime). Jose, who had no more money for beer, grabbed the bottle and started to run away.  I gave chase and took Jose down, while driving my bare knee into the ground.  The problem is, that winos are not the cleanest people in the world, and there areas are not downy soft, but rather filled with broken glass, feces and urine.  Several large, filthy pieces of glass were driven into my knee. 

     Once at the hospital ER, I was (ironically) next to an 8 year-old girl who had fallen from her bicycle.  She was dealing with her injury much better than I was mine.  The doctor came in and said that they just had to “clean” the wound.  This required picking out all of the glass, then removing all of the dirty, abraded flesh.  This was accomplished with a scrubber, a stainless steel toothbrush and a sadistic nurse.  After a fresh tetanus shot I was cleared to go home.  I could not bicycle for a while, or for that matter bend my knee until the skin grew back. 

     I sure hope that Jose and Alfred found a job, at least one that pays better that $1.67. 

                         Nice socks, right?

Oct 13, 2006

Past Injuries.... Part II

     A while back, I wrote about having to be shot by a little gun-like thing that shoots small darts and electrifies you like a moth in a bug zapper; these things are called Tasers (“Training Day”). 


     Another of those experiences came when we all had to find out what it was like to be sprayed with OC (short for Oleoresin Capsaicin).  This product comes in an aerosol can, from distilling hot peppers.  But before you rush out and buy some to put on your tamales, be aware of how powerful this stuff really is. 


     Was working patrol when a call came out of a “Beer run,” that is, a shoplift where beer was taken.  The dispatcher gave a description of the suspect, and a direction of travel (on foot) that would place him in the area where I was.  Around the next corner, there he was, 6-pack of Coors still in hand.  I pulled up, got out of my car, and approached the suspect, who was doing his best to look invisible.  I walked up to him and told him, “Hold it,” which doesn’t really make sense; we are either telling people to hold it, or drop it… us cops really should make up our minds. 


     Anyway, the guy turned and stopped, then did the totally unexpected; he threw his entire 6-pack of Coors at my head.  Most alcoholics would rather throw their liver at you than their booze.  The beer missed my head, perhaps because of my really fast reflexes, or the fact that he was already so drunk he was not able to throw well.  Needless to say, the foot chase was on.  I initially caught him in the first few steps, but I just got his coat, and he shed that like a lizard dropping his own tail.  Next, I grabbed one of his shirts, which also came off, and we were running again.  It is not my intention to slowly strip people before I arrest them, often it just turns out that way- taking them into custody, one piece of clothing at a time. 


     I then remembered the OC can on my belt; I caught up to him a third time, this time wrapping my right hand in his t-shirt and spraying him with OC.   He pulled away a last time, pulling my hand with his shirt.  I heard a “snapping” sound, which I thought was his shirt tearing, and he took off again, with me running after him.  Now, those last few things happened very fast; in fact, so fast that the OC was still in a small, dense cloud in front of me where I had just sprayed.  When I ran forward, my face went into that cloud, evenly and completely distributing it between my eyes and lungs. 


     Do you all recall “Return of the Jedi?  Remember the scene where the evil emperor says to the hero Luke, “Your anger has made you powerful?”   In spite of my having become blinded and unable to breathe, I was so angry, that I caught the guy one last time, and did not let go.  Once back-up arrived and put handcuffs on the guy, I ripped the contacts out of my eyes, and looked around for a water source.  I found a faucet in an alley, turned it on and stuck my face under it.  I must have looked like a salmon trying to swim upstream into the pipe. 


     A few minutes later, when the OC was all washed off, I noticed that the middle finger of my right hand was swollen to about twice normal size.  An X-ray later showed that the second bone in that finger had snapped in two as it was twisted up in the thief’s t-shirt.  A splint was placed on the finger, and the final indignity was having to “give the bird” every time someone wanted to see my injury. 


     I thought I would also include a photo of me now, showing the stupid "bust level" splint that you get when you have three pins placed into the top of your arm.


Oct 9, 2006

Past Injuries…. Part I

     I wish I could tell you the hair-raising, bloodcurdling, heroic adventure that ended with my shoulder injury.  However it was just a 45-year old guy thinking he could surf like he was 20. 


     I do recall several trips to the emergency room, and, although not for real exciting stuff, like gunshot wounds or being punched by Tommy Lee, there are a few stories to tell.  Here’s the first one that come’s to mind:


I was working graveyard one night.  At about 0300 (that’s 3 o’clock in the morning), I stepped out the back door of our PD and heard a faint “Help me” cry.  It was coming from about two blocks away, so Officer Jim W. and I walked toward the sound.  We ended up standing in front of an abandoned, two story business complex, and could still hear the “Help!”, although it was starting to get weaker.  There was definitely an injured citizen in need of our heroic help, and by gum we were going to save him!  I triangulated the sound as best I could, guessing that it was coming from the second story of the abandoned building.  As we looked into the building, I could see one plate glass door which opened to a stairway, which went to the second floor.  Officer Jim then yelled to me, “There’s a fire up there!”  


     I looked up at the secondfloor windows, and could see flames spreading throughout the complex.  I thought there was someone trapped in the second story, which was on fire, and I was now in a position to save their life; that’s front page news stuff there!  Unfortunately at the time, I was thinking far too much like a fireman (no offense intended) and too little like a cop.  Several questions SHOULD have come to mind, such as: how would the second story of an abandoned business catch fire at 3 in the morning?  Why would someone be in an abandoned building at 3 in the morning, and the biggest missed question of all, why in the heck did I walk two blocks to the screaming, instead of driving my car (where there would be a plentitude of tools for breeching the plate glass door)? 


     Oh well, I pulled out my Streamlight flashlight and hammered on the plate glass about 15 times, until my flashlight went through the glass.  I ran up the stairway and saw the upper floor almost fully engulfed in flames.  I yelled for the victim, but could not hear any more screams.  Officer Jim and I retreated from the flames, coming back out to the street.  Hearing the cries again, we realized that they were not coming from inside the building.  We then checked the alley behind the building and found, next to a dumpster, a guy who was whimpering, “Help me,” and smelled of smoke. 


     We determined that this guy was a street wino, who was a bit of an arsonist.  He had been squatting in this businessfor awhile and decided to light a warming fire, which got out of control and blocked his normal way out, so he had to jump out a second story window.  The landing resulted in a compound fracture of both his legs.  He pulled himself to a dumpster and started calling for help. 


     As the ambulance crew was working on Mr. Firebug, one of the EMT’s looked at me and said, “You want me to look at that hand?”  I pulled my right hand up and saw that it was covered in blood, and had been dripping down my right pant’s leg.  The ER doc found a laceration of the back of my right thumb, severing a tendon and the main thumb artery; all done when my hand went through the glass along with the flashlight. After the stitches, I got my thumb placed into a cast which positioned it out at 90 degrees to my hand, making me look a bit like Little Jack Horner. 


     Lessons learned:


1) I am not a fireman (no offense intended);


2) Just ‘cause someone’s crying for help does not necessarily mean you will not be arresting them;


3) Bring the patrol car with you; it may be necessary to: get equipment out of, drive someone to jail in, sit in to watch fireman fight fires, and drive yourself to the ER in.

Oct 6, 2006

Rotator Cuff

It seems that I have been very negligent about keeping all of you entertained over the past few months.  Sorry that I have been distracted; I just had shoulder surgery to repair a “slap” rotator cuff injury.  I don’t know what a “slap” injury is specifically, but I can tell you it was NOT given to me by my wife. 


Anyway, I have four holes in my shoulder, and am taking some very nice Oxycontin pills that make me feel fuzzy, but do keep the shoulder from hurting.  I also have to wear this really stupid looking foam wedge-sling thing; it keeps my right arm pointed out at a 90 degree angle to my body, just about waist level.  No one can figure out what I have my arm in… is it a sling?  A holster? Some sort of pack containing stolen goods?  Whenever I walk into a store, “Loss Prevention” is on me like Lindsay Lohan on a laxative margarita. 


The arm position has also caused me some grief with my wife and 21 year-old daughter, both of whom don’t appreciate a drugged-up man in pajamas, who is not sure of his arm clearance, walking around with a fist jammed out at bust-level.  I can assure you that I have tried my best to avoid “confrontations” with my wayward appendage, but accidents do happen. 


The only real cool thing about this mess is that the doctor told me that this is a typical surfer’s injury.  It is so cool that I have a surfing injury… it’s sort of like a fencer having a dueling scar on his cheek. 


I have three months of “light duty,” and then I should be strong enough to return to full duty, which for a detective is the same as light duty, except that you can lift the glazed donuts without assistance.  My sergeant has assured me that everything will go smoothly without me, I’m sure he is right…


time for more little white pills.

Aug 4, 2006

If You're Not Dead... Try Again

    Usually when people try to commit suicide, it's not funny.  However, a report crossed my desk today that had me about doubled over with laughter.  Detective Mendoza asked what was so funny, and I told him about this case, to which he responded, "You gotta blog about that!" 


    Yes indeed, you all must hear this: 


    Evidently a guy was depressed, because his girlfriend left him for his sister- so he got drunk.  The more he drank, the more depressed he got.  He then made a call to his mother, asking her to pick him up at a local mini-mart.  However, she sent his sister, who arrived in her car. 


    Seeing his sister was the last straw; in a fit a suicidal rage he pushed the sister down, grabbed the keys to her car and roared out of the parking lot.  Accelerating at full speed, he aimed the car for a very large phone pole, intent on ending his own life.  The car crashed dead-center on the pole, shearing the pole off and deploying the very intricate (and safe) airbag system of a brand new Volvo.  He then jumped out of the car (which was now totaled) completely unharmed, and ran to a nearby arterial.  There, he leapt out in front of the first car he saw speeding down the roadway.  The car hit him; however it was a lowered, customized Honda, and it just flipped him over the vehicle, breaking the windshield.  He got back up, still unsuccessful at doing anything more than giving himself a strawberry on the hip, and ran into the path of the next car.  This car was a Nissan 300Z, it again only flipped him over the windshield, doing about $1000.00 damage to the hood, but only breaking his ankle. 


    He was then taken into custody and charged with Assault, Auto Theft, Reckless Driving, Hit & Run and 2 counts of Vandalism.  After the ankle was taped up, he was taken to the County Jail and placed on "suicide watch," which means they strip you naked and place you in a rubber room. 


    I can't figure out if it was a case of bad luck or good...

Aug 3, 2006

Equal Opportunity Crime

     Happened to be out at night when Patrol got a call of a burglary in progress at a local bar, the “Louisville Tavern.”  We all called it the “Louieville Tavern”.  One of my coworkers, Officer Preston, would get indignant at what he perceived as “Slaughtering the Queen’s English” and correct us all the time; “It’s the LOUISville Tavern”.  I guess he thought Merryweather would be spinning in his grave to be called “Captain Louie”.  I was close so I rolled on the alarm. 


     I pulled up to see Officer Rick on the west side next to a kicked-in door, and Officer Mel on the east side.  Rick radioed that a suspect was running to the east inside the tavern, so I went to where Mel was.  I got there about the same time as a chair crashed through an east window and a skinny guy started climbing through.  Mel put his gun right between the skinny guy’s eyes and yelled “FREEZE!” so loud that I’m sure seismologists in California registered it on the Richter scale.  The suspect screamed like a girl and ran back to the west, so I ran over to where Rick was standing by just in time to grab the suspects’ right arm. 


     Just then a weird thing happened: as Rick cranked this guys' right arm around, it didn’t just bend at the elbow, the whole arm arced around like a wet noodle.  Rick let go it so fast, I thought that the guy had broken out of his grasp, so I grabbed the wrist, and felt that there was no bone, just flaccid flesh making up his arm.  The sensation made me let go fast too, Rick just looked at me and said, “Weird, Huh?”  The suspect told us he had a degenerative bone disorder, which had dissolved the bones in his right arm. 


     Rick looked at me and asked, “What do we do?”  The suspect thought that we were talking to him, so he said, “Well, the cop on the other side (Officer Mel) freaked me out when he yelled at me and I, well, I dumped a load in my pants; could you take me to my apartment so I can clean up?”  We felt so bad for the guy that we did.  He thought we were so nice for letting him shower before he went to jail, he told us about all the other burglaries he had committed, all of them mini marts and taverns, just to get beer. 


     As for me, I just need to remember not to frighten Mel… my ears are still ringing. 

Jul 25, 2006

The Un-Dead

    Got called out to a shooting victim call, and as usual, the ambulance had transported the victim to the hospital.  I think that they would transport dirt on an archeological dig if they thought they could bill Medicare. 


    Anyway, I get to the hospital and the nurses (who see the badge) point me to the trauma care room.  I walk in, and there are a few people still around the body.  I saw that an x-ray was up on the wall, what looked like a broken-up .22 bullet was inside the skull.  The victim looked to be a 50-ish woman, who looked to be well-dressed and in good shape (other than the .22 caliber hole in her head).  I looked close at the hole in the head: right side temple, contact wound.  I then looked at the heel and fingers of her right hand: small, pin-pricks of blood were on the top of her knuckles. 


    I called the Patrol Sergeant at the scene and found that the scene and witness all pointed to suicide.  The evidence on the body pointed to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  I then set about photographing the evidence on the body, which included me diving in with gloved hands to lift hair away from the wound, and also picking up the right hand to photograph the blood.  As I held the hand to take the picture, the body suddenly squeezed my hand.  After I did a little “Guh guh guh” move, and put near tossed my camera through the defibulater, I realized that the machines were still hooked up and the victim was still breathing.  The nurse looked over at me with an amused look and said, “We are leaving her hooked up to life support until the family gets here.”  Thanks for telling me. 


    I won’t ever complain again at a smelly, rotten one ... at least the only movement is the bugs. 

Jun 24, 2006

Where Have All The Bodies Gone?

     A very frustrating week; and by golly it had all the signs of being a fun one. 


     It started out with detective Schuk getting some info on an old missing persons case.  The info was that some nut strangled the missing woman (a prostitute and meth user), then buried her in his back yard.  The guy happened to be in the city jail on unrelated traffic charges, so he was convenient to interview.  He would not admit to killing the hooker, but he did tell us that he sometimes did “Bad things.” 


     The reason he does bad things sometimes is because he has 4 women’s voices in his head telling him what to do.  The voices are Alice, Carol, Gwen and the real troublemaker, Sally.  Sally once told him to break out a window and crawl into it, it happened to be the front window of a local jailer’s home.  I asked him if Sally ever regrets doing bad things, he said, “Sally didn’t get her face beat in by breaking into the house, I did.” 


     He told me the reason he has this entire mental problem is because back in 1976 he smoked some marijuana.  I guess the U.S. Government was right when it produced the film “Refer Madness.”  I think he was good for the hooker’s death. 


     A look at his yard showed a “mound and depression” consistent with a human burial.  While Detective Schuk got the warrant to dig up the guy’s yard, I got another call of a “bad smell” and some clothing items found near one of the city’s greenway paths. 


     I went to check that out and found the area where the clothing items were found.  There was no mass of blow flys, and no huge population of magpies around, but there was a bad smell.  I followed the bad smell to where it seemed to be coming from, a pile of wood behind some thick cottonwood trees.  I could see there was some more clothing under and in-between some of the log piles, so I reached down to grab the clothing.  Now I had not brought any latex gloves with me; but I thought, if it was a dead body, I’ll just have the crime scene response people bring some.  So I grabbed the shirt with my bare hands… big mistake.  There was no dead body.  There was just some assorted clothing that bums were receiving from a local rescue mission nearby to use as toilet paper.  The log pile made a convenient commode.  The smell was not that of a dead body but rather… well… poop.


     I was not very upbeat as I returned to the station.  We got the warrant and several of us set off for the possible grave.  We dug for 5 hours and came up with nothing except some exceptionally large earthworms.  Detective Schuk did get attacked by a momma cat while we searched the house; everyone in the entire department heard the story of the ferocious animal that left two puncture marks on his left hand, I think he’s bucking for some medical leave time. 


     Me, I just can’t seem to find any bodies. 

May 25, 2006

Viva el Presidente!

          As you know, yesterday, Mexican president Vicente Fox came to our fair city.  Doc and I were the designated counter-snipers in the apple orchard where el Presidente spoke to a crowd of adoring (carefully screened and selected) fans.  Before we took off to the location, I got a latte' and bought Doc what he wanted- a green tea.  I was hoping that no one saw me get the tea; I mean, come on... lattes are liberal enough... throw in a green tea and people will think I voted for Dean.  Drinks in hand, we went to our site. 

          Doc and I arrived and set out to check in with the Secret Service agent in charge.  Afterwards, Doc walked back to a pile of bins and retrieved his green tea from behind a box where he had stashed it before meeting the agent.  I guess Doc thought he would be put on their "No-Fly Watch List" if discovered drinking green tea by the Secret Service during a Republican administration.  Green tea in hand, we then tackled the problem of how to get up onto the 38-foot warehouse roof which overlooked the orchards and a podium where Presidente Fox and a few dignitaries (including Washington Governor Chrissy G.) would speak. 

          The warehouse had a smaller building on one side, so we decided to get onto the small roof, then from there use another ladder to get onto the main roof.  We called the local (and remained unnamed) fire department, who came and set up the ladders for us.  We then packed all our stuff onto the roof; rifles, binoculars, lunch boxes... then climbed up for the long sentry duty.  While on the roof, we entertained ourselves by laser ranging the distances to ground squirrels that popped out onto rocks between 78.7 and 542.5 yards away.  We also wiled away some time by throwing hunks of tar down onto the reaction force car (the reaction force is a marked police Tahoe with four fellow SWAT guys; all geared up and ready to attack the forces of Al-Qaida, Communists, or green tea-drinking Dean supporters); they are supposed to stay out of sight and not bring any attention to themselves, which makes them the perfect tar-ball target. 

          Once the caravan arrived, Presidente Fox was supposed to walk over to a guy on a ladder pruning a tree, demonstrating the sort of jobs "guest workers" do in the U.S. of A.  The only problem is that they stuck this poor slob out there about three hours before Senior Fox arrived, and did not tell him when Fox was coming.  Every time a car would crest the hill, the worker would start pruning.  By the time Fox (followed by secret security, media and sycophants) arrived, el Presidente ended up looking at a tree which now only had the trunk and 1/2 a branch.  This was followed by a speech and the usual hand shaking and picture taking.

          After all the important people had left, we started taking down our equipment.  We had most of our stuff, including Doc's $7000.00 sniper rifle on the lower roof when the fire guys arrived to get their ladders.  Two of them climbed up to the lower roof, and walked over to the second ladder.  One of the fire dudes walked right into Doc's rifle and tripped over it, kicking it about three feet over the roof.  I'm sure the only reason the guy did not fly off the roof is 'cause there were still several media outlets there, and Doc is camera shy. 

          Most everything turned out OK;  the commies did not attack, Doc's rifle is fine and el presidente did not see Doc drinking green tea.  That last one is the one that had me worried; a foreign leader seeing highly trained American security forces, sipping green tea, will likely see us as an easy target for invasion; perhaps they already do.

May 20, 2006

Training Day

          Today was our monthly training day for detectives and the Gang squad.  Specifically, we had firearms and defensive tactics training.  I’m sure that most of you will understand “firearms,” however “defensive tactics” may be a bit obscure.  Defensive tactics is, quite frankly, fighting.  It does seem much kinder and gentler to say, “I’m going to defensive tactics training,” rather than, “I’m going to learn how to beat the crap out of criminals.”  When you are at court defending yourself for having had to break, say, someone’s ribs because they took a swing at you, you just look at the jury with big, doe eyes and say apologetically, “I had to use defensive tactics,” i.e. the other guy used offensive tactics.  Granted, DT is fighting in such a way as to lessen the chance of injury to a suspect or yourself. 

          Anyway, I first went to the firearms portion.  Our range is actually on a nearby military base; it is pretty desolate there and today it was hot (97 F was the high).  I did say it was desolate, but there was still some interesting wildlife that wandered in.  Krycky!  Would you look at the size of this ripper!

Then Firearms Instructor, Officer Mike, showed us the specific drill we were going to shoot today.  We call Mike "The Troll", because he is only about 4 feet tall, eats rocks, and lives under a bridge.  Right now I think he is aiming at my kneecaps.

Here we have Officer Miller (aka Paris Hilton) taking a few pointers from the Range Master, Rod "Josie Wales" Y. 

The Gang Squad posed for a photo.  Gang Squad... isn't that a syntactical redundancy?  Sort of like, "Group Club" or "Attorney Misconduct." 

Here is detective Bru; wearing some hat he bought down in Mexico on a drunken binge.  He has been hammered with a bunch of embezzlement cases this month; he is getting so tired of the embezzlers, I think he is passing around an initiative to subject them to the death penalty.

By the way, all that Diet Pepsi I drink on the range made my teeth float, got to run to the military-style latrine quansit hut. 

Well... maybe I could hold it till I got back to the next course of instruction. I think that was a dead mouse in all that, er, well... liquid. 

So- after firearms, we all went off to a boxing club in town.  There we met up (after a trip to the restroom) with DT instructor Sgt Chad.  Here is Chad being comforted by Detective Mendoza.  I think Chad just learned that there we be no goulash for dinner; that's right, Chad is one of those Nordic guys who like to compete in various competitions like, how many Volkswagons can you lift and toss through 3rd story windows, or who is fastest at removing the opponents organs while smashing in their face in a cage match.  During lunch Chad asked if he could show me this "Reallly cool medicine ball workout".  15 minutes later my triceps were both crying for mommy.  Lesson learned: Don't think you can out-workout a guy who takes voice lessons to actually sound like Governer Arnold.

Who says cops are not sensitive? 

Finally, here are Officers Paris and Lee wrestling on the ground in a blatant violation of the department's sexual harassment policy. 

Hey Remo... she's got that left elbow a bit low for the LVNR, eh?  Lee seems to like it, though.

See you all later; thanks for looking.


May 13, 2006

Wigs and Arabs

     Yesterday my kid told me that he needed a wig for a production he is doing in his TV/Video class.  He told me, “Dad, what happened to the wig you had?”  Good question... I don’t remember.  However I do remember when I got it. 


     In 1992 I was placed on the department’s SCAT unit.  SCAT stands for Street Crime Abatement Team; however here is the Webster’s definition:

SCAT: Function: noun.  Etymology: perhaps from Greek skat-, skOr.  Excrement: an animal fecal dropping.

Anyway, there I was with the high-speed, low drag members of the department, looking to prove myself.  My first attempts at undercover were chronicled in “Just No Good With Hookers” found here: 


     After that difficulty, I tried the narcotic buy thing.  First I went to the Salvation Army and found a long, black wig that I trimmed to a “Joe Dirt” mullet.  Then I threw on a leather jacket and some smelly jeans.  On my very first try, I walked to the front of a tavern, known for drug sales.  I was approached byan older man, who asked me something I couldn't understand.  He kept repeating his words and I kept saying, “What?”  He started to get mad at me, upset that I did not understand him.  He rolled his eyes, slowed his speech, as if he was speaking to a third-grader, and I finally understood him to be saying, “Do- you- want- coke?” 


     I had trouble understanding him because it turned out that the guy was a Turkish national.  Come to think of it, this could lead to some vacation time!  Check it out- my first undercover drug buy is being set up by a Muslim from Istanbul!  Maybe Homeland Security will want to fly me to Washington DC to debrief me on the incident; they could set me up at the Howard Johnsons next to the White House; I really would like to tour the place.  Anyway, once we overcame the language barrier, he told me to wait.  After a moment, a tough-looking guy with tattoos on his neck came out and asked me if I was the one who wanted coke.  I told him I was, and that I wanted $20 worth.  He asked me, “Are you a cop?”  I told him no, I was not a cop.  He then relaxed, got a sneer on his face, and told me that it was lucky I was not a cop, because he would take his knife and cut me deep, ‘cause that is what he does to cops, blah, blah, blah.  All the time he was talking, he was pouring out about a gram of white powder into a folded piece of paper. 


     He handed me the cocaine.  I gave him a twenty dollar bill, smiled and said, “Police, you’re under arrest!”  I grabbed one of his arms as his sneer melted into a panicked expression, and he yelled out a little “aaaaahhh!”  I ended up pulling his jacket off as he tried to run away, but just as he turned to run, my back-up, Officer Garza, arrived.  We both took him to the sidewalk and cuffed him.  A bit of a crowd had formed around us (cheap entertainment for the winos), and as I scanned the crowd, there was the Turkish guy, just standing there watching!  I had thought for sure he would have run off when the fight was on, but he didn’t.  I grabbed him and told him he was under arrest as well.  Later at the trial for conspiracy to sell narcotics, he almost got off, because his defense attorney argued that he did not speak English well enough to be a drug front-man.  He may not have spoken English well, but he was persistent, and found guilty. 

May 4, 2006

We Have A Winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the "Carpet Cop Corny Caption Contest".  I want you all to know that my family laughed a great deal (at my expense) while reading your comments. 

Now, the moment you have all been waiting for...

The envelope please-

(drum roll)

And the winner is:

Screamin Remo with:   "cha cha cha Chia Cop"

If this is the first time you have looked at the site, this is not what we are talking about:

Although, I hear (through various police intelligence sources) that the criminal element may be using this "Chia" technology in order to hide themselves within a suburban environment:

Well, it's something that we all need to be aware of and watch out for. 

By the way, Remo needs a prize for his winning entry.  What should that prize be?  Well, the answer is obvious!  Anyone who would think of "Chia" would absolutely die for one of these:


Apr 27, 2006

Help me out...

Ok- Doc and I were doing a sniper qualification last night; I brought my little camera out and snapped a few pictures; Doc took the camera and took one of me.

The problem is... every time I look at this photo, I think of little funny things to say; like:

"In order to stay warm on the tundra, just shoot a yetti and crawl into it's skin"

"Ghillie shmillie, I'm wearing this to the Oscars!"

"Sure I have back hair... but it's blonde"

Please help me by adding your own funny caption.  The winning quip will take the place (for a while anyway) as my new intro/bio photo and caption.

Shameless self-promotion?  You bet- but I have to do something to re-live the glory days of being the Pretzel King.

Apr 26, 2006

Respect... at last

I have been a cop for 24 years.  During that time I have saved lives, arrested criminals, and placed my life on the line for others.  For the past 15 years I have been on the SWAT Team, rising to the position of lead instructor in the state's sniper school.  During my time as a detective, I have investigated many murders, placing several killers behind bars. 

However, today I received more recognition, accolades, and respect than during all my years on the job.  Today I accomplished something that had everyone congratulating me; that's right, my name was on everyone's lips today.  Detective Sigler told me that I was, "The pride of the detective division." Detective Hammie wrote my name on the case whiteboard next to my accomplishment.  People came all the way from the City Jail to ask me if I had really done the impossible.

What did I do?  Was it rescue a child?  Did I take a bullet for the governor? Cure cancer? No.

I ate 10 pretzels in under a minute.

I blew away the old record of 8, set by some of the jail staff yesterday.  It's pretty hard here on top; everyone is now gunning for me, wanting me to do the feat again or wanting to top my record themselves.  I think I could make some money on writing a "How to" book;  telling everyone (who gives me $19.95) the secrets of chewing, and then swallowing without spit. 

Well, top of the world one minute, forgotten the next.  Such is the life of the professional pretzel eater. 

Apr 23, 2006

Foot in Mouth

A while back I stopped at home for lunch. As I walked in the front door, my wife zipped passed me, telling me she had to go to the store and pick something up.  I gave her a quick kiss and off she went, while I went to look for something to eat.  By the time I had made it to the refrigerator, and started to drink straight from the milk carton (my wife was gone, remember?), I heard a loud "screeeetch" followed by a crash.  I wiped off the milk moustache and ran outside; there I saw my wife's car, bashed in the middle, obviously having just pulled out of my driveway, right in from of someone driving down the road. 

I got into my police car and positioned it to block traffic, then called for a traffic car.  While we waited, I did my best to comfort my wife, who was crying and very upset that she had just caused an accident.  Everyone was ok, the damage had not been that great, but my wife felt as if she were the captain of the Titanic and the Exxon Valdez all rolled into one. 

Traffic Officer Rick showed up, looked at the obvious indicators of fault, saw my wife's car and her (from behind) sobbing in the driver's seat.  He walked up to me, pointed to my wife and whispered into my ear,

"Another stupid woman driving with her head up her ass." 

Just then my wife came out of the car and said to me,

"Honey, will he need to see all the paperwork?" 

Officer Rick's face went white, then red, his jaw opened and shut a few times, then started stammering something that went like,

"Wi-wi-wi-wife? I-I-I-I sss sor sor sorry D-D-D-Dave I-I-I didn't kn-kn-know." 

Having been an experienced veteran at the foot in mouth thing, I smiled at Officer Rick, held up my hand and said,

"It's ok."

I was just glad it wasn't me.... that time.

Mar 28, 2006

15 Minutes of Fame

I have been very busy lately.  Last week I was working about 12 hours a day as the lead instructor for my state's Basic Sniper class.  Just like the last few years I have helped teach this class, the first day was filled with wide-eyed cops, eager to show what a great shot they were, so they could hang the "Sniper" certificate on the "I Love Me" wall at home. 

As is usually the case, there was an ex-military sniper in the group.  I hate having these guys in the class; because whenever I slip up and mis-speak during a class, they are always very quick to correct me and make me look bad.  I know, I know- I don't hate them, it is just that our military does a VERY good job of training these guys, and it is hard to get across that I have something new to teach them.  One thing, military snipers are taught very long range shooting; in police work, the ranges are relatively short.  The Army and Marine Snipers routinely shoot out to 1000 meters, where as police snipers practice at 50-300 yards.  It is easy for a very well trained military sniper to come into the training and look upon it with some contempt, because the ranges are so much shorter than they dealt with in the military. 

However, the difference is that a military sniper's job is to disrupt the enemy; a miss for them is often the same as not shooting, and if they hit their target, say, in the leg, they have accomplished their mission.  In the police realm, a sniper only shoots to save someone's life; if the police sniper misses- a hostage, an innocent bystander or a fellow officer will likely die.  There is no room for a miss in police sniping, never.  In fact, they may be called on to stop someone holding a gun to a hostage's head; the only way to prevent the suspect's trigger from being pulled is to completely shut down the suspect's central nervous system, i.e. a head shot. 

Oh boy... I did it again; I'm soap boxing, aren't I?

None of that was very funny, was it?  Sorry.

The funny thing that happened was this- the sniper class takes place on a military training base nearby.  Last Thursday afternoon, a van pulled up to the range and some military personnel stepped out.  I then noticed that one of them had a news-type camera and was taking video shots of everyone.  This would have been ok, except for that it was a break time, and there were about 5 cops urinating in the field.  One by one they noticed the camera and displayed a variety of reactions.  One guy shut down and zipped so fast, I hoped he had not hurt himself, three turned away shyly, and one just finished his business.  I admired the last guy's pluckiness, until he admitted that he just had not seen what was going on. 

Both of the military, uniformed people (I could now see the one with the camera was female) approached me and asked if I was the lead instructor.  I said I was, and they told me that they were from "The Armed Forces Television Network," and were filming an article about civilian usage of military bases.  They wanted a sound byte, so they hooked me up with a mike, pointed the camera at me and said, "Could you take your sunglasses and hat off?"  Of course I could, the better to see my face around the world!  A star in the making!  I quickly complied and did the interview, spouting platitudes about cooperation and thanks to the military, blah blah blah. 

After the interview, I went up to another instructor and told them proudly that I was going to be on television world wide.  He then laughed and said, "Yah, I'm sure the army is in dire need of a training film of the dangers of hat hair!" 

I looked at my hair in a car mirror nearby; I might as well have been a screen test for Bozo the clown.  I would have been less embarrassed to have been caught going potty.

Mar 10, 2006

Olympic Hurling

          Just as I was pulling up to a partner's traffic stop late one night, the driver of the stopped car jumped out and took off running.  Officer Rey, who had stopped the car,  being of the rookie sort, jumped out of his car and took off running after the sprinting kid. 

          Now myself, being a bit wiser (and not wanting to spill my coffee) placed my car in gear and drove after the running pair.  The chase wound through a local park; all I had to do was avoid the swing sets, merry-go-rounds and meth addicts sleeping on the grass.  After about 300 yards, both running man and Officer Rey had slowed to a pace that would not harm my bum knee (or ego), so I stopped the car, put my coffee down, and trudged after bad guy.  It was pretty easy; I fast-walked up behind him and gave him a slight nudge to the ground.  Officer Rey was right there, but as soon as the handcuffs were on, he walked away suddenly. 

          As I walked back to my car, the suspect started to throw up all over.  That's something they don't tell you about in the police employment brochures, having to hold some criminal's hair while he pukes.  Well, it turns out that this guy ran because he had just done a drive-by shooting; we found a gun in the passenger seat. 

          At the subsequent trial, the guy's defense was that he was far too drunk to have manipulated a handgun (don't laugh... I've heard sillier ones); and proof of that intoxication was my testimony that he threw up all over... ergo he was very drunk.  Officer Rey then leaned over with a sly smile and whispered something into the ear of the district attorney.  On cross examination, the DA asked me,

"Officer, was anyone else sick that evening?" 

My answer was,

"Yes, Officer Rey puked his guts up after the run as well" (which is why he made his quick exit, to find a suitable garbage can). 


Mar 8, 2006

Family Tree

          Let me share with you one of the funniest lines I have ever heard.  This line tickles me every time I recall it being spoken.  First, some background: a fellow police officer and I responded to a disturbance in one of the humbler parts of town.  This was the sort of neighborhood where cars on blocks and mangy hound dogs were everywhere; where I always expected to see Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty floating by on a canoe. 

          We arrived and saw a female, white shirt 2 sizes too small, with pink polyester highwater pants and no shoes, screaming about how her family was trying to kill her.  I did the best I could to calm her down, all she did was cuss me out and tell me that she hated "Pigs."  Judging how much pressure she was putting on those pink stretch pants and tee shirt, it was clear that she was not truthful, but actually loved pork products. 

          An old lady finally told her to get her rear end back in the house; which she and her rear eventually did.  The lady then came up to me and said (in that wonderful drawl that lets everyone know that she watches Nascar 24-7) that thing that makes me snicker even now:

"Officer, the trouble with her is, she's ma granddaughter AND ma niece!"

          I hope it made you laugh half as much as it did me.



Mar 7, 2006

Sort of a Murder

     Two cousins, both in their 40’s, both drug addicts, were living at mom’s house.  After a day of smoking pot and drinking beer, they started arguing over who was the biggest loser; and I don’t mean who lost the most weight. 

     The yelling consisted of such academic repertoire as,


“You’re the loser!”

“Shut up!” 

“You shut up!”  Obviously, Rhodes’ scholars. 

     One cousin, having had enough of the witty verbal jousting, rose from his pile of dirty laundry, staggered over to the other cousin, and punched him in the nose several times.  The injured cousin, who was also suffering from multiple health problems, including a failing liver and lung disease, bled so much mom decided to call 911- two days later.  An ambulance came and he was taken to the hospital.  Three days later the cousin died. 

      I first met dead cousin at the Coroner’s Office.  We were pretty sure one of the many health issues had finally caught up with the cousin; but because there had been an assault, we decided to autopsy him.  The pathologist was dubious that the death could be attributed to the assault, telling me as much as he made the first incision.  However, as soon as he sliced open the lungs, he called over to me,

“Hey look at this!” 

Doc then stuck a gob of very bloody goo under my nose.  I looked closely at the hunk of goo and gave him my very most intelligent-sounding,


He told me,

“I guess this makes me a Kerry flip-flopper.”  I had no idea what a lump of bloody lung had to do with politics or the then-democratic candidate for president.  Doc then explained that the goo was blood from the injury that had congealed in the lungs, because the lungs were too weak to expel the fluid. 

      The cousin was arrested and booked for Manslaughter, but the prosecuting attorney just about passed a gavel when he read how skinny our information was.  He released the cousin, having determined that there was no way he would be convicted of manslaughter.  I wasn’t upset... it was a long shot, but what can I do?  It then came to me- charge the cousin with Simple Assault!  I wrote up a ticket and booked the cousin on 4th Degree Assault, a misdemeanor crime. 

     I then presented the municipal prosecutor with the case, which was originally prepared as a murder case, having full transcripts, indexed reports, and complete forensic reports.  He looked at me as though I had handed him the Holy Grail, 

“If all my cases were prepared like this, we’d never lose!”  Don’t hold your breath, Mr. DA man, unlikely we will put 200 pages and 100 man-hours of work into some poor slob shoplifting a condom at the 7-11. 

     Well, I thought he deserved more for killing his sick cousin, but he got the maximum sentence for Municipal Court, 365 days.  I think he’s out now, back sitting on the same pile of dirty clothing. 

     For the life of me, I can’t think which cousin was the biggest loser.