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.