Once we got there, we had to get a rental car, which I already arranged for. The desk gave me the keys to a “Red, mid-sized Ford.” We went to row 18, slot 5, and found a cherry red ’08 Mustang convertible. Sarge thought this was horrible,
“How are we going to fit this suspect in here? It’s a two-door! It’s not big enough! It will be very difficult to fit (the suspect) in the…”
Then he noticed my smile,
“Who cares.” I said,
Sarge realized the argument he was making, grinned and said,
“Ya! Let’s take it!”
We went to the hotel, got up the next morning, and had about 4 hours to kill. We put the top down and toured the entire south Texas area. Not much to see, but it was great, ‘cause we were cruz’n in a ‘stang ragtop! We both forgot sunscreen and I got burns on the back of my neck, and that little spot where, as a child, my mom permanently combed a cowlick into the top of my skull.
After I drove everywhere we could think of, we finally went to the El Paso jail. I stopped at the entrance to what is called the “Sally-port.” It’s a large garage door that opens into the area where prisoners are dropped off or picked up. There is a button and an intercom, with a closed circuit camera mounted on the wall monitoring us. I pushed the button and a voice came out of the speaker saying,
“The visitor entrance is on the west side of the building.”
“Detective Kellett, Yakima Police, here to pick up a prisoner.”
I don’t know what I was thinking, the guy in the control room looking at two guys in a convertible saying they were from Yaki-what? I thought it would help to showed him my badge, which looks kind of like a LAPD badge.
The problem is, in Texas every badge looks like a ninja throwing star, and what I was holding up probably looked like the Lucky Charms prize. Between the kid’s toy I was holding and the Mustang, it took 10 minutes, several long explanations and two supervisors to ok the opening up of the door. Just before we went in, the control room voice said,“Nice car.”
Once we got into the jail, three jailers walked by and said,
We got the prisoner chained up with shackles and handcuffs, then shuffled him into the sally-port.
“Nice car.” He observed.
We actually placed him in the front passenger seat, with Sarge riding right behind him in the back. You’d think we were doing this guy a favor, all he could talk about was the car.
“Can we cruise by the mall?"
"Can you go faster?"
"Can I drive?”
It was like driving SpongeBob Square Pants around. As soon as we dropped him off at the jail in Yakima, I could hear him yelling out to anyone who would listen,
“The cops picked me up in a Mustang Convertible!”
Hey, he may be a scum of the earth killer, but he knows a cool car when he gets taken to prison in one.