Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Cactus Club Series, Part 1

Back when I was still riding with Santa’s Helper, our city was dry [no legal alcohol sales]. The joke was that we were the wettest dry city around. We had several dance clubs that sold mixers and they would be packed on the weekends. One in particular was in a little strip mall that was a great challenge. It sat on a triangular piece of property that was bordered by city streets. On the south side of the club was a retaining wall that was a good 25 feet tall. A gas station, not a convenience store, was above the wall. On the southwest side was a 10 foot chain length fence that surrounded one of the most run down low income single story apartments that we had in the city. The apartments were so old that they were heated only by pot bellied coal burning stoves. They only had bare bulb ceiling lights that you turned on by pulling a string. They still had ice boxes; you know the ones that you put a block of ice in to keep a few things cool. On the north side of the strip mall was a car repair garage. It was hard to get into the parking lot without being seen. We would drive up blacked out and swoop down upon the drunk and distracted. If no one was standing around, we would walk around checking in cars to see what we could flush out.

The bootleggers would get there just before dark, back into a dark spot in the back parking lot so that customers could buy something tasty to put in their chasers. The bouncers wouldn’t let the customers bring their drinks back into the club because we would close them down if we found any prohibited beverages inside. They allowed people to come and go freely after they paid their cover charge but they had to stay outside to drink whatever they bought from the bootleggers. The bootleggers were our real goal, trying to catch them selling out of their trunks. If we could catch them, we could make a bootlegging charge and get a warrant to search their houses.

Santa’s Helper and I worked the hell out of the club parking lots. We made 20 or 30 arrests per weekend, sometimes more. We would cruise in and catch people drinking alcohol by their cars and arrest them for IPPL [illegal possession of prohibited liquor]. The IPPL’s were just for the fun of the game, a game that both sides played. Back then, most people respected police officers. They might fight you to try to get away or run, but not attack you just to hurt you. Once you caught them, they were caught. They would go fairly peacefully to jail, pay their bond, and get a ride back to the club to complete their night.

It wasn’t SOP to handcuff anyone unless they put up a fight. We would take their drinks, usually in plastic cups, smell them, and place them under arrest if even a hint of alcohol could be detected. Trying to keep up with which cup of what belonged to which arrest was a real challenge. Many times we would arrest so many at one time that we would have to call other units to help us transport them to jail. We had standard bench seats in the back then, not the plastic form molded ones that we have now. We would cram as many people in the back as we could possibly fit before we actually transported them to jail. The drunkest or mouthiest of the bunch would get cuffs but not the rest. This was contrary to my academy training but Santa’s Helper was the boss and he was as old school as they come.

One night, we did a round up at this particular club at least four times. We had so much confiscated liquor from our arrests that the Sgt. was cussing that he was running out of room in the evidence locker. It wasn’t quite 10 PM, so we decided to make one last sweep of the parking lot. The Sgt. wanted us to stay and start writing all the arrest reports. Santa’s Helper was having so much fun; he talked the Sgt. into letting us make one final round-up.

We turned off all our lights about a quarter mile north of the club. As we rolled into the lot, a few people dropped their drinks in the lot and went back inside. We had been there so often that night, they expected us. No one was milling around in the lot. We started walking between the cars that were parked on the north side of the mall, shining our lights into the interiors hoping to catch some unsuspecting people drinking. I was checking one side and Santa's Helper was checking the cars closest to the building.

I heard him speak to someone so I walked over where he was shining his light in the back seat of a late 70’s model Cadillac 4D. This guy was humping this woman for all he was worth. As I walked up, I heard the following conversation:

SH: Get out of the car.

Guy: Please officer, please let me finish! [he never broke stride]

SH: Why should I, partner?

Guy: I’m almost there, don’t make me stop.

Girl: [very shrill voice] Who are you talking to? Get on with it already!

Guy: Police …just give me a couple more minutes!

SH: [shines his flashlight in the woman’s face]

Guy: If you let me finish, you can have her when I’m done! [still humping]

SH: Hell no buddy, you got a two-bagger in there!

Girl: {Scrambling to get out from under the guy, screaming] What the hell did he say? Get your scrawny ass off me you asshole. I can’t believe you just told him that you mother fucker! Go fuck yourself, you too motherfucker! [directed at SH]

She kept screaming at them both. I just stood back in the shadows laughing as she pulled her dress back down. She started wailing on the guy as she got out of the car, cussing him for all she was worth. Then, she started wailing on my partner who was laughing so hard that he was crying. That just made her madder! He easily held her away from him so her hits didn’t really make contact.

Then I hear the stupid guy in the car CRYING! He is blubbering that he was almost done, he just needed a couple of more minutes, why him. Drunks! We arrested both for public intoxication. On the way to jail he was crying and begging for her to help him finish and she was cussing him for all she was worth. It wasn’t very funny by the time we drove the 5 very long miles to the jail. It was just disgusting.

Tuesday's Post

Blogger wouldn't let me sign on and post yesterday, sorry guys.

Monday, February 26, 2007


When I first became a teacher, I inherited my classroom from a pack rat. I am surprised that the room wasn't overrun with roaches and rats because of all the paper that she had stacked everywhere. I also inherited an overhead projector cart that was so low that I had to sit to use it. Math teachers use the overhead all day long every day! Our hands are usually stained from the markers by the end of the day from writing and wiping all day long.

Given that I had to sit to use the overhead, I got all kinds of crotch shots. Parents need to teach their girls to keep their legs together while they are sitting especially when wearing short skirts. It became such a common thing that I quit even noticing it. If I was walking around the room, I would see the tops of their thongs and the cracks of their asses. If I was sitting, it would be crotch shots. Before you get the wrong idea, let me tell you in no uncertain terms that it was NOT pretty! It was just the style and unlike me, many of today’s young girls do not care if what they are showing is flattering or not. They just like to show their underwear.

One day, I was teaching a geometry class. I was showing the steps for a proof so I was asking a lot of questions as I went through it. There was one freshman young man, C-boy, in the class whose brother I had taught the year before. The brother was a pain in the rear! He had some learning problems but additionally, he just put forth absolutely no effort. He was also disruptive. Although the brothers looked alike and had similar learning disabilities, the freshman was a joy to have as a student. He has aspirations of becoming a doctor and given his work ethic, I believe that he will succeed.

So, I am working this proof and asking what they thought the next step would be. Someone offered a suggestion and I asked why that it would be appropriate. C-boy started giving an explanation and I looked up at him as he talked. I got assaulted by a crotch shot, his! He was wearing very baggy shorts and obviously no drawers! He was commando with baggy shorts! Sitting with his legs sprawled as wide as they would go without unhinging his hips. I saw all he had to offer. Crap! It startled me.

I quickly looked down and started writing. We went on and I did not look his way till nearly the end of class when he asked if a different way would work. I hesitantly looked his way, damn; he was all but hanging out of his shorts. I got so flustered that I could sit there no longer! I got up and walked to the back of the class and finished the period teaching from there. I made another student go up and finish the proof as we talked about it. All I could do was chant TMI, TMI to myself!

I have never been so glad for a school year to end! I am lucky to have been given some blue tooth technology now that allows me to walk around the room and write on a pad which is projected on the screen. No more sitting in front of the class and no more crotch shots!

Did You Like T*Y Story?

When I first started teaching, there was a science teacher, PT, who was a walking party. She was in her early 30's, very thin, and always dressed in black. She had long dark hair so it was a good color for her. She had a piercing laugh that you could hear down the hall. She was married and had two boys, one was a high school student and the other was in elementary school. I was told that she was a good teacher but she had a tendency to favor the boys in her class. I never heard that she did anything inappropriate; she just acknowledged them over the girls in the class.

PT divided her biology class into groups of four and had them do a video to promote lab safety. Kids can be very creative and all of the groups did a great job with the assignment. One group was made up of big strapping football players. They did a video using the characters from the movie, T*y Story, which was her younger son’s favorite movie at the time.

Their characters in their video were sitting on a couch having a conversation about lab safety with a life size T*y Story character. It was very cute and PT was impressed. She was thrilled about their choice of characters and said that she would be taking that video home to show her boy. After the group finished, she turned to them, a group of senior football players, and inquired, “Where did you get such a big Woody?”

The boys froze, their minds were going 90 to nothing trying to figure out how to respond to the question. Others in the class were snickering. It suddenly dawned on PT what she had asked. She left her class quickly and walked into the lab between her and another female science teacher’s, AC, classroom. She knocked on AC’s door and motioned for her to come into the lab.

AC: What is it?

PT: I can’t believe what I just did!

AC: What, I have a class?

PT: You know the videos that my kids have been making? You know the movie, T*o Story? It’s my son’s favorite.

AC: OK, I have to get back to my class. What is it?

PT: I just asked one of the group of football players, in front of my whole class, where he got such a big woodie!

AC: Bahahahahah! No you didn’t. Bahahahahah!

PT: What am I going to do?

AC: Did he say from his dad’s side of the family? [giggling]

PT: You’re not helping!

AC: Who was it?

PT: Mr. [principal]’s son!

AC: LOL, oh how funny.

PT: I can’t go back in there and face them!

[Kids laughing can be heard from the next room]

AC: You have to, just don’t do a crotch glance when you go back in! HaHa

PT was saved by the bell about then but you can imagine how much fun we had with that during lunch!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Things that make you go bahahaha!

Yesterday, I was traveling back from the high school basketball sub state playoffs when I got stopped by a traffic light. A truck pulled up beside me. It had loud mufflers, glass packs I believe they call them, so I looked over at the truck. It was a maroon Chevy pickup. It sported very large mudder tires and you would need a step ladder to get in the thing. The driver was white, in his twenties, with a short beard in much need of a trim. He was wearing a John Deere ball cap and a grey long sleeve t-shirt pushed up to his elbows. There was an empty shotgun rack in his back window and he had a picture of a deer head with a sign that said, "Size does matter" plastered to that window. Country music was blaring. I was thinking, can you possible avertise any more that you are a red neck?

The light turned green and he pulled away from me. Plastered to his back bumper was a triangle shaped bumper stick that read, "I learned from lesbians." I cracked up!

Friday, February 23, 2007

What a Cluster F*ck, Part 3

If you haven't read Parts 1 and 2 yet, please do so.

We went screaming out from around the back of the hotel in that POS van hoping to see the bad guy’s car. No such luck! They had gotten on the highway and lost us. Fuck! I am thinking, what the hell have I gotten myself into? I have been a narc for less that 8 hours and I have been in a shooting incident, participated in a screwed up buy-bust, and lost the bad guys. Oh yeah, lost the dope too!

I am kneeling between the front bucket seats, scanning all over the place looking for the car. I tune in to BH who is issuing a string of profanity non-stop. I am not sure he paused for a breath. I have never heard anything quite like it and I have heard some major cussing before. GS is driving, cursing under his breath. Unremembered at the time, BH had a voice activated recorder on him, recording the whole conversation! The following banter ensued over the cursing and radio traffic:

Me: Did they get away with the dope?

GS: What do you fucking think!?

BH: They’re GD gone aren’t they?

Me: Uh, are we going to be in trouble?

BH: Let’s see Einstein, we were a party in selling a great big fucking amount of illegal drugs. Son of a bitch! BP could have told us he couldn’t see. He coulda fucking killed us.

Me: But we didn’t mean too! Wasn’t he supposed to block the car in?

GS: Get your fucking head out of you ass! We are screwed! We are no different from anyone else if that crap hits the street.

Me: You don’t have to be an ass! It’s not like I have ever done anything like this before!

BH: Oh fuck, we’re fucking dealers. Son of a bitch, we’re going to jail. Motherfucker!

GS: What the fuck was Cool Joe thinking; shooting at a moving car like he’s in fucking Hollywood !

BH: It didn’t fucking help that JH decided to join him.

Me: I didn’t think we had PC (probable cause) to do any shooting.

GS and BH: Shut the fuck up! You’re not helping!

Me: Do you want me to tell you if I see the car?

GS: You see the damn car?

Me: I think I saw it in that car lot.

GS does a two wheeled u-turn and pulled into the lot. There was the car with a big ass bullet hole in the passenger side door! Empty! I am not sure if we were upset that it was empty or relieved that we didn’t find an injured or dead bad guy inside. We ran up to the open bay and told the employees that we were looking for two guys that dumped the car in their lot. They said that they saw two guys running across their lot toward the car lot next door. Instead of running back to the van, we took off running across the car lot toward the next lot. They hollered at us and said that one guy was running funny, limping, like he had a hurt leg.

Mother fuck! We figured that he was shot. This was not going well at all! We were running full tilt across the asphalt when lo and behold… brand new, never been fired, straight out of the box the previous day, S&W 9mm semi auto goes skidding across the pavement, passing us! My brand new shoulder holster’s velcr* keepers had released allowing my ‘back-up’ weapon to fly out. BH never broke stride as he deadpanned, “You might need that!”

I never broke stride as I reached down and scooped it up. Now I was running with a loaded weapon in my hand that had been treated rather harshly, not knowing if it was damaged. Knowing that having it in my hand was not the safest thing that I could do while running, but I had no where to put it. GS glanced my way, seeing what I had in my hand, said, “You shoot me with that thing, and I’ll kill you!”

We got to the other lot and started checking parked cars, not much fun because they can see and hear us before we could see or hear them. All three of us were breathing so hard between the running and the adrenaline that there wasn’t a chance in hell of sneaking up on someone. We found the guys hiding in cars waiting for repairs. As soon as they were cuffed, we started checking for the gunshot injuries. No injuries. What the fuck? Why were they limping?

GS and BH started patting them down for weapons and discovered that the limping one had a fucking wooden leg! We almost let a guy with a wooden leg out run us! The officer that almost drove into the pool, radioed that he had found our ‘package’ intact in the ditch by the first car lot.

Me: Are we OK now?

GS and BH just looked at me.

When we got back to the station and found that BH had a tape recording of the whole incident, we had to listen to it. LOL, I sounded like an inquisitive kid and they sounded like freaked out impatient parents that were hanging on to the end of their rope. I do believe that that recording got accidentally destroyed after it was played many times.

I examined my 9mm, it was trashed! We almost couldn’t get it unloaded. Later, we took it to the range to see if it would fire. It would but wouldn’t quit firing until the magazine was empty. Don’t believe that it is suppose to work like that. I never carried it again. I traded it in on a sturdier Beretta.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What a Cluster F*ck, Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1 yet, please do so.

Everything was set and we got the call that the bad guy would be at the meet in about an hour. We all headed out and started loading into the van. BP got behind the wheel with JH riding shotgun. The rest of us got into the back…you know, where there is no place to sit and there are metal posts sticking up in the air. The shag carpet was so nasty that it made me gag and we had to kneel on it. We rocked on our heels as we headed to the hotel. BP was not the smoothest driver and we got slung around at every light and turn.

Once we arrived at the hotel, BP backed into a parking space on the back side of the hotel, shut off the motor and we waited. The patrol cars were a short distance away waiting on the highway to be called in. We waited and waited, they were late. My legs were cramping from being in a squatted position for so long. People were sweating because we couldn’t run the air so that added to the funky smell. Stake outs look like so much more fun on TV. I am squatting there thinking, “What the hell have I done? This sucks.” The look out sends out the transmission that the bad guys were pulling in. He gave us the description of the car and told us that there were two occupants.

You could feel the change in the van even though you couldn’t see it. The air crackled with adrenaline and testosterone. We all rocked on the balls of our feet, got better grips on our weapons. I was to be first out. JH was to jump out of the passenger door and yank open the sliding door for us. My job was to handcuff the driver as soon as someone dragged him out. The others were to follow right behind. The person behind me had his hand on my left shoulder. Each person had their hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them. When we started moving, we were to move as a unit fanning out as we exited the van to our designated jobs.

Game time! We got the signal to move in. The bad guys were inside and were finalizing the deal. BP started the van, slammed it in drive, and floored it. We all lurched backwards and starting fighting for balance. He pulled in behind the car; he was supposed to get within a foot of his bumper if not touching it. He slammed on his brakes throwing us all forward as he stopped a good car length behind the bad guys car. We ram into each other, legs, arms, guns all wrapped up in a knot. Instead of being out first, I was now smashed into that nasty smelly carpet with a good 300 pounds of flailing, pissed police on top of me and a shotgun whacking me in the side of the head.

JH cussed at BP, telling him to block the fucking car, block the damn car. BP screams back saying he thought he was blocking the son of a bitch, he forgot his glasses! We are trying our best to untangle ourselves and get out of the van. We are screaming for JH to get the door open; meanwhile the bad guys have run out of the hotel and are getting in their car. JH jerks the door open and we pile out, reaching for equipment to make sure it is still in place. JH and BP also pile out.

The police cars were coming around the ends of the buildings to get into place to block both exits. We are now on foot running toward the car that was backing out of its parking place. They had plenty of space to back up! They screeched out, burning rubber and fish-tailing as they picked up speed. Like morons, we started running after them as if we could outrun them or something. About halfway to the end of the building, it began to dawn on us that we needed wheels! Just as GS, the veteran, BH, and I turned around to run back to the van, Joe Cool pulls out his 45 mag and pops off two rounds at the escaping car. It sounds like a cannon going off. JH already had his gun in his hand, startled by the sudden explosion; pops off a couple of rounds himself. The patrol car that was in the line of fire decided to get the hell out of Dodge. He floored it, jumping the curb and almost driving into the pool. As we were running full tilt back to the van, GS says, “Don’t you even think of shooting!” to me and I replied, “No worry!” as if we were sitting in a coffee shop eating donuts. The bad guys drove around the backend of the patrol car, leaving the area with the dope that we just sold them! Can you say we are fucked!?

GS jumped behind the wheel, BH in the passenger seat, and me in the back of the van as we speed out of the parking lot to try to catch them. Tomorrow, the best is yet to come!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What a Cluster F*ck! Part 1

In order to understand the full magnitude of this story, I must set the stage and introduce you to the players. Anyone who watches TV knows that police officers work undercover and try to purchase drugs from dealers. It is called a buy-bust. Police officers also pretend to be dealers so that they can sell quantity of drugs to potential buyers and then arrest them for the purchase. That process is called a reverse buy. A reverse buy is done in a very controlled environment so that the buyer never gets away with the drugs. The best laid plans....

This story takes place in the late 80’s after I had been an officer almost ten years. We were still carrying revolvers as our duty weapons although most officers unofficially carried semiautomatics as back-up weapons. A revolver holds 5 or 6 bullets depending on the model. You carried extra ammo in little round plastic boxes called speed loaders, in leather dump pouches, and loose in your pocket. The department had very little in the way of guidelines other than it had to be a revolver. Each officer bought their own revolver so there was a plethora of brands and sizes. They ranged from 2” snub nose 38 caliber, 5 shots to 6” 44 magnums that carried 6 bullets. I even remember one guy carrying an 8” something. That damn thing was longer than his night stick! He had to wear a swivel holster so he could actually sit in a car.

The county drug unit had two members, BP and JH. BP is a tall teddy bear of a guy, strong enough to hang on without effort if he got his hands on you but not in the best of condition. He was definitely old school. He always wore jeans and some type of sloppy button-up shirt. He carried a snub nose 38 S&W revolver in a hip holster. BP had been a deputy for a good 25 years, 20 of which he had been a narcotics officer. His partner, JH, was fairly short with a barrel chest. He was much more clean-cut than BP and had only been in the unit a couple of years. He was a property crimes investigator before being moved to narcotics and he probably could not have won any road races either. Being new, he was still learning the ropes and it wasn’t a natural fit. He carried a 4” S&W 357 in a shoulder holster.

The northern part of the state had a drug task force made up of officers on loan from various departments throughout the state. It was a varied mix of personalities, mostly of the ‘hotdog’ variety. One, I will refer to as Joe Cool. Joe Cool worked for several departments in the state, kept getting in borderline trouble, and would move on before the shit got too deep. He was the only officer attached to the task force that was getting a check from the state; everyone else got paid by their respective departments. Joe Cool put the HOT in hotdog and he carried a 6” 44 magnum 6-shot revolver in a shoulder holster. It was a great deal of gun to conceal. He always wore cowboy boots no matter what kind of detail he was on. There were three other task force guys on this particular detail.

Until the day before this incident, our unit was made up of a Sergeant and one investigator, both males. I was in school and needed the flexibility of the narcotics unit so that I could accommodate my school schedule. The department wanted to expand the unit to three officers so I put in for the position. We had never had a female investigator or narcotics officer and the sergeant of the unit made no bones about not wanting the first one. The chief decided that I should be added to the unit so to pacify the sergeant, he added two, my friend BH and me. BH had been in the unit several years earlier so he had a very short learning curve. I on the other hand had only patrol experience so my learning curve was fairly steep not to mention the hostility that I was facing.

After hearing that I was going in the unit also, BH suggested that the bad guys had better firepower so I needed to get a backup. I went to the local gun shop not knowing anything about semiautomatics. I decided on a S&W 9mm, 4” barrel, blue steel model. My S&W model 15 bull barrel revolver had served me admirably over the years so I assumed that the semiautomatic was a quality piece. I paid the $300 or so dollars, bought a shoulder holster with velcr* fasteners. I bought some good ammo and an extra magazine. I was ready!

I reported to the sergeant on my first day. He said to get saddled up, we had a detail that we were running with the county and the task force. We would be doing a reverse buy. I had no idea what that was and had to get BH off by himself so I could get the short version. We headed over to the county to get the game plan for the festivities.

The game plan was that undercover officers unknown to us would be in a hotel room. My sergeant would be in the next room recording what was said and watching through a keyhole lens that had been drilled through the wall. BP would be driving the van that the rest of us would be riding in. Now let me describe this van. It was a late 70's customized van with captain’s chairs, a pedestal type table, and shag carpet. It was acquired from a seizure on a transporting case a few years back. It stunk to high heaven and it was a POS (piece of shit)! It did not take us long to realize that three of us, JH, and Joe Cool with all our loaded shotguns, radios, and such would not fit in the back of the van around all of the furniture. So, we removed the furniture leaving the round posts that held them bolted to the floor.

We were to drive down to this motel and wait for my sergeant to give us the sign. The bad guys were supposed to come to the motel to buy a quantity of smoke. The rooms were on the back of the hotel. A narrow driveway circled the t-shaped building. Two uniformed marked units were to block both sides of the driveway and we were to pull up behind the bad guy's car so that he could not get out of his parking place. He would come out, get in his car, we would jump out and arrest him or them.

It did not go down quite like that, part 2 to follow tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Littering in the Park

On the banks of the river in the city where I worked is a high rise complex for older people. Its not quite assisted living or a nursing home but they do have a staff to take care of the residents. The building has 13 floors and each apartment has a balcony. Between the river and the building is a park and some railroad tracks.

Years ago, the park was nothing more than splotchy grass with a gazebo sitting in the middle of it. There are some fine old oak trees on the north end but the south end had nothing. A pork (slaughter house) processing plant sat on the east side of the park and a Blue Bell Packaging plant was on the other side of the slaughter house. The hogs would be brought in by rail, run through a series of corrals, and then someone would smack them in the head as they came out of a chute. Between the smell and the noise, not prime property then.

By the time that I started working there, both of the plants had all but been abandoned. When we were bored on second shift, we would take a tour. A gravel drive came off the road and circled the plant crossing the tracks on the north side. It was a great place for parkers or for kids to go drinking because they could not be seen from the road.

One very busy night, the residents in the tower kept calling dispatch complaining about someone parked on the grass in the park throwing litter on the ground. They got tons of calls from the tower about this. Dispatch just kept pushing the call to the back burner because we were so busy. I came in to dispatch to see if they needed anything after depositing someone in the hoosegow. They begged me to go run the people out of the park before I answered my next call because the old folks were driving them crazy.

I finished my paperwork and headed to the park. I spotted a Chevy Nova hatchback parked out in the park on the “grass.” It was pretty near the one and only street light. I could see that there was a Mackey Dees paper bag on the ground beside the car. I parked and started walking out to where the car was parked. I looked up at the towers and you would have thought there was a north and east side party going on! Every balcony was packed with people watching me. I was thinking, DAMN, these old folks are seriously bored or serious about littering! I have never seen such a sight as all these old folks on walkers and in wheelchairs hanging over the railing vying for the best position.

I had my flashlight out and shined it in the car where the driver should be, no one. I scanned the car only to see a shiney hiney poking up from the back. There were bare legs sticking out that could not possibly be attached to the hiney. I killed the flashlight. I tapped on the window to let the occupants know I was there and looked up at the tower. I could spot old men giving each other high fives and women covering their mouths. I even saw someone with binoculars. A ripple of excited talking drifted down.

I looked back into the car and the two young ladies were trying to get their clothes back on. Yepper, two young ladies! Have you ever seen two women trying to put on the same bra at the same time? It was a site I must admit! As they were jockeying for the correct arrangement of clothes, I was thinking about the view that the tower people had. It was a hatchback with the big glass hatch style door. They had a bird’s eye view of the whole thing. I started laughing. The girls did not see what was so funny until I told them to look up through the hatch window. They were mortified. The old folks had been too embarrassed to tell the dispatcher what was really going on so they complained about the littering.

The girls got dressed and picked up the trash. As they pulled out of the park, the balconies started to empty. I radioed dispatch that the trash hand been collected and the car was now gone. I left for my other call laughing the whole way!

Monday, February 19, 2007

First Blood

I was assigned to second shift and was still in training with Santa's Helper. The town was obviously divided along racial lines at that time. There was this one housing area that was so bad that we referred to it as ‘Little Vietnam.’ That was a pretty strong label since the men that named it actually served in Vietnam. We only had three or four cars on patrol per shift then and it was SOP that if anyone was dispatched to ‘Little Vietnam’, two cars were sent. We rode ‘two-man’ then so that meant four officers, three to answer the call and one to stay with the patrol cars. If you left the car out of your sight, when you returned you would be missing the lens off your blue lights or a tire would be flat. It was general harassment telling us that we were not welcome there.

It was the middle of summer, hot, steaming hot! It was the kind of heat that you only experience in the south, temperatures during the day reached high 90’s or even low 100’s with 90% humidity. At night, the temperatures wouldn’t dip below the mid 80’s. Even the dew would turn into steam. Put on polyester over a thick bulletproof vest with combat boots and you feel like your wearing a wet swimsuit that covers you from neck to toe. The cloth would literally stick to you so when you walked it would pull against your skin.

We got a stabbing call in ‘Little Vietnam’ and all the other units were busy. Santa’s Helper said that they would clear someone up and dispatch them as soon as they could. The ambulance wouldn’t go in until we were on scene, so off we went. When we pulled in, we could barely drive up the street because there were so many people there. Everyone was out in the street. We drove as far as we could and then got out of the car. People were mad, yelling that a white man had no business in their project. We thought they were talking about us but they were talking about the victim.

Finally, someone pointed the way to the victim. We made our way through the crowd to him. A white male known to us as James T. was on the ground. James T. was one of our local winos and was one of the most aggravating people that I ever met. He was one of the few winos that had an apartment. He got a check because of some type medical problem, he had a severe lisp and it was difficult to understand him. He was very popular at the first of the month when his money came in. He would invite people over like Blind Mary and One-Arm Dotson. Everyone would get drunk and the money would disappear. He would then call the police department twenty times a night for several nights complaining that someone stole his money; someone would not get out of his house, and such.

James T. was on the ground with his neck cut from one ear across his lower jaw to the other ear. A stream of blood as thick as my little finger was squirting out of the side of his neck with every heartbeat. Santa’s Helper told me to watch his back and bent down to try to stop the bleeding. It was a mess; blood was on the walls and pooling under him. I had my back to the apartment wall. Santa’s Helper was kneeling in front of me working on James T. The apartments were in a u-shape and we were in the base of the u. Close to 600 people were crowded up against us. It was hot! I was nervous! I don’t do well with the sight of blood and do even worse seeing ripped open flesh. James T. had been drinking so his blood that smells bad enough additionally had the odor of alcohol obtained from Bay Rum or Vanilla Extract. There was NO breeze! The smell of hot sweaty people, blood, and alcohol was getting to me. I made the mistake of looking down to see how Santa’s Helper was doing. BAD IDEA! My vision started closing in on me, I felt light headed, oh shit…I think that I might pass out. I was responsible for protecting Santa’s Helper! He could not save James T. and watch his own back at the same time. That was when I started the talk…blocking out those things that I could not handle…so that I could maintain. Somehow, my mind makes the images go black and white, smells dull, and I focus.

The ambulance finally got there. They snatched up James T. and hauled his ass to the hospital. We talked to a couple of witnesses and got the hell out of Dodge. I was never so glad to see an ambulance in my life. James T. actually survived. I am not sure how but he did. According to the ER doctor, he would have bleed to death had Santa’s Helper not slowed down the bleeding.

Just another day at the office.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Garbage Can Man

My good friend, Cedar, called last night and requested that I tell the following story:

Toward the end of my career, I was given the responsibility of being in charge of a group of men whose assignment was to get in the face of the criminal element without crossing the line of legality. There were 5 of us in the unit. John G was in his mid-twenties, he is about 6’3,” slim, and muscular. Single and being a nice looking young man, he was a chick magnet. RA was a little older, single, and only about 6’. He had been in the military and was very aggressive in the pursuit of enforcing the law. Although not as good looking as John G, he filled out the uniform nicely and also attracted the ladies. Then there was JH. He also attracted his share of female attention. He was shorter than the others, maybe 5’9” or so, and had a fire plug build. He was the oldest of “my boys,” about 28. TM was the fourth member of my team. He had to be motivated to work but did a good job when he did. He was as tall as RA but heavier and although strong, much softer looking. He was married and was not allowed to play with the boys off duty. It was a great experience but also a major challenge trying to lead this group of head strong, testosterone-charged young men.

I was about 38 at the time and in pretty good shape. I had been assigned to the DARE unit for several years so had not had the opportunity to work with these guys on the street before becoming their sergeant. Although much more accepted than earlier in my career, women still had to prove themselves before they were allowed in the boy’s club. I surprised them daily with my willingness and eagerness to fight crime. I guess that I wasn’t much younger that their mothers and I treated them as if they were my boys. You can understand that they did not expect to see me jump into a fight, chase someone on foot, or run code to backup another unit. They expected me to be a burn out, avoiding calls, and just getting through the day with as little effort as possible. That just was not me as they were soon to discover.

One afternoon, we were headed to the training center on the south side of town when an officer called for help. John G was riding with me. RA and JH were riding together. TM was at the office taking care of some paperwork. We had our own channel, so I told the other unit to respond and help the officer. I flipped on lights and siren and off we went! I stole a look at John G after the first couple of defensive maneuvers and saw that he looked slightly nervous but awed at the same time. We arrived in the neighborhood where the officer needed help.

The neighborhood was by the fairgrounds. There are three streets that run parallel with two streets at each end. There is only one way to get in or out of the area. The officer said that he had been chasing a car, it wrecked, and the driver ran on foot. John G bailed out on the west side of the neighborhood and I drove to the east. RA dropped JH off on the south side and drove to the north. A couple of officers were on foot in the neighborhood looking for the driver.

I drove slowly up the street looking for anything that looked out of place. There was a great deal of radio traffic but they had lost sight of the driver. I passed this one house and saw a woman and two children standing just outside of their carport door. I pulled into their driveway, got out, and explained what we were doing in the neighborhood. The woman looked very nervous and I asked her if she had seen the guy. She did not say anything but looked at her open fence gate. I pointed for her to go back inside and went into her backyard. There was nothing there, no swing set, no trees, no plants, nothing but a large garbage can. The garbage can was one of the large plastic ones designed for the automatic arms of the garbage truck. The lid was permanently attached with a long hinge across the back. The lid was closed.

I pulled my weapon and pointed it at the can. I took my asp (expandable night stick) and flipped open the lid. Squatting down in the can was the guy we were looking for. He looked at me with the widest eyes I believe that I have ever seen. I yelled at him to let me see his hands! I leaned my chin over onto my shoulder mike to key it and told dispatch that I had the driver and my location. She never responded. What I did not know at the time was that people were talking over my transmission so no one heard me.

The guy just stayed there, frozen. I kept yelling for him to show me his hands and telling him that if I did not see his hands soon he would be a dead motherfucker. He did not move, just stared at me yelling at him with that deer in the headlights look still squatted down in that can. I yelled at him again, telling him to stand up nice and slow and show his hands. He did not move, did not blink, did not say a word.

All of the yards were fenced by chain link fencing. A few yards away, John G said that he heard yelling. He looked and saw me pointing my weapon at a garbage can. He couldn’t tell what I was saying but could tell that I meant business. He started running and clearing the fences like hurtles. When he was in the adjacent yard, he started yelling,”Sarge, sarge, don’t shoot him, I got your back!” He cleared the fence into the yard were I was. He told the guy in the can to put his hands on his head before I shot him. The guy shook his head like he was clearing cobwebs and slowly put his hands on his head. A couple of other officers arrived and tackled him, garbage can and all. They cuffed him and took him away.

I asked John G what charges they were putting on the guy, he told me misdemeanor stuff. Fuck! I almost shot someone over a misdemeanor? I was pissed that the officer had not mentioned that when he asked for help but it turned out all right. We got back in the car to leave. John G said, ”Damn, that was some great driving. I had no idea that you could drive like that.” Duh…what did he think, I drove the speed limit to all those calls for all those years? I laughed and said that I was pretty impressed with his hurtling, too. He told me that he did not want the garbage can guy to get shot because he was afraid to move! We laughed and went on to the training center. That was the day that I was accepted as a member of the unit in the truest sense of the word, welcome to the boys club once again.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

El What?

I have decided that it's way past time to start working out again! It isn't like I don't know what to do, I am just having difficulty making myself get into the habit. One of my friends is a personal trainer so I called her to get her to help me get started. Friday was my second visit. It was a leg day and I am very sure that I will be paying for it by Sunday. As I was leaving, my friend, LN, got a call from her sister cancelling their dinner plans. We had already been talking about our dinner plans, so I asked if she would like to join Sharon and me. We always go to a Mexican restaurant, Las Vias, on Fridays. They treat us like family and we even have “our” own table, the one they use for breaks.

She said that she would like to go out to eat with us but wanted us to go to the new Mexican restaurant, Maria Bonita. The restaurant is not your run of the mill Mexican fare but an infusion of Mexican-Italian with Mediterranean slant. I called home to see if Sharon was willing to come back into town for dinner. She was as long as I drove to the house and brought her back. An hour and 15 minutes later, we were walking into Maria Bonita for dinner. LN had gotten there about 15 minutes earlier and had the light vibrator that would signal that our table was ready.

I was checking out the art work on the wall that was done by one of my former students, Alex, and his brother, it was magnificent. He had been telling me about it for the last year. He works at Las Vias and his family owns several of the area’s Mexican Restaurants. Then I spotted Fernando who normally works at OUR restaurant. He saw us and came up and hugged me. He said that he was helping out and was working his ass off.

We finally got seated in a booth by the back wall. LN stopped as we got to the table, looked at me and laughed. She said that she assumed that I wanted the seat with my back to the wall. I smiled and said that I did, how did she know? She is the wife of one of my cop friends and she teased me about being able to take the girl out of policing but not the policing out of the girl.

The waiter, unknown nationality, brought us these huge 11x14 menus. The front of the menu had a picture of a woman and this long narrative in Spanish. I am a voracious reader and I couldn’t read a word! LN and I tried to read the Spanish words out loud and Sharon was laughing at us. Then Sharon tried to translate it for us. She only recognized a few words every now and then so her English translation was choppy at best and made absolutely no sense! We entertained ourselves for a long time with this hilarity. Finally, Adam, his wife owns “our” restaurant, saw us and came over to speak. He realized that we didn’t have drinks and only 2 sets of silver. He kidded with us and said that we would have to share because we were cheating! I asked Adam what he recommended on the menu and he suggested a shish kebob dish.

We laughed and talked for a while. Finally, the waiter returned and asked what I wanted. I told him that I wanted this dish that Adam had recommended. He pulls this handwritten list out of his pocket and says that he is sorry but they were out of that dish. Shit! I am a very finicky eater so it takes me a while to make a selection. Sharon ordered while I was trying to decide. The waiter slowly starts trying to write her order saying that he does not speak Spanish and the cooks don’t speak English. He is trying to copy the order off the menu so that the cooks know what to fix. Sharon pronounces the dish for him and all he can say is that he can’t pronounce most of the food on the menu! I look over at LN and she is trying not to laugh! Oh dear, what a cluster fuck! I order something else that they had and he finally asked LN what she wanted. She ordered and he started fumbling with “The List” again. You have got to be kidding me! She had ordered something that was on the list too. She told him to give her 5 minutes so off he went. We cracked up! The whole eating experience was bizarre!

LN finally decided on something else to order plus a backup in case it was on “The List.” The waiter did not return for a very long time! It was about 7:00 by now and we were seated around 6:15. We turned the menu over to look at their drink and dessert selections when we came upon the following selections:
El Tiramisu
El New York Style Cheesecake, and
El Chocoflan
ROFLMAO, LN and I just lost it. Tears were rolling down our faces. Sharon did not get what we found so very funny. I explained to her how bizarre it was to see “El” Tiramisu, an Italian dessert made Spanish only by the insertion of “El.” Then to see the other two was just too much!

The waiter finally came back and took LN’s order and our source of entertainment, the menus. Years later, he brought LN’s fajitas. About 10 minutes after that, he brought Sharon’s chicken dish. I told them to eat so it would not get cold. About 20 minutes later, he brought my fish (which I did not enjoy). By the time the food was on the table it was almost 8:00. Although very patient, I am not normally this patient but the night was most entertaining. Even Adam’s wife, the owner of “our” restaurant, came out of the kitchen to say hello and tease us about cheating on them. I asked her who was running her place and she told me that Alex was there all alone.

We had a great time. I am looking forward to trying it again in a few months. I will be sure to order the El Tiramisu next time!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Where is the Math Lab?

Yesterday morning, I had several students come to school early for make up tests, tutoring, and to finish a computer exercise. I unlocked the lab and went back to my classroom to help the other students. The bell rang for students to report to 1st period. Just as the tardy bell rang, I walked down the hall to the math lab. I looked inside, shut off the lights, and locked the door. I went back to my room and began class.

About 20 minutes into class, the school secretary came to my room. Except for lunch, I have never seen her out of the main office. She asked me if there was some type of lab in the math hall. Seems as though someone had picked up one of the emergency phones and told her that he was locked in a lab. I went off and left a group that shouldn't be left unsupervised; walked down the hall to the lab. I unlocked the door, opened it, and one of my seniors was standing there!

I just started laughing. He said that the dead bold lock was broken and he could not get out. The secretary started laughing, a very unusual sight! He said that he just did not know what to do. He was about to climb out the window when he spotted the emergency phone and decided to try it first. The office thought it was a student prank so he had to call back. That is when they came looking for me.

The student was a good 25 minutes late to his first period so I told him to come to my room so that I could give him a pass.

"Please excuse [his name] this morning for being tardy. He was unable to arrive promply due to the fact that I locked him in the math lab prior to school."

He took the note to his first period teacher who laughed uncontrollably! He shared it with his first period, some of whom are in my second period. They came into my class, laughing, asking me if I had really locked someone in the math lab. I guess that will make the faculty end of year luncheon roast!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Look What Was In KG's Christmas Stocking

All the female teachers in the math department along with a few other women eat together everyday in a very small teacher's lounge. We have been eating lunch together for several years and are territorial about our seating arrangement. I always sit beside my friend, KG, who was an engineer before becoming a teacher. Most of the women have never worked anywhere but within a school setting. KG and I are pretty quiet whereas the others try to talk over each other. It is so loud in that little room that OSHA should require earplugs.

The conversations, when they drift away from current gossip or complaints about students, quickly turn into children and church stories. Can I tell you that I don't care how many times your baby poops or the gorey details of labor and child birth! I am so tired of spending that glorious 22 minutes without kids listening to that crap! KG has a great sense of humor and she and I make comments under our breath to each other about the conversations. We roll our eyes alot too. Needless to say, off color jokes would not be appreciated in this setting.

When we came back from Christmas break, KG came into lunch and put her keys on the table. I did a double take. I started giggling but I never said anything. Finally, Tuesday, when she came to my room, I told her that her new "thumb drive" cracked me up! She said that I should have seen her face when her son and daughter (who is in middle school) pulled them out of their stockings. Her poor husband never thought a thing about what they looked like when he bought them as stocking stuffers for Christmas! She said that she hoped that her daughter didn't decide to take hers to school with her.

Yesterday, I brought Sharon's camera so that I could share with bloggerville. KG comes in to the lounge, throws her keys on the table. PS, a very conservative socialite; Karen, head of the math department; SM, our attendance clerk; and AS, a very uptight 'her baby is the only baby' science teacher, were already there. The conversation goes like this:
KG: Here
me: [giggling and getting out the camera]
PS: What is it?
KG: [dead panning] My toy.
SM: I thought it was a thumb drive. [nervous laughter]
PS: Why are you taking a picture?
me: I think it's funny!
KG: R bought it for my Christmas Stocking, it's great!
PS: It looks like a dildo, what's it for?
KG, SM, and me: ROFL
KG: It's a memory stick.
Karen: You said dildo, giggling, it does look like one. One time, this neighbor of a friend of mine back in Saint Louis went into....
[shit, that didn't last long]

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Iona the Crazy Bitch

One night, Santa’s Helper was riding with Dennis T. They were assigned to the northwest and got a call to a shot house in a dilapidated part of town. It was a disturbance call between the man that ran a shot house and one of our less mentally stable residents. Seems like Iona was pissed because he wouldn’t sell to her on credit so she was causing a fuss running off his other customers. By the time they arrived, Iona had left and gone to her house down the road.

Santa’s Helper and Dennis left and went to Iona’s house. She was not too happy to see them because she was jonesing for a drink. Santa’s Helper knew her really well; they had been dealing with each other for years. She had never been dangerous, just crazy. He walked up on the porch, stood square in the door, talking to her. She all of a sudden pulled out a small derringer and pointed it at him. He was not a small man nor in good shape but according to Dennis T, he jumped backwards over the railing. He cleared the railing and a silver garbage can before Iona could get off a shot. Dennis T said that he could not believe he could move that fast.

They called for back up and made the arrest. They tore up the house but could not find the gun. They assumed that she had it on her and asked dispatch to have me meet them at the jail for a strip search. I do not have the words to tell you just how very much I HATE to strip search women. I have never met one that did not lack personal hygiene to the nth degree! It seemed like they are always on the rag and didn’t use store bought supplies most of the time.

I was assigned to ride with Johnny B that night. It was his personal mission in life to try and make mine a living hell! I didn’t like country music so he played country music very loud and anything else that he could think up. He pulled the senior officer card any time someone threw up or pissed themselves.

I was the only female officer and we did not have any females working in the jail so I had to go. Johnny B started laughing as soon as dispatch called. He talked the whole time about nasty she was and how mean she could be. Iona was not a small woman and mentally unstable people can be unpredictable and hard to control.

When we got to the jail, they told me that they were pretty sure that Iona had a gun hidden on her somewhere. I took her back into the small kitchen to do the search. Johnny B said he would be right outside the door and to yell if I needed help.

I had Iona place her hands on the counter and began the pat down. It was before the HIV scare so latex gloves were not provided. I checked her pockets, under her arms, around her waistband but did not find the gun. I ran the back of my hand between her legs to check her crotch and felt the gun. I told her that I was getting the gun and if she breathed wrong, I would shoot her. I ran my hands down into her pants and pulled out the derringer wrapped in a filthy red bandana.

I hollered to Johnny B that I found the gun and asked him to stick his hand in the door for it. He stuck his hand in the door and I plopped that dirty, nasty crotchy bandana down right in the palm of his hand.

I forgot to tell you that Johnny B had a germ phobia and paybacks are hell.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Where Is A Cop When You Need One?

When I was 20 and newly married, I lived in Huntsville. I drove a '66 Ford Mustang that I bought for $600 when I was 16. I loved that car! It was a faded pale yellow with a black vinyl top. It had an AM/FM radio with a cassette player and Jenson 6x9 speakers! Behind the driver's seat, the floorboard had rusted through. If you were riding in the back, you could watch the street fly by. The doors wouldn't lock and the horn would fall off the steering wheel if you tried to blow it. It was rare that you could push it just right and make it actually blow.

One night, my best friend from high school called to say that she and her husband were coming to town to visit some of his friends the next day. She wanted to get up with me so that we could visit. We made plans for me to meet for lunch.

I met MM and her husband at a restraunt. She married an Ir*ni*n and he had friends that lived in town so he took off and she stayed with me. We had a great time catching up and it was late before we realized it. She called her husband and he asked if I could bring her over to his friend's house. I said sure and got directions.

The friend's house was not in the best part of town but I had a tendency to not be easily intimidated. I dropped her off and started back home. It was about 10:30 PM when I left. I came out of the neighborhood and turned south on the Parkway.

The Parkway is a limited access road that runs north and south. I-565 did not exist at the time and there were only a couple of overpasses over side streets. Most intersections including the one at University were controlled by traffic lights. Both of those streets are major roadways and are usually busy.

As I approached the first traffic light, I noticed 4 black males in a blue Ford sedan in the lane beside me. We stopped for the light. They started yelling at me which I ignore until the guy in the front passenger seat got out of the car. He came toward my door just as the light turned green. I floored it and shot through the light continuing south.

The guy jumped back into the car and they sped after me. I realized that I could not outrun them so I decided to pull into K-M*rt's parking lot where there would be people. I exited off the Parkway at about 50 mph. I sped into the parking lot and realized that it was completely empty. They too had exited behind me. I just made a huge loop and screamed back southbound. I was getting pretty scared by now and realized that the light at University and the Parkway was red for southbound traffic. This was the largest intersection in Huntsville at the time. The Ford was right on my bumper.

I hesitated for a split second and then decided not to stop. I floored it through the intersection and they came through it with me. I was really scared now. I loved driving fast but not with someone chasing me! I hit the first overpass and when I crested it, I saw a police car southbound on the next overpass. I started flashing my lights trying to get his attention to no avail.

He never noticed me and turned off somewhere. I kept going south. The car was still with me. I was so scared that my leg was jumping. I had to use one hand on my thigh to push the gas. I knew I had to come up with a plan. The only populated place I could think of was the Police Academy. It was time for shift change so I knew that it should be full of police officers.

At the last second, at about 60 mph, I hung a sharp right. I almost lost traction on the rear end. The car followed. I saw the academy ahead and the lot was full of police officers. The police cars are in the middle of a circle with entrances on the sides. Only authorized vehicles were suppose to enter.

I just drove right over the curb, sparks flying, right in the middle of all those officers. I could not get stopped and out fast enough! By the time they realized that I was not drunk or crazy, the car was gone. I sat there for awhile, until I got myself back together, and then drove home. My apartment was about a mile away.

When I got home and told the husband, his only comment was to ask if I didn't know better than to go in that neighborhood, alone, at night? Asswipe.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Haberdashery

When I was working second shift and still assigned to Santa’s Helper, we were assigned to the SE side of town frequently. There was an older house that had been converted into a Haberdashery, a fine men’s clothing store. A ditch ran between the back of the store and a strip mall. A thicket of woods was on three sides. Neither other houses nor businesses were in sight of the store. Because it was so isolated, the owners had installed a motion detector burglar alarm. We only had about 90 alarms in the town at the time, so it was not something that one would assume was installed. Most of the alarms were to detect broken windows or open doors, but this one activated when motion was detected inside the store.

At precisely 7 PM every night, the alarm would sound. It happened so often that when we weren’t busy, we would head toward the store even before it activated. The alarm had a piercing outside siren. It was so loud that we would have to tell dispatch that we had arrived about a block from the store because they could not understand anything we said over the noise. It would also go off if there was any kind of breeze. We figured that the air/ heating unit or drafty windows were the cause of the activation. The owner lived in a different city so no contact ever came out; the siren just reset itself after about 20 minutes leaving the alarm inactive for the rest of the night.

The alarm became routine, not something any officer should fall into. Santa’s Helper was always driving so that meant that I had the hand held radio. He would pull into the drive and walk around the east and south side of the house, shaking the doors and looking at the windows. An enclosed back porch stuck out off the back of the house. I would walk around the north side, around the jutted out portion on the west side. Santa’s Helper would meet me on the west side and we would walk back around one side of the house together. It was the same, night after night. The doors and windows would be secure, false alarm again.

It got so routine that often, we would not even get out our flashlights but depended on the flood lights installed around the building. At any other alarm, I would be ready; hand on my gun, flashlight in hand, body tense, watching, listening. I would peek around a corner high or low before I walked around one. At this alarm, we just strolled. We knew it would be false. We were just going through the motions so we could mark checked alarm, no contact on the dispatch card.

One evening during cool weather, the alarm went off as expected. We responded as usual. Santa’s Helper pulled right up in the drive just like we have so many nights before. I am not even sure that we told dispatch that we were there. Sloppy police work to say the least. He went around the front and I went around the north side. There was a nice looking shirt hanging in the window that I admired for a moment and then I rounded the corner of the porch area. I looked at moisture hanging onto a spider web. It was very pretty in the moon light. I rounded the next corner and it looked like roaches scattering when the lights come on!

I yelled, “Stop!” and grabbed my radio to tell Santa’s helper but he wasn’t in the car so he had no radio. Hearing the word stop apparently meant run faster! I could not yell loud enough to be heard over the siren wailing. Dispatch could not understand what I was saying.

One guy jumped up and ran into the woods toward the ditch behind the mall. Another guy took off around the south side of the house into the woods. He almost knocked over Santa’s Helper as he strolled around the southwest corner of the house. Can you say, “Caught by total surprise?” I struck out into the woods after the one that ran west and Santa’s Helper took off after the other one. They both had time to find a good hidey hole before we ran after them. Both got away! I guess that we are lucky that they did not circle around and steal our patrol car since Santa’s Helper left it unlocked and running.

I came back out of the woods with torn pants and a defeated spirit. Santa’s Helper didn’t run far enough to get winded before he lost his guy so he returned too. We started looking to see what they were doing and found a coat, hammer, and a couple of screw drivers. They apparently had been setting off the alarm every evening, waiting for us to check the building and leave. Then they returned and were slowly carving away the mortar on the bricks so they could get inside. They had just gotten the hole big enough to reach an arm in.

It made chills run down my spine when I realized how complacent I had become and to know that every time we responded to the alarm, they were lying in the woods watching. We never did catch them. I never took an alarm call as accidental again either.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Modern Cinematography

I just want to interject here that if I wanted to just HEAR what was going on in a movie/ TV show, I would read a book or listen to an audio book! I am so tired of trying to watch something and they have the "mood" lighting or lack thereof so dark that I feel like I am going blind! I cannot see a thing. It is happening on TV and movies more and more often! I hate it!

Frozen Joy Ride

On a rare occasion, cold meets wet in my part of the world causing a glazing of ice on everything. Trees fall, power lines break, and overpasses become a ride that some would stand in line for at 6 Fl*gs. The south is not prepared to handle any kind of frozen precipitation nor are the citizens trained to drive on it. Basically, the town shuts down till everything thaws.

On one such day, I was dispatched to assist a motorist whose car was in a ditch after sliding off the roadway on a thick layer of ice. The car was in the median on the east side of the overpass. No one was injured. The car looked drivable, just stuck in the soft muck of the median. I spoke with the driver who said that she was eastbound, hit the ice and literally spun completely around on the bridge. She was traveling in reverse when her driver’s side struck the bridge railing. The impact spun her car back forward and she slid from the road into the ditch in the median.

I asked her to cross the roadway and wait at a store for the tow truck. I got out my Incident/Offense book to fill out a wreck report. I walked around to check for damage on the car and get the vehicle identification number for my report. I was on the road side of the car when I heard the most bizarre whirring noise. I looked up in time to see a vehicle popping across the overpass in a full spin. It was coming right for me! The noise was made by rubber tires sliding sideways across iced pavement.

The car was spinning like a top across the bridge in an easterly direction. My geometry training kicked in and I began running toward it angling just slightly north. For a 30 something woman on muddy, icy grass carrying 30 pounds of extra weight, I was impressive! I took off like I did in high school out of the starting blocks. The car spun past me and slammed into the side of the car in the median. It pushed the car a good 50 feet.

The wrecker driver witnessed the whole thing. He said that he thought I had lost my mind when I started running at the spinning car. Laughingly, I told him that I learned that in a physics class. I knew that the only safe direction was to run past the car before it collided with anything. That way, no matter which direction things went from there, they couldn’t go backwards. He shrugged his shoulders and said that he didn’t get that but he never knew I could move so fast! Both cars had to be towed and we closed the bridge before anyone else could enjoy the thrill of that particular ride.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Trains and Cars Don’t Mix

On the west side of town, just south of the intersection of our two major U.S. highways, Norfolk Southern has a rail line that crosses all four lanes and the median. They have crossing arms there now, but up until about 10 years ago, the engineer would stop the train and the conductor would get off. He would walk across the highway, placing flares about every 10 feet on both sides of the track. He would wait on the other side of the highway until the train cleared, swing back on, and off they would go. Trains do something called switching at plants which causes them to stop on the tracks for an extended amount of time. They tried not to block the four-lane, but occasionally it could not be avoided.

I was working third shift one night and was assigned to the northwest. A river borders the north side of the city so we have major fog issues from time to time. As the night wore on, a thick fog rolled off the river and blanketed the town. Visibility was about 15 to 20 feet. We had changed over to “one man” units so riding around in that mess made you feel like you were the only human on earth. It was almost a relief when someone made a radio transmission. At least you knew you were not alone. It was a great night for burglars so I was spending my down time rattling doors and checking windows.

A call went out that a train was stopped across the highway and a car had struck it. I was told to approach the accident from the north side. Dispatch sent another car to the south side so no one else would hit it. Shit…lots of paperwork on a call like that. I inched my way across my area down to the tracks. The fog was so thick that I almost hit the train myself before I saw it. They had plenty of flares burning; the light just could not penetrate the fog.

I got out of my car, the fog literally swirling around my door as I opened it. Fog also dampens noise, so it was eerily quiet. I walked over to the rear of the wrecked car expecting to see it crunched into the wheels of a train car. WRONG! The car had been driven up under the train car squarely between the wheels peeling its roof back onto the trunk.

Damn, the driver must have been beheaded! This accident had gone from bad to worse. A wrecker and an ambulance had arrived. The ambulance crew went up under the train and attempted contact with the driver. The car was wedged tight under the train so no one could actually see the passenger compartment of the car. No answer. We all assumed the same thing; the driver was dead and probably beheaded.

The investigator for the railroad showed up and took over the investigation. I helped him with pictures and measurements. The ambulance crew left and told us to call them back when we were ready for transport. The wrecker driver was milling about trying to decide how to get the car out from under the train without causing the train to derail. We had been there a good hour maybe longer when the investigator said it was time to try to move the car.

The wrecker driver and I crawled back under the train, a rather intimidating place to be, and started hooking chains and such to what part of the frame that we could reach. We were filled with dread thinking about the sight we would unveil once we were successful.
We crawled back out and he pulled the chains taut. The car budged a fraction so he stopped. We crawled back under to see what to do next. I was crouched down by the driver’s door and he was on his hands and feet crawling toward the left front wheel.

This voice suddenly proclaimed, “It’s about fucking time! Get me out of here!”

I launched myself straight up, cramming my head squarely into the bottom of the train which sent me crashing back down onto the tracks. The wrecker driver looked like an Olympic high jumper doing a cowboy roll trying to get away from that car, WTF???!!!, both of us screaming like nellie girls from the shock.

All the commotion under the train brought everyone else running. The investigator crawled up next to the door and timidly asked if the driver, a woman we now knew, was injured. I was sitting on a rail rubbing my head to see if it was bleeding and the wrecker driver was laying on his back holding his chest breathing unnaturally hard. We heard her say that she was not hurt but she wanted out of the car.

We put everything into high gear and drug her car out from under that train in record time. As soon as she was clear, the woman sat up and started crawling out of the car unassisted. Except for being pissed for us taking so long and being covered with glass, she was uninjured! She said that she saw the train just seconds before she hit it. She didn’t have time to brake so she pulled her seat lever and just laid back. She said she closed her eyes when her roof sheared off.

We asked her why she did not answer us when we first tried to talk to her. She said that she thought she was dead and it was God talking to her. She said that she was scared to answer because she was not ready to be dead.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Honda Civic Commercial

I had the TV on this morning as I was getting ready for work and saw the new Civic commercial where the woman was speeding to meet a friend and got pulled over by an officer. She tries to get all sexy before the officer gets to her window and says “show time” to herself. The officer turns out to be a woman. I started laughing so hard. It reminded me of the following incident.

I had been working at the PD for maybe a month. I had not yet gone to the academy. I was assigned to second shift and was placed with a training officer. For you to fully appreciate the story, I must describe my partner. He was old school! We had been riding together every night for a month and I had yet to even touch the car keys. I was not allowed to do anything except write tickets and the incident / offense reports at the end of the night. He never wrote anything! I was beginning to feel like a uniformed secretary.

He was not too happy to be put with a rookie and a woman at that! I was the only woman officer and he was stuck with me. He was about 6 feet tall and looked like a bald Santa Clause without the beard. I will refer to him as Santa’s Helper because he loved to stuff the chimneys. [He was a womanizer so maybe I cramped his style.]

We are out patrolling early one spring evening and see this little powder blue VW bug traveling at a high rate of speed in the opposite direction. It was just getting dark. We did a u-turn and flipped on the blues. The VW pulled to the side of the road and stopped. Santa’s Helper got out and began to approach the car. I dutifully got out and stood by the right front bumper (SOP for that time) and watched. He gets her license and returned to the car. He handed me the license and told me the speed she was going as he paced her. I wrote out the ticket and handed him the ticket book.

He was giggling like a little boy. He said that he knew her and so he wanted me to get her to sign the ticket. I was thrilled! I get to actually DO something. He made me recite the “please sign here” speech and off I went. He never even got back out of the car. He just started laughing like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

I was pretty naïve then plus it was the first time that I actually given someone a ticket. I did my best ‘hug the car’ approach with my flashlight in my left hand, right hand on my gun, and ticket book with license attached under my left arm. I noticed that she was squirming around so I was ultra-alert to what she was doing.

Shining my light over her left shoulder, the first thing I saw were BREASTS! She had unbuttoned her shirt all the way down to her waist and pushed the girls up so far that they were about to spring free of their binding. I ran my light over them down towards her lap and saw legs…bare legs…and the faintest hint of panties peeking out from under her skirt that she had hiked up as far as she could get it. Her hands were on the steering wheel.

I stopped at the door post and before I could speak…I was quiet stunned as you might imagine…she slowly started turning to look at me over her shoulder. With the light in her eyes, I could see her face before she could see mine. She looked like a woman about to have sex in a bad [are there actually good ones?] porn movie.

I began my rehearsed speech, “Ma’am, I have issued you a citation for speeding 60 in a 45 mph zone.” Puzzlement crept onto her face. “Your signature is not an admission of guilt...” The puzzlement began to change to confusion. “It is an acknowledgment that you have received this citation….” The confused look contorted into anger. “and you agree to either pay….” Hands flew off the steering wheel and grabbed the bottom of the skirt, yanking the helm down toward her knees. “the citation prior to your court date…” She grabbed her shirt and yanked it back together covering up the girls. “or you will appear in court at 7 AM on the court date indicated on the citation.”

She snatched the ticket book from my hands and said, “Where do I sign this damn thing? And since WHEN does Decatur have a WOMAN officer?” She actually spat the words out. She was pissed! I pointed my flashlight to the line for her signature. She scratched out a signature and ripped her license off the book and thrust it back in my direction. I tore off her copy and handed it to her. I said my goodbyes using my best southern charm, “Thank you. Be careful and slow down please.”

She didn’t exactly spin gravel in my face but I wasn’t even back in the car and she was gone! I looked into the patrol car and Santa’s Helper was laughing so hard that I thought he would hurt himself! His face was beet red and tears were streaming down his face. His rather large body was contorted around the steering wheel. I was thinking, “What the hell is so funny?” I had not told him what happened yet so I reached behind me to make sure the seat of my pants weren’t ripped.

When I got in the car, he told me that he just had a feeling, from years of experience, that she was going to try to get a “bush bond” for her offensive driving instead of a ticket. I was only 21 and as I said, naïve. OK, just down right sheltered! I didn’t pick up on the terminology right away so I proceeded to tell him about my experience. “You wouldn’t believe what she was doing….Why would she…?” I thought he would choke on his tongue!

I figured out what a “bush bond” was all by myself, before the end of the night. I was horrified that she tried that on me until I realized that she was expecting him to return to her window! Looking back now, I am kinda disappointed ....well, after thinking about it a minute… not really, she was a two-bagger! I also later learned that she speed up to get Santa’s Helper’s attention. He used to park his boots under her bed on a regular basis and hadn’t been by to see her in awhile. Instead of a date, she got herself a ticket and points on her driving record.

Math Teacher

A guy goes to the supermarket and notices a beautiful woman wave at him and say hello. He's rather taken aback, because he can't place where he knows her from.
So he says, "Do you know me?"
To which she replies, "I think you're the father of one of my kids."
Now his mind travels back to the only time he has ever been unfaithful to his wife and says, "My God, are you the stripper from my bachelor party that I made love to on the pool table with all my buddies watching, while your partner whipped my butt with wet celery???"
She looks into his eyes and calmly says, "No, I'm your son's math teacher."

Bad Days

A friend of my serving in Iraq sent this to me, you might have seen it already.
I thought that there was nothing worse than wearing a vest under polyester in the humid heat of an Alabama summer but I might have to rethink that. I am a scuba diver so I can relate to the time delays.
Just read:

"I LOVE MY JOB . . . . . .
If you don't laugh out loud after you read this you are in a coma!
This is even funnier when you realize it's real! Next time you have a bad day at work think of this guy. Rob is a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana. He performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs. Below is an E-mail he sent to his sister. She then sent it to radio station 103.2 on FM dial in Ft. Wayne , Indiana , who was sponsoring a worst job experience contest. Needless to say, she won.

Hi Sue,
Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not so bad after all. Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job.

As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It's a wet suit. This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to keep warm is this: We have a diesel powered industrial water heater. This $20,000 piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature.
It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose, which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a darn good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints.

What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wet suit. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi.

Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my butt started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. Within a few seconds my butt started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened. The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit.

Now, since I don't have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn't stick to it However, the crack of my butt was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into the crack of my butt. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator.

His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five
other divers, were all laughing hysterically. Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make three agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression.
When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet.

As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my butt as soon as I got in the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't poop for two days because
my butt was swollen shut. So, next time you're having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your butt.

Now repeat to yourself, "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job."
Now whenever you have a bad day, ask yourself, is this a jellyfish bad day?
May you NEVER have a jellyfish bad day!!!!!"

DUI Joke

A drunk is driving through the city and his car is weaving violently all over the road. A cop pulls him over and asks, "Where have you been?"
"I've been to the pub," slurs the drunk.

"Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've had quite a few."

"I did alright," the drunk says with a smile.

"Did you know," says the cop, standing straight and folding his arms, that
a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"

"Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk. "For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Thank God for Red Lights!

In the town I worked, we have three major U.S. Highways. Two of them are at right angles to each other in the northeast part of town by the river. They go west and south respectively. At the south side of town, the third enters from the east and arcs out in a “c” shape curving until it meets the westbound one on the northwestern side of the city. These are all 4 lane roads with double turn lanes where they intersect. [I bet you couldn’t tell that I teach Geometry from that description]. They were designed to carry about a third of the traffic that actually travels them daily.

One afternoon, right in the middle of lunch hour rush, our warrant detail went to an area that at one time was a tiny city that we had incorporated. Something went wrong and he yelled, “Shots fired.” over the radio. They were in my zone but I could not have been in a worse location to respond. I was in the northern most corner of the city and they were directly south just outside the city limits. The only direct route was down the four-lane. Most people would think that a four-lane would be better that a side street, but because of the amount of traffic, it is not.

I flipped on my lights and siren and southbound I went. I was traveling 60 to 70 miles per hour through the part of town that was thick with traffic lights. I had to slow enough that I could stop if cross traffic didn’t yield. I passed most of the traffic in the left lane and swinging over into the turn lane when people traveling south failed to yield. I would like to interject that a driver should pull to the RIGHT when an emergency vehicle running code approaches from the rear.

I got out of the traffic lights and picked up speed. I was hitting between 90 and 100 mph as I approached the intersection of the two 4-lanes. My nerves were on edge and I had a death grip on the steering wheel. Most everyone had pulled to the right like they were suppose to do, but there was this one car in the left lane that had not responded to my approach. I was barreling down on top of him pretty fast and saw him look into his rear view. We actually made eye contact. He started pulling to the right and I accelerated. Just as I was about one car length behind him, he changed his mind. WAIT, IT’S A WOMAN’S PEROGATIVE TO CHANGE HER, NOT A MAN’S! HE started pulling left.

All I could do was lock it down! I lost traction and started sliding sideways. Remember that I was going at least 95 mph when I hit the brakes. I literally slid past him, missing him by a breath and a smile. My language at the time would melt your monitor so I will omit it. I steered into the skid as I got to the intersection. Thankfully, no one was in the east bound turn lane or I would have taken them out with the passenger side of my car.

The light for the turn lane turned green as I got it straightened out. I floored it, back up to 100 mph or so, and continued to the call. We got the guy out of the house without incident thanks to a little pepper spray. He did not have a gun! The officer swore that he did not say that he did over the air. What ever he said, we all thought he said shots fired. Even the dispatcher thought that was what he said. After he was in the back of someone’s patrol car, I had to sit down. My legs were shaking so bad that I literally could not stand up. I kept thinking that mere seconds or inches could have been my life or the lives of others over a misdemeanor warrant!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Advanced Global Personality Test Results

I borrowed this from Sassy Femme
I think it is pretty accurate so does Sharon

Stability results were high which suggests you are very relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic..

Orderliness results were medium which suggests you are moderately organized, hard working, and reliable while still remaining flexible, efficient, and fun.

Extraversion results were medium which suggests you are moderately talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting.

trait snapshot:

rarely irritated, positive, tough, non phobic, fearless, likes the unknown, self reliant, high self control, confident, trusting, strong instincts, prudent, optimistic, willful, likes parties, prefers a specialized career, takes charge, altruistic, strong, high self concept, adventurous, practical, thoughtful

Little Pink Sandals

Sharon and I were at a local campground visiting my mom and her husband. It was early spring and we had planned to go bike riding on the trails while we were there. I was assigned to Investigations at that time and was on call. On call meant that I had to be ready to report to duty within 20 minutes if I was paged. We had just finished unloading the bikes when my pager went off. I went to the campground office to call the PD and found that there had been a drowning. They gave me the address at an apartment complex.

I had to leave her with them without transportation. I changed into jeans, shirt, and jacket and began attaching all the tools of the trade in the bathhouse. Wearing all that stuff while in uniform isn’t that bad, it all has a place to go on your duty belt. On the other hand, plain clothes suck! There isn’t a woman’s belt sturdy enough to hold all that weight so it’s a fight the whole time. I had to run by the PD and pick up photography equipment and off I went to the complex.

I arrived at the pool area and met with officers. The victims had already been transported to the hospital, thank goodness. I went to the pool area to start taking pictures. I just found out that 2 people drowned, not one. A drowning is always bad. Water and human flesh is not a good combination. I was relieved to find out that they had only been in the water a short time.

As I entered the fence around the pool, I saw a couple of beach towels across a chair. A cloth bag was beside the chair. Goggles and Barbie dolls were peeking out of the top. There were a couple of soft drink cans on the table along with an open bag of chips. A little white t-shirt with blue flowers and a pair of blue shorts were scattered under the table. A large man’s robe was piled up in the middle of the table. I took pictures from several angles of all of this and carefully collected each item into evidence bags.

I turned my attention to the pool. The first thing that I saw was a pair of little pink sandals. They were haphazardly placed as if the child was excited and had kicked them off in a hurry. The small size of the sandals caused my guts to wrench. I had not been told anything about the victims. The little girl could only be two or three years old.

I finished taking pictures and collecting evidence. I then went looking for witnesses. The apartment manager said that he had seen a man with his little girl as he opened the gate that morning. She was yanking at his hand wanting her daddy to hurry up so they could get into the water. It was the first day that the pool was opened and the manager warned them that the water would be pretty cold. The daddy said that he had not gotten to spend time with his little girl in a long time and he had promised. The manager said that he left and went to the office.

I found another guy that had seen them on his way to wash clothes. He said that the little girl was splashing in the shallow end and was squealing with glee. Her daddy was sitting on the side dangling his feet in the water laughing. He went on to put in his clothes. When he came back by, they were gone. A little later, he heard someone yelling to call an ambulance. Someone else had gone to the pool and found them.

The couple that found them said they saw all the stuff and figured that they went back in to get something. Went they got their stuff set up, they went to get into the pool. That’s when they saw the daddy on the bottom of the deep end. The little girl was also on the bottom with her arms wrapped around her daddy’s legs. They jumped in and pulled them out but it was too late.

I left the apartments and went to the hospital. After talking to the doctor, I went in to photograph the father. He was rather heavy set but nothing else was evident. There was no sign of trauma. I took a deep breath and entered the room where the little girl’s body lay on the gurney. She looked like she was sleeping. She had on the cutest little pink and white poke dot one piece swim suit. Her hair was pulled up and had little clear balls holding her hair in pig tails. A few strands of hair had pulled out, falling across her face. I wanted to cry. It was so sad. I had to suck it up and push it all down so I could remain professional. I took the pictures that I had to take. The nurse helped me remove the suit and turn her. It was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do! No matter how hard you make your heart, children just get to you.

Someone came in then and said that the mother had just arrived at the hospital. I looked at them in disbelief. “Are you telling me that she doesn’t know yet?” She only knew that her daughter had been brought to the hospital. SHIT!!! I was trying to think if this day could possibly get any worse. I should not have asked.

I went and got the mother, grandmother, two aunts, and a friend of the family. I was assuming that the man was her husband. NEVER ASSUME. I started by telling them that her husband and her little girl had gone swimming. I was quickly corrected. She told me that her daughter was with her daddy but he was not her husband. She went on to tell me that she was going to kill him if he had let anything happen to her child! She had been fighting with him in court for months to keep him from having unsupervised visits. She claimed that he was totally irresponsible and he had a medical condition that made it not safe for him to have her alone. I stopped her and asked what this condition was. She told me that he had seizures that were brought on when he was under any kind of stress. She said that the court forced her to let him have her for an overnight. He had picked her up for the first time the previous night.

I started out by asking if he could swim. She told me that she didn’t know. The family friend said that he could not. I again told them that they went swimming this morning. It appeared that they got into the deep end of the pool and got in trouble. She again said that she was going to kill him. I softly told her that he was dead, he had drowned. She said that she didn’t give a damn, where was her daughter? I had to tell her that her daughter had drowned also. She stood there a few seconds, looking at me as if she didn’t hear me correctly. She started wailing, cursing, slinging her arms around, and then she stopped. She looked at me and said, “Fuck you, fuck the law, the law killed my little girl, she’s dead because of you, you made me let her go with him, fuck him!”

She kept on yelling and crying. I just stood there saying that I was sorry for her loss. Can you think of a more inadequate thing to say? I had no words to tell her what I felt and I had to keep my feelings to myself, be professional, i.e. cold.

When I took her in to see her daughter, she just went still, almost limp. She went to the bed, grabbed up her daughter in her arms and wept. I left. The family friend thanked me on the way out. She apologized for the cursing that I took. I just smiled, thanked her, and said that I understood. After we put the pieces together, we think that the girl got in over her head. Daddy jumped in to try to save her. He got excited; he couldn’t swim, and had a seizure after he grabbed her. He sank to the bottom pulling her with him. A freak turn of events would have had such a different outcome if anyone else had been at the pool at the time.

It was dark by the time I got back to the campground. Sharon was way over the extra long visit by herself! I was way over having a jolly good time so we packed up and went home.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Life is Fragile

Today, I found out that my eye doctor is the hospital and might not live. She may be 35 years old and has a kid that is about a year at most. She is a great doctor and a nice woman. She is a diabetic and got the stomach flu. The flu made her vomit uncontrollably for days which caused dehydration. The dehydration affected her diabetes. The screwed up blood sugar screwed up her kidneys. Her kidneys malfunctioning caused her heart to misfire and she coded, they were able to resuscitate her. She is now in a drug induced coma. They are giving her 48 hours before they start dialysis. Things are looking pretty bleak.

Oh Shit! at the Fairgrounds

About 2AM one morning, I got dispatched to a house on a cul-de-sac. A woman was sitting in a van in the driveway crying. When I approached to see what was going on, I realized that I knew the woman. She worked for the city in another department. She was mortified that I was the officer because we knew each other. After much prodding, she tells me that her husband got laid off and he was mad because she was the only one with a paycheck. She said it was a case of injured pride. It was Christmas and he was mad that finances were so tight.

I had met her husband a time or two and he seemed like a very reasonable guy. He was a very tall man, probably 6’4” or taller. His hands were so large that he could actually palm a basketball. He worked a very physical job which made him muscled. Knowing all of this, I decided that talking to him would be the best approach, appealing to his logical side.

She gave me the home number and I called it on my cell phone. He answered, sounded calm, and I asked him to step outside and speak with me. He had slapped his wife across the face and our current laws required that he be arrested for domestic violence. He stepped about halfway out the front door but left it open. He literally filled up the doorway. I explained the law and told him that if he would accompany me to jail, I would let him sign his own bond, a quick painless solution under the circumstances. He thought about it for a minute and then quickly stepped back into the house and closed the door. I heard him lock the deadbolt.

I went back to the van and asked the wife for the house keys. I also called for backup. When backup arrived, we used the key and entered the house. He was watching TV in the living room beside the Christmas tree. He stood up and wanted to know why we were in his house. I explained that he had to go to jail because he struck his wife. I asked him to put his hands behind him so we could cuff him…still hoping for his reasonable side to cooperate. He held his arms down by his sides, very non-threatening. I took hold of one arm and another officer grabbed the other. A third officer came in the front door about that time. The husband became angry. He yelled that he was cooperating so why did it take three officers. He picked up his arms and us with them. Our feet came all the way off the floor! We looked like that circular swing ride at the fair before it starts spinning very fast.

The third officer panicked and pulled out his pepper spray. It was a small room that was mostly full of coffee table and Christmas tree. As soon as the officer sprayed him in the face, he just shook his head and bellowed, “What did you do that for?” I had never seen pepper spray not work! Not good! There was nothing wrong with the spray because the two of us that were hanging from his arms were choking and snotting with tears streaming down our faces.

He started turning around, looking for a way out of the room, with us still hanging from his arms. The carnival ride had begun! One of us knocked over the Christmas tree with our legs as he spun with us. Luckily, he tripped over the coffee table and the ride came to a crashing halt. We can’t see, we can’t breathe, it feels like we are choking to death. He calmly says, “OK, OK, I’ll go if you quit tearing up my house! I am out of work and I can’t pay to fix it.”

Someone cuffed him and transported him to jail. My face felt like someone had just shoved it in a vat for frying French fries. We went outside and detoxed ourselves with the water hose. I did mention it was Christmas time. That water was so cold but it felt so good. The poor wife had to open all her doors and windows to get the air cleared.