Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Jailhouse Rock

What happens when you get the oldest rookie in all The Land? Well things like this...

Gary was 52 when he started. I think that might be the most "ancient" rookie we've had so far. I say that with endearment.  Well, and some truth. He really was 52 when I got him. I probably aged him a bit to 67 with my training methods. I often teased him about teaching senior citizens. He had a good sense of humor.

We got along great. He really was already potty trained from his last department, but we had to go through the process according to policy.

We developed a trainer-rookie favorite word we used all the time. I made fun of his east coast accent at every opportunity. It was like I was rolling dirty with the mob or something.  When we had strange calls or things we talked about, we would turn to each other in unison and say it was "weeeerahd" (weird in his New York accent). Gary hails from New York City. Yes, just like the salsa.

Gary and I laughed a lot.

Some of my training was a little unorthodox. Like the times I would test his alertness to his surroundings. I would often ask him as we passed by a house while patrolling residential areas, "Did you notice anything different than yesterday?" Most of the time his answer was, "No".

My "thing" was to notice changes and things out of the ordinary as well as criminal activity afoot. For instance, are the garage doors up or down? Sometimes late at night I would let citizens know about securing their property by shutting the doors and putting their kids bikes away. It was good community policing and PR, besides preventative measures. Most of the time they were polite. It gave me an opportunity to reach out to kids.

As for the kids, they are number one. I always bought lemonade at the lemonade stands and played games, basketball, or just made chit chat. 

With regard to the neighborhood patrols,  I always wondered how the citizens would take it that I was such a hawk eye with their homes? I did judge their landscaping. It was my job. I owned a tree nursery. They might be creeped out if they knew that.

It was good to use my garden knowledge in police work. To pique a rookie's interest, I would ask them questions just to make them more detail oriented. It was more of a game for me. Aren't we supposed to have fun? I think so. Torturing rookies in a non-hazing way was part of that.

Gary was no different. I tortured him also. Even if he was a senior citizen, there was no discrimination in treatment. I would ask him, "What kind of tree was in that yard?" He would look at me and roll his eyes. I told him I was serious. He would say "green."  Good answer. He got points.

By the end of the phase, he was on board with the species.  He has since forgotten, however, I am sure. I'm going to have to modify my training techniques for retention, perhaps beat him with a stick which might be similar to training puppies about poop. You rub their noses in it.

Anyway, never mind. Man, a cop's mind runs all over the place. It makes you wonder, right? I wah, wah, wah, wah, wonder...I wonder why.

So...about this call.

We have had an influx of illegal aliens in Gotham City. It goes up and down. There are times when I.C.E. makes a sweep, clears the town, then it comes full circle. I don't like it when they shut down our favorite restaurants, but hey, it is a side effect of their job.

Dispatch sent us to a drunk at a motel who was bothering guests. When we arrived, we didn't find anyone. No guest we talked to outside had seen the man. The motel employees had lost him.

Soon, Gary found him hiding behind the building near a staircase, avoiding the police. He was very intoxicated and an illegal alien working for a construction company.  No one understood what he was saying so they thought he was harassing them. That is part of the equation. The other part is people are scared of drunk people. Plus he was yelling and pounding on things. Those behaviors naturally alarm the citizens. When they slammed their doors, he would knock loudly and yell. So, it appeared he was a dangerous drunk man to them. Enter the PoPo.

Despite his intoxicated state, he was a nice young Hispanic fellow who said he was from Mexico but was staying at the Motel 6. He was creating quite a ruckus. I.C.E. didn't care about him because he was small potatoes and was only drunk.

However, we had to remove him from the parking lot because he was creating quite a disturbance. First, we tried to locate his room and came to find that he didn't have a room. We didn't know who he was staying with either because motel records were not helpful nor was the night clerk. The bazillion by-standers played possum and could not help us.

The language barrier was more of a problem because he was intoxicated. I spoke enough Spanish to not get dead. But I couldn't carry on a fluent conversation about a motel room. If we were going to talk guns, drugs, lies, and curse words plus basic bio stuff, then I was a master of the street language. I could also give out orders in Spanish in dire circumstances.

Speaking of orders, I am pretty sure I could order food and plenty of margaritas and cervezas. Rosetta Stone did me no favors, but our Street Survival Spanish classes were most magnificent.

After attempts to figure that out what to do with our new friend, we called on our Spanish speaking sergeant. It was later determined our friend got drunk and was staying with people who decided to throw him out of their room because he was too obnoxious. Now we were getting somewhere. Actually, nowhere fast.

Eventually one of them showed up and talked to us. He told us, the police, they did not want him back and he refused to tell us what room number he was in, then ran off. He did not even acknowledge the friendly recognition given by our newfound friend. Rude. This guy appeared intoxicated as well, He was higher functioning, however,  because he could talk and run.

There we were. And so we had a new buddy.

Give us an 'A' for extra effort. We tried to avoid jail.

During the call and arrest, our buddy could only say "I do nothing wrong." He could not speak very good English, but tried to communicate as best he knew. I told him he was drunk in public and waking up several guests, yelling. He responded with, "Si."

(Great confession, but I didn't think he understood what we were telling him. I thought he was just being polite to the PoPo. But I couldn't read his mind and assuming the language barrier was part of this assumption may have been a stretch)

I told him it was illegal to be drunk in public in America in Spanish. Wow. That was confusing to write let alone tell him in what I call Spanglish because I sucked. I don't like language barriers, by the way. I always wished I spoke several languages fluently. It is important to know what is going on around you and how to communicate with several people.

Anyway, he still didn't understand. I wonder why. Perhaps because my Spanish language skills sucked and so did his English skills?  We had a global misunderstanding.

He was arrested and placed in the cruiser.

He did understand the process. It was the longest short ride to the jail. After 400 bazillion "I do nothing wrong" statements, we started to ignore him. We turned on the music and "bopped" to it. Pretty soon, we heard a noise in the backseat...

"I do nothing wrong! I want out!"

Was he singing it? Gary and I looked at each other and shrugged, but we smiled. He did what every good rookie would do, he ignored him and kept driving us to the jail on the hill.

Me, not so much.

After doing this job so long, I am really not afraid of what I say as long as it is legal. So, I sang back to him.

(Yes, it was recorded. I am who I am. They know this.)

"You can't get out!"

It became a song. I am sure it will be a hit. He sang back.

"I want out!"

I sang back, "You are drunk. You can't get out. You go to jail...go to jail...go to jail!"

He again sang a reply in a lower tone, "I not drunk. I want out. I do nothing wrong."

Now, Gary had to have a piece of the action. Fun must be had by all.  Gary and I sang in unison louder and somewhat in an opra-like rendition. "You can't get out! No out!  No out! No out!" 

We smiled at each other because, well, we were funny. Duh. We amused ourselves. We were not sure what the little guy thought until he responded.

He spoke with a smile, "At least...you guys funny." 

So, we arrived at the jail with our little Elvis and booked him in. I bet he will never forget his privileged serenade in my g-ride.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Paramedic Meltdown

The start of every day or night always began with coffee. Always. Or a protein shake. Well, both really. It was a routine. 

What was not routine were the shifts. 

Each shift was unique and each day brought new dysfunction. The first year of my career, I learned to enjoy it and not carry people's burdens. We're there to help. That's what the police do. And if we got some amusement out of it, it was a win-win situation. 

Cops do have box office seats to pure entertainment. Actually, that first row seat belongs to all first responders. On occasion, we get to observe and just stand guard. It was rare to see a colleague from another division of first response melt down. And so on this day I happen to have to call the ambulance. Sometimes we just need the popcorn...

On this night we were plagued with endless drunks...in fact it was an epic night of loser boozers. It was more like an epidemic. A plague. See what I did there?

Some drunks hit walls, some had vehicle rollovers, some ran from the fuzz...one got away...not from me, though. In fact, we didn't have enough cops to cover the burglaries in progress, the fights, etc., so I was held over from my shift two hours late. Ack!

One very small, 5-2, 125 lb, 44 year old drunk man was in rare form with the paramedics tonight. Most of the time spent with him was very annoying as most drunks get irritating at his level.

Later, at the hospital we found his blood alcohol content to be a whopping..[.45]. He was pretty high functioning even with that much in his system. I would have been dead.

He hated me, then I was nice, then he didn't like me, then he was in love with me, and also wanted me to arrest him tomorrow.  He really hated our hulk sized cop who was there as my backup...who was being very nice.

The drunk dude got beat up because he started a fight with a girl and someone finished him off pretty good. We really didn't have to ask because we could understand even with his pickled state.

He was not our favorite drunk of the night. Hmm, wonder why? Maybe it was his ability to keep us all in a perpetual state of vexation.

Because he was beat up and drunk, we had to involve our ambulance friends. They really don't like it when we have to call them for these things, but it is a "cover your ass" policy and so be it. It saves us all from future problems and I look at it as theatre.

(Paramedic)       What's your name?
(Drunk dude)      I don't know. Ask her. I told her my name.
(Paramedic)        I have to ask you some questions to make sure you don't have a concussion. You might have to go to the hospital.
(Drunk dude)      I will answer your questions.
(Paramedic)       What day is it?
(Drunk dude)      Monday.
(Paramedic)       How many quarters in a dollar?
(Drunk dude)     How many quarters ARE in a dollar?
(Paramedic)       No, I'm asking you.
(Drunk dude)     No, I'm asking YOU.
(Paramedic)       How many quarters in a dollar?

     [Silence and stare down]

(Paramedic)      Ok. Let's try another one. Where are you?
(Drunk dude)    Here.
(Paramedic)      What city?
(Drunk dude)    Springfield, Illinois.
(Paramedic)      What city are you in?
(Drunk dude)    Springfield, Illinois.
(Paramedic)      [Sigh]Who is the President of the United States?

(Drunk dude)    Who IS the President of the United States?
(Paramedic)      Quit making fun of me. Who is the President of the United States?
(Drunk dude)    I don't know. [Silence]That black guy!
(Paramedic)     What is his name?
(Drunk dude)   What IS his name?
(Paramedic)     [Sigh]No, I'm asking you.
(Drunk dude)   No, I'm asking YOU.
(ME)               Maybe you should ask him a different question.
(Drunk dude)   Yeah, ask me another question.
(Paramedic)     What happened to you?
(Drunk dude)   Nothing. I'm still here.
(Paramedic)     No, what happened to you? How did you get hurt?
(Drunk dude)   I don't know why you're trippin'. I'm good.
(ME)               [Addressing the paramedic] It's free entertainment. [Shrug] 

[Paramedic not impressed]

(Paramedic)     You need to be serious.
(Drunk dude)   Oh, I am serious. You need to be serious.
(Paramedic)     [Sigh]What time is it?
(Drunk dude)   For what?
(Paramedic)    No, what time is it now?
(Drunk dude)  It's Miller time. What time do you think it is?
(Drunk dude)  It's dark.
(Paramedic)    TIME! TIME! TIME! If you were looking at a clock, what time is it?
(Drunk dude)   [Looking around]There's no clock out here. We're on the street.
(Paramedic)    NO! What time is it now? Guess!
(Drunk dude)  I can't guess. I might have the wrong answer.
(Paramedic)    [Looks at me]
(ME)               I think it's time for the PoPo to take you to the hospital because I think you are about a .50 (point five-oh)
(Drunk dude)   I'm the FIVE-O? I want to be the FIVE-O.
(ME)               No, I'm the FIVE-O, you are about a point FIVE-O
(Drunk dude)   I know you're the FIVE-O. Why you sayin' I'm the FIVE-O. That's what you said. You said.
(Paramedic)    See!
(ME)               Turn around and put your hands behind your back.
(Drunk dude)   Ok, beautiful lady. What for?

[Of course I took the compliment lightly, after all, he's had multiple drinks. I think I'm about a case of beer beautiful. What an insult! ACK!]

(ME)              You're under arrest for public intoxication and we're going to the ER to get your head checked.
(Drunk dude)  This is BUUUULLLSHIT! My head is fine. You're the one that said I was the FIVE-O.
(ME)              I AM the FIVE-O.
(Drunk dude)  Nooo....you said I was.
(ME)              Zip it.
(Paramedic)    [Directing this at me] See, how do you like?
(Drunk dude)  Like what? You don't have to get all up and nasty. So what! I'm going to jail.
(Paramedic)    I wasn't talking to you.
(Drunk dude)  Well, I'm not talking to you either.
(Paramedic)    UGH!

It didn't get any better in the car. I had some of my rap music playing in hopes of drowning out voices coming from the back seat. It was standard procedure.

(Drunk dude)   Ooooh, you can't be playing this music for a brother.
(ME)               You don't like my music?
(Drunk dude)   No, it makes me fall in love with you. Are you doing a brother?
(ME)               What?
(Drunk dude)   What?
(ME)               What are you talking about?
(Drunk dude)   Will you take me?
(ME)               I am taking you. I'm taking you to the hospital, then jail.
(Drunk dude)   No, take me...I'm a brother. You like brothers?
(ME)              I have one, yes. What does my brother have to do with this?
(Drunk dude)  NO! ME, ME, ME!
(ME)             Yes, I'm taking YOU YOU YOU to JAIL JAIL JAIL!
(Drunk dude) NO! Will you go out with me?
(ME)             No, it's cold. We're going inside...to the hospital and to jail.
(ME)             The handcuffs ARE on you.
(Drunk dude) AAAHHH! You damn frustratin' woman!
(ME)             See! How do you like it?
(Drunk dude) Like what? Are you being NAUGHTY?
(ME)             No, you are being naughty. You got arrested.
(Drunk dude) I'm done which you. I am SOOO done which you.
(ME)             [Sigh] Yippee.
(Drunk dude) You got to pee?
(ME)              [Sigh] Never mind.

Yes, it was all video and audio recorded. Can't wait until the Captain sees that one...

In retrospect, the Captain never said a thing. I doubt he saw it. I am assuming he missed the whole show. Apparently, reviewing my recordings was not worthy of company time. 

Too bad. 

Some of those would be better than most comedy acts you pay big bucks to see and he would have gotten paid to view them. 

What better gig is that?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Pork Sausage

People ask me if I miss cop work. Every single day. 

People ask me if I ever reflect on my police calls, people, places. Every single day.

It isn't that I am pining for the job or even mourning its loss. Just reflections of fondness and little things can spark a memory. 

Now more than ever, I realize my training was so critical to the recruits. I know there were days or even months where I was not 100 for them and many times I was downright worthless. I worked two full time jobs and lacked sleep. Sometimes I fell asleep in the passenger side because the motion of the car has ALWAYS put me to sleep, but worse when I lacked proper snoozing time. That's when I reported myself to my supervisor. At the time, he was very disappointed, took it up the chain. I didn't get disciplined, but they didn't take me off training either. I had to do the best I could. 

Thankfully, they understood my personal dilemma and my needs to salvage what I had of my life at home and with my personal business. But it came at a cost to my profession. Later, I chose my profession and closed the personal business. 

The realization of my errors makes me regret that I wasn't better. I went through a divorce (22 years with Bug's father) and a miscarriage during some training times which really gave me head damage. No one really takes into account those things because you aren't supposed to bring your baggage to work. Well, that's a nice perfect world, but it isn't true life. I asked for breaks and so did others, but we were all denied despite our various reasons because we were so short handed.

So it is what it is and has become. People got let go because they weren't cut out to be cops. Nothing I could have done or said would have changed that. And that is how it should be. But for the ones who passed their training, I could have served them better. 

If I can leave anything to forward to administrators and trainers it is that they should be in top form and if not, realize a break is needed. Monitor your people. It is necessary for the trainer and the organization. More importantly, make sure fair is fair to the recruits. They expect the best. Administrators need to be on top of those requests and know that a trainer who recognizes they aren't top notch and need a break should be evaluated carefully for the better of the department. A department cannot afford to make this kind of sacrifice just because they are short-handed. 

I think administrators lose sight of the big picture sometimes or maybe they have so much faith in that trainer that they think he or she will pull it through. Trainers are human. They also can generate human errors. It is critical to organizational success to have them all in prime condition mentally and physically. 

As a trainer, there are times you get a very endearing young person as a rookie, but they just are not street wise. In fact, you can see early on they have to make great strides to overcome things or they are just not cop material in the first place. It is almost always that obvious. Some are salvageable and we do go leaps and bounds to get them training needs. But you really need the right people. 

These candidates I speak of above, passed the test and have dreams of grandeur to be a savior to people and put on the uniform with pride. That part is the cool part. I had those feelings when I first started and the uniform pride continued until the last day. I don't know if I was really street wise at first, but I knew how to read people and detect criminal activity right out of the gates. I loved problem solving.

Some rookies are dangerous. Some are just dense in the head. These are the ones who need to be terminated as soon as possible. Of course, it has to be justified and documented. 

Additionally, some rookies just aren't cut out to be cops because they are true bleeding hearts. They cannot fathom nor see nor detect evil. They miss criminal action unless it is blatant. They cannot even sense suspicious activity. Some are just academically intelligent and are fit for other careers. They are in a world of blissful ignorance but only because they are darlings. I have had my share of darlings. 

I loved this rookie in the mother sense and loved his good heart, but I knew early on, despite his wishes, he would not be cut out to stay a cop. He did well, generally, even in dynamic calls, but I could tell it was too much for his psyche. He really had no idea about the street side nor really grasped hints of danger. 

And what mother would want the purest of hearts to be cynical and jaded for the rest of their lives? I kind of liked his innocence. It was a sign that kids were still raised right and the 1950s existed. 

After he left the department, I would see him around town and we had great reunions and hugs and laughter. He even anonymously bought me a Starbucks in the drive-thru one day. I chased him down to thank him and he was the same happy kid. He is very intelligent. I always wished him well and I know he has and will continue to do good...just not in police work.  

That was one we saved for his mother. He was restored to normalcy. 

But on this day...he was in training...with me...

Late night lurking.

He doesn't do it very well...but he does try.

Pretty soon...a loud noise grabbed our attention to the left. A speeding motorcycle. Most of the time, bikers enjoy riding around our vast neighborhoods and mountain roads. However, at this time of night, we usually get teased by pursuits. Well, we used to because a directive came out that we were not to pursue them in most circumstances because of the danger to them and others going over 150 mph. There was a group of them out there riding together teasing the PoPo. The problem is they knew we couldn't pursue them unless circumstances elevated above a misdemeanor, so they ruled the streets.

Sausage at first ignored this motorcycle rider. He was the only motorist on the road at 2 AM. Hello! It should grab your attention at least for a look-see because it is the ONLY thing on the road.

ME: Seriously? You aren't going to follow him?

SAUSAGE: Well, he was going fast. I guess I could.

ME: He was going about 40 in a 30.

SAUSAGE: How can you tell?

ME: We are all trained in speed estimation. It's a matter of whether or not you use it. Go after him.

SAUSAGE: He's about a mile down the road.

ME: How fast are you going?

SAUSAGE: About 60 mph.

ME: And  you're not catching him. He is speeding up. Probably saw you. Go after him.

SAUSAGE: I have no reason to stop him.

ME: *blink*blink*

SAUSAGE: What do I have?

ME: My speed estimation, no visible registration...oh looky there...he's swerving in both lanes of traffic. He's probably drunk.

SAUSAGE: I don't think I have enough.

ME: I'm gonna slap a bitch.
Me...trying to avoid saying cocksucker

Soon, we were closer to the motorcycle which accelerated even more and the dude swerved all over the road when we got about two car lengths behind him. It was apparent he was going to hurt someone if we didn't stop him and he was trying to outrun us.

ME: Pull him over.

SAUSAGE: I don't have enough.

ME: Pull him over before he kills somebody...NOW!

Activating our lights had no effect; the dude kept going and ignored our disco show. I pushed the siren..like one little hi-lo and an air horn bleep.

Crash. Beautiful. Wreckage.


Even though he wrecked his motorcycle...mechanical carnage everywhere...he was fine. Standing up and scratching his head, he faced me. Bloodshot, dilated eyes. Smell of a brewery. And...swaying... with pee pee pants. We call those clues. Very drunk this man was, Yoda. Or it was the new age of motorcycle driving with wet pants and bug eyes. Maybe it was a summer thing since they didn't have air conditioning on those rides. Well, I guess the wind in your face would be somewhat considered an air coolant of sorts.

We talked to the man. Sure enough. He came from a bar...had a lot to drink...slurred his words...couldn't get anything out of his wallet. He looked like a character out of Mad Max. Yes, I'm dating myself. But he was.

Crazy hair. Jeans. Black boots. Face grime. Big, furry mustache...like a squirrel on his face. It could have been a pet squirrel.  It was hard to tell. Big ass glasses. Actually... big ass glasses are the first sign of a pedophile. But in this instance...Mad Max character. He looked like a Festus, although his name was Robert. Names were not changed to protect the guilty.

ME: What happened there?

ROBERT: [holding a piece of handlebar] Put the brakes on too hard.

ME: Hmm. Sure it wasn't because you were impaired?

ROBERT: What's impaired mean?

ME: Super. Why don't you talk to SAUSAGE here. I think he speaks your language.

SAUSAGE: Now. How much did you have to drink at the bar?

ROBERT: 4 beers.

SAUSAGE: How long ago was your last one?

ROBERT: I guzzled two about an hour ago.

So Sausage went through the routine questions. Then he went back because he forgot some questions...standard ones...or something.

SAUSAGE: How big were they?


SAUSAGE: The beers.

ME: Big enough to make him pee his pants. Or did the PoPo scare you?

ROBERT: I think I did that when I wrecked.

ME: Aha.

SAUSAGE: I didn't even notice. You did pee your pants.


SAUSAGE: All be darned. Is that uncomfortable?

ROBERT: A little wet.

SAUSAGE: How can you pee your pants? Don't you know when to go?

ROBERT: Yes. I was scared. Couldn't control it.

SAUSAGE: I don't understand. Couldn't you hold it?

ROBERT: I tried. It just came out.

SAUSAGE: How long was it before you realized you peed your pants?

ROBERT: I dunno.

SAUSAGE: Isn't that gross? I mean...especially when the temperature goes from warm to cold. And you peed a lot. Is it cold now?

ROBERT: Yup. It's a little cold and wet.

SAUSAGE: Did it go down to your boots? Because it looks like it did. There's a trail and all.

ROBERT: Maybe, not sure. Have to take my boots off and check.

SAUSAGE: Are you going to keep those boots after you peed in them?

ME: Oh for the love of Harriet. As interesting as this conversation is...I think I will interrupt.  Sausage, he's drunk. You lose control of those things when you're drunk. And then he wrecked. Whether or not Mr. Robert here peed before or after the wreck is irrelevant to our investigation. Robert, would you be willing to do field sobriety tests to see if you are safe to drive?

ROBERT: Hell no.

ME: Awesome. Turn around. You're under arrest.

And so I arrested him. Sausage stood there. With all his driving patterns and the observations I made and later had to articulate, this old salty dog was surely not going to let Mr. Pee Pee Pants go free. Sausage later asked me how I could have enough to arrest the man. [head hit dashboard] Apparently, we did not teach him enough to know to recognize what reasonable suspicion was for the stop and needed probable cause for an arrest.  Good question for Phase I. We are at the end of Phase III. Perhaps if the Captain wants to salvage him...he could be his assistant...make coffee for him and solve crime by binary code. I worry about the kid getting killed because he is just good and pure of heart.

ME: You know what, Sausage, it's too bad we didn't siphon that pee pee out of Robert's boots or squeeze it out of his pants and send it in for testing of his alcohol content. With a search warrant...we could go back and do that if you would like to.

SAUSAGE: Are you being sarcastic?