Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Glenn Beck's 8/28/2010 Restoring Honor Rally

WOW. Just ... wow!

I first watched an entire Glenn Beck episode in May of this year. What shocked me was just how uncrazy he seemed. He was the only outlet to report on the Israelis boarding the flotilla getting attacked by Islamists and activists.

Then, his response to Obama's crack, "the Police acted stupidly," was spot ON.

I'm going to have to pay close attention to Glenn. This 8/28 rally was really, really something special. I'm sure youtube will have Glenn's speech up. All the speeches were great though, Sarah Palin's (I'm not the biggest Palin fan), Albert Pujols and Alveda King were all amazing.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This job isn't that tough or This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things! Part 2

One thing I truly hate at work is being treated like an idiot.  A lot of coppers have college degrees, worked a number of years in the military doing sophisticated jobs and are quite adroit at policework.  However, once in a while (seemingly too often lately) someone fucks it up for everyone, and I have no choice but to say to myself, "This is why we can't have nice things."

In roll call this morning, the watch commander said, "Be sure if a sports team is close to winning a World Series or an NBA championship or anything, that you're prepared with your helmet and baton.  If they call you to form up downtown to quell a riot, you shouldn't have to go back to the station.  Don't be like two officers who not only had to come back to the station to get their gear - but went through the drive thru somewhere.  Not only that, but they then were in the break room munching down.  Who do you think walked by?  The Captain!  Yes, he did.  Not only did he rip those officers, but he lit into the watch commander.  And as they say, shit rolls down hill."

Ok, I'm thinking to myself, "This job is not tough.  It isn't the Marines where they give you some food, some ammo, tell you where to stand you're expected to do it until they have somewhere else to put you - if that's minutes, hours or days from now.  This is police work, it's really quite easy after you're properly trained."  What I said out loud in roll call was,

This is why we can't have nice things.

I got a lot of laughs - I said it as a joke, but it's true.  One idiot ruins it for everyone all to often on this job.

I mean if you like yourself and your supervisor, why would you put yourself and your watch commander through any of this?  Wait - even if you fucking hated your supervisor (and he you), why would you do something that would call attention to yourself in a negative light?  If you truly fucking hated your supervisor, being completely inept and lame would not help your working relationship.  By being incompetent, you have now given this hated superior the go ahead to make your life difficult.

Friday, June 4, 2010

National Donut Day

Since I can remember I have loved donuts. Homer Simpson's got nothing on me. That being said, today was National Donut Day. I have never, and will never be caught purchasing or consuming a donut in uniform though. Sorry - I won't be that copper, the one who proves the dumbass stereotype forever. With the internet, camera phones and twitpics - a pic of me stuffing my face with a donut would be everywhere faster than you could say Krispy Kreme! I forget to get a donut before work, so this left me with quite the dilemma. I had to find a place after work. Good luck when work ends at 9pm! I really wanted to get a "deluxe" donut, with chocolate chips on the inside, with chocolate frosting on the outside, topped with chocolate chips. My goodness, I'm salivating just typing that out.  In any event, I went to two places near work and all they were left with at 9:30 was the scraps for the day before they closed. Hope was not lost! The place near my house had a few chocolate raised, I purchased one. Before I did, I clearly said to the lady, "Did you know it's National Donut Day?"

She replied, "What?"  I repeated the above, and she replied shortly, "Yea - I knou dat." in a sharp, broken English (I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and say her first language was Cambodian - or Khmer to be precise). Some stereotypes survive for a reason. The rude foreign food server survives for a reason.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This is why we can't have nice things! (Part I)

At the beginning of the year I went to the pistol range to qualify with my duty pistol - something I've done since I was in the Police Academy with regularity.  This time it was different.  This time I had to present my police identification.  Then the range officer saw my ID, scanned it with an infrared scanner and told me which lane I would shoot from.  I knew exactly what this change meant.

It meant some fucking slapdick asswipe with no personal or professional integrity posed as his buddy and qualified for him.  Sometimes police officers are their own worst enemies.  Coppers get a ton of fringe benefits.  But being untrustworthy is precisely why we can't have nice things!

I'm just waiting for some slick defense attorney to bring this up during the next big trial.  Great defense attorneys are masters at planting doubt.  The next time a retired running back with bad knees stabs his ex-wife ... I can see it now, "Is it true you and your brother AND sister officers can't even be counted on to be truthful when qualifying at the pistol range!?  Is it not true you have to present your police ID because of integrity issues in the past?"  You don't think that'll plant some doubt?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A voicemail no parent wants to get

Good afternoon, sir.  This is Officer Twenty Two of the Big City Police Department.  This is regarding your (3 year old) daughter.  It's very important you call us back as soon as you get this.  I can be reached at 212.555.1212.

I left that message to some poor father's voicemail several days ago.  If I ever received that voice message I just might crap myself on the spot.

Something you ought to know; as far as the father I was attempting to contact knew, his daughter was safe and sound some ten miles away in a sleepy bedroom community, at day care.  Little did he know his precious little girl was accompanying one of the day care providers to their doctor's appointment in the Big City.

It started for me with a radio call of a "found juvenile" in our division.  A young lady was waiting for the bus at a bus stop when she saw a little girl crying and running around.  After taking five minutes to calm the little lost girl down she got her name and that was about it.  So the young lady called the police, we arrived and we were in the process of getting a child safety seat to safely take this little girl to the police station and put her in protective custody while we attempted to find any of her legal guardians.  To make a long story short, the head of her day care showed up after about ten minutes.  She had lost the little girl when she had to use the bathroom at her doctor (?).  So after speaking with the child's father and getting his permission, we released the little girl to her day care giver and went on our way.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

If you can't say anything nice, STFU!

Good grief, I'm sorry you saw that.  But it was necessary - without it, what I write below makes no sense. Alright, a little background here: a little birdie told me this character is a current police officer. I'll get right to the point, what you see above is an incredibly hacky, hard to sit through four minute comedy routine.  This cat's routine up until the :30 mark is strained and not really very good, but overall harmless.  He starts the video by making the point that he's a former Los Angeles Police Officer.  He makes some dumb, unoriginal, really and truly unfunny lines (my favorite was how he doesn't look good in a mustache.  HILARIOUS, he'll be on the Tonight Show within a month!) about why he didn't fit in as a Los Angeles Police Officer.  What really kills me is at the :30 mark he says - in the context of why being a police officer wasn't his style - "I like black people."  This line is completely offensive on two fronts: it isn't funny and it's completely disrespectful of fellow coppers by pandering to an unfair and vicious stereotype!

What.  The.  Fuck!?
Oh wait, I get it.  LAPD Officers are all racists!  Hah!  HAHAHAHA!  Five seconds later he makes some crack about black people having bad credit.  So I get it, he's lazy, unfunny and a total hack comic.

Way to throw more than 9,000 of your brother and sister officers right under the bus for a cheap laugh at some stupid fucking comedy club, asshole!  Seriously!?  This is what you say to an audience, then you videotape it and put it on Youtube for the world to see!?  You could make any number of original and funny observations about being a police officer in Los Angeles.  The entire world is dying to know just what it is like to police such a crazy place as LA.  People dream of what it must be like to fight crime in one of the most unique and diverse cities on the planet.  Many former LAPD officers have lead productive lives as writers and actors drawing on their rich experiences from behind the thin blue line.  There are only a select few people who can say they have been LAPD Officers for at least seven years - and your pearl of wisdom, your awesomely original take on being a big city cop is this!?

This video was posted three years ago.  In that time, I know of six LAPD officers who have died in the line of duty, and a little over a dozen who have gotten seriously hurt.  Of the ones who are no longer with us, one was White, one Asian, three Chicano and one Black.  These six and the countless thousands who serve the City of Los Angeles and have served it are all sickened by this clown.

Joe Rogan, who has never worn a badge once included a line in a joke about how, "cops are all 'roided out" and frequently beat the shit out of "kids" due to 'roid rage at one of his shows at the Comedy Store in Hollywood.  Afterwards, a young police officer sought him out after the show and said to Joe:

"Thanks so much.  I needed this a lot.  I work for LAPD, and we lost one last week, and buried him a day ago.  He was working Newton Division in South LA, and he got shot.  I really, really needed to laugh and you killed me."

The entire time, Joe cringed.  Joe's reply was, "Oh no man ... Ahhhh... I am so sorry for you, man ... "  Joe Rogan truly felt bad upon hearing this.  Joe Rogan.  Joe Rogan, the goofy, marijuana obsessed host of a completely absurd game show, Fear Factor, felt bad about telling a joke at the police's expense.

Way to go pal.  You officially have poorer judgement and scruples than a goofball pothead.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There is nothing like a fine looking woman

The hot August night wasn't just hot, but unusually balmy.  After loading up our black and white for the night, I asked my partner one of the most important questions to start a night, "Are you hungry?"

"I'm starving."  Thank goodness.  It's never good when I'm hungry and my partner who is driving isn't and won't stop to eat.  It makes for a long and cranky watch.  We decided to go to one of the better burger places in the division.  It's drive thru configuration looked like this,

with one lane close to the street and the other closer to the main building.  We then sat in the streetside lane, in line awaiting our delicious burgers to start morning watch.  About a minute goes by and we see one of the many transsexual prostitutes in the precinct walking north up the street.  My partner's driving tonight, he turns away from the dragon and looks at me and says, "Oh, man . . . "  I just shake my head and chuckle.  Within about five seconds I get that eerie someone is staring at me vibe and I turn to my right and I see a young Armenian kid in the other drive thru lane, in the driver's seat of a white van.  He's leering that really dopey Oh man I totally see a fine looking chick leer.  I'm perfectly content to leave him with his illusion.  But then he had to say, "Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice."

I didn't exaggerate that.  He drew out the word nice to last at least three full seconds.  Go try that and time it yourself.  Pretty douche-tastic, no?  Well my partner and I answered in unison,

"For a dude!"

The kid's face instantly went from a healthy olive tone to a sickly grey upon realizing he was vividly picturing doing X-rated things to what turned out to be a goon.  In the span of a heartbeat his expression went from happy horn dog to emotionally scarred for life.  The best reply he could muster was a weak chuckle and, "Naw, man ... no ... " that trailed off into the night.  What immediately followed was his van full of his buddies loudly laughing at their friend's hubris.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just what kind of organization is this?

This is a little story told to me by a now retired Watch Commander. This Sergeant had almost forty years on the job. There is precious little he hasn't seen or heard of. I'm going to attempt to re-tell it in his voice. He's originally French Canadian, from Montreal and he's now in his sixties.

My first year on the job, I was on probation south of downtown. The Special Investigations Unit had just gotten into a shooting. This unit follows violent, recidivist criminals and attempts to apprehend them when they commit a violent crime. Shootings are understandably quite common for this unit.

I'm about two or three months out of the academy. My training officer and I arrive and the suspect SIU has just shot is lying in a pool of his own blood that is gathering by his head. I look closer and he's been shot in the face, and one of his eyeballs is almost out of his skull and keeps blinking and looking around. I then see this plainclothes detective walk over to the suspect. This particular detective had been a policeman since the late 1940's, "when men were made of steel and ships were made of wood." This detective removed his badge and put it on the sidewalk right in front of the suspect's eye. The detective then said,

"Get a good look, you bastard.This'll be the last thing you see before you go to hell!"

It was at this time I began wondering long and hard just what the hell kind of organization I got myself involved with.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Call me garbage man

2245 hrs
Tonight's partner is worthless. He's about 5'4", 140 pounds (if that), has no ability to physically overpower (let alone control) anyone, has never seen the inside of a wrestling gym, dojo or anything, practices horribly unsafe police tactics and has negative people skills. He has the annoying habit of baiting people and not being able to back it up. Imagine if a diminutive police officer was chipping away at you for no really good reason besides he had a baged and you didn't. It just may drive you to say or do something to him. One other thing, should you - God forbid - ever try and point something out to him he is incapable of seeing he was wrong. He has a ton of horrible personality traits and I just hope he doesn't get me or anyone else hurt tonight.

We were on our way to some bullshit, “390 man in a vehicle. Meet the Fire Department. 2 Male Hispanics. No Further,” radio call. 390 is the communications code for drunk in public. It wasn't coded, which meant there's no immediacy in responding. As usual Mid Watch was nowhere to be found. God forbid they handle calls after we come down from roll call. My watch had just started an hour ago and I had just finished eating. Good, I'll have plenty of time to finish my brownie. I hope it won't be the only perk of the night.

2250 hrs
The Radio Teletype Operator comes back over the air, “1A12, your 390 Man in a Vehicle is now a Fire Department requesting a Backup. Suspect becoming combative with FD. Respond Code 2.” Fuck! The Fire Department is incapable of just asking for us to show. In Police terms, if you request a Backup that means you need additional officers really fucking soon. Not so with the Fire Department. In this case it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that they really need us quickly. The RTO just told us in cop lingo that a “drunk man in a vehicle is becoming combative with the fire department.” The Fire Department has no Use of Force policy, so if anything gets the least bit hairy they call us in. We go from “We'll get there when we get there,” speed to “Hurry the fuck up!” We quickly get into our black and white and my partner drives FIVE MILES BELOW THE SPEED LIMIT (did I mention he's Asian?) to this priority call. After about a minute en route, I get a crazy urge. I stuff my brownie in my face, turn to my partner and let out a little grunt. “A fucking brownie smile? Christ I can't remember the last time I got a brownie smile,” my partner says half incredulously, half laughing. This call came out in the northwest corner of the division. Where were we? In the southeast corner of a 25 square mile division, of course. Where was the unit whose responsibility this part of the division was? Who cares, it's best not to obsess about that shit. If you start asking why people don't handle shit in their area, you just become more and more pissed. Most of the time, it's not that unit's fault; the city not hiring enough, the city deploying too many to work inside jobs, the city responding to every stupid fucking family dispute when we could be out looking for robbers, rapists and other violent felons. But I digress...

2300 hrs
So after our seemingly endless commute we're treated to the following scene: A silver El Camino is parked in a gas station parking lot. A fire engine and two ambulances flank the Chevy. Two units have already arrived before us (Gee, small wonder seeing how fucking long it took.) There's a 17 yr old male Hispanic hunched over the rear looking inches from death. I later learned he had alcohol poisoning and required medical treatment. We then see another 30 something male Hispanic handcuffed and being searched and groaning that drunken groan. I decide his name is now Boracho (Spanish slang for drunk). We ask him numerous times what his name is. He responds with, “Fuh yew! Ughhhh...” He isn't saying if he drove and no witnesses can put him behind the wheel. In fact the other male Hispanic's 17 yr old girlfriend is saying she drove the last few blocks. As one of the units is searching the car, we come across an 8 ball of coke on the front passenger seat. Boracho was found in the front passenger seat by FD when they first rolled up. They tried to help him and he “attacked” them. By attacked I mean groaned, took two steps and then fell on his face. “Suspect becoming combative with Fire Department” my ass!

I begin questioning the only member of the party who isn't raging drunk, the juvenile's juvenile girlfriend. After getting the story I explain that some guy who gets this trashed and drives 40 miles from home for no reason isn't going to make the best husband/ baby daddy whatever. The gas station owner takes it from there and starts saying how she needs to "dump this dumbass." She begins crying uncontrollably. I later learned she followed her true love to the hospital and professed her undying love for him as he got his alcohol poisoning treatment. Love truly conquers all.

We were going to transport Boracho via police car. I canceled that shit as soon as I saw the two officers dragging him to my car. If this idiot can't walk, there's no way they can book him at the jail. If he can't be booked he may be in such a state that he might fucking die in my police car as I'm taking him. I smell the booze on him, he's under arrest for cocaine possession ... words like Neglect of Duty and familiarizing myself with the unemployment office start to crowd my mind as I consider taking him in my police car. Fuck this, he's going by way of ambulance to the hospital first.

2330 hrs
So one unit goes with the juvenile and we go with Boracho. He's in our custody for felony cocaine possession. The fucking cuffs are staying on even laying down on a gurney. Just a night earlier a different unit on a different watch (what are the chances a Mid Watch unit goofs up!?) was okey doked into being lax and a Suspect escaped while at the hospital. I don't give a good fuck what a doctor tells me, no suspect is getting away from me. Again.

(A few months ago another partner and I had an HIV positive burglary arrestee we were transporting from the hospital to jail. He kept bitching about how hot he was, so I opened the window so it was about 6” - 8” open feeling sorry for the poor, sick bastard. Our arrestee was about 5'6”, 135. All of a sudden I heard a thumping behind me and as I look in the rear view I catch my arrestee doing a dive out of the open window. I was in too much shock to do the rational thing and SLAM ON THE FUCKING BRAKES thus using Officer Momentum to slam him against the cage and thwart his escape attempt.)

Next day, 0030 hrs
Our Suspect is in “hard restraints” and is hooked up to an assortment of tubes. The nurse inserts the foley catheter and there is NO response from our Suspect. Christ, he must be dead! I look at his vitals, see his pulse at about 110 and I am proven wrong.

0045 hrs
The RN informs us the urine test shows Boracho's BAC is .40. Death normally occurs in the .35 range.

0200 hrs
The super speedy HMO staff decide it's time for a CAT scan. I inform them he wasn't involved in a Traffic Collision, wasn't battered and he's in our custody. The RN tech ignores me and begins wheeling him to the CAT scan room. The hospital staff undoes one of his arm restraints.

I knew what was going to happen, it isn't a psychic ability, it's just experience and common sense. It's like when you're wide receiver, you've just caught the ball and you're running full speed. Out of the corner of your eye you see the strong safety half a step away moving at top speed and you know it's gonna hurt. If you've ever spent any time around any drunks in custody you know what's coming next. Boracho sits up and attempts to get out of the gurney he's still restrained to in three places. He flips himself out so that his body is now on the ground and both legs and his left arm are up on the gurney. This doesn't agree with his equilibrium and he begins projectile vomiting everywhere. On himself, the hospital security guard (hey, these idiots made this bed, I fucking told them not to do this. They can reap what they sow.) and the door to the CAT scan room. The RN tech looks at me pissed and says, “Screw this! I'm not going to do this!” Oh really? Maybe next time you'll listen to the blue suiter, eh?

0230 hrs
Only someone like me who deals with transients and raving drunks for a living would know this, but when the BAC regularly goes above .20 you can smell the person sweating out a nasty, oxidized alcohol. Boracho must have been doing nothing but cheap tequila because the stench was especially pungent.

0235 hrs
Boracho has just shit himself. Nice. Vomit, booze sweat and shit by themselves are fucking nasty. Together they're nuclear grade. The staff cleans him off, changes his sheets and puts his soiled linen into a soiled linen container... located right outside the room where I'm waiting. Dear GOD why couldn't I have been good at math and been a fucking computer programmer or engineer? No, I had to love mystery novels, mystery shows, action movies, martial arts, driving fast and carrying a gun.

0240 hrs
Boracho has now somehow removed his gown. As long as I'm already looking at naked people, why can't I get the “illegal filming” calls in the San Fernando Valley – where 90% of the filming is X rated?

0400 hrs
Hospital janitor finally takes the soiled linen away. At this point I could care less it almost took him 90 minutes to do this and thank him profusely for his service. An RN checks on Boracho and realizes he doesn't have an IV hooked up. Holy happy horse shit, I'm no doctor but one of the big symptoms you're combating with alcohol poisoning is dehydration. Way to go HMO hospital staff! Christ I hope if I ever need a hospital visit I don't fucking go here. Boracho is finally talking and has no idea why he's in the hospital. After calmly explaining it to him four times I then ignore him the rest of the night.

0645 hrs
The hospital finally clears Boracho to book. We take him to jail.

0715 hrs
My partner is Asian, and true to stereotype drives like a complete lunatic. We drove 5 miles per hour under the speed limit to get to this priority call and now ... 70 mph on city streets in broad daylight with an arrestee in custody! You asshole ...

0900 hrs
... he's finally booked, we complete the arrest report paperwork, have some overtime and then partake in the best perk there is, to safely go home.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

FAQ, Part 3

What is your most frequent call? What is the worst kind of call?

The most frequent calls I've handled are civil disputes. Family (normally between parents and their precious little snowflake), neighbor, business and domestic (everything from dating to married couples to ex-couples) are some types that come to mind. They can be clear or they can be mind-numbingly pointless.

The worst kind of call is a bad domestic violence call. I'm not talking about the boyfriend who puts his girlfriend in the hospital, we arrest him and she shows up in court to testify against him and she lives happily ever after.  If domestic violence calls played out like this even 51% of the time, no copper would have problems handling these calls.  I'm talking about where the victim doesn't even call you, a neighbor or someone else not even involved calls the police. Once you show up you witness righteous domestic violence where one spouse has inflicted visible injuries upon the other - and the victim is uncooperative. These are so bad because you have to arrest the batterer, and when the victim is uncooperative, RARELY will this case go to trial. You're in a sense doing something that is completely pointless.

Are you proud of any particular thing you have done?
I'm most proud of putting bad guys in jail. There is nothing better as a police officer than conducting an investigation, gathering your evidence and then making an arrest and seeing it through to trial. I write traffic citations because I'm told to and studies show that issuing tickets to people who commit moving violations make for safer drivers. But what I really love doing is good old fashioned cops n' robbers, chasing bad guys and putting them in jail.

How many donuts do you eat a week?
Ha ha. I really love donuts.  I can say I've never been seen buying or eating one in uniform.  A few years ago I ate so many that I almost became a donut, so I had to stop eating poorly. I haven't had a donut since June 2009.

Do you ever feel bad for someone that you had to take action against?
This doesn't happen too often, most people through the choices they make choose to break the law and thus suffer the consequences. In these cases, it personally isn't up to me or any police officer of whether or not they get arrested, the fact they broke the law puts them in jail. In cases of possible domestic violence, if one of the parties presents with injuries that are consistent with domestic violence, you have to take the other person to jail. Even if your instincts tell you that the injury was not caused by domestic violence, if you have no exculpatory evidence you must make an arrest for felony domestic violence. I'll cover this more in an upcoming post.

What makes you let someone off, as opposed to busting them or giving out that ticket?
If I pulled someone over for a moderate traffic violation like going 5 or 10 mph over the speed limit, and they full on copped to it, said they were sorry and gave me a reasonable alibi then I would be inclined to let them off with a stern warning. However, lots of officers are all too eager to cite you once you admitted to breaking any traffic law. Time is a factor. If I'm on my way to the station to go home and I pull you over I basically did that to save face. It looks bad if I just ignore someone who committed obvious traffic violation in front of a lot of witnesses.

How do you feel about cop haters? Do you take it personally?
Most people who hate the police are either entitled people who weren't able to get their way at one time with the police or someone who was arrested. When I say entitled people I'm specifically thinking about a celebrity or sports figure who wants something like the paparazzi arrested when they haven't actually broken a law - then turns around and gets pissed at the police when they can't act as their muscle and do what they say. These people have a hard time realizing your job is to enforce the law, not act as their employee. If someone hates the police because they've been arrested then that is on them. I'd be an idiot to tell you that people never have a good reason for hating police. Some people have had bad experiences with badge heavy officers who are bullies. I don't take it personally. Ever. If I did I wouldn't have made it six months out of the academy. All any officer can do is the best job he knows how.

Do cop haters ever change their mind after they get to know you?
I'm not really sure. Not everyone wears their disdain for you on their sleeve. I just try and do the best job I can, whether it's working the desk and answering the phone, normal patrol duties or making a death notification. If I do my best job as an officer, I contribute to that badge on my chest shining just a little brighter. The best evidence I have is that I get lots more "citizen commendations" than I do personnel complaints.

Describe the ideal perfect day on the job, and also the worst kind of day ...
The most perfect day on the job would be to make an arrest based on intelligence and evidence you've gathered right at the start of watch, break that arrestee down for more intelligence on other, bigger crimes and have something of substance to work on for the next few days you work, then to go home safely with all your tools and all your body parts where they're supposed to be.

Any day you get hurt obviously is a really bad day. Next in line would be a day with any kind of administrative discipline. Nothing ruins a whole month faster than finding out you may be facing a penalty of taking days off without pay. You can recover quickly from the dumbest day, dealing with the dumbest people and usually an injury if it isn't too serious. But the bad taste from facing the discipline process lasts a long, long time.

Do thugs usually change their tune when you come around, or do they still try act macho and give you a hard time?
Most do. Most thugs are cowards deep down. Most have a size or strength advantage over everyone in their neighborhood. If you show you mean business and act boldly and without hesitation you can do a lot to neutralize a suspect's bluster.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

FAQ, Part 2

How do you feel about society in general after being a police officer for so long, especially compared to your opinion before you were scraping drunks off sidewalks on a regular basis?
Excellent question. I get to see humanity with the lid off. I see everyone at their worst; when they're a victim of a crime, when they've been in a bad accident, had an overdose or committed a deplorable crime. For a lot of people, I see them on the worst day of their life. You can get really jaded. You really can't take the job home with you and apply your on duty contacts to your everyday life too closely. You have to be smart and realize that all of the people at your ten to fifteen radio calls are not indicative of society in general. Of all the people who live in a given city, a very small percentage call for police service and en even smaller percentage commit crimes.  That being said, there's a decided lack of basic civility in the city I practice law enforcement. I have lived in the city I police in.  It is not fun running into people on a day off after I've already dealt with them on duty.  It doesn't matter whether it was something frivolous like a family dispute or I ended up taking them to jail, it's never very good.  I hate driving in my Personally Operated Vehicle (POV, my car that isn't my black and white city vehicle).  When I'm not in my black and white and I have to drive through my city, lots of people cut me off in traffic, box me in while in traffic and generally drive like raging assholes.  Outside of traffic the lovely denizens of the city I work are all too eager to cut in lines at the supermarket and seemingly never ever smile or say "Good Morning".

How does being a police officer affect your family life? Your social life?
Positively it pays pretty well, it's a profession I can be proud of and it sets a good example for my son and any brothers and sisters he may have in the future. I really like doing it, so it's something I enjoy doing when I'm away from my family. Parts of the job are a LOT of fun, too. I mean, being allowed to drive fast and carry a gun is awesome!

Negatively, it requires shift work which can just ruin your health. Take your pick from bad diet, poor sleep and not getting enough exercise. The most recent study I came across said prolonged working of overnight shifts can take about four years off of your life. Those things I just named also contribute greatly to moodiness, which all spouses love to put up with. Knowing all this, I've recently switched to a shift (or watch as we call them) with more normal hours, am watching my diet much closer and am exercising. My being a police officer almost cost me ever getting a second date with my current wife. But that's a story for another time.

The darkest part is the mortality of the job. You have the same odds of dying in a traffic collision that you do as dying by a criminal's hand. You have twice the odds of dying by your own hand than you do by a criminal's. Obviously, I'll cover these at a later date, in fuller detail.

How does the general public treat you?
How I'm treated really depends on what neighborhood I work. Most affluent neighborhoods just love the police to pieces. I mean, as you're driving on patrol they'll pull up next to you and enthusiastically say things like, "Thank you for all you do!" Which is a bit odd. I mean, you are welcome and all . . . but some days I do the bare minimum. I work about 195 days a year, I'm not at my tip top all of those days. Other affluent neighborhoods are very Leftist and hate your ass. These self-important douches view the police as "The Man" that is "keeping everyone down" and a direct tool of "imperialist repression".  Or something.  I mean I know directly of coppers doing their job, they righteously detain someone whom they believe is involved in illegal activity.  From the neighborhood they get heckled, "You're racist!" or "Leave that homeless person alone!" Never mind the fact the person they've detained stole a car or had outstanding warrants.  The ghetto generally hates us.  Unlike the affluent Leftist enclaves, there is a Machiavellian fear that keeps most people in line in the ghetto.  There is a silent majority who do appreciate the job we do in the most impoverished areas of the city, but to avoid trouble they don't speak out. These are broad generalities and I have not worked all parts of the city equally and I don't pretend to be a master sociologist where my jurisdiction's concerned.

How does the general public react to you in uniform versus not in your uniform?
I've never worked a plainclothes assignment, so I can't truly answer this too well. I have however worked in unmarked police cars. That is fun. I've been in full uniform and seen something suspicious I would have never been able to see if I were in a black and white.  Policing in an unmarked police car really allows you to get right on top of suspects before they notice you.

If you're simply talking about on duty in uniform versus off duty out of uniform it's vastly different. When I drive my black and white, most people drive a few miles below the speed limit, let me into their lane when I have to change lanes, etc. When I'm in my POV it's obviously the same as it is for all of you - Mad Max, survival of the most cunning.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

FAQ, Part 1

This is a brand new blog. Obviously no one has yet read this and posed any questions yet. I'll use this space to post answers to FAQ's I've been asked about being a police officer in a big metropolitan department and anything else law enforcement related.

How do I really know you're a cop?
You don't.
I choose anonymity because this is my outlet to the world and I want a place where I can be honest.  If a copper talks honestly about what he feels about his job, his co-workers, his superiors and the citizens he comes into contact with he will not be a police officer for very long.  If I have to spell this out any more for you, then stop reading this and go watch "The Hills" and leave me alone.  I hope through my stories you'll be able to see the amount of detail I provide and that will prove believable enough.

How many times have you shot someone?
I haven't. My few friends who have shot someone don't ever bring it up. If you ask them, they'll talk about their shootings. It isn't really something that is a source of pride to most officers. No one comes on the job specificially to blow someone out of their socks. I came on the job to put bad guys in jail, drive fast and carry a gun.

Are you ever scared? What scares you if anything?
Of course I've been scared in the past and will be in the future. I'm a college graduate, the last time my IQ was measured it was 130. I'm a sharp guy and lots of these situations are scary. Any copper who doesn't admit to being scared on the job at one time is lying. It's alright to have fear, you must use that fear to get yourself to keep moving, to keep doing the next thing you need to do to win the situation. There are plenty of living police officers that were afraid in certain situations. It's when a copper freezes up when he's in the most danger. The usual things scare me. Bad guys with big guns frighten me, that sort of thing. However, I've been in some hairy situations and I've never froze. It isn't being afraid, it's being paralyzed that is a problem if you're an officer.

What the heck is with this color scheme? Are you some kind of goofy Emo police officer?
No, I can assure you I'm no Emo crybaby. As for why I chose the dark background, I'm going to paraphrase Maddox: A dark background is easier on the eyes than staring at a white screen. Your monitor is not a piece of paper. Staring at a white background while you read is like staring at a light bulb. Staring at light bulbs is not good for your vision.

How many times do you point guns at someone?
I'm from a big metropolitan department. We do this quite often. We come across a lot of violent people who commit violent crimes.

What about tasers? Have you ever tased anyone?

I've never tased anyone. I have threatened a few people with tasing though. I've been lucky to have the threat work. I'll cover the fact that I've been tased in a later story. Briefly, in the police academy, towards the end, part of the "training" is to withstand up to five seconds of tasing. The rationale is that as a police officer, you can't be expected understand how effective the tasing will be, and whether it's lethal unless you yourself get tased. I personally found this bullshit. I mean, no copper has to get whacked with a metal baton OR SHOT WITH A GUN to be able to know that both baton strikes and gunshots will hurt quite a lot.