Saturday, February 28, 2009

Twice in minutes

Ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go right? I had a second hand experience of this through one of the many "friends" I made last Friday.

I see this car drive by from my perch. I noticed the driver was talking on her cellular phone as she stops her car at a red light. Not a big violation, but a violation none the less. I pulled onto the roadway behind her as she continued to talk on her phone. She had been talking on it the entire time the light was red.

As the traffic light went to green, I saw her look at her interior rear view mirror as she literally tossed the phone down like it was a hot potato. I swear some of the way these drivers ditch their phones, I'm waiting for one to come out of an open car door window.

When she begins to drive through the intersection, I light her up (turned on my emergency lights) and she pulls into the parking lot of a local restaurant. I walk up to the driver door where she is now sobbing and says "Are you going to give me another ticket?"

I looked at the driver looking for that mental replay of the last time I gave her a ticket, but didn't find anything. So I asked her if I had ticketed her before. She looked up at me and said "I don't know, didn't you just give me this one?" She produced a copy of a ticket she had just been issued by a friend and motor cop who works for the agency just next door.

The ticket was for speeding. She had been traveling 58 mph in a posted 40 mph roadway. I looked at the time of the speeding ticket and saw 10:49 am written in the box. My time of stop for the same vehicle was 10:55 am.

She told me she was on her cellular phone telling her dad she had just gotten a ticket for speeding. I don't know if she was able to tell dad about her impending cell phone ticket.

So I walk back to my motor to write her a ticket. I tell dispatch that I'm "Code 4" meaning I'm a-okay. The dispatcher asked me if I needed a 10-29 (wants / warrants, driver license check) on the driver. I replied, "I think she's 10-26 (clear of warrants and valid driver license). 4Mary1 just cited her for speed 6 minutes ago."

Needless to say the driver was not happy about the cell phone ticket, and I learned that she was a waitress at the restaurant we had stopped at.

Looks like I won't be eating there in uniform.

Does time really heal the pain?

Last night I sat in my recliner, remote in hand (yeah the typical guy thing) watching the tube. The news was on, nothing happy to report as usual.

A story came on about a 5 year old boy walking with a group of other kids to an after school care facility close by the elementary school he attended and how he was tragically killed by a passing motorist.

This story instantly brought back the memories of a fatal collision I investigated between a vehicle and a child on a bicycle. I will never ever, ever be able to forget that day. I've seen plenty of dead bodies and SIDS babies, but had been fortunate enough to not have to witness a child's body until that tragic day.

The Fire Guys were all around him doing their best for this child. To see a small child laying in the street next to a mangled bicycle, that vision has forever been burned into my mind.

I'll never forget the paramedic who turned to me with tears in his eyes as he looked at me and slowly shook his head no. That child I saw laying in the street that day was about the same age of my son, same color hair, same skin complexion. And that is who I saw laying on the asphalt, my son.

My motor partner whom I've worked besides for many, many years walked over to me and said "Do you want me to take this?" meaning the investigation. I think he sensed what I was feeling.

Needless to say, I had a job to do. There were many witnesses, most of them parents which needed to be interviewed. I was able to take their statements through their tears all the while trying my best to keep my tears from falling.

Of course the media, with their news vans and helicopters were there soon after interviewing neighbors to give them their 15 seconds of fame talking about the speeding problem they have on this street.

We were on scene well after midnight. One of South City's traffic and engineering persons came out to the seen. She had been crying, that was evident by her red eyes. She's a mom and lives locally, she's also involved in making South City's streets safer. She came out to the scene as we were wrapping up our equipment. She wanted to know if there were any traffic measures that could have been taken to avert this tragedy. Nope, she has and does her job well.

So after getting out of uniform and finally leaving for home, I sat in my car in the parking lot. Nobody was around now, so I sat there and the tears flowed, the ones that I had to fight back while interviewing "mothers" and "fathers" who unfortunately witnessed this tragedy.

The next day I went to the child's house and knocked on the door. There before me stood a man with a broken heart. I was there to return some personal belongings of his child. What can ever be said to ease his and his family's pain by me, an outsider? I offered my sincere condolences as I handed over a Pokemon key chain.

Dad began to cry, and I'll never forget his words.... "My son was my life, now my life is over....." I had tears rolling down my face as I gently handed over a small bag of his son's other personal items.

This was the first time ever in my many, many years on the "job" that I actually thought about leaving.

So while the news story ran about the 5 year old boy, I unexpectedly felt tears rolling down my face and cried. I thought I was pretty much over my experience. Even though, when I ride by that location where he died, I remember that day.... always.

Even as I typed this story, the tears came out. I guess that is a good sign, that after all of these years dealing with some of the scum of society, murders, suicides, etc., and how all of this "hardens" us, that I haven't lost all of my compassion or empathy.

I write tickets with a determination in my mind that I'm going to avoid another tragic day like that. It pisses a lot of motorists off. But I feel I'm doing my "thing" to help me to continue dealing with my feelings about this experience.

So the next time I or any other officer walks up to your driver door and tells you that you're getting a ticket for whatever violation, understand that we do what we do to keep you and others safe so we won't have to go to your home and tell a loved one that you're never coming home again...

We don't call them "accident reduction cites" for nothing.

To the Fire Guys who were there, thanks. I know you guys did your best to save that child and we all walked away from that intersection feeling pretty crappy.

To all of my brother officers and those who responded from our neighboring city, thank you for your help at what started out as an emotional and chaotic scene.

And to the officer or officers who have to investigate that poor little boys death, I feel for you. I know what you feel, what your going through and what you'll continue to go through.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You aught to know better!

I was parked at one of my fishing holes where I specifically target drivers without seat belts and or talking on their cellular telephones. I watched this car drive by and could see a female seated in the right rear passenger seat with her back up against the door window and not wearing a seatbelt.

I pull onto the roadway and jumped on the throttle, nothing sounds like a Harley haulin' ass. I stopped behind the car which was stopped in traffic. I saw the female place her back against the rear seat back. To my surprise I watched her lift an infant from her lap and place it in a child restraint safety chair.

I'm thinking, wow the infant not in a safety seat... that's a pretty hefty fine." I stopped the car and spoke to the driver and his wife who was the rear passenger.

The wife told me that her child was being fussy so she removed him from the safety seat and tried to calm him down. She then proceeded to tell me that she is a registered nurse at our local hospital. I guess she thought "this is my get out of jail free card".

The nurse also started name dropping, "Do you know Officer so and so? or how about Officer such and so forth?" My reply, "Never heard of them."

Me: "Ma'am I'll be writing a ticket for the seat belt violation and the infant not in a child safety seat."

RN: "Are you serious, you're going to give me a ticket?, what about showing some professional courtesy?"

Me: "I sure am and as far as professional courtesy goes, you of all people should know better about seat belts saving lives."

Well the RN was obviously not happy about getting a ticket as her husband began to chime in about giving them a break. I replied to him that since he was the driver of the vehicle, he had the responsibility to make sure all of the car's occupants were fastened in.

I asked hubby and wife how'd they feel if some head up ass driver had smashed into their car causing baby to become a projectile within their car. I know if I had caused serious injury or death to someone I dearly love, I would never be able to look myself in the eye, nor would I ever be able to forgive myself.

Hopefully a lesson was learned without having to experience the trauma of losing a child.

Just because you work in the medical profession doesn't automatically get you out of a ticket. If you won't think about the safety of your child, then I will with a nice reminder of one of the three copies you pressed hard on to be your personal invitation to our local court.

And to the RN. If your reading this, schedule your traffic court trial on a Wednesday or Thursday. I love the overtime.

The bigger picture

The other day I was parked on the sidewalk of a road as cars rounded the corner headed towards a shopping center. I was parked at the location monitoring traffic for seat belt and cell phone violations.

Lo and behold I see this pickup truck round the corner and the driver is talking on his cellular telephone. I rode down the sidewalk, turned on my emergency lights to make a U-turn to catch up to the felonious cell phone violator. We ended up stopping in the parking lot of a bank.

I walked up to the driver and had my typical conversation with him. I asked him if he knew why I had stopped him. He replied honestly (something not seen too often) "Because I was talking on my cell phone."

While he looked for his vehicle registration and a current insurance card, I looked at his driver license and saw that he had a commercial driver license. Had I stopped him for a moving violation such as speeding, running a red light, etc., because of his commercial license he would be ineligible for traffic school to keep the violation and point off of his driving record.

I explained to the driver that a cell phone violation would not affect his driver license, however it would show up on his driving record for tracking purposes like they do with the seat belt violations.

He told me that he had been out of work for about 3 months and had just applied for a truck driver job with a local company and was afraid that a cell phone violation showing up on his driving record may have an adverse affect on his chances of getting hired by the company.

The dispatcher on my channel told me that the truck registration was expired a couple of months. The driver told me it was a choice of putting food on the table for his children or paying his truck registration.

He was not able to find a current insurance card as I told him that unfortunately I would be issuing a ticket. I told him as I walked away from his door that I'd be just a few minutes. I heard him ask as I walked away, "Can't you please give me a break?"

I have a habit of writing my tickets and notes on the back of the ticket looking up once I begin writing in the box. I could see the driver through his driver door exterior mirror place his dejected head on his steering wheel.

I remembered the time I was in between jobs (Military to Civilian) and was raising my at the time 4 year old son. Financially things were tough so I really knew what this driver was feeling and asking.

I decided not to ticket him for the cell phone violation, but did ticket him for the expired registration, and for not having a current insurance card.

I walked back up to the driver's door where I explained to the driver that the registration was a "fix it" ticket and the insurance violation would be made a "fix it" item once he showed his current insurance card to the court. I wrote on the bottom of the violation section of the ticket "Warned CVC 23123(a) - Cell Phone"

The driver began crying as I stood by his driver door and handed him his copy of the ticket. He told me he was embarrassed as the tears flowed down his cheeks. I told him, "You know what that makes you don't you? It makes you human."

I sincerely wished him good luck on the recent job he had applied for as he shook my hand before I walked back to my motor.

There may be some of you out there thinking if I truly had a heart I would have just let him go. Well I like to think of "fix it" tickets as my way of motivating the driver to get those items corrected.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quiet reflection on the water

There are many professions which have high stress levels, law enforcement being one of them. One of my past times to relax and get things back into perspective (not that riding a motorcycle all day is stressful) is sea kayaking. I'm fortunate enough to live close to the water.

So today I decided to complete one of my new years resolutions by sea kayaking in the rain. I launched at a local cove and noticed that there was nothing really separating the gray waters and the gray skies. While I paddled away from the shore, the surface of the water was smooth with little or no wind present.

I paddled to a local beach about 2 miles away, beached the boat and sat on a wooden table as I looked out toward the water. The only boats I saw on the water other than mine was a tug boat headed outbound. After a quick break, I launched back into the gray waters.

The tide was heading out so after paddling out away from the shore, I stopped paddling and drifted with the tide. It had been raining lightly the entire time I had been out on the water.

As I drifted with the out going tide, I laid my paddle across the cockpit of my kayak and watched the numerous water fowl paddling along and occasionally diving beneath the waters surface. When you get far enough from the shore, the silence is deafening. The only audible sounds were the occasional cry of sea gulls and the pattering of rain on the deck of my kayak, my paddling jacket and the waters surface.

I watched the ringlets of ripples caused by the countless rain drops which had fallen from the sky. As some of the rain drops landed on the water, I noticed these small pearl spheres dancing on the water's surface just before being absorbed into that dark mass of liquid.

I don't know what causes that, maybe because the brackish water is heavier than fresh water and momentarily allows what used to be a rain drop to float along the surface before disappearing.

While drifting with the tide I looked around me. The hillsides are once again green, greatly contrasting my gray surroundings and even on a gray, rainy day there are wonderful things to see if you open your eyes.

I thought to myself, despite the crap that people in our profession experience, and deal with, life is what you make of it. Even in these difficult times all is not doom and gloom. I'm a firm believer in destiny or however you want to word it. I've always believed that events in our lives happen for a reason. While we may not understand why these events happen at the time, the answer eventually finds us.

Live for today, right!? Unfortunately most of us don't. We "bank" on our tomorrows, counting on them and us being there to use them. Life can be cruel as that "bank" of tomorrows can quickly be taken away.... then what? It's over, no more, nada, zilch, zip and then we're tits up in a casket, pushing up daisies.

Do we go to heaven, hell, purgatory, or the eternal gardens filled with maidens or what ever your faith tells you? I don't know. But what's wrong with happiness while you're alive?

I have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully he beat it. He sure has a different perspective on life because his bank of tomorrows was something he thought he wouldn't be able to cash in on. Everyday spent with his family is truly a gift.

You hear the good old sayings, live for today, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade, live like there's no tomorrow and many more.

When events present themselves, you have now come to a fork in the roadway, decision time, what to do...... do I take the left fork or the right fork? We all run into these forks in our roads as life's road is not straight.

As a child, my grandmother told me one of life's secrets, it may be one that you can use when you come to these forks in our roadway of life. She told me, "Let your heart be your compass, it will never take you down the wrong road." And being middle aged, my "cup" of life is probably more empty than full.

I followed my Grandmother's saying through my life. I left a great, promising career in the military... for what? To enjoy the best job in the world and one of the greatest gifts in life. That is being a Dad and raising my son. I didn't want to watch my son grow up through pictures, the missed birthdays, Christmas', little league games, everything that Dads want to be there for.

I've never regretted my decision. I followed my heart's compass to my profession and I am thankful for having the honor of being a part of that "thin blue line".

When we arrive at that fork in the roadway, it sometimes becomes a struggle between our heart's and mind's. In our minds we can rationalize anything to stay on the only road we've known and have traveled for years. However, our hearts can be telling us the exact opposite of what our mind is rationalizing, saying "make the turn, take the other fork in the roadway." Life was meant to truly be lived happy.

So to all of you that have reached that fork in the roadway, take my Grandmother's advice for what its worth, try it, you might like the new road in life's journey.

So think about what if my bank of tomorrows were taken away. Would you be asking yourself, "I shoulda, coulda, woulda"? Only you can answer that question. Life is a journey and an adventure, live it because life was truly meant to be lived happily.

Empower yourselves!

Thank a Veteran

The other day I was in a neighboring jurisdiction where our court is located. I had just left the court house and was waiting at a red light. I have made it a habit to watch crossing traffic as their light cycles to red.

While stopped there minding my own "bidness", I see the arrow for the southbound left turn lane cycle to red as I see this old Dodge Dart clearly not at the limit line, run the red arrow. Even though I was not in my "official" jurisdiction, I was still in the State of California, so I made a traffic stop on the Dodge.

I walked up to the driver door as I see this elderly gent exit the car. Typically I would have ordered the driver back into his car. When he turned toward me, I noticed he was slightly bent over and was wearing a red ball cap which had USMC WWII VETERAN embroidered on it.

I told the driver why I had stopped him. He replied that he thought the light was yellow, but could have been wrong. He further stated that since I had stopped him, he must have run a red light. I changed the subject to what was embroidered on his cap. He was a veteran of the island hopping campaign across the Pacific and had fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the war such as Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima.

So here this warrior hero stood before me. With his raspy voice and blue eyes, something told me he must of been one tough son-of-a-bitch in his hey day.

So I shook his hand and thanked him for the sacrifices he and his generation made to allow us to still speak English instead of Japanese or German. Especially the freedoms all of us still have, even those who bad mouth or Great Country and expect the government to provide for their lazy asses.

My whole hearted thanks is extended to Veterans of all services and all wars and conflicts our country has been involved in. To those soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who are far away from home taking the fight to "their" country rather than ours, Thank You.

To the liberal, self serving, slanted media, fuck you and kiss my ass because you fucker's never report "all" that is going on over there, rarely if never the good, just the shit that'll cause all those unemployed, "where's my handout" lazy asses to stand on their soap boxes.

My cure for those pieces of amphibian whale shit is 12 guage wooden dowels, sting ball grenades, pepper spray, the good ol' baton and yes, "ride the lightning" taser.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


You can always count on your fellow motor partners to be there when you need them.... and sometimes when you don't.

This story was told to me by the officer who was the victim of this jovial reception. 

Like most cities, the Motor Officers by virtue of their mobility accompanied with speed more times than not, make them the first Officers on scene of many crimes in progress.  Usually bank robberies.

In this neighboring city they have a BART station and it was reported that the suspect of this bank robbery had gotten onto the train to make his escape.  Five Motor Officers arrived at the BART station, boarded and began checking the train for the bad guy.

Before the doors closed (and don't open back up until you get to the next station), 4 Motor Officers stood on the platform as the train headed westbound toward the adjoining city. Needless to say they immediately realized that one of their own (and not surprisingly) was now M.I.A.

Being concerned for their wayward colleague, they did like any typical motor unit would do... they waited for him to debark the next eastbound train back to their city. 

To pass the time, anxiously awaiting their lost, beloved brother motor to return back to his jurisdiction they made up signs saying things such as, "Welcome Home Bernard", "We Missed You", and "Looking For Lost Motor Officer, If Found Dial 911".

Imagine his surprise as he stepped off of the train with the numerous passengers and to be greeted by this motley motor crew.  One of the officer's was kind enough to pick some flowers to present to the wayward officer as he walked up to them.

The camaraderie of this profession presents itself in many, many ways.  Way to go fellas! 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Last thoughts....

There's a saying in the world of motorcycle riders; "It's not a question of if you'll go down (meaning crash), it's a question of when you'll go down."  How true.

A saying from when I attended motor school was "Rubber side down."  In our specialty assignment of riding a police motorcycle, be they Harley's, BMW's, Honda's or the old work horse Kawasaki's, we ride very aggressively during enforcement.

My dad was pissed when I got out of the military and ended a promising career there.  He was a "lifer" in the same branch of service and retired after 23 years.  Me, I didn't want to watch my son grow up through pictures so when my time was up after my second enlistment I got out and became a civilian.

When I was first hired by the Sheriff's Department my dad was proud.  He never pitched a bitch about my lack of sanity for choosing a dangerous line of work, nor did he pitch a bitch when I worked the very less desirable areas of the county where back-up was something the city police departments had the luxury of.

So one day it was posted on the line up board that the department was starting a new motor unit and had a total of five positions open, 1 Sergeant and 4 Deputies.

I had just been involved in an "on-duty" traffic collision and was found to be the party most at fault.  It was a solo vehicle accident during a pursuit (another story for another time).  So I wasn't expecting to be one of the "chosen".  

Matter of fact, I thought my chances were so far out that I put my request down on a department memo form and wrote it in various colors of crayons with my left hand, complete with backward letters and misspelled words.

Much to my surprise I was chosen for one of the positions and was scheduled to attend a motor academy.  I didn't tell the new motor sergeant that I had let my motorcycle endorsement on my driver license laps (once again, another story for another time).

So here I decide to tell my dad the good news.  Of course he'll be proud.  He's the guy who bought me my first motorcycle and taught me how to ride!

Our conversation went something like this:
2WT: (spoken with little kid excitement) Hey Dad, I was selected to become a motor officer with the department!
Dad: What?!
2WT: (still with the little kid excitement) I was selected to become a motor officer, YES!
Dad:  What in the hell did you do that for?!  Do you know how dangerous that is?!  Why would you want to do something like that for?!  Wait until your mother hears about this!  I don't think that's a good idea!  I have a retired motor sergeant friend who's told me about how dangerous that job is and how many police funerals he's been to for motor officers killed doing their job.
2WT: (in between Dad's verbal tiff) Because, yes, uh, but, but.....

Well when Dad finally finished, I bluntly told him, "And who bought me my first motorcycle and taught me how to ride it?! and who bought me a bigger street legal motorcycle just before I was old enough to get my driver learning permit?.....

There was silence on the other end of the phone.... then, "Well just don't tell your mother, and son, according to my Sergeant friend, it's the most dangerous day to day assignment for a police officer."  From all of the fallen motor officer funerals I've attended, Dad was right. 

We don't think about that when we're riding.  We know it's always in the back of our minds but we do what we do because we love what we do.  I've had a few close calls, but this past week I had a real close call.

I'm cruising down the road and I see this car who was supposed to yield to oncoming traffic before making its left turn.  I let off the throttle just in case idiot decides to make his turn.  

Sure enough he does, but it was past the point where I felt comfortable that he saw me coming. I never knew you could taste the leather seat through your ass, but I did.  I never applied the brakes so hard!  I could feel the ABS brakes pulsating.

As I neared the passenger side of the car, several what I thought were going to be my last thoughts were;
#1 This is going to fucking hurt!
#2 How am I going to explain this to the Lt.
#3 I am truly going to miss the special people in my life.
#4 Fuck! Dad was right! (I could hear him saying "See, I told you so.")

Fortunately, especially for me, a collision was very narrowly avoided.  I stopped, parked the motor and got off the bike shaking uncontrollably.  The driver of the car pulled over and parked.  He got out of his car and apologized profusely.  I was ready to let my mouth take control, then I saw his son get out of the driver door.  He looked to be about 7 years old.

I couldn't for the life of me say what I felt like saying.  I'm sure he didn't truly see me.  He was very apologetic and kept asking if I was okay.  

I was able to reply, "Man that was close.  Are you and your son okay?  I think I just lost five years off of my life and that's five years I can't afford."  I didn't give the guy a ticket (although I should have) because it's hard to write when you can't keep your hand from shaking.

Well after that I headed back to the office where I had a cigar (because I was still on duty and couldn't take a shot of some "Old #7")  I had a partner to lean on and that was plenty good.

They say the best therapy is to get right back into the saddle.  Yep, I went out and wrote some more tickets and felt like my usual self at the end of my shift.

To my partner, thanks for being there.

Don't count on back-up from a Coward

Early on in my career as a Deputy I worked at the Main Jail.  Is it a fun place to work, no, not really.  The one true beneficial aspect of "baby sitting" society's pieces of shit is that they love to brag.  

If you use that to your advantage you can get quite the education on how our customer base operates.  You can learn an awful lot of street smarts through these criminals, so by the time you rotate to patrol division you're familiar with their "game".  You know how to "walk the walk and talk the talk", feel me? 

Some touchy feely liberal came up with this "direct supervision" philosophy.  And what the hell is that?, your asking yourself.  Direct supervision is this: You are in the housing unit where these criminals are living.  No glass, no heavy metal door separating you from them.  You carry your mace, handcuffs, and portable radio and have a podium with the computer and logs you keep.

During the inmates "free time" if the housing unit population was 50 or lower (which was always a rarity) they'd all be out of their cells doing what they do.  How they came to the number of 50 inmates versus 1 Deputy I'll never know.  

So you spend your entire shift on a housing unit penned up with all of these ass holes.  They didn't want to be there any more than I did.  Funny how they all say "I really didn't do it."

This event happened after I had left the main jail and was doing what I got into this career for, and that was driving a patrol car and "hookin and bookin" the bad guys, dropping them off for my fellow Deputies still working at the jail.

So every shift and every Deputy working a housing unit is responsible to conduct a window and lock check of each cell.  This is done to ensure that the security screen covering the window and the door lock haven't been tinkered with.

This housing unit had two Deputies assigned due to the high inmate population.  The inmate population was so great that all 65 rooms were filled with two cretins and as many almost filled bunkbeds out on the bottom floor of the housing unit.  Deputy No-balls was entering each cell doing the window / lock check while Deputy Do-right watched from the floor.

Deputy No-balls entered the cell of two inmates who were privileged to be housing unit workers, meaning they brought the trays of food during meals to each cell and were allowed extra privileges like more "free time", more telephone time, etc.

Deputy No-balls sees the security screen almost completely torn from the cell wall with the window exposed.  The inmates charged Deputy No-balls in an attempt to take him hostage. Deputy Do-right saw the commotion and ran up the stairs to the upper tier to aid his fellow Deputy.  

Deputy No-balls was able to get out of the cell and ran along the upper tier to the opposite staircase.  Meanwhile Deputy Do-right is now in a fight with one of the inmates as the second inmate was in pursuit of Deputy No-balls.

According to Deputy Do-right, he saw and heard Deputy No-balls running, screaming as he was chased around the housing unit.  Deputy Do-right was over powered by the inmate from the cell as well as one who decided to jump off of his bunk and "help a brutha out".  Deputy Do-right was knocked unconscious with his own flashlight and suffered a concussion.

Meanwhile Deputy No-balls was caught by is pursuer and did not put up a fight and received an ass whipping (rightfully so).  

How this all came to an end was some good inmate (believe that!) got off of his bunk and hit the intercom button near one of the housing unit doors.  When the control room answered he told them what was happening.

The control room put out an 11-99 (meaning the officer / deputy is in the shit and needs help) as preassigned Deputies responded to the housing unit.  The two inmates gave up without a fight and lay face down on the floor as the Deputies entered the housing unit.

What is up with this newer generation of Deputy which responded to the housing unit?  Bad guys just give up, two Deputies injured, one seriously! and it's all good!!  WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How about a good ass kicking to those two pieces of shit.  Well Deputy Do-right was transported to the hospital for his injuries and was later released.  He has since left the department for greener pastures and I hear is doing great.

Deputy No-balls was moved to transportation and is working the "desk".

It was later determined that the two turds were in jail for murder and had a real good reason for trying to get out of there and doing what they did.

I have a problem with some of this.....
#1 Why and who moved those two turds into the same cell had his head up his ass.  

#2 Fight or Flight... Deputy No-balls chose flight and screamed like a bitch running around the housing unit.  It was not a tactical retreat, he was scared and disgraced every gun toting, badge wearing person. 

This leads me to a few questions, like why didn't he use his mace, or radio to request assistance?, or push that special button on the radio which signals a 11-99 to the control room operator?

Deputy Do-right chose fight and never gave up.  In hindsight he might have requested help via his radio, used his mace.  I don't know.  I wasn't there.  Although I can say that when I've seen a brother or sister Officer / Deputy in a fight, my first thought is to help them first. 

#3 How in the FUCK do you leave your beat partner at a time when he was expecting you to help him!!!!!!!

#4 Why the Deputies who responded didn't give those two mother fuckers a beat down or an "elevator ride" I'll never know.  The attitude sure has changed there since I left.  The crew I worked with would have. Old School versus New School.  

I know there are those of you who don't agree with my opinion on #4, but remember what they say about opinions...... and if you don't, allow me to tell you.... Opinions are like ass holes, everybody has one and they usually stink.

I believe that 99.9% of persons in our profession wouldn't hesitate to help an officer or citizen in dire need of assistance, even knowing that we may become a statistic ourselves and find our names chiseled into some wall at a memorial.

I personally could not look in the mirror at myself or face my peers for any inaction's on my part which caused the serious injury or death of a fellow officer or citizen and I would leave this profession.

I've learned early on while in the military that when the shit hits the fan, I'm one of the few persons you'll see running toward the fan, rather than away, which is the attitude and actions of 99.9% of our profession.  I've faced the shit hitting the fan too many times and have nothing to prove to my peers.

To Deputy No-balls who belongs to that .1% of cowards, pussies or how ever you want to call it. If your reading this, you know I'm writing about you.  How dare you not help your beat partner when he was COUNTING on you.

You fucking disgrace the uniform, the badge, and most importantly you tarnish the names of all brave Officer's / Deputies and their families who paid the ultimate price to keep society safe and whose names are chiseled into the walls of Peace Officer Memorials around our great country.  FUCK YOU!

How dare you to continue to wear the uniform and badge which you have so greatly disrespected with your cowardice.

My advice to you, yes you, Deputy No-balls is to get out of this profession before you get someone else seriously injured or killed you pussy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

One of those calls

Every now and then you get dispatched to one of those, "I can't believed someone called in about this!" type of calls.

So I'm 10-8 (in service) and RALB (riding around lookin' bitchin') through South City enjoying the fact that I'm riding a motorcycle and it's freakin February!

I get dispatched to a concerned citizen about geese in the roadway and she's afraid someone will run them over.

So being the immature adult that I am, I advised the dispatcher, "I copy on the jaywalking geese, I'm familiar with the subjects and will advise on cover."  The dispatcher chuckled in her response of "10-4"

I get to the area where the reported felonious jaywalking Canadian feathered friends were last spotted.

2WT: "Mary18, '97'"(meaning I'm on scene) and Code 4 (everything is a-okay) on an area check.
Dispatch: "Copy 10-97, Code 4 area check."
2WT: "Mary18, I'm UTL (unable to locate).  The gaggle of geese were GOA (gone on arrival). I'm 10-8.
Dispatch: (laughing) Copy, the gaggle of geese are GOA."

It's not too often that we'll make the dispatchers laugh on the radio, the motor cops in our division make it a point to brighten their day.

And he's a Detective Sergeant!?

Since that fateful day, September 11th when America was attacked on it's own soil, Big Brother has taken steps to help make us more secure with such things like the Patriot Act, our cellular phone network providers handing over lists of customers information without a warrant.  My hats off to the one company that had the balls to stand up to Big Brother.

So how does the Department of Homeland Security come into play?

Working my usual duck pond, I stopped a car for speeding.  I had the usual conversation with the driver before I walk back to my motorcycle with his license, registration and proof of insurance to issue him a ticket.

During my warrant / driver license check the dispatcher advised me of the driver being on Big Brother's "list" and not to let the driver know that Big Brother is on to him.

Well our Detective Sergeant calls me on my department issued cell phone and tells me to take dudes picture and to document it in a report.  

WTF!!! Oh like dudes not going to have any clue that taking his picture on a car stop is something out of the very ordinary.  I may as well just tell him what's going on.

So I asked additional questions like where he came from and where he was going to.  The address on his driver license was an old one and he provided me his current one verbally. Needless to say he was given a ticket for the speed, and for not updating his address and he is sent happily on his way, none the wiser because I didn't take the damn picture.

After clearing my stop over the radio, the dispatcher told me that Officer "So and So" was requesting a telephone call from me.  Well Officer "So and So" was assigned from our agency as with other Officers from various agencies to work with the Department of Homeland Security. 

I dialed the number and heard a voice answer "Hello"  I thought, "Shit, I must have dialed the wrong number."  So not being sure I was connected to an arm of Big Brother, I vaguely said, "I was told to call this number concerning somebody I contacted."  The voice replied "Yeah, you have the right place."  Very interesting.... especially since most governmental agencies usually answer the phone with "Ghost Busters" or "The Schwartz"

I write my report and get my ass chewed by the Detective Sergeant because I didn't take this person of "interest's" picture.  "Go Fuck Yourself" is what I wanted to say, but he was the type of kid that got beat up for his lunch money all of the time.  

So I listened to Detective Sergeant "Butt Sore" as he ranted and raved about insubordination and how I didn't follow his order.  Every time I tried to tell him that it was supposed to be Big Brother Super Secret Squirrel stuff, he'd interrupt and get back on his soap box.

As he stood there on his soap box, Detective Sergeant Butt Sore became more sore because I was sitting in the chair very aloofly and I just might have rolled my eyes once or twice.  Our administrative Sergeant who was an OG ie: "original gangsta, old salt, veteran" was walking by the door during my ass chewing.

Well Sergeant OG stopped, flashed his "I'm fucking pissed" smile at Sergeant Butt Sore and kindly said through clenched teeth, "Please follow me."  They went into the copy room next to our report writing room.  

Sergeant OG served in Vietnam in the Special Forces, he could deliver an ass chewing like no other I've ever received or heard.  He was true to form as he handed Sergeant Butt Sore his ass on a silver platter.

After Sergeant Butt Sore had less ass to sit on when he left the room, Sergeant OG walked in to where I was seated, told me good job and decision making by not following as he called him, "Pee Wee Herman's" order to take dudes photograph.

It made common sense to me not to take the picture.  I'm sure Sergeant Butt Sore will attain a very high rank in the Sheriff's Office due to his great decision making and people skills.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stupid question Einstein

Okay, I tend to look at situations as an intelligence test.  Not the type you take on paper by answering the question by darkening the bubble in with a number 2 pencil.  I'm talking about real life situations which cause you to have to make a decision.  

Sounds easy huh.... I've arrived at the conclusion many, many, many years ago from doing this job that unfortunately (or fortunately for job security) that there are a lot of stupid people out there. 

Here's the test, see what answer you come up with.

You're driving through a neighborhood and come to a 4-way intersection controlled by stop signs. When you stop, you see a black and white police motorcycle parked at the far side of the intersection with yours truly standing next to it.

Beyond the parked police motorcycle and officer and in view are seven BRT's, big red trucks with emergency lights flashing and guys wearing yellow turn-out firefighting gear, SCBA's... you know the whole freakin nine yards.  

In addition to all of this, there are numerous fire hoses crossing the roadway and beyond that was billowing black smoke coming out of the roof of a home.

Now for the hard part.... do you:    
A) Turn right    
B) Turn left     
C) U-turn     
D) Ask the polite officer if you can drive around his motorcycle or 
E) A, B, or C

Now if you chose "E" because making a right, left or U-turn sounds common sensicle (is that a word? who gives a shit anyways) give yourself a nice pat on the back because you are an anomaly in comparison with the rest of the general motoring public.

Now Einstein drives up and stops.  He rolls down his window and waves his hand, motioning for me to come over to his car.  I waved back.  He motioned a second time, I waved back a second time.  Einstein gets a clue and drives closer because I ain't walking over.

Remember in school when the teacher said there's no such thing as a stupid question..... IT'S NOT TRUE!

Einstein: "Officer, what happened?" (and the fire was still raging)
2WT: "You're kiddin me, right?"
Einstein: "Did something happen?"
2WT: "Yeah, a cat is stuck up in a tree."
Einstein: "Really?"
2WT: "Really"
Einstein: "Wow" and drives away.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Justice with a sad ending

Back in the day when I was assigned to my previous department's patrol division, I chose to work the weekend graveyard shift from 6:30 pm to 7:00 am.  The station house was small, typically with 3 patrol deputies working the Town at night.

It just so happened that our patrol supervisor, a sergeant called in sick on a Sunday night. Lucky me being the senior patrol deputy, I was designated the patrol supervisor for the night. Technically that left 2 patrol deputies for the entire Town.

Graveyard on Sunday night is typically "quiet".  We cops don't like the word "quiet".  We like to use the words, uneventful, manageable, calm, etc., and if you couldn't remember those words, it could be referred to as the "Q word".

Sound superstitious?  Yes, absolutely!  We'd joke around with the other deputies saying things such as, "It sure is 'quiet' in beat 3 tonight."

If the "Q word" was spoken we'd be expecting the "shit to hit the fan" sometime during our shift.  As typical of my beat partners, it was the usual banter, "Hey 2 Wheel, (with laughter mixed in) I hope things go smoothly and 'quiet' for you as the patrol supervisor tonight." 

My reply was, "yeah, but your asses will be taking the 'paper' so I can properly supervise you clowns."  

Sunday night progressed typically, not very many calls for service with plenty of time to finish reports from the busy Friday and Saturday nights.  Oh and plenty of time for coffee, the life's blood of an older generation of graveyard cops.  It seems the newer generation prefers those high doses of caffeinated drinks which tastes like soda.  Thank god Chevron is open 24 hours, and has hot coffee on!

About 4:00 am I hear one of my beat partners get dispatched to a 911 hang-up call.  This is a pretty common call, usually dialed in by some ones fax machine, someone trying to dial India, or telephone line problems due to the rain.

I start to head towards the address to back up my brother deputy.  I arrived on scene first and followed our usual tactical approach.  Needless to say as I was able to see toward the front door, which was open, I saw one man lying on top of another with blood all over the foyer.

By then the victim's wife is on the phone to dispatch saying her husband had been shot three times and was able to wrestle the suspect to the ground.  I received this info from dispatch just as the victim said, "I'm dying."

I told the victim, Mr. X to lay back off of the suspect as I handcuffed him.  I then directed Mrs. X to apply pressure to the bullet wound to his neck.  I will never forget her sobbing as she gently cradled Mr. X's head in her lap and repeatedly told him "I love you, I love you."

Business wasn't finished.  I had one of the other deputies request an ambulance code 3 and to stay with Mr. and Mrs. X.  Myself and my trusted beat partner then "cleared" (check for additional suspects and victims) the house.  We found their sons still fast asleep despite the commotion that obviously went on.

Mr. POS (Piece of Shit) still lay on his stomach in his own blood.  POS was bleeding from the back of his head.  I kneeled down to Mr. X and told him his sons were alright.  I also knelt down to listen to any dying declaration that Mr. X might say as to what had happened.

The Fire guys arrived.  The great thing was that Mr. POS's injuries were so severe they took him out via air ambulance and Mr. X out via ground ambulance.  

It turned out that Mr. POS was an employee of Mr. X and ran the company when Mr. X was out of town.  Mr. POS had embezzled a lot of money from the business and Mr. X was looking into the reason the books didn't balance.

I was later able to listen to the dispatch tape.  You could hear the commotion going on in the background as Mrs. X said someone was in their house, followed by her screams and gunshots. At one point the phone was dropped and as Mr. X wrestled the gun and Mr. POS to the ground, you could hear Mr. X telling Mrs. X to "shoot him", but during their struggle the gun actually came apart.

Mr. X told his wife "grab a wine bottle".  She obviously did as Mr. X was telling her "hit him!" You could hear the sound of the wine bottle making some nice contact with the back of Mr. POS's head.  The back of his head looked like cherry pie filling.

Later, our Detective Sergeant called me into his office and showed me the call as typed in by a dispatcher (call history).  I was shocked to see that a lot of very important information was not broadcast to those of us responding.

Some of that important information were neighbors calling in a fight at the front porch, gunshots being heard, screaming, you know the little things us cops would greatly appreciate to know as we roll up onto the scene.  Unfortunately the dispatcher was "papered" for not broadcasting the incoming updated information.

I'm thankful that I didn't become complacent in my tactics and became a victim myself had Mr. POS been successful in murdering Mr. X.

Mr. X had a true fight or flight response.  He was going to fight to the death to protect his wife and children.  I think he and Mrs. X did a great job.  The only better ending  would have been if Mr. X had killed Mr. POS.

Mr. POS has been a guest of the California State Prison System on us taxpayers and will continue to be a guest for a long time.

The true tragedy to this story is about a year later I answered a call on the court where Mr. X lives.  After clearing the call, I bumped into Mr. X.  The fact that he even recognized me from his family's horrific night was astonishing.  He wanted to thank me, I told him he was the true hero that night.

Mr. X went on to tell me how that night had changed him.  He sadly told me that he and his wife were currently in divorce proceedings and the house was up for sale.  I asked if they had tried the counseling route.  He told me that they had not.  I reminded him that the events of that night were absolutely traumatic for him and his family.  I told him it was not uncommon for people to fall victim to post traumatic stress disorder, even us cops can and do experience this.

Being a victim twice over..... Protecting your family with the thought that you had lost your life doing so, and then losing you family due to the difficulty in coping with the aftermath of emotions.

I truly hope that Mr. and Mrs. X were able to save their marriage.  

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sounds like he's in pursuit!!

Occasionally when you hear an officer talking on the police radio channel and hear the sound of a siren along with it, everybody usually stops what ever they are doing to see if that officer is in pursuit of a vehicle.

While sitting in the office one day, we hear one of our motor cops making a traffic stop over the radio.  As he spoke over the air we could hear the sound of a siren very loudly in the background. The rest of us in the office grabbed our helmets and quickly began walking toward our parked motors, putting on our helmets as we neared them.  

The dispatcher was "on top of it" as she heard the same siren and asked the officer, "Mary19 are you in pursuit?"

There was a deafening silent pause over the air as nobody dared to talk, waiting for the officer's reply. Finally after what almost seemed an eternity we heard Mary19 reply, "Negative, but I think South City Fire Department might be."  It was the SCFD BRT (Big Red Truck) driving by code 3 for some call they were responding to.

Seeing as how we were all out of the office with helmets on, we figured it was a good time to head to Starbucks for a cup.

"Same Bat Channel"

Due to the numerous police agencies in the county where I work, we have several different channels available depending on what part of the county you're working and agency you work for.  

We motor cops wear gloves as part of our "safety" equipment.  I usually turn my portable radio on before I disconnect my "umbilical cord" from the motorcycle.  Needless to say the channel selection knob is right next to the knob which turns the portable radio on and off.

There have been a few times where I've accidentally had my gloved hand also brush against the channel selection knob enough to change the radio channel I'm supposed to be on..... "car 54 where are you" type of situation.

So I contact the driver and have our usual quick chat before I walk back to scratch out a rag (ticket).  We routinely request a warrant / driver license check via our radio.

Being on the wrong channel can be handled several ways.  We have one bitter sounding female dispatcher who is fantastic at doing her job and is really a nice person.  She has a way of keeping us in line by being usually short and blunt about things, such as the following radio conversation,

Me: "Mary (cop phonetics for "motorcycle") 18, 10-29 (cop code for the warrant / driver license check)."
Dispatcher: (sarcastic tone) "Mary 18 you're on channel 5!"
Me: "Uh 10-22 (cancel or in this case never mind), I'll be switching back to channel 4."

So everybody on channel 5 heard the dispatcher "front" me off so every cop who was on that channel heard her nasty sting, keeping me and others in our place.  I'll never bad mouth a dispatcher.  They do one hell of a job every day and I'm truly thankful that we have people that are capable of performing such an important task.

I've experienced other occasions where this has happened, but with a nicer outcome.... here's an example;

Me: "Mary 18, 10-29 on one."
Kind Dispatcher:  "Go ahead Mary 18, be advised you're on channel 5."
Me: "Mary 18, I copy.  Just wanted to see how you're doing.  How are you doing?"
Kind Dispatcher: (Laughing) "I'm fine, thanks.  And you?"
Me:  "Dandy!, life is good."  Mary18, 10-22 on the '29' and I'll be switching over to channel 4, thanks."
Kind Dispatcher: (laughing even harder) "10-4 (message received), switching back to channel 4."

Indulge me by reading one more.

Me: "Mary18, 10-29 on one."
Kinder Dispatcher: "Mary18 go ahead." 
Me: "Last of 'Pidasso', first of 'Stew', Date of Birth 2-30 of 75, white male."
Kinder Dispatcher: "Mary18, 'Pidasso' returns 10-26 (no warrants) with a valid class C driver license.  Mary18, FYI your on channel 5."
Me: "Mary18 I copy, just stopping by for a visit.  I'll be switching back to channel 4, thanks."
Kinder Dispatcher: (laughing) "10-4."

Now I'm back on channel 4 and everybody is probably none the wiser, or so I thought.... until I clear my traffic stop.

Me: "Mary18, I'll be clear on a moving citation."
Channel 4 Dispatcher: "Mary18 clear on a cite.  By the way, welcome back to channel 4."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Honestly Uncle, I wasn't being a Smart Ass...

I'm sure every Cop out there has had a family member ticketed for some vehicle code violation, some of us are even unfortunate enough to have family members, to include relatives arrested. That just shows you that we're no different than everybody else.

My sister called me one day and asked me if I'd be in my office.  I told her I'm usually outside "playing" (chasing drivers down) and not in the office much during the day.  She told me my niece had gotten a ticket for expired vehicle registration and could I "sign" off on her ticket that it had been corrected.

So I arranged a time with my sister to pass on to my niece to meet me at my office at 10:00 am.  I arrived about 15 minutes early and went into the office.  To pass the time I finished a traffic collision report.

10:00 rolls by and no niece...  I decide to work on the sketch for the traffic collision report using a cool computer aided diagramming software (no more straight edge, pencils and erasers).

So by 10:30 I'm out of the office and back on the road.  What is it with young people keeping their appointments on time?... Well maybe that I'm now sorta kinda grown up, I can understand her not making it.

I get a second phone call from sis while at coffee with the fellas.  She tells me my niece is on her way to my office as we speak.  So I finish my coffee, joking conversation with the fellas and get to the office about 10 minutes later.  

I roll up to the parking lot and see she's sitting in her little pickup truck.  I get my usual hug and "Hi" from her and catch up with what she's been up to.

I asked her for her copy of her ticket.  She hands it to me as I look at the front of it and zero in to those wonderful violation lines.  I see the expired registration violation, along with the defective windshield and mutilated driver license violations... 

Being the trained observer that I am and remembering the conversation with my sister about the registration violation, I figured there was more to the story about my niece getting stopped, specifically her attitude with the ticketing officer.

I look at the court date assigned at the bottom of the ticket and see it had passed 3 months ago! She tells me she had gotten an extension on the ticket.  I asked to see the extension from the court.  She did her "Come on Uncle 2 Wheel, can't you just sign it off?"

"Uh, No".  She was taken slightly aback.  Needless to say she showed me the extension.  I checked her vehicle registration, saw that it was current and I sign the violation as being "corrected".  

I checked her windshield and saw it had been replaced as she told me it had a crack in it from a rock while driving down the highway.  Violation #2 signed off.

I ask to see her driver license.  She hands it to me and I look at the issue date of the license.  It's her original driver license she was issued by the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.  

I noticed that the lower right hand corner of her driver license had a crease in it.  She told me how the "mean officer" ticketed her for having a mutilated driver license.

Come on Please!!!  Even us motor cops don't get that chicken shit when writing violations! Well... maybe... sometimes... kinda... and gladly if the driver is being a prick or a bitch!  Power of the pen.

I told my niece that she had been "paper fucked" (don't worry, she's an adult).  "Paper what" was her reply, "paper fucked" I answered.

I then proceeded to educate my niece on Police Officer - Driver etiquette.  

Put plainly, nice driver equals nice Police Officer (or at least hopefully).  Mean driver equals nice Police Officer (okay I might be stretching that one).

Mean driver might equal outwardly appearing nice Police Officer (but not always).  

The Police Officer who can, might and in my niece's case fornicated via a carbon copy slip of paper did use the power of the pen and meted out a small example of "justice".  The Officer I would imagine felt "justified" in taking that extra few seconds to write a couple of series of numbers and titles for the vehicle code violations.

Of course she tells me she was not rude or disrespectful in any way, manner or form... Unfortunately I've listened to her dad's rhetoric about the Law Enforcement Profession and can only assume that unfortunately my niece had picked up his bad habit.

Would I have written the mutilated driver license, probably not if the driver had been courteous.


As I've stated before, ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!!!  Listen people, we're not asking for you to kiss our asses and we surely don't think that our shit doesn't stink.  

So when you see that Officer walking up to your door via your rear view mirror, take some personal accountability and act civilly. You'll be amazed at how smooth things go, and maybe, just maybe you might be driving off with a warning instead of a ticket.

Had I taken this approach with the Officers who stopped me when I was younger, I might not have had the crappy driving record which caused my monthly insurance premium to be higher than the monthly note for the first new car I bought.

Hindsight sure is 20/20.