Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Your Other Right

I'm driving with lights and siren down a four-lane street. This is a high-priority call, so I need to get where I'm going and get there right now. Everyone is doing the right thing - moving to the right and stopping. Until I get behind this moron in a van. Even though the people in the right lane are giving him plenty of room and waving him over, he stays in the left lane and just goes slower and slower and slower, with me practically driving up his tail pipe. I am screaming mad. Finally, he just stops. I have to go left into oncoming traffic so I can continue. As I go by, I give the van driver my best death stare, and he looks back at me like he has no clue what he's doing wrong. I mean, isn't this Driving 101? My mistake: I don't get his license plate number so I can visit him at home later with a ticket.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bad Word vs. Bad Mom

You don't live at this apartment complex, but you keep bringing your kids over to use their pool. The building manager has asked you three times to leave, but you won't. The manager finally tells you to get the hell out of his pool and don't come back, and you call the cops on him for using the word "hell" in front of your kids. I don't know, but I think he's probably the better role model.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Stop Lying About The Cops

This article by Rich Lowry appeared in the New York Post on December 24, 2014. It exposes the absolute absurdity of the mass condemnation of police officers that's so popular right now.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014


It's Christmas, 2014. I'm home with Mrs. Cynical and our dogs. A Christmas tree with wrapped presents underneath. It's perfect.

I hope anyone who reads this will stop for just a moment and remember all those cops, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders who are out there working today. No matter the weather, no matter the family pressure, no matter any other circumstances, they're out there. And make no mistake: they're out there for you. When you're in trouble, they come. No questions asked.

In this day of anti-cop sentiment, realize that almost everything you've heard along those lines is simply bullshit. Cops are, almost to a person, honest, hard-working, giving members of your community. The last thing on their minds is starting trouble. They much prefer every encounter to go smoothly and without incident. Their main goal every day is just to go home to their families at the end of their shifts. But they have a job to do - sometimes a very grimy and violent job - and they're prepared to do what it takes.

In that vein, also please take a moment to remember the 114 (as I write this) officers who did not go home to their families this year. People just like you - lives snuffed out while doing a very tough job. For you.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Old School

I first started police work in a much larger city. In the part of town where I was assigned, there was a bridge maybe 100 feet high over one of the city's main arteries.

One winter, a guy walked out to the middle of the bridge and jumped. I remember his car, still running, parked in the middle of the bridge, and his fresh footprints in the snow on the railing. Anyway, this poor guy landed headfirst, right on the double yellow line of the street below. It was my first such suicide, and it was a pretty shocking sight. One witness, a tough old truck driver who'd seen the whole thing, was crying openly. A crowd gathered quickly while we went about our business.

In charge was a lieutenant, who had been a cop since the Dark Ages. He was gruff and sarcastic, and never without a lit unfiltered Lucky Strike in the corner of his mouth. From about a half-block down the street, one officer hollered to him, "Hey, Lieutenant, should we take him over to the hospital and get him pronounced"? To which the Lieutenant hollered back - in front of about 200 gawking onlookers - "Yes, my boy, but drive carefully - we don't want to lose him on the way."

They just don't make 'em like him anymore.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Immediate Medical Research Opportunity

I really do like doctors and nurses. I respect and honor your abilities, commitment and stamina. But can't you PLEASE figure out some way to keep these people on their medication?

Today, for the millionth time, I got sent to deal with this guy who's off his meds. He's talking 8,000 miles an hour, and ricocheting around his house like one of those paddle ball games with legs. His wife is freaking out, because the guy has made some kind of little sculpture out of paper clips and is convinced it's their kid, but also believes that it's somehow related to a drug gang that's going to kill him.

Can't you just implant a great big slow-release pill in their heads? Or have them pull around a little red wagon full of a lifetime supply of something dripping into their veins? And people wonder why cops have a higher-than-average incidence of alcoholism.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Accent On The "Bitch"

It used to be that people who were being dealt with unwillingly by cops directed words at us that had a lot "ck" and "r" sounds in them. You get the idea: you'd wrestle some dirtbag into handcuffs, and they'd start throwing a string of multisyllabic "ck" and "r" words at you nonstop all the way to jail.

But things have changed. Nowadays, all those fancy words have been reduced - perhaps for the sake of efficiency or expediency - to one: BITCH! Note that I capitalize it for emphasis, because that's the way it's always used.

"Get away from me; I don't wanna talk to the cops, BITCH!"

"I ain't goin' nowhere with you, BITCH!"

"Get your hands off of me, BITCH!"

"Take these cuffs off and fight me, BITCH!"

"I'll kill you when we get to jail, BITCH!"

I pine for the good old days, when dirtbags could really cuss.

Friday, December 19, 2014


Disclaimer: I love dispatchers. They have a very tough job. I once sat in for a shift at our dispatch center. I'd last about 20 minutes up there before I either quit or got fired for cussing out a caller. Our dispatchers are terrific, but sometimes important things get lost in the shuffle.

Patrol officers depend on dispatchers for a lot of things. They can be the difference between an incident going smoothly, and an incident going really wrong. Here are just a few things we depend on them for:

1. Sending us to the correct address.

2. Getting the correct spelling of the names of the people involved in the run, including the caller.

3. Running the people involved in the run, including the caller, to make sure there are no warnings, cautions, alerts or warrants attached to any of those people (see #2).

4. Confirming with the appropriate agency any warrants that might pop up on anybody in the run (see #2 and #3).

5. Making sure that enough cars are dispatched when there are warnings, cautions, alerts or warrants on someone involved in the run.

6. Sending additional cars on the run if the officers already there don't answer their radios, or if the shit hits the fan.

7. Periodically check on the officers that are dispatched to a run where officers are now not answering their radios, or where the shit has hit the fan, to make sure the officers are OK.

Where I work, dispatchers are great at #1, but often don't do #2. This makes #3 (and therefore #4 and #5) difficult or impossible. Consequently, they are often doing #6 and #7. This occasionally makes for some exciting days at work.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Out Of Touch

I don't Facebook.

I'm not LinkedIn to anything.

I don't know what Instagram is.

I'm not Pinterested.

There's a Vine growing on the fence in my backyard, but that's all.

Foursquare is a game we played in the street when I was a kid.

I am minus Google+.

MySpace is the limit of how close I'll let you get to me before I tell you to back off.

I have a flip phone. I can text if I can muster the endurance to push the buttons like 600 times to send "Hi". I can make phone calls, but don't very often.

The masses walking and driving around with eyes glued to nothing but their "smart" phones all day every day is one of the saddest things I've ever witnessed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


How do I know you're drunk enough for the ER? Well, you're sleeping in a 2-foot wide space between this crappy apartment building and the crumbling detached garage, and on top of broken glass shards, chunks of broken concrete, and piles of tree limbs. You're unable to stand up or, when we pull you to your feet, remain standing. And despite your alcohol-induced paraplegia, you want to fight with two cops. I am a trained observer, you know.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Speed (intransitive verb) - to go or drive at excessive or illegal speed

Officer Cynical: "Sir, I'm stopping you because the speed limit in the school zone back there is 20 mph. You were doing 35."

Mr. Logical: "But I don't live around here, and I usually take that street over there (points one block over), and I'm not a speeder. I don't speed."

Officer Cynical: "Well, you were speeding this morning, and there are kids all over the place this time of morning."

Mr. Logical: "I know, but I'm telling you I'm not a speeder. I never speed."

Officer Cynical: "I can show you the lidar readout, if you'd like."

Mr. Logical: "I don't care what the lidar says. I'm not a speeder, and I....."

Officer Cynical: (interrupts) "Look, I'm not going to argue with you here. You can take the citation to court, if you feel it isn't fair."

Mr. Logical: "Fine. Can you hurry up though? I gotta be somewhere."

Monday, December 15, 2014

True Love

While on patrol, my cell phone rings. The readout says it's Mrs. Cynical, so I answer. She never calls me at work, so I figure it must be important.

All I get is an open line. There's some weird background noise, but nothing else. I keep calling out her name, but she doesn't respond.

Now I'm freaking out. It's no secret in my neighborhood that I'm a cop and where I live. There are so many nutjobs out there nowadays, anything is possible.

I call out on the radio that I'm going to do a welfare check at my address, and ask another officer to meet me there. We do a full-blown search of the house, and other than my dogs, find nothing. I spend the rest of the shift bewildered.

Later that day I find out that Mrs. Cynical had pocket-dialed (purse-dialed?) me and had no idea anything had happened. She called my fellow officer and apologized. I made her go pick me up a pizza.

Friday, December 12, 2014

What He Said

This article originally appeared in American Police Beat.

You Got a Problem? Just Dump it on the Cops
Written by Jim Carnell 
As a street patrol officer in Boston, I was recently summoned by radio call to a housing development for a matter pertaining to "the electricity was out." Upon arrival, I discovered that the building was fully electrified and all appeared to be in good working order. Checking further with the woman who had initiated the call, I discovered that she was calling because the light on her phone had gone out. I informed the woman that I had absolutely no expertise in this field and could not repair her phone and asked her why she had thought to call the police for such a matter. She replied that she had been told to always call the police for everything; whether the cable TV was out or the toilet wasn't working. It didn't matter. "You call the police when you need help."

"Help" has a different connotation in 2010 America than when I was growing up in the 60s. "Help" in those days used to mean you needed emergency assistance from the police, the fire or an ambulance. Today, it means "I'm too stupid or lazy to perform even the most mundane task myself so I'll call the police because they don't have anything better to do and after all, I'm a taxpayer and I pay your salary." (Police officers: check here ___ if you've heard that one ten thousand times before.)

When I started on the Boston police force in 1982, we still chased stolen cars and rousted drug-dealing scumbags from the corners. We let the gang-bangers and street maggots know that we - the police - owned the streets, not them. We don't do that anymore, not under the threat of civil lawsuits, IAD complaints, and state/federal investigations. Today, we're not so much police officers who enforce the law and arrest scumbags as we are "social agents." People call us because their bratty nine-year-old won't do their homework, or because they had a simple argument with their teenager. I know there are a lot of cops like me who want to shout, "Grow up and become a parent, you losers. Stop using the police as ‘the big, bad wolf' because you are unable to act like the adult."

We get called because somebody has water in their basement, or because the phone service is out, or because of a pothole or a broken streetlight. I once had a call from an elementary school because an eight-year-old child was acting up. I asked the teacher what it was she expected us to do. "I don't know," she said, "but I've had it with the little bastard, and they told us to just call the police if the kids act up." Ah, the classic "dump it on the cops" theory in action. Thankfully, the experienced, old-time sergeant who responded with me grabbed me by the arm and we walked out of the building without saying a word. I would have liked to have told the teacher to grab the little troll by the neck and give him a good, swift kick in the arse, but then I'd have been writing a report to IAD.

As many cops know, we often get calls because someone's car is disabled or they've locked themselves out of their house. Now, if your car is in a bad position on the open road, I understand why you've called. But why do they call us when their disabled car is in a supermarket parking lot, a parking garage, or safely off to the side of the road? Call a damn mechanic or a tow truck, ya nitwit! Likewise, I understand the issue if you've locked yourself out of your car or house and the baby's inside or there's food cooking on the stovetop. That, I can understand. But if you've simply lost or forgotten your key, guess what? Honey, I don't have a spare, and I'm not kicking the door in or breaking the window, because I can guarantee you, within minutes, they'll be on the phone to the desk sergeant demanding to know "who's going to pay for the damage." Get the yellow pages and call a bloody locksmith. Got a car or building alarm going off incessantly and you can't shut it off? Guess what? Neither can we! Why do people think the police are provided with secret codes that will allow us to automatically shut off wailing alarm sirens, 99 percent of which are false in the first place? And of course, very few alarm companies nowadays actually send an alarm repair/response unit because they prefer to use the police as their unpaid employees.

For John Q. Public, I have some news. If your basement has water, call a plumber or call the water department. If your telephone isn't working, call your local telephone service provider. If you have a pothole or a broken streetlight, call the public works department or the department in charge of street lighting. If your electricity is out, call the electric company.

Jim Carnell is a police officer in Boston and the editor of the PAX Centurion, the official publication of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Not Everyone Should Be a Cop

We are getting multiple calls about a man with a gun, walking along one of our city's major business arteries. The man is reportedly pointing the gun at passing cars.

The whole shift is going Code 3 to the area. I'm doing about 90 in a 40 zone.

I'm about 2 blocks away when I hear one of ours officers call out that she's on scene and has the suspect in sight. He does indeed have a gun in his hand.

Then, another officer calls out that "since there's an officer on scene, I'll be Code 1".

I just about go nuts. I get on the radio and tell him in no uncertain terms that he WILL continue Code 3 until we get multiple officers on scene and the situation under control.

This is the same officer I observed allowing an assault suspect to put his arm around his shoulder while he spoke with him in a dark parking lot one night.

This is the same officer who, immediately after I called out that I had 2 suspects at gunpoint in a stolen car in the middle of the night in a snow storm in the shittiest part of town, went 10-7 to eat lunch.

This is the same officer who, just after I called out for back-up on a traffic stop on an individual with multiple warrants, went 10-7 at a meeting with a business owner only 2 blocks away.

You dumb son of a bitch!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Let's See If I Can Guess...

"We've had a warming trend recently, but that's about to change. I'll tell you how when we come back."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

I would be out of a job if it weren't for alcohol. Sometimes I think the whole damned world is drunk 24 hours a day. I'd venture to say that 80% of the welfare checks, neighbor disputes, assaults, suspicious persons, domestics, loud parties, and suicidals we deal with involve alcohol. I worked a bank robbery a few months back in which the robber, who we caught less than 5 minutes after the call came out, had a BAC of .15.  This guy even wanted to know if we could charge him with just attempted robbery, since we caught him and took all the money back. More recently, I stopped a DWI who was a .27 at 8 AM. WTF?

The biggest headache are the alcoholic transients, who used to be concentrated downtown but now seem to pop up everywhere. We constantly get calls to remove these schmoes from sidewalks, railroad tracks, park benches, bus kiosks, apartment hallways and laundry rooms, and restaurant booths. Often they are so far gone they have to go to the ER instead of our detox facility. It's not unusual to find that they've pooped and/or peed themselves. In those cases, I try hard to get them to an ER, because the ambulance transports them and I don't have to clean their residue off the back seat of my squad car (apologies to all you EMTs). Some want to fight. Others want a hug. They invariably stink. I hate putting my hands on them, and itch psychosomatically for the rest of the day.

To all of you who justify what you did because you were drunk and your judgment was compromised, I'm sorry but my sympathy meter is stuck at "ZERO".

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Power of Meth

We respond to a suicidal female, who we learn had run from her probation officer the day before when she was sentenced to 4 days in jail for flunking court-ordered drug tests. When she refuses to open the door for us, we finally kick it in. She then begins a meth-fueled bout of hysteria - shrieking, crying (with real tears), flailing, swearing - the likes of which I've never seen before. I mean 9.5 on the Richter scale, and still going full force 90 minutes later when we left her, restrained to a bed in the ER. I was genuinely impressed at her single-mindedness and endurance. I would've been exhausted in half the time.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 1941

1st Lt George Cannon was the first Marine to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during WWII. 


Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 5 November 1915, Webster Groves, Mo. Entered service at: Michigan.


For distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage and disregard of his own condition during the bombardment of Sand Island, Midway Islands, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. 1st Lt. Cannon, Battery Commander of Battery H, 6th Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, U.S. Marine Corps, was at his command post when he was mortally wounded by enemy shellfire. He refused to be evacuated from his post until after his men who had been wounded by the same shell were evacuated, and directed the reorganization of his command post until forcibly removed. As a result of his utter disregard of his own condition he died from loss of blood.

/S/ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Friday, December 5, 2014

Running in Circles

Here's an example of a call that makes me want to slit my wrists:

I'm dispatched to an apartment building (no apartment number given) because an internet-based phone service called police to say that they had received a text message from someone (no name given), who they believe lives at that address, claiming that another person (no name give) who might live at that address was yelling at a cat. I am not making this up.

To recap: Two cops dispatched to an unknown person, in an unknown apartment, at a possible address, where another unknown person, in an unknown apartment, is sending text messages to an on-line company, saying that the first unknown person is yelling at a cat.

And people wonder why cops have a higher than average incidence of alcoholism.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Time Warp

Officer Cynical: "So, you want to report that your boyfriend stole your pain meds?"

Mrs. Gad: "Yes. This whole thing started back in 2010. Here - listen to this recording of him from back then. It's him threatening my bodyguard."

Officer Cynical: (hears Looney Tunes theme starting up in his head) "Well, I'm here to talk to you about this medication theft. When did that happen."

Mrs. Gad: "That was sometime last year. But we've been living together for 20 years, and he's done it lots of time and he has PTSD. So, if you listen to this you'll see what I mean."

Officer Cynical: "Please, ma'am. Let's try to focus on why I'm here. Tell me about your boyfriend stealing your meds."

Mrs. Gad: "He took my oxycodone last April. He's addicted to them and he huffs paint thinner and threatens my bodyguard and yells at me. This all started in Washington, D.C., and you can check with the police there."

Officer Cynical: "OK, well, I can't help you with any of that. Anything else you can tell me about this theft of your oxycodone?"

Mrs. Gad: "He's in prison now, and the prosecutors wanted me to call you and report this theft so they can add that to the charges. Call the state prosecutor and he'll tell you. Listen to this recording. It'll show you what kind of person he is and why he stole my meds, which I need for my back surgery from 2010."

Officer Cynical: "I have to go. Have a nice day."

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: As Time Goes By

(Note 1: This is the 10 PM newscast)

"Morning showers continue to move through our area."

(Note 2: It has not rained a single drop the entire day)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My New ER Hero

For various reasons, cops spend a fair amount of time in ERs. Not long ago I had to take a guy there because he claimed to have been hit by a car while walking down the street.  Once we found him, he was obviously drunk and/or high, and was alternately crying (literally) for us to help him and squaring off to fight us because he didn't want us to touch him.

Once at the ER, they put one of those plastic horse collars on him because his chief complaint was head and neck pain. He continued cursing and threatening the ER nurses and doctors, and they went about their business in an outwardly cool and calm manner. Finally, the guy sits up and starts pulling at the collar, saying he doesn't want the collar on, doesn't want the nurses or docs to touch him, and he's leaving.

Dr. St. Francis of Assisi, who up until then had been just quietly gliding in and out of the room and speaking in low, soothing tones, suddenly grabs the guy by the shoulders, shoves him down on the exam table, sticks his finger in the guy's face, and hollers, "Hey! Knock it off! You are NOT taking that collar off and you are NOT leaving! So lie down, shut up, and stop acting like a dipshit!" And the guy did!

Epilogue: We found out later the guy had not been hit by a car, he'd been beaten up by his girlfriend and was covering for her.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Video Doesn't Lie

I went to traffic court for a STOP sign violation. The driver, a 16-year-old girl, hadn't even slowed down at a 4-way STOP, and I wrote her a ticket for it.

She shows up in court with her father. They sit together at the defense table, her holding onto some big rolled-up cardboard poster, which I assume has a diagram of some kind on it showing how I wrote her a ticket for absolutely nothing.

I get called to testify, and after I do the City Attorney asks that my squad car video be played. The judge actually has it played twice - probably because he can't believe this kid is contesting such a blatant violation, which is clearly shown in the video.

I look down at the defense table, and the girl's father is death-staring his daughter with an expression that, had my father given me the same expression, would have caused me to run away from home and join a traveling circus.

Judge (to the girl and her father): "Do you have any questions for the Officer?"

Father: (still glaring at daughter and with venom nearly visible in his voice) "No, Your Honor."

Judge: "Do you have any testimony that you want to give?"

Father: (still glaring, more venom)  "No, Your Honor."

Judge" Do you have anything at all that you want to say in your defense?"

Father: (continued glaring, yet more venom) "No, Your Honor."

The judge dismisses me, finds the girl guilty, and fines her. She and her father exit the courtroom, with him still giving her the I'm-going-to-murder-you stare.

I never did get to see what was on the poster.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Secret Identity

While working a DUI enforcement shift, I pull over a guy going the wrong way on a 1-way street. He says he doesn't have any ID on him, and gives me a name and date of birth. For some reason, I don't believe he is who he says he is. Partly because I can see he has a wallet in his back pocket.

Officer Cynical: "What's your Social Security number?"

Kit Walker: "I don't know; I can never remember it."

Officer Cynical: (big red flag waving inside brain) "How old are you?"

Kit Walker: "25."

Officer Cynical: "And you don't know your Social Security number?"

Kit Walker: "No."

Officer Cynical: "And you don't have even one thing on you or in the car that has your name on it?"

Kit Walker: "No."

Officer Cynical: "What about in your wallet?"

Kit Walker: "What wallet?"

Officer Cynical: "That one right there. Right there in your back pocket."

He takes his wallet out and starts thumbing through the contents. He tries to turn away from me so I can't see what he's doing, but I can see a driver's license right on top.

Officer Cynical: "What about that driver's license right there?"

Kit Walker: "Right where?"

Officer Cynical: "Right there in your goddam wallet - the one you're trying to hide with your hand!"

Turns out he had given me his brother's name and date of birth, because he had a suspended driver's license and a warrant. He also got charged for hindering a police officer. And a ticket for the one-way thing. Next time, study a little harder, pal - maybe I'll believe you.

Epilogue: Some other tricks to get at fake-namers: 1) Ask for a date of birth, then wait 10 minutes and ask again. A lot of times they won't remember what they told you the first time. 2) Ask for a date of birth, then ask how old they are. Often, they can't do the math fast enough and you can watch them short-circuit. 3) Just look in the computer system. If their name/birthday isn't in there, they're probably lying about who they are.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It's On Video

I watch a lot of true crime TV shows, especially ones like First 48. They follow investigations from start to finish, and it's always interesting to me to see how detectives manage to wind up arresting a culprit when they have so little information to start with. One thing I've noticed is that these detectives often manage to get incriminating - or at least informational - video from sources that are sometimes quite a distance from the scene of the crime. They'll have a lead on a certain type of car, for example, then find that car on bank surveillance video a block away. It shows that the suspect car was indeed in the area.

Now, I'm no detective, and I likely never will be. But I've learned a few tricks over the years. And one of those tricks is the "I have it on video" ploy. I've made otherwise hard-nosed dipwads fold like cheap suits when I've told them "I have it on video".

I was once dispatched to a vandalism call, where a nice woman had come out of work to find her car keyed and spray painted. She was sure it was her ex-boyfriend that did it, but there was no evidence to prove it.

As I almost always do, I drove to the ex-boyfriend's house rather than call him on the phone. The uniform and badge have a way of working better - at least for me - than my disembodied voice on a phone line.

I began questioning the ex-boyfriend about the vehicle vandalism, and he not only denied it, but talked to me like I was inconveniencing the shit out of him. You could've cut his attitude with a knife. I finally tried this:

Officer Cynical: "You know, there's a video camera mounted on the TV tower that's next to the parking lot where your ex-girlfriend's car was parked. I covers the whole area, including the parking lot."

Mr. Cornfloater: "No fucking way."

Officer Cynical: "Yes, fucking way. When I leave here, I'm going straight over to the TV station and review that video."

Mr. Cornfloater (suddenly all fidgety): "Seriously? Why would you do that?"

Officer Cynical: "Because there's no doubt in my mind it's gonna show you vandalizing your ex-girlfriend's car. And then I'll be back here."

Mr. Cornfloater (now near tears) "I think you're wasting your time, dude. Besides, if I did do something like that, I don't remember it!"

Officer Cynical: "So, it was you that vandalized the car?"

Mr. Cornfloater: "OK, yeah! But I don't remember doing it!"

Epilogue: There is a camera on top of that TV tower, but it's about a thousand feet off the ground and points in the wrong direction. They use it to show the current weather during newscasts. It would've been impossible to gain any evidence from the video. Idiot.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Shut Your Stupid Face

Have you seen the commercial starring the idiot walking along the beach with his tweed jacket and beard stubble and new-fangled plastic electronic cigarette stuck in his face? He's what I assume is supposed to be a ruggedly handsome shill for a company selling a "nicotine delivery system". Kind of like a smokeless Marlboro Man. He actually just looks like a damned fool with that thing clamped in his teeth, with a blue light flashing on the end of it. At the end, he says something like "It's time to take our freedom back!" Your freedom to do what? Be a nicotine addict? I'm pretty sure that as long as you don't do it in a public building or blow it in somebody's face, you're free to smoke all the nicotine you want. Or you could just grow a pair and quit. Jackwagon.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Please stop calling the police every time your upstairs neighbors argue. I realize it may be disconcerting, because it gets pretty loud and happens pretty often. But there's not the slightest indication anything physical is going on, they're in their own apartment, and it's not against the law to argue.

Also, please consider not calling us whenever someone with even a slightly different skin hue than yours walks past your house. They're not all criminals casing the neighborhood.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Illegal Immigration Kills

The following is reprinted from an article by Lt. Jim Glennon for the Street Survival Newsline, to which I subscribe, published by Calibre Press on 10/29/14. Years ago, I had the great pleasure of attending the Street Survival Seminar, which was then taught by Lt. Glennon and Dave ("Buck Savage") Smith - two of the best instructors I've ever seen. Lt. Glennon hits the nail on the head here, in my opinion. Note: I am in no way connected to any of the aforementioned entities.

Enough is Enough

By Calibre Press
Lt. Jim GlennonToo many officers have been killed by criminals in this country illegally
By Lt. Jim Glennon
“If it saved the life of only one child it is worth changing the law on ___.” (Insert agenda, law, policy, or cultural practice.)
I’ve heard this line used by people of every political persuasion pushing an agenda or belief system countless times over the years. It’s been used for: gun control, driving while using cell phones, wearing seatbelts, 20-oz. sodas, donuts, candy, cigarettes, beer, booze, light bulbs, insulation, windows, fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, smoke detectors, etc. Want to get attention? Talk about saving lives—especially the lives of kids—and if anyone disagrees with your stance, well then they obviously endorse the death of children.
It’s a good strategy because it works. It pumps up the masses and rouses the rabbles. But, not all agendas are driven by altruistic motives. There are often very real counter-consequences once these changes are implemented.
So if we really want to save lives—and, remember, just one is too many—what about the lives of police officers killed by people in the country illegally?
Last Friday, on Oct. 24, Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Danny Oliver, 47, was shot in the forehead with an assault rifle at close range as he approached a suspicious car in the parking lot of a motel. Deputy Oliver, a 15-year veteran of the department, leaves a grieving and devastated wife and two daughters.
A short while later, that same gunman then shot 38-year-old Anthony Holmes of Sacramento in the head during an attempted carjacking.
That gunman and his wife stole another vehicle and drove to Placer County, Calif. Two deputies approached the stolen pickup while it was parked on the side of a road and again the gunman opened up with his an AR-15.  Det. Michael David Davis Jr., 42, was killed, dying 26 years to the day that his father, a Riverside County deputy, was shot and killed in the line of duty. The other deputy, Jeff Davis (not related to Michael), was shot in the arm.
Who shot these people, murdering two and devastating families and communities? Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte; though he was going by the name of Marcelo Marquez. Why lie about his name? Because Monroy-Bracamonte has illegally entered the United States multiple times. He was deported twice for committing crimes, once in 1997 and then again in 2001. 
Let’s look at just a few more.
Sgt. Brandon Mendoza, 32; Mesa, Ariz.; May 12, 2014: Struck head-on and killed by a DUI driver Raul Silva Corona. Corona was in the country illegally, had been convicted of several crimes, had no driver’s license, no social security number and was still able to buy a car.
Officer Rodney Johnson, 40; Houston, Texas; Sept. 21, 2006: Juan Leonardo Quintero, an illegal immigrant, was handcuffed in the back of Officer Johnson’s squad car when he accessed a hidden gun and shot Johnson in the back of the head four times. Quintero was previously deported after charges of indecency with a child, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. Johnson leaves behind his wife, three daughters and two sons.
Officer Kevin Will, 37; Houston, Texas; May 29, 2011: Officer Kevin Will was struck and killed by Johoan Rodriguez, 26, who had a blood-alcohol level of .238 and cocaine in his pocket. Rodriguez was previously deported, living in the U.S. illegally again when he killed Will. He was sentenced to 55 years in prison. Will’s wife was pregnant at the time of his death and they had two other children.
Officer Brian Jackson, 28; Dallas, Texas; Nov. 13, 2005: Shot and killed by an illegal alien. He is survived by a young wife, parents, and his sister.
Park Ranger Kristopher Eggle, 27; Organ Pipe National Monument, Ariz.; Aug. 9, 2002: Shot and killed with an AK-47 by an illegal alien and drug smuggler. He was survived by his parents and a sister.
We could go on and, unfortunately, on. Many argue that the border can’t be secured or that it is secured or that the status of the perpetrators is of no mater. To all I say: “Bunk.”
People cross the border for multiple reasons. Most, yes, for no other reason than to better their lives otherwise legally. But, people also come across because they know they can and the downside doesn’t really exist. They sneak across the border, they get caught, they get released. They make it over the border, commit a crime, they get arrested and again they get released. They’re told they need to show up for a court appearance, they don’t, no matter, they suffer no negative ramifications.
In other words, we allow this, and some say encourage it. Everyone talks about fences. How about just using common sense and enforcing the laws that already exist? How about eliminating the reason to breach our borders and punish anyone who entices or helps the illegal entries?
How about we discuss the victims? Really discuss the victims—not just the cops and their families but—but the people trafficked for sex, the slaves, the kidnapped, the overdoses, the addicts …
Four people shot, two cops dead, by people who know they can come to the United States illegally and with total impunity. Who do we see about this? All we have to do is look in the mirror. We, collectively, have allowed this to happen.
People will continue to die at the hands of these criminals. It’s impossible to totally stop the evil, but we don’t have to open the door for it.
Lt. Jim Glennon, a third generation LEO, retired from the Lombard, IL PD after 29 years of service.  Rising to the ranking of lieutenant, he commanded both patrol and the investigations unit.  Lt. Glennon is the first law enforcement officer to own Calibre Press in its nealy 35 year history.  He is the author of Arresting Communication: Essential Interaction Skills for Law Enforcement

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Talking in Concentric Circles

Officer Cynical: (responding to burglar alarm, finds drugged-out janitor sweeping up near one of those giant trash can on wheels): "Hi, I assume you're the cleaning lady?"

Ms. Tripp: "Yeah, what's the problem?"

Officer Cynical: "I guess a burglar alarm was set off."

Ms. Tripp: "No, I punched in the code as soon as I came in the door. The alarm went off after I punched in the code."

Officer Cynical: "Did you maybe punch in the wrong code?"

Ms. Tripp: "No way, I have it written down right here (shows me a number written on the back of her hand). I'm sure I punched in the right code."

Officer Cynical: "Well, then why did the alarm go off?"

Ms. Tripp: "I told you, it didn't go off. I punched in the code right away, and then it went off after that."

Officer Cynical: "So, the alarm did go off."

Ms. Tripp: "No! I punched in the code first. Then it went off."

Voice in Officer Cynical's Head (screaming): "Jesus Cheddar Cheese Christ on a cracker!!!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Clean-Up On Aisle 5

Today I was sent to a crappy downtown hotel to pick up a guy whose probation was being revoked. We could hear the TV going in his room, so we had a female officer use the old "Housekeeping!" announcement ploy to get him to come to the door.

He opened the door, and there was all 6'-4" and 300 intoxicated, doughlike pounds of him standing there stark frontally naked. As we were getting him dressed, I realized the room had recently been redecorated: about a thousand scraps of at least 3 large pizzas accented the dresser, a big pool of vomit tastefully adorned the bed, and a massive, artfully arranged turd had been deposited on the carpet in front of the TV.

When I remarked on what a freaking mess the room was, the guy replied, "Whatsa matter? You never had a bad night?" I said no, not THAT bad of a night. And then he wanted me to take the cuffs off so we could fight. I demurred, saying that window of opportunity was now gone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hit and Run Detection Kit

Sometimes, simple little offenses really get under my skin and piss me off enough that I go to great lengths to see that the responsible party gets his/her just dues.

A while back I took a hit-and-run accident report in a crappy part of town. It was obvious that the blue car parked all crazy behind the white victim car was the responsible vehicle. There was blue transfer paint on the victim car, the damage location on the victim car was consistent with damage on the blue car, and the blue car appeared to have been parked by a decidedly intoxicated person.

I contact the owner of the blue car by phone and set up a time to come talk to her in person. When I get there, she doesn't answer the door. Further phone conversations produce no results. She's always too busy or not home or whatever. So, one day I just show up at her apartment door. Her kid opens the door, but I can see her peeking around the corner from the doorway of another room.

I get her out in the hallway and begin questioning her about the accident. She admits she had been driving on the night in question, but denies she hit the other car. I then produce my homemade hit-and-run detection kit, which I had put together the night before.

The hit-and-run detection kit consisted of two clear plastic zip-lock bags, each with a Q-tip inside, and with a bunch of nonsense numbers and letters written on the outside. I hold up the bags in front of her and say:

"OK, here's what's going to happen. I'm going to take swabs of the blue paint on your car and the blue transfer paint on the other car. I'm going to send these swabs to the boys in the lab (I actually said "the boys in the lab"!). And if they come back as a match, which I believe they will, you're going to have way more problems than you're going to have if you just admit what happened."

Her response? "OK, I did it."

I wrote as many tickets as I could, and informed the owner of the victim car so she could get her damaged vehicle fixed.

I felt really good about that for a long time.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Sky Is Falling

I get a call to see a woman about her missing son. According to the info on my computer screen, the son is 25 years old and had a fight with mom, then left in his car.  Dispatch tells me over the radio that "she's very distraught", which can usually be translated as "nuts".

As I pull up to the apartment building, she comes running up to my squad car. She gets right in my face and starts yelling.

Mrs. Benzo: "Who's looking for my son!? I wanna know what you're doing to find my son!"

Officer Cynical: "Um, I just got here, so I'm not doing anything yet. Tell me what's going on."

Mrs. Benzo: (look of utter shock) "You're not doing anything?! You have no idea how serious this is! This is really bad! Why aren't you doing something!?"

Officer Cynical: "Before I can do anything, I need to know what happened and who I'm looking for and why. Can you stop screaming at me long enough to tell me that?"

Mrs. Benzo explains that the previous night her 25-year-old son, who has a criminal history a mile long, moved out of his girlfriend's house after an argument and into mom's place. Then this morning, after an argument with mom, he moved out of her place and didn't come back. She has no idea where he's gone. She's positive "this will end badly" and "this is as bad as it gets", but can't give me a straight answer as to why.

Eventually, I call her ex-husband. He tells me he put up with similar incidents for 15 years before he left because he couldn't take the drama and hysteria anymore. He says she needs to be on meds, but won't take any.

I finally get out of there and put a BOLO out for the "missing" son. Mom calls me numerous times during the rest of my shift to find out what all the law enforcement agencies in the region are doing to find her son. I don't tell her "nothing".

The next morning she leaves me a voice mail saying that her son is in jail in a city not far from Cynicalville.

All's well that ends well.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Target Practice

I was on a traffic stop one evening, and because of heavy traffic I was standing at the passenger side window instead of out in the street on the driver side. The passenger was smoking a cigarette. When she finished, she tossed the smoldering butt out the window. It hit my trouser leg and landed on my boot. I was a little incredulous for second, and the passenger didn't even seem to notice.

Officer Cynical: "Excuse me, is there an ashtray in that car?"

Ms. Chesterfield: "Yeah, why?"

Officer Cynical: "Well, you threw your cigarette butt out the window and hit me with it, so I thought maybe there was no ashtray in there."

Ms. Chesterfield: (rolls eyes) "Oh, sorry." (looks away)

Officer Cynical: "OK, how about this? Either haul your ass out of the car and pick up your cigarette butt and put it in the ashtray where it belongs, or I give you a ticket for littering."

Ms. Chesterfield: (gets out, picks up butt, gets back in, and puts butt in ashtray) "Anything else?"

Officer Cynical: "Nope. As soon as I finish your boyfriend's speeding ticket, you can both go."

Thursday, November 13, 2014


We get calls all the time about "marijuana odor" in the hallways of apartment buildings. I think those callers believe we'll just start kicking doors open until we find the renegade pot smoker and haul them off to jail. Sadly, it doesn't work that way. And if you think it does, you might want to give the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution a read some time.

Generally, what we do is see if the odor is definitely traceable to a specific door. It almost never is, but if so, we can knock on the door and see if the person will admit to it (I actually had a guy do that once). More often, we send the information to our Narcotics Bureau, and they can write a search warrant for the place based on the odor emanating from the door. In a vehicle it's a different story. A marijuana odor emanating from a vehicle is probable cause to search that vehicle (see Carroll v. U.S., 1925). So, smoke it at home at your own risk; smoke it in your car if you're feeling particularly lucky.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

They Paid It Forward

On my first leave from the Marine Corps back in 1971, I went home to see my parents. One night I went, in uniform, to a neighborhood bar. I was 19 years old, and the legal drinking age was 21. The bartender asked me for my ID, and after he looked at it he said he couldn't serve me. It just so happened that the bar owner was also behind the bar. He came over, pulled the bartender aside, and spoke two words: "Serve him."

I paid for that first beer, but none after that. Every time I ordered up another, one of the other patrons had already paid for it. And every time I said "Thank you", I got back, "No, thank you".

I had quite a buzz on when I left there. And I had a great time. If anyone who reads this was someone who bought that kid a beer that night, he thanks you from the bottom of his heart for the memory.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Veterans Day and USMC Birthday To All My Fellow Marine Corps Vets

For Veterans Day and the Marine Corps Birthday, I thought I'd rerun this post on organization within the USMC. For all the info that's now outdated, I apologize. This is my best recollection of how it was when I was in.

First of all, unit organization is not totally cut and dried. Some units may be assigned to more than one operational group. For example, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines is part of 1st Marine Division, but it also part of 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit - a quick-response interdiction force. But in general - and I'm just talking about combat arms here - the layout is this:

The Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy.

The Marine Corps provides the ground (and part of the air) combat arms for the two Fleet Marine Forces (Pacific and Atlantic), which also include naval forces. When I was in, my unit was part of FMF (fighting motherfuckers) Pacific.

Within FMF Pac is the 1st Marine Division (1st MarDiv). Anyone who's been in the Marines will recognize this:

1st MarDiv is based at Camp Pendleton, CA. The current commander is Major General Regner, who presides over 15,000 to 20,000 Marines. Other active Marine divisions are the 2nd, based at Camp Lejeune, NC, and the 3rd, based in Okinawa, Japan.

1st MarDiv is made up of the 1st, 5th, 7th and 11th Marine Regiments. When you read or hear that someone was in "5th Marines", they mean 5th Marine Regiment. I have no idea how it came to be that the "Regiment" designation was commonly dropped in speech and writing. In addition to these infantry regiments, 1st MarDiv includes 1st Combat Engineers, 1st Tanks, 1st Force Recon, 3rd Amtracs, and other units. Marine regiments are typically commanded by a Colonel, who oversees 3,000 to 5,000 Marines. My old regiment was 5th Marines:

Marine infantry regiments are usually (but not always) made up of a Headquarters Company and three infantry battalions. A battalion is usually commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel, who oversees 500 to 1,200 Marines. My old unit was 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, or 2/5:

Infantry battalions usually consist of a Headquarters and Service (H&S) Company, three or so infantry companies, and a Weapons Company. The infantry companies are designated by the phonetic alphabet (A=Alpha, B=Bravo, C=Charlie, etc.). Weapons Company typically consists of both rifle infantry and support weapons (anti-armor, mortars, machineguns). My old unit was E/2/5. Infantry companies are usually commanded by a Captain, who leads 100 to 300 Marines.

Marine infantry companies are made up of three rifle platoons and a weapons platoon. The rifle platoons are designated as 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The weapons platoon (my old assignment) handles support weapons (recoilless rifles [video at 2:35], flames, and rockets, in my day - I don't know what they are now). Platoons are usually led by a 2nd Lieutenant, commanding about 40 to 45 men.

A rifle platoon is made up of three 13-man squads. Each squad consists of three 4-man fireteams and a squad leader (Sergeant). A fireteam has a fire team leader, a rifleman, an automatic rifleman, and an assistant automatic rifleman ("ammo humper"). In my era, all four carried M-16s, which could be selected for semiautomatic or fully automatic fire. Alternatively, automatic riflemen were equipped with M-14s with full-auto switches on them (a handful to shoot). I don't know what the current weapons are. The Marine fireteam is the basic tactical unit in combat, and typically moves 2-by-2: 2 providing covering/suppressing fire while the other 2 move.

I hope this helps those of you who enjoy reading my posts about Marine Corps history.

Disclaimer: A lot of this is from memory. It's been a few weeks since I was in, so overall organization may have changed some. In general, organization is fluid and flexible, depending on the situation (e.g., peace time vs. war time) and numbers of available troops. Numbers within a unit vary widely, depending on available manpower, type of unit, numbers of supporting troops, casualties, etc. Units are also reorganized and renamed over time. In other words, this is all ballpark. And I haven't even touched on the Air Wing or other supporting units. Any errors are my own.

Friday, November 7, 2014

No Sale

If you give me a massive ration of shit when I pull you over for speeding, don't expect me to select you to help me when I go shopping at the new car lot and find you selling cars there. You may not recognize me out of uniform, but I recognize you. I'd walk before I help you get a commission.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

If Ben and Jerry Call, Don't Answer

I'm amazed at the number of "suicidal" calls we get. I work in a fairly economically sound, low-crime city, but there's no shortage of people who claim they're about to kill themselves. Happily, those that actually do it generally don't call the police first.

My most memorable suicidal guy lived in a rundown apartment near downtown. When Officer Sarcastic and I arrived he was clearly depressed, and so we tried to talk to him about what was going on. Since one of our biggest concerns on a call like that is the weapons the person might have, we asked the guy how he intended to kill himself.

He thought about that for a minute, then said, "Well, I thought I'd eat a gallon of ice cream before bedtime, then have a stroke in my sleep". Officer Sarcastic and I just looked at one another for a minute, then he asked the guy, "So, what flavor ice cream would you use for that, rocky road?"  "No", the guy replied, "I don't like rocky road". We never did get a clear answer, and the guy went off for his psych eval.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cocktail Hour

Oxycodone plus Cyclobenzaprine plus beer is probably the reason you hit 3 cars while trying to park your car. I'm thinking the accelerator wasn't really stuck, and the brakes didn't really fail. Plus, how do you explain the fact that half your driving was in reverse, a faulty transmission?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Deaf and Dumb in Both Eyes

When I'm a car-length behind you for a quarter-mile, emergency lights flashing and siren blaring, no, I don't believe that you didn't see or hear me. What I think, and every other cop who's dealt with you in the past and knows you're a meth head thinks, is that you refused to stop because you were getting rid of your dope. Since I didn't find it, I'm guessing it went in one or more of your many orifices. Enjoy!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Paranoid Much?

I get sent with another officer to a loud gathering in an apartment building. As we knock on the door of the apartment we were sent to, the door to a different apartment across the hall opens. A guy steps out in the hallway and hands my partner a smoldering crack pipe.

Mr. Tweak: "Here. I knew you guys were going to come and get me."

We hook him up and haul him off. We have another two units handle the disturbance.

Win, win, and win.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hands Off

I understand that you're appreciative of my efforts on your behalf. But after I've taken about the third giant step backward to get you to stop putting your hand on my arm, you really ought to get a hint. Between my job and Mrs. Cynical, I have a pretty good thing going. And even if I didn't think you were physically and psychologically abhorrent, I wouldn't take the chance of blowing it. Next time you're feeling that overheated, call the fire department and ask them to hose you off.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nope, Not Going There

Dispatch: "Officer Cynical, check on a group of suspicious black males walking down the street in the vicinity of 3rd and Elm."

Officer Cynical: "What are they doing that's suspicious?"

Dispatch: "They're just walking down the street and the caller feels that's suspicious."

Officer Cynical: "10-8."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Some Days...

... THIS plays in my head all day long.


1 suicidal female
1 suicidal male
1 drunk male complaining about the quality of a pizza
1 shooting
0 lunch

Monday, October 27, 2014

High Drama

I've come to the conclusion that about 80% of the population lives for nothing but drama. This usually manifests itself as conflict (with family, spouses, exes, neighbors, business owners, etc.) or hysteria - often both. These people are simply not happy, I've come to realize, unless they're having a beef with someone over something. The bigger the conflict, the better. And what better way to heighten conflict than to get the cops involved. Toss in some alcohol and/or drugs - even better.

Here's a real scenario from the other day:

He and she lived together for a year and broke up a month ago. They have at least one kid together. I don't know where he lives, but she lives in a shithole apartment with four kids and no job. She does have the prerequisite tats, cigarettes, and booze in abundance at home, however.

His mom hates her, and is constantly calling/texting/Facebooking inflammatory crap to her, and goading him into also hassling her in various ways.

As an aside, let me say that if Facebook were a building, I would wish to see it burnt to the ground for all the bullshit it drags cops into. I wouldn't Facebook if my life depended on it. But I digress....

This trio gets into its latest bullshit drama, and he calls the cops. He says she's "hysterical" and "has PTSD", and he's worried about the kids. He wants us to check on them. OK.

I go see her, and she's as calm and rational as she can be, given the circumstances. The kids are miraculously clean and well-fed, albeit the crappy apartment. She says his mom won't leave her alone since she broke up with him, and mom is getting him all worked up on a regular basis, and then he calls and they argue and then he calls the cops.

I get the hell out of there.

When I call him, he's highly indignant that I don't see things his (and his mommy's) way. He regurgitates another series of accusations about her that are both irrelevant to the current situation and impossible for me to follow up on. Later, he calls my supervisor and bitches that I didn't do enough to satisfy him. My boss tells him that it's not the cops' job to side with him in his petty domestic sob story.

You wouldn't believe me if I told you how often people try to bamboozle the cops into getting involved in their petty, pathetic, juvenile beefs with other people - usually an ex, and especially if the ex has their kid(s). They accuse one another of all kinds of crimes as a way of digging at each other, and we're expected to sort it out.

I have some unfortunate news for you: I'm not here to provide you with tissues because your girlfriend broke up with you and you're upset about it and you think the best way to get her back is to harass the shit out of her until she sees the light. Grow up. Be a man. Get on with your life.

Friday, October 24, 2014


I went to two - count 'em - two physical domestics today. In both cases, we were absolutely sure that the male half had knocked around the female half, but neither female would tell us that, and neither female had any visible injuries. In short, we couldn't do a damned thing other than take a report.

The first guy was half in the bag, and kept glaring at the female. Even after we separated them, all she would say was that "something happened" - nothing more. When I pressed her for details, she just stood mute, shaking her head.

The second guy was this big ape with a bunch of military crap hanging on the wall and tattoos all over his arms and stuff. He just sat there, watching TV, while we tried to sort it out, with his jaws all clenched like maybe we'd be intimidated or something. Fail.

The funny thing is, as big and tough as these guys are, they never want to take on a cop. That's because they're basically great big pussies - total losers who are taking their frustrations for being such total losers out on someone who can't fight back. Try me once, junior. I'll tune you up like a cheap rental car. Asswipe.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Ageism

"Old timers will remember that the last storm this severe was back in 1993."

Old timers? What are you, 12?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Too Much Television

I'm sorry someone bumped into your car in the mall parking lot over a week ago. I do appreciate you taking the initiative to call mall security and ask them about video that might show the  responsible vehicle. It's too bad things happened too far away for the camera to pick up anything other than the fact that it was a white SUV that hit your car. But, NO, I can't take the video to our lab and have it enhanced so that the license plate number can be discerned. Please either switch channels to something other than CSI, or just turn your TV off altogether.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nocturnal Intruders

Officer Cynical: "What seems to be the problem?"

Mrs. Capgras: "When I went to bed last night, all my appliances were plugged in."

Officer Cynical: "OK, but it looks like pretty much everything is still plugged in."

Mrs. Capgras: "I know, but when I woke up they were all plugged into different outlets."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Snow Removal

Here is the protocol for snow removal in my city:

Phase 1 - When a snow storm is anticipated, do nothing to prepare, even though road pretreatments are readily available and on-hand. Blame the cold temperatures for refusal to employ these treatments, but make no attempt to explain what the hell that's supposed to mean.

Phase 2 - Once the snow starts, do nothing, regardless of how impassable roads become.

Phase 3 - Once the snow stops, wait until it is compacted into a rock-hard layer before doing anything except spreading some sand and salt at a few intersections where accidents have already occurred.

Phase 4 - Scrape the compacted snow down to NHL-quality hockey rink ice. Ensure all previously placed sand and salt is also plowed away, and don't replace it. The police will call with the locations to replace sand and salt where more accidents occur.

Phase 5 - Move plows to residential streets, where homeowners have spent hours clearing their driveways. Plow up the compacted snow and hockey rink ice into bergs and floes the size of refrigerators. Ensure the bulk of these ice boulders are piled at the foot of peoples driveways, especially if the driveways themselves have been cleared by the homeowners, and in front of homeowners' mailboxes.

Phase 6 - Advise the US Postal Service of all the addresses where the mountains of snow and ice have been piled up in front of the mailboxes, so that the USPS can now refuse to deliver mail where the boxes are inaccessible.

Phase 7 - Make self-congratulatory announcements on the local news about how you're "on top of" the bad road conditions.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How To Get Busted In 4 Easy Steps

1. Overstay check-out time at Stickysheets Motel.

2. When staff comes to your room and asks you nicely to check out, slam the door in their faces.

3. When the police show up to throw you out, try to hide your bag of dope in your pocket....with a cop standing right-fucking-there watching you.

4. When asked by the cop what's in the bag, hand it over and make a smart-ass comment.

Enjoy the ride.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Does this happen to everybody everywhere or just to me?

You're in a long line waiting to pay at the grocery store or whatever, and they open another register. The clerk calls out, "I can help somebody down here." Great.

And then the last freakin' person in your line runs over and is now the first person in the new line!  What - the - hell? If I'm next in line to get to the register in my line, that means I've been waiting the longest and should be the first person in the new line, right? But noooooooooooo! It's always that last asswipe in my line, who's been waiting the least amount of time, who runs over and is now at the head of the new line like the king of the whole goddam world.

I feel this is total bullshit and someone needs to do something about it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You Big Baby

You're 30 years old. You show up in court, not with your attorney, but with your dad, and you ask the judge if he can sit by you at the defense table.

 Following my testimony, you have no questions for me - you can't even look at me - but you ask the judge if you can make a statement. The judge allows it, and you spend five minutes telling him that you had a head injury years ago, and you just didn't realize that what you did was a crime. You also say it was because of your old head injury that you missed your original court date (and so I had to piss away half my off day sitting in court for nothing). And you go on to say that you're financially strapped, and you can't afford a fine.

Too bad you were found guilty. I actually was smiling as I left the courthouse. Then I went home and you didn't.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Yes, I'm sure it's a mistake that my computer, which is directly connected to the state system, says that your driver's license is suspended. Never mind that you haven't had liability insurance since the Mesozoic Era, and you've had multiple warrant arrests for it just in the last year. Yes, I'm sure the judge will see it's a mistake and let you off. Yes, we're all as stupid as you are.

Monday, October 13, 2014


I swear I'm not making this up:

Two cops get sent to a "disturbance" this morning. Sadly, I was one of the two.

The apartment is occupied by Male 1 and Female 1, who are married, and Male 2. Due to the inevitable "language barrier", it's not clear how this arrangement came to be.

Male 1 is screaming his head off at Male 2. It turns out, this is because Male 2 is keeping his recumbent exercise bike in his own bathroom. Male 2 says his bedroom is too small (I look in there and he's right, because he has a California King stuffed into an 8' x 10' space), and he doesn't want to keep it in the living room (which is almost completely devoid of any furniture), because "it doesn't belong there".

My partner and I refrain from opening fire on all three, and ask Male 1 why he cares if Male 2 keeps his recumbent bike in his own bathroom. Male 1 says it's because his wife, Female 1, is pregnant and she throws up in their bathroom, so he has to use Male 2's bathroom. We helpfully point out that once Female 1 is done throwing up, they can flush it down the shitter and be done with it. Male 1 says that's not acceptable because of the smell. He has to use Male 2's bathroom because his bathroom stinks too much from her vomit.

I finally snap and tell them this is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. Three grown adults arguing over a recumbent bike in a bathroom. I tell them to either work it out, or somebody can move. If they need a referee, call the building manager or an interior decorator. This is the furthest thing on the planet from police work, and I'm leaving.

Male 1 storms off to talk to the manager. As I burn out of the parking lot in my squad car, I see Male 1 returning from the office, building manager in tow. Poor fucker.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pills, Pills, Pills

Why is it that so many people I deal with are on prescribed medications for back problems? I hauled some suicidal dude to the ER today - young, not overweight, appeared to be in OK physical condition - but when asked by the nurse what meds he's on, sure enough, he starts reciting a list of pain meds for his back.

My most recent DUI was a walking disaster area, whose life consists of collecting a welfare check, consuming alcohol, and driving around until the cops catch him. I get him to jail and they ask him if he's on any prescribed medications. Yup, he takes "Flexeroll" for his chronic back pain. I bet it works wonders at a BAC of .25.

The guys that really impress me are the ones who have a whole laundry list of meds - all the -codones and -azepams and -ines - and they know both the trade names and the generic names, the dosages they're manufactured in, and the frequencies with which they're all supposed to be taken. It's like they're reading them off a chart. Really very impressive.

So, what medication could I take for the chronic pain in my ass all these people are giving me?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Strunk white, Idiot Weatherman: Physics-ally Challenged

"Right now the ground is frozen, so any water will just run off rather than penetrate the soil. We'll have to wait until the ground unfreezes for some of that moisture to be absorbed."

Or, we could just wait for it to thaw.

"We'll have to wait until we have temperatures above freezing for snow to begin melting."

No kidding?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Mrs. Cynical dragged me to Costco the other day. I had never been in one before. I will admit, the prices there are great as long as you're willing to buy so much of something that you can't possibly eat it all before it goes bad.

I was immediately reminded of the episode of Family Guy where they do a cutaway of Peter as Jackee Harry's personal shopper (I had to look her up, too - I had no idea who she was). Peter is looking at the shopping list, and is baffled by the units of measure for various items: a pallet of chocolate-covered pretzels, a drum of grape jam, a desk of Cheez-Its, a hammock of cake.

So, I started making up units of measure for the stuff I was looking at: a safe of cereal, an ammo dump of bread, a console of eggs, a futon of lunchmeat, a fairway of toothpicks, a skyscraper of milk, a furnace of doughnuts, a flight deck of frozen pizzas, a tackle box of  mints, an engine block of cheese.

The most insulting part of the trip was having to show our receipt to some guy at the door on the way out. I mean, who does that? We went through the check-out, paid for our junk, got a receipt for it, and now we have to present that receipt to somebody in order to leave the store? Like an exit tax from some third-world country? I was really curious about what would happen if I just kept walking and ignored the guy, but my job probably depends on not getting into a shouting/wrestling match with the receipt man at Costco.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Officer Cynical: "This is a citation for following too close."

Mr. Newton I: "Now, wait a minute! I was not following too close."

Officer Cynical: "Well, you ran into the back of that bus when he slowed down for the stopped traffic in front of him. I call that following too close."

Mr. Newton I: "Hey, how was I supposed to know he could stop on a dime and I couldn't?"

Officer Cynical: "I doubt the 15-ton bus stopped on a dime."

Mr. Newton I: "And my automatic brakes didn't work."

Officer Cynical: "You mean your ABS?"

Mr. Newton I: "Whatever. My car is totaled and the bus hardly got a scratch. I shouldn't be the one getting a ticket."

Officer Cynical: "I'm not citing the bus driver because you ran into the back of him."

Mr. Newton I: Well, you should.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Move Along. There's Nothing To See Here.

I'm sitting on a residential street, running radar because we'd had a number of complaints from residents about speeders in the area. This is an area with parks and playgrounds and lots of school buses and pedestrians all over the place, so I'm happy to write speeding tickets there.

A huge luxury 4-door car going the opposite direction from the way I'm facing stops in the middle of street and signals for me to put my window down. I can see the driver is of WWII vet age, so I figure he needs directions or has some question. He's apparently oblivious to the traffic piling up behind him.

I put my window down, and I swear this is what he says to me:

"What the hell are you doing sitting there doing nothing while I'm paying your salary?"

I resist the urge to tell him to get his ass moving before I write him a ticket for obstructing traffic. Instead, I politely explain what I'm doing and why. He says:

"Speeders? Yeah, there's a lot of those. I guess it's OK, then."

He drives off.

Friday, October 3, 2014

It's a Topsy-Turvy World

I got sent to investigate a tipped-over portable toilet today. Some guy who lives near where it was located called to report it. I'm not sure what he thought the police could do, but I wasn't getting within 10 feet of that thing. He came out to my car to tell me a group of "half white and half colored kids" had walked by the night before, and he was sure they did it because "that's what they do." Nice. Well, if you see them before I do, ask them to stand it back up. Otherwise, I'll let the portable toilet people take care of it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Don't Come A'Knockin'

When I see your pickup truck parked, in the middle of the night, in a city park that closes at dusk, AND
music is blaring from your truck's CD player, AND
your truck is eerily rocking from side to side, AND
your shirt is unbuttoned and you're frantically pulling up your pants after I knock on the window, AND
your female companion is frantically trying to simultaneously pull up her panties and refasten her bra, THEN
no, I don't believe you when you tell me you were just talking. AND
I don't think your respective spouses would believe you, either.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Get Off

When it comes to driving onto the interstate in Cynicalville, there are two types of drivers who deserve public exposure and humiliation.

One type stays in the on-ramp lane until the very end, terrified to move left into the flow of traffic until it's absolutely necessary. By the time the on-ramp lane runs out, they've accelerated to about 30 miles per hour. Then, they they are forced move into the traffic flow (although I have seen a few that actually continue in the emergency lane), causing normal people to either dynamite their brakes or veer left to avoid slamming into the rear of the terrified driver. These people are clearly horrified at the idea of traveling above the speed of a Conestoga wagon. Why they are on the interstate in the first place is a mystery. Surface roads were made for these people, and they should be banished from any throughway with a speed limit higher than 25.

The second type has no problem accelerating up to speed. But then, they just barge left into traffic, assuming people will get out of their way. The word "merge" has no meaning to these idiots. They are oblivious to the fact that it is their duty to merge, and not the duty of everyone else to get out of their way. I've actually had people honk their horn in indignation because I was traveling in the far right lane, and refused to change lanes to allow them to move into traffic at the exact spot they've deemed belongs to them. These types need to be struck across the brow with a "MERGE" sign until they sign a document acknowledging they are not the only people on the road.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Danger, Will Robinson!

I'm exiting a convenience store, where I've just refilled the coffee cup. Before I can get out the door, a woman stops me. I immediately recognize the unmistakable signs that she is someone trying out for a role in a science fiction move. She has a constant look of surprise on her face, and it appears she has been experimenting with industrial-strength stage makeup, including painted-on eyebrows the size and shape of the St. Louis Gateway Arches.

Ms. Gollygee: "What was that cop car doing on the sidewalk?"

Officer Cynical: "Excuse me?"

Ms. Gollygee: "You know those new Dodge Charger cop cars? One of them was on the sidewalk."

Officer Cynical: "You mean just sitting there, like maybe running radar?"

Ms. Gollygee: "No. Driving down the sidewalk."

Officer Cynical: "And where was this?"

Ms. Gollygee: "I was downtown a little while ago, and I was walking by the cop building, and one of those new cop cars was driving right down the middle of the sidewalk."

Officer Cynical: "Um, OK. Well, this is the first I've heard about it."

Ms. Gollygee: "Wow, when I saw that cop car coming at me on the sidewalk, it really freaked me out."

Officer Cynical: "Yes, I can see that."

Monday, September 29, 2014

What I Learned From Reno 911 - #1

1. Call a local pizza delivery place and order a large pizza.

2. Give them the address of where your squad car is parked.

3. Tell them there's an extra $20 in it if the delivery guy gets there in less than 10 minutes.

4. Clock the delivery guy's car by radar as he comes barreling down the street.

5. Give the delivery guy a speeding ticket, and confiscate the pizza as evidence.

Friday, September 26, 2014

We go to a house where there's supposedly a guy with a felony warrant inside. We can't get anyone to come to the door, so we go next door and talk to the elderly lady who owns the house. It turns out she rents the place to the guy we're looking for. She calls him on the phone:

Miss Gulch: (screaming into phone): "Rowan? The police are down here looking for you! Are you upstairs? (pause) Well, then you get down here right now and talk to them, or you're going to be in big trouble!"

When we stop laughing, we go back to the house and a guy comes to the door.

Officer Cynical: "What's your name?"

Mr. Bean: "Rowan. But not the Rowan you're looking for."

Officer Cynical: "Really? What's your last name?"

Mr. Bean: "Bean."

Officer Cynical: "Oh. Well, actually you are the Rowan we're looking for, so you're under arrest."

Mr. Bean: "But I'm not that Rowan Bean!"

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I'll Get Right On That

I got a call today for a "vehicle break-in". When I got there, the guy took me to his SUV parked in the alley next to his house. He said someone had gotten into his unlocked car earlier that day - in broad daylight - and stole his work gloves. The thief supposedly ignored the expensive tools, the checkbook, the credit cards, and numerous other items of value, and stole his crappy old $1.98 cotton work gloves. He said there was no chance he misplaced them; they were definitely stolen.

I just stood there in the pouring rain, smiling and nodding, and listening to this guy tell me all about his gloves and that he was SURE he left them in there and he couldn't understand why anyone would just take the gloves and leave all that other spendy stuff.

They wouldn't, sir. They wouldn't.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Say, Go, Like

No one "says" anything anymore. They "go" it or they "like" it. To wit:

Officer Cynical: "So, what are you two fighting about?"

Suspect 1: "I was minding my own business when he walks up to me and goes, 'Hey, I want that money you owe me.' And I go, 'I don't owe you any money!' And he goes, 'Like hell you don't!'. And then he pushed me."

Suspect 2: "That's bullshit. I was minding my own business when he walks up to me and is like, 'I heard you were dissing me to my girlfriend.' And I'm like, 'I never said nothing to your girlfriend'. And he's like, 'Well, she said you did.' And then he shoved me.

Officer Cynical: "Well, let's act like adults and don't go or like at one another anymore, OK?"


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Don't Spit Into the Wind

Pepper spray is a less-than-lethal force option invented by someone who hates cops. I refuse to use it except in the most dire circumstances, and some guys I know don't even carry it anymore.

Pepper spray is more correctly called OC spray. OC stands for oleoresin Capsicum. Capsicum is a genus of hot peppers, including chilis, jalapenos, and habaneros. The active ingredient in OC is capsaicin. The effect of capsaicin is the spontaneous combustion of your face, and the incineration of your eyeballs, nasal passages, sinuses, throat, and anything attached to them. I've been sprayed numerous time in training, and it really, really sucks. Moreover, after you think it's finally worn off, often it will come back to visit hours later when exposed to water (e.g., in the shower), or if you don't wash you hands well and rub your eyes.

The OC we carry looks something like this:

Spray is a misnomer. OC actually travels in a narrow stream up to about 20 feet. Here is one poor unfortunate who didn't take well to getting sprayed:

Pepper spray can be aimed somewhat accurately under ideal conditions, which never exist. When you deploy pepper spray, you are guaranteed one of the following outcomes:

- guy is so close (e.g., in a headlock) stream splashes off him into your own face.
- guy is so far away he dodges the stream.
- wind blows stream away from guy's face.
- wind blows stream into your partner's face.
- wind blows stream back into your own face.
- stream misses guy and hits your partner who is correctly positioned on other side of guy.
- you get good hit, but wind up wrestling with guy and the fumes almost kill you.

In any event, you can be guaranteed that your use of pepper spray will always piss off at least one person other than the one you're trying to spray.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Employment Defense

Why, when I'm questioning somebody about a crime, do I so often get the indignant and completely irrelevant "job speech"? Such as:

Officer Cynical: "So, did you steal your neighbor's lawn mower?"

Suspect: "Hey! I go to work everyday. I have a job!"

Officer Cynical: "Well, that's great. But, did you steal your neighbor's lawn mower?"

Suspect: "I make money. I work hard for that money. I work 50, maybe 60 hours a week."

Officer Cynical: "I get that. Very admirable. Just tell me if you stole your neighbor's lawn mower."

Suspect: "Man, I get up early every morning and bust my ass all day just to support my wife and kids!"

Officer Cynical: "Oh, shut the fuck up. You're not the only thief who has a full-time job."

OK, I made that last bit up.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Buying A Voltage Tester

Mrs. Cynical and I moved into a new old house. We (I) hated the old new house we built in the old new neighborhood, what with the everybody's jacked-up pickup trucks, screaming 3-year-olds, and endless cop questions, so we moved into a new old house in a new old neighborhood full of new old neighbors that keep quiet and mind their own businesses. We (I) love it, which says something about me that I don't want to think about.

As part of renovating the new old house, I decided to upgrade some of the light fixtures, switches, outlets, and the like. The breaker panel was very poorly marked, and I had no clue which breaker went to which light/switch/outlet/whatever. So, I embarked upon a plan to turn off each breaker one-by-one, and then test the lights/switches/outlets/whatevers to see what was affected. The outlets I tested by plugging a desk lamp into them, then seeing if the lamp went out when the breaker was turned off. Foolproof, right? When I was done, I typed up a nice sheet with the breaker numbers and their corresponding lights/switches/outlets/whatevers, and taped it to the door of the breaker panel. A profound feeling of accomplishment washed over me.

Until yesterday, when I was swapping out a crappy old kitchen outlet with a nice new one. I carefully turned off the presumably appropriate breaker, removed the wires from the old outlet, and was in the process of attaching them to the nice new one when suddenly I felt the Earth shift on its axis. There was a bright flash, a buzz and crackle, and the screwdriver in my left hand flew across the room. The sensation in my arm was not unlike having all the bones up to my shoulder pulled out through my fingertips. My brain stem changed channels, and I briefly saw Grover Cleveland looking in through the kitchen window. The sound that emanated from my lips was something between the hysterical sob of a 9-year-old girl and a yodeling asthmatic soprano. Mrs. Cynical observed this event from across the room and momentarily went ghostly pale. Then, I believe, she remembered how much I was worth in FOP life insurance versus what I'm worth as a working patrol cop, and a faint smile crossed her face.

Today I went out and bought a voltage tester. As soon as I'm over my fear of anything that isn't powered by fossil fuels, I intend to use it. Or maybe have Mrs. Cynical give it a try.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?

I pull over a well-dressed, middle-aged woman driving a very expensive sports car for doing 15 mph over the speed limit in an active school zone.

Officer Cynical: "Didn't you see the school zone amber light flashing back there, ma'am?"

Mrs. Malison: "Just give me the motherfucking ticket."

Officer Cynical: "You got it."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Trouble, with a capital "T"

For non-law enforcement readers: a FATS (Firearms Training Simulator) machine is a training aid that projects videos of true-to-life police scenarios. The student's pepper spray, Taser, and firearm interact by computer with the projected scenarios, and are recorded for evaluation by the instructor. It's pretty realistic training. Our set-up allows 2 officers at a time to participate.

While doing a day of FATS scenario training at the PD, I'm teamed up with another officer I don't normally work with. We are simulating the search of a large warehouse in which there may be a burglary in progress. Keep in mind, this is an activity we would always undertake with our sidearms drawn.

We discover that the intruder is actually a passed-out drunk, sleeping on a stack of pallets. When awoken from his stupor, the drunk gets angry, starts yelling at us, then charges us with his fists up. My partner, rather than simply going hands-on with the guy or using his pepper spray or Taser, draws his firearm and shoots the guy.

His justification? "I had the wrong weapon out, but he came at me." I'm really glad that, on a day-to-day basis, we work not only different beats, but different shifts, as well.