Friday, August 29, 2014


I tracked down a couple of shoplifters today. The pair was passed out near a drainage ditch a couple blocks from the store. Laci was practically comatose from drugs and alcohol. Cody was also hammered and royally pissed off that I would dare detain him.

After a brief wrestling match, Cody got stuffed unceremoniously into the back seat of my squad car, where he proceeded to knock out a window with his head. Then, when he started crappie-flopping with fake seizures, he had to go to the ER.

In the exam room, he went totally ballistic, screaming and trying to fight all of us. At one point, I was holding down one arm, another cop was holding the other, Dr. St. Francis of Assisi was holding one leg, RN #1 was holding the other, and a security guard was holding his head.

Dr. St. Francis of Assisi gave Cody a stern, "You're not making very good choices right now." When that didn't work, RN #2 went into full MMA mode. He climbed completely up onto the gurney and buried his knee into Cody's thigh, presumably in an attempt to gain submission. It worked and it was awesome!

Finally, Cody went off to jail with a buttload of Zyprexa, unable to do much more than curse and drool.

Don't screw with RN #2!

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I get dispatched to investigate a "suspicious bag" by the side of the road. It supposedly has a severed human hand in it.

I find the bag and discover it actually contains an empty Big Mac box and a banana peel. Maybe it's me, but I don't see how either of those even remotely resembles a cut-off human hand.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

That's Why It's Called Being "Pulled Over"

I honestly appreciate your willingness to immediately stop when I attempt to pull you over for speeding. However, before you do so, it helps if you first actually pull over. As in to the side of the road.

When you just stop in the middle of road,  and sit there and wait until I get out of my squad and walk up and tell you to pull over, it puts both of us in danger. You know - just stopped there in the middle of all that traffic with people honking and cussing and barreling around us and stuff.

But I really do appreciate the thought.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Police Officers in most places have the authority to order driver's license retests on people whose driving skills the officer feels have declined enough to make them a safety concern. These are very thorough retests, and many people lose their driving privileges as a result. I have always used this authority very sparingly, because I don't want to needlessly jeopardize someone's freedom to get around on their own. A few instances come to mind:

An elderly woman who pulled out in front of a speeding ambulance with its lights and siren going, as I looked on in horror. The ambulance was miraculously able to swerve around her at the last second. She claimed she didn't see or hear the ambulance (one of those big box-shaped ones with like a million lights on it), so I thought she probably should get retested.

A diabetic guy who, in his third such incident, let his blood glucose get too low and hit three parked cars over about 8 blocks, then slammed full-speed into the back of a city bus that was stopped, discharging passengers. When I arrived, his car was on fire, he was conscious but unresponsive, and I had to bust his window and drag him out of the car. Retest.

Then there was the guy who rear-ended another car while speeding through a construction zone. He was pretty obviously impaired, but blew zeroes on my breath test. His sobriety tests were all over the map - some OK, some terrible. He claimed to have had a stroke the previous weekend, and was on a bunch of meds for that. He could have been telling me the truth - what do I know from strokes? BUT, he was a total fucking asshole about the whole thing, blaming the other driver for stopping too quickly, and just generally giving me a hard time. So, I didn't charge him with DWI, but wrote him for reckless driving. And, since he had that stroke and has to take so many meds that they cause him to crash into stuff and then be a total prick, RETEST. Have fun with that!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Full Speed Astern

Just using your rear-view camera doesn't really constitute "looking" before you back up.

How else do you explain the fact that you backed into another car, even though "no one was coming when I checked my monitor"?

Next time, try expending the 3 calories necessary to actually turn your head to the side and look, and maybe you'll see the oncoming traffic instead of just the 8 square feet directly behind you.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Make Me Hate You

Milk your 15-minute run for over an hour, while another bullshit call on your beat sits in "Pending". Then, when you hear dispatch finally send me to cover for you, you go back into service immediately.

And if you don't think everybody on the shift didn't notice, you're even stupider than I give you credit for.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


When I was in the Marine Corps, we had lots of food choices when in the field. Unfortunately, they all came in cardboard boxes marked MEAL, COMBAT, INDIVIDUAL. These were C-Rations (AKA C-Rats). I remember once unloading cases of them off a chopper and seeing the cases date-stamped 1944. At least they didn't go to waste.

Here is a sealed case:

Here is an open case:

The meal selection included: Beef Steak; Ham and Eggs, Chopped; Ham Slices; Turkey Loaf; Beans and Frankfurters; Spaghetti and Meatballs; Beefsteak, Potatoes and Gravy; Ham and Lima Beans; Boned Chicken; Chicken and Noodles; Meat Loaf; Meatballs and Beans; and Spiced Beef. There were 12 of these meals to a case.

Each meal came in a cardboard box, and was made up of several cans that contained a main course, plus additional food, such as canned fruit, pastry, cheese or peanut butter, crackers, and the like. Here are the canned components of a Beans and Frankfurters meal (we called them Beans and Motherfuckers):

Note the can marked B-2 Unit. Other meals included B-1, B-1A, or B-3 units. These B-units contained crackers (we called them John Wayne crackers), candy, or chocolate bars (we called them shit disks). Here is an open B-3 unit, with 2 shit disks and 4 John Wayne crackers:

There also was an accessory pack with every meal, which contained a plastic spoon, instant coffee, sugar, creamer, salt, gum, a pack of 4 cigarettes, matches, and a little roll of toilet paper. Here is an open one:

Cans were opened with P-38 openers (we called them John Wayne openers). We typically kept one on our dogtag chains. Here's one:

If you were lucky enough to have the time, and you were in a place where you could use them, the meal could be heated up with trioxin tablets (AKA heat tabs). As I recall, these were pale purple lozenge-shaped tabs, which burned extremely hot. They also put out fumes not unlike tear gas. In fact, once during gas mask training, coffee cans full of heat tabs were used instead of tear gas. I don't want to think about the permanent pulmonary damage caused by those things. I couldn't find a picture of one. If heat tabs weren't available, a chunk of C-4 could be used. It burned very hot, but didn't explode when ignited.

The C-Ration main courses were uniformly awful. Here is an opened can of what I believe is Beef Steak. It must be heated, because the slab of congealed grease that was always on top is melted:

The canned fruit was so shockingly sweet I could barely get it down. The fruit cake and pound cake were dry as toast. The B-units weren't bad, nor was the peanut butter or jam. I remember one time getting a packet of hot chocolate powder in a meal. I was pretty excited until I added water, and about 50 tiny dried-out worm carcasses floated to the top. I just scooped them off and drank it anyway. My biggest complaint was that there was never enough toilet paper.

Here is a properly set table:

The only thing missing is the aluminum canteen cup, which added so much pizzaz to the instant coffee:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Just How Stupid Do You Think I Am?

Theft of anything that can be sold as scrap metal is rampant here. Yesterday I got a call about a guy stealing scrap radiators from a body shop. The shop owner had followed the guy and gotten a really good look at him, and had even gotten the make, model and plate of his car.

I went to the guy's house, and there he and his car were in the driveway. The guy flatly denied taking the radiators, and said he and the car had been there at home all day.


1) The car and the guy match the descriptions perfectly, and the body shop owner comes over and positively IDs the guy;

2) The keys are in the ignition, and the engine is red hot;

3) There are fresh drops of antifreeze on the rear bumper and the driveway;

4) There scrap radiators tossed into the window well of the guy's house.

He continued to deny he was involved all the way to jail.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Literally Literal

"We are all literally on the same page." (You and the rest of the congregation singing from church hymnals?)

"I opened the door, and it was literally like a blast furnace out there." (Really? 3,600 to 4200 degrees F?)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Patients and Patience

In the ER of Great Big Hospital:

Dr. St. Francis of Assisi: "The officers say you made threats to harm yourself. Are you still feeling that way?"

Ms. Brize: "Fuck you!"

Dr. St. Francis of Assisi: "OK. I get that. But I'm here to help you, so I need to know if you're still feeling like harming yourself."

Ms. Brize: "Fuck you, you miserable fuck!"

Dr. St. Francis of Assisi: "You can keep saying that, but I have to ask you these questions if I'm going to help you. Now, are you still feeling like you want to hurt yourself".

Ms. Brize: "Fuck you! Fuck all of you! Shut the fuck up and get the fuck away from me!"

Dr. St. Francis of Assisi: "Please, Ms. Brize, I'm just here to look after your best interests. If you could please calm down and just answer a couple of questions."

Ms. Brize: "Fuuuuuuuuuuuck yoooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!"

Dr. St. Francis of Assisi: "Fine. You're committed." (Walks out and closes door)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Gloom of Night.....

I get dispatched to an apartment building where someone has taken the outgoing mail, which is deposited in an open wooden box in the lobby, and opened it the laundry room - obviously hoping for some easy cash.

The building manager is doing the I-know-your-job-better-than-you-do act. He wants the mail dusted for prints, swabbed for DNA, and everything else he can think of. I tell him that postal theft is a federal beef, and I'll contact the Postal Inspector to see what they want done.

Mr. Herodotus: "It has to be someone in this building, because no one would come in from the outside to steal mail."

Officer Cynical: "Really? You don't think mail theft is ever done by someone who doesn't live in the building?"

Mr. Herodotus: "Well, it's been fine for 30 years, and now this."

Officer Cynical: "I guess it's not fine anymore, then, is it?"

Mr. Herodotus: "I think it's the guy in #9. He's a disabled Vietnam vet and on a bunch of medications. He has Agent Orange Disease and acts weird."

Officer Cynical: "Sounds like a few guys I was in the Marines with."

Mr. Herodotus: "Well, you don't know what he's like, and I do. I think he did it."

Officer Cynical: "Did you or anyone else see him with the mail?"

Mr. Herodotus: "No, but you don't know him like I do."

Officer Cynical: "Apparently not."

I call the Postal Inspector and get instructions from him.

Officer Cynical: "The Postal Inspector said he'll have the mail carrier come and pick up the damaged mail. They'll look into it from here on out."

Mr. Herodotus: "That's it? Nothing else?"

Officer Cynical: "There is one more thing. The Postal Inspector also said you're going to have to spring for a metal, lockable, secure mailbox for your tenants, or they won't deliver mail here anymore."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thought Police

I get sent on a call for suspicious persons.

The "victim" says that she was walking her dog, when a couple approached her. First, the male half  asked if he could pet her dog. She said "no", so he backed off. Then the female half asked if she could pet the dog, and the "victim" again refused, so the female backed off. The couple then explained that they were the owners of a local pet store, and were just curious about the unusual breed of dog the "victim" had, and they walked off.

The "victim" wanted to report that she believed the couple was thinking about stealing her dog and selling it in their pet shop. When I asked why she believed this, the "victim" said that the couple just didn't look like the kind of people who would own a business.

Thank you for calling. I believe Dr. St. Francis of Assisi does psych evals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9 AM to 5 PM at Great Big Hospital just down the road.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Traffic Court

I routinely get subpoenaed to traffic court for citations I've written. This is how it almost always goes:

Judge: (to City Prosecutor): "Call your first witness."

City Prosecutor: "The city calls Officer Cynical."

I go to the witness stand and get sworn in. I'm asked about what I saw and what I did, and I testify accordingly. When the city is done with me:

Judge: (to Defendant seated at defense table): "Do you have any questions for the officer?"

Defendant: "No, Your Honor."

Judge: (to Defendant): "Do you have any testimony you'd like to give?"

Defendant: "No, Your Honor."

Judge: (to Defendant): "Well, is there anything about this case that you'd like me to know before I render a verdict?"

Defendant: "No, Your Honor."

The defendant is then found guilty and storms out of the court room, obviously pissed off that he was found guilty, even though he offered not a single word or any evidence in his own defense.

And if this is my off day, I get paid overtime just for showing up!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Talking In Circles

Officer Cynical: "So, you admit you shoplifted the booze from the liquor store earlier today?"

Mr. Schlitz: "No, because I paid my bill."

Officer Cynical: "What do you mean by that?"

Mr. Schlitz: "Well, when I got my hands on some money later, I went back to the liquor store and paid my bill."

Officer Cynical: "Your bill for what?"

Mr. Schlitz: "The booze I got earlier."

Officer Cynical: "At the liquor store?"

Mr. Schlitz: "Yes."

Officer Cynical: "So, you admit you got booze at the liquor store earlier today, and left the store without paying for it?"

 Mr. Schlitz: "No, because I went back later and paid my bill."

Voice Inside Officer Cynical's Head: (screaming) "Jesus H. Christ on a freakin' unicycle!!!"

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Say It Isn't So

Doesn't everyone know by now that if you're going to sell stuff on Craigslist, you don't accept checks via snail mail that are for way over the amount you're selling the item for, and you don't then wire the difference in cash back to the person who sent you the check?

Doesn't everyone know that the check is bogus, and you won't find out until a week from now when it bounces and you've already wired the cash off?

Doesn't everyone know that the address you've been given to ship your crap to is also bogus, and it will either wind up arriving at the home of some bewildered schmuck (who will probably sell it on Craigslist) or just be returned to you?

Doesn't everyone who can read, or watch TV, or has more than three operating CNS neurons know all this?

No, they do not! And they're all calling me to take the report!

August 7, 1942

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor


Rank and Organization: Major General, U.S. Marine Corps, commanding officer of the 1st Marine Division. Place and Date: Solomon Islands, 7 August to 9 December 1942. Entered Service at: Virginia. Born: 13 March 1887, Charlottesville, Va.


For outstanding and heroic accomplishment above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the 1st Marine Division in operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands during the period 7 August to 9 December 1942. With the adverse factors of weather, terrain, and disease making his task a difficult and hazardous undertaking, and with his command eventually including sea, land, and air forces of Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, Maj. Gen. Vandegrift achieved marked success in commanding the initial landings of the U.S. forces in the Solomon Islands and in their subsequent occupation. His tenacity, courage, and resourcefulness prevailed against a strong, determined, and experienced enemy, and the gallant fighting spirit of the men under his inspiring leadership enabled them to withstand aerial, land, and sea bombardment, to surmount all obstacles, and leave a disorganized and ravaged enemy. This dangerous but vital mission, accomplished at the constant risk of his life, resulted in securing a valuable base for further operations of our forces against the enemy, and its successful completion reflects great credit upon Maj. Gen. Vandegrift, his command, and the U.S. Naval Service.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Think My Feelings Are Hurt

The other night I went on a barricaded suicidal guy. He had called his mom and asked her to buy him a car (never mind that he's in his 40s), and she said she would but not today because she was busy. So our boy said "Fine, I'll just kill myself then", and mom called us.

This is a guy we've dealt with before - meth junkie, highly volatile, hates cops, and in the past has barricaded himself in his apartment with guns. So, we take him kinda seriously. Several cops go into the apartment hallway and talk to the guy through the door, while I draw the short straw and get posted outside to watch the windows.

It's cold and windy, and I took my coat, hat and gloves home last week because winter's over, right? And my partner won't stop talking about how badly he has to pee. After about an hour the inside cops get our guy to open the door, and they cuff him up to take him to the hospital for his psych eval.

So, now I'm standing near the outside door to the building, and as they bring him past me, he stops, turns, looks right at me, and screams, "Fuck you, you fucking pig!" I couldn't think of one clever retort, so I just stood there.

Oh, and we found out later that mom isn't helping things by contributing to the car fund - our boy's last suicide attempt was by crashing a car into a wall.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I honestly do appreciate your service, but...

The other day I stopped a guy for driving 15 miles per hour over the limit in a school zone. This is an elementary school on a 2-lane road with buses and parents dropping kids off, and kids crossing the street, so I take speed enforcement there pretty seriously. When I politely presented the citation to the driver, we had the following exchange:

Driver: "I haven't had a ticket since I was a teenager. I was on my way to the VA, you know".

Me: (silent)

Driver: "You must not have much to do if you're out picking on guys like me".

Me: (silent)

Driver: "I bet you feel pretty good about yourself, picking on military men".

Me: "Sir, I'm a Marine Corps veteran myself. I served six years in combat infantry. And I'm not picking on anybody. I'm trying to keep these kids from getting run over by people driving carelessly. I feel pretty good about all of that".

Driver: "Well, why don't you go out and pick on some of your buddies?" (throws citation onto floor and drives off)

Had I been thinking more quickly, I'd've asked him if he was pissed off because I was trying to make sure he didn't run down a first-grader, or because he thought he was above the law because he was a military veteran. Please - if you get stopped by a cop, DON'T play the veteran card to get out of a ticket. Veterans like me don't like it.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I'm Scared

I'm transporting yet another drunk to detox. I tell him I need to hurry and get him there, because I'm due to testify in court in 20 minutes.

Mr. Bill: (from the back seat of my squad car) "Hey, this is about me, man. It doesn't matter what else you have to do. I gotta get to detox."

Officer Cynical: "Uh, that's exactly what we're doing - getting you to detox. All I said was we have to hurry so I can get to court on time."

Mr. Bill: "That don't matter. Yer job is to get me to detox."

Officer Cynical: "Dude, I'm doing that. But we're gonna make it quick so I can make it to court."

Mr. Bill: "This is bullshit. I've never been treated like this in my life. I thought cops were supposed to help people."

Officer Cynical: "How are you being treated any way other than well? I could've told you to take a cab to detox and left you on your own. You're getting a free ride, courtesy of the taxpayers."

Mr. Bill: "This is bullshit, man. People know who I am. Important people. You just lost your job. And I'll see you in court. You're gonna pay."

Officer Cynical: "OK."

August 4, 1944

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor



Rank and Organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 24 May 1921, Centralia, Ill. Accredited To: Illinois.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, 2d Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces at Tinian Island, Marianas Group, on 4 August 1944. As 1 of a group of marines advancing through heavy underbrush to neutralize isolated points of resistance, Pfc. Wilson daringly preceded his companions toward a pile of rocks where Japanese troops were supposed to be hiding. Fully aware of the danger involved, he was moving forward while the remainder of the squad, armed with automatic rifles, closed together in the rear when an enemy grenade landed in the midst of the group. Quick to act, Pfc. Wilson cried a warning to the men and unhesitatingly threw himself on the grenade, heroically sacrificing his own life that the others might live and fulfill their mission. His exceptional valor, his courageous loyalty and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave peril reflect the highest credit upon Pfc. Wilson and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

August 3, 1944

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor


Rank and Organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: December 1921, Derby, Conn. Accredited To: Illinois

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division, during the Battle of Finegayen at Guam, Marianas, on 3 August 1944. When his rifle platoon was halted by heavy surprise fire from well-camouflaged enemy positions, Pfc. Witek daringly remained standing to fire a full magazine from his automatic at point-blank range into a depression housing Japanese troops, killing 8 of the enemy and enabling the greater part of his platoon to take cover. During his platoon's withdrawal for consolidation of lines, he remained to safeguard a severely wounded comrade, courageously returning the enemy's fire until the arrival of stretcher bearers, and then covering the evacuation by sustained fire as he moved backward toward his own lines. With his platoon again pinned down by a hostile machinegun, Pfc. Witek, on his own initiative, moved forward boldly to the reinforcing tanks and infantry, alternately throwing hand grenades and firing as he advanced to within 5 to 10 yards of the enemy position, and destroying the hostile machinegun emplacement and an additional 8 Japanese before he himself was struck down by an enemy rifleman. His valiant and inspiring action effectively reduced the enemy's firepower, thereby enabling his platoon to attain its objective, and reflects the highest credit upon Pfc. Witek and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Yet Another Satisfied Customer

Mr. Etoh: (falling-down drunk) "I gave my ID to some cop last night, and I want it back right now."

Officer Cynical: "Well, I wasn't working last night, so I don't have it."

Mr. Etoh: "You fucking guys - you're the same everywhere I go. I want my ID back right-fucking-now."

Officer Cynical: (checks with dispatch to find out who dealt with Mr. Etoh the night before) "OK, here's the name of the officer you talked to last night. He works tonight, so call him then and see if he has your ID."

Mr. Etoh: "You gotta be fucking kidding me. You motherfuckers are all alike. I gotta have that ID right now."

Officer Cynical: "Well, I don't have your ID. That officer might. You're going to have to call him tonight and see. That's the best I can do for you."

Mr. Etoh: "Goddammit, I hate you fucking guys. I hate cops. I hate every cop I ever dealt with. You're all alike and you think you're better than me."

Officer Sarcasm: (steps in between Etoh and me) "OK, how about this - you either shut the fuck up and walk away, or I'm taking you to jail right now."

Mr. Etoh: (makes big display of how exasperated he is) "Fuck you guys. I'm going home."

Officer Cynical: "Good choice."