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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Don't Tug on Superman's Cape

One night I had a DUI stopped in the parking lot of a convenience store. This was one of those occasional stops where the person pretends they don't see that big squad car behind them with the all the bright, whirling lights going. I think they must be thinking that if they ignore me, I'll go away.

This guy exits his car and makes a beeline for the store like I'm not there. Once I catch up to him and determine that he's totally plastered, I try to get him into the back seat of my car. He doesn't want to go, and we wind up in something of a stalemate: I have him pinned to the side of my squad car, but every time I try to stuff him in the back he tries to fight me.

I manage to radio for back-up, and shortly thereafter one of our guys shows up. Now, Chris is rather on the large side. Way on the large side, in fact. NFL lineman plus 30 pounds on the large side. He comes lumbering across the parking lot with a smile on his face, and asks, "Whattsa matter, man, you can't get 'im in your car?" I reply in the negative.

Now, understand I have all I can handle at this point. I'm straining to keep this guy shoved up against the side of my car. And although I'm an average-sized guy and in pretty good shape, there's no way I can get him in the back by myself. Chris snatches this guy up by the collar, rips him off the side of my car - almost dumping me on my ass in the process - then picks the guy up and throws him into my back seat like a sack of dirty laundry. Chris dusts of his hands and walks off toward his squad. He says over his shoulder, "There ya' go, bud", and drives off.

I wanna be like Chris when I grow up.

Monday, September 15, 2014


I've been working the same beat for several years. And at least once a week, I get dispatched to deal with Earl. To say Earl is a down-and-out alcoholic is like saying the sun's core is warm. Every time I go there, he's laying in the apartment hallway in his underwear, essentially unresponsive. He's always completely immune to the sternum rub, which means he has to go to the ER via ambulance. The paramedics know Earl by name, they've been there so often.

Anyway, one day last week we were short-handed, so I got reassigned for the day to a beat clear on the other side of the city from where I usually work. Part way through the day I get dispatched to a welfare check on someone. I walk into the apartment, and guess who's laying there passed out? Earl has been evicted from his apartment on my beat (YAY!) and is now living here. So, of course, the one day I work a different beat I have to deal with him. Earl, I hope you enjoy your new digs. And I hope the regular beat officer enjoys his new regular customer as much as I have.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Dirty Half-Dozen

Several of us get sent to deal with a complainant calling from an industrial area. He tells us that some people beat him up, but he appears to have actually done a drunken face-plant. He says he "blacked out" from the booze, but does remember that it happened on the adjacent railroad tracks, so we go over there. He goes to the ER by ambulance, and later walks away without treatment or a police interview.

On the tracks, we deal with these sterling citizens:

A male who tries to flee on foot, and accidentally runs right to me. He has multiple felony warrants and goes to jail.

A female so drunk she can barely stand. She keeps saying she's related to somebody important. Goes to the ER by ambulance, then to detox.

Another female so drunk she can barely stand. She keeps showing me a small nick on her hand and repeats endlessly, "I'm diabetis. I'm diabetis. I'm diabetis." I manage to refrain from shoving her in front of an oncoming train. Goes to ER by ambulance, then to detox.

A male so drunk neither cops nor ambulance crew can rouse him. He's carried to an ambulance and taken to the ER. Still there the next day.

A male who's drunk, but able to walk and talk. Allowed to leave. Good, as we've temporarily exhausted all available squad cars and ambulances on this herd.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Marriage In Jeopardy

So, Mrs. Cynical gives me this long look like, "How in the hell could an idiot like you possibly know that?" when Alex Trebek said, "The people to whom Delilah delivered Samson, and who found Samson's strength was derived from his long hair", and I shouted (correctly), "Who were the Philistines?"

 Hey - 12 years in Catholic school - I know who Samson and the Philistines were. And I coulda told ya' that he killed a thousand of 'em with the jawbone of ass, too, so shut up!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

No Means No

Officer Cynical: "Sorry, I have nothing but bad news for you. You'll have to appear in court on this no-insurance citation."

Mr. D. Nide: "OK."

Mr. Cynical: "And your car is going to the impound lot."

Mr. D. Nide: "What?! Can't I just pull it into the parking lot right there and leave it? I promise I won't drive it!"

Officer Cynical: "No."

Mr. D. Nide: "I live just two blocks from here. Can't I just drive to my house? I'll leave it in the driveway from now on."

Officer Cynical: "No."

Mr. D. Nide: "You can even follow me to make sure I go straight home."

Officer Cynical: (has vision of D. Nide mowing down crosswalk full of kindergarteners just ahead of police escort) "No."

Mr. D. Nide: "Come on, man! Please?"

Officer Cynical: "No."

Mr. D. Nide: "This is bullshit!" (stomps off)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It Don't Work That Way

I'm on a traffic stop with a guy who's clearly drunk, has a suspended driver's license, and has no insurance. I can't even remember how many times I've dealt with this idiot before. I tell him to sit in his car and stay put until I come back and talk to him some more.

I'm sitting in my squad, writing citations and trying to decide how much to pile on. I'm dreading the thought of doing any sobriety tests on him because he's always such a whiny, uncooperative douchebag. I happen to glance up just in time to see his automatic radio antenna going up as he starts the engine and high-tails it out of there.

I know where he's going: his apartment, which is about 4 blocks away. I cruise over there, and sure enough there he is getting out of his car. I grab him and now he actually wants to fight me. This is like being attacked by an extremely intoxicated version of the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. I'm more worried about accidentally breaking one of his bones than anything else.

I finally get him cuffed up and he starts telling me he did NOT flee from the traffic stop. He says he had informed me that he would meet me at his apartment where we could finish up our business, and I said that was OK, and so he just drove home.

Oddly, I don't recall any such conversation. And besides, it just don't work like that. Last I heard, he was doing 18 months at the state pen. But he'll be back. He'll be back.

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Do You Have in the Way of a Vegetarian Menu?

I was confident you were detox material when we came to your hotel room and couldn't wake you up.

The fact that once we sternum-rubbed you back to some semblance of consciousness you could barely dress yourself was another clue.

But the kicker was when we walked you across the parking lot to my squad car, and your pants fell down around your ankles and you didn't even notice. All those nicely dressed folks on their way to Sunday brunch certainly got an eyeful, especially since you weren't wearing any underpants. I'm betting none of them ordered the sausage links.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I know from experience that it can suck living in an apartment building. Even nice ones invariably have a nutcase or a dirtbag living in them, who makes it unpleasant for others. But there's nothing I can do about your upstairs neighbor's kids making noise while they play, or the guy across the hall with the TV on too loud to suit you, or the woman downstairs whose dog peed in the hallway. Talk to your apartment manager. It's his job to monitor and correct that stuff, not mine. That's apartment living. Get used to it, or move out.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


I have to foot-chase this asshole who runs from me on a traffic stop. In the process, I fall and bust my ass, but still manage to catch the guy. I get him back to my squad car, where Officer Sweetheart is waiting.

Officer Sweetheart: "You OK?"

Officer Cynical: "Yeah, I fell while I was chasing this moron, but I think I'm OK."

Officer Sweetheart: "So, what are you charging him with?"

Officer Cynical: "Everything I can think of."

Officer Sweetheart: "You know, a little sympathy wouldn't hurt. You don't know what kind of problems this guy has that made him act this way. Try to be more sensitive."

Officer Cynical: "Hey, if you make me run after you, you get charged for it. How about you never back me up on a call again?"

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: No Such Thing As TMI

I'm sitting here watching a good program on TV.

There is a stationary weather alert banner across the bottom of the screen, which periodically changes to update information in various locations. Every so often, the stationary banner becomes a moving ticker, displaying the same information.

To the left of the banner/ticker is the station's logo, with the words "WEATHER ALERT" underneath.

Above the logo is an animated weather map, which includes at least 4 surrounding states.

Then, the program is interrupted. There is Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, at the Channel 13 Weather Panic Button Center. As usual, he looks like he just climbed out of bed, and wore his cheap suit instead of pajamas.

Now, Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, begins talking about the "emergency weather advisory", which is in the next state! It is hours south of us. So far so, that I can't believe they can even be getting this broadcast down there.

Next, Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, begins to describe the conditions there. I am not making this up. He covers how the hail there has decreased in size over the last hour from 1.5 inches to 1 inch. He covers the possibility that "the lights might flicker" if conditions get extreme enough, so people should be ready for that. And then he shows another weather map that shows cloud height. CLOUD HEIGHT! I hadn't planned on a hot air balloon trip down there any time soon, but at least now I'm prepared if I do.

I hate Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dorian Gray Minus the Picture

I stop a guy for speeding in a school zone this morning. He is very polite and cooperative, and admits he wasn't paying any attention and deserves the ticket. After I finish issuing it to him, he looks me up and down and we have the following exchange:

Mr. Flattery: "So, you must be a Sergeant."

Officer Cynical: "No, just a Police Officer."

Mr. Flattery: (looking a little disappointed) "Oh. Well, you look like you've been at this a long time."

Monday, September 1, 2014

Another Reason I Love My Job

Today I was driving through a strip mall on my beat. It's an 'L' shaped affair, with a big parking lot.

Standing in the lot near the inside corner of the 'L', was a clean-up guy with one of those folding dust pans on the end of a long handle and a little broom. You know the deal - you lower the pan on the long handle and swat the garbage into it with the little broom.

The wind was blowing like crazy, causing a small tornado in the corner of the 'L'. And here's this poor SOB standing in the middle of this vortex, trying to knock the spiraling, airborne scraps of paper, leaves, drink cups, cigarette butts, and miscellaneous crap out of this twister and into the dust pan with his little broom. It looked like someone trying to herd a swarm of angry bees into shoe box.

I can only imagine what he must dream about at night.