Friday, February 27, 2015

Poor You

You're a cab driver. Like me, you make a living mostly driving around in a circle all day. And, like me, you know that you're entrusted with an expensive machine that doesn't belong to you (my fully tricked-out squad car is about $150K), and that your employer trusts you to use it carefully. Today, by your own admission, you "took your eyes off the road for just a second", and slammed into the back of a woman who was minding her own business.

Don't even try to tell me how hard you braked before hitting her, and that you "couldn't stop" - your radiator was shoved clear back to your firewall, so I know you never touched your brakes. And don't, when I write you a ticket, give me that exasperated sigh and high school girl eye roll. You're just lucky that the woman miraculously wasn't injured, that neither car caught fire, and that you just got a pay-out careless driving citation.

It really could've been much, much worse. For both of you.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

"I Love You. I'm Going To Kill Myself."

I get sent to a big apartment building to do a welfare check on a woman who had made suicidal threats to her boyfriend. He is practically hysterical, because she won't answer the door. I get the manager to let me in, and I do a search of the apartment.

Living room - nothing.

Dining room - nothing.

Kitchen - nothing.

Bathroom - nothing.

Guest Bedroom - nothing.

To the right at the very end of the hallway is an open door to the woman's bedroom. I walk cautiously up to the edge of the doorway, from where I can see 95% of the room. Nothing. I decide I better check under the bed and in the closet, in case she's just hiding, and I make the right turn into the room.

There she is, 5 feet in front of me, staring right at me, mouth open, tongue sticking out - hanging dead from a belt around her neck. It was like a scene from a horror movie. It scared the living shit out of me.

She had looped the belt over the top of the closet door, then stepped off an ottoman. In the process, she had dropped her cell phone on the floor - the very one she'd texted her boyfriend the suicide threat with. One foot was still resting on the ottoman, as though she had possibly changed her mind at the last second. Too late.

You don't forget stuff like that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Arithmetic Lesson

"The temperature has dropped to 10 degrees in the last couple of hours, so it's above zero out there."

So, 10 is greater than 0???

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When I Take Your Kids

When you, a known alcoholic and meth user, somehow get custody of your 6-month-old twins and 2-year-old son, AND

You leave those kids with your current girlfriend, another drug abuser, and disappear for several days, THEN

Your current girlfriend then calls your ex-wife, yet another meth head, and tells her to come and get the kids or she'll dump them with child welfare, SO

Your ex-wife then calls your parents, also regular police clients, and asks them to take the kids because she doesn't want them, BUT

A complete stranger shows up at your parents' trailer with the kids in tow, but no food, formula, diapers, or clothing appropriate for the weather, AND

Your parents call me, not knowing where to turn next.

I am happy as hell to take those poor kids into protective custody, because I know anywhere else but with you will be a huge improvement. And when you call me, all pissed off and threatening my job for taking your kids, I say that if I lose my job over this then you can fucking have it.

Monday, February 23, 2015


When your drunken idiot boyfriend jumps onto the hood of your car to keep you from leaving a party, you should probably choose...wisely, and just stop and call the cops. Instead, you chose...poorly.

Your decision to speed off with him on your hood, dynamite the brakes so he flew off onto the concrete, then run over him, was fatally flawed. And I do mean fatally.

But I hear there's another party going on at the jail.

Friday, February 20, 2015

I Don't Shake Hands With Clients

A couple of us were sent to investigate a suspicious vehicle outside an office building late one night. The car was parked out front with the trunk lid open, and the trunk was full of booze. There was no one around.

My partner and I went around back, where we noticed a light coming from a basement floor window. We carefully made our way to the window and peaked in. There was a guy leaned back in his desk chair, porn movie playing on his computer monitor, while he was.....enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Before we could do anything else, he finished, zipped up, and headed for the front door where we met him. We explained that we had been called about his car, and had checked the back of the building because we saw light back there.

Mr. Bates: " looked in the window?"

Officer Cynical: "Yup."

Mr. Bates: "And you saw?"

Officer Cynical: "Yup."

Mr. Bates: "Everything?"

Officer Cynical: "Yup."

Mr. Bates: (slumps to squatting position and puts face in hands) "Oh, my God!"

Officer Cynical: "Yup. Have a nice night and drive carefully."

I never did find out why the lid to his booze-stocked trunk was left open.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Iwo Jima and Me

In early 1944, the Marine Corp's 5th Marine Division was formed. My Dad, who was already serving in the Pacific Theater, put in for transfer to the 5th Division along with two of his buddies. I don't know for sure, but my guess is that they looking for a change of scenery from their Defense Battalion duties. My Dad's two friends were transferred to the 5th Division, but my Dad was not. On February 19, 1945, the Fifth Marine Division invaded the island of Iwo Jima. My Dad's two friends were part of that landing, and both were killed there.

When he returned from the Pacific, my Dad was slated for Japanese language school, probably due to the anticipated invasion of mainland Japan. Before that could happen, however, Japan surrendered and my Dad was eventually discharged. (As an aside, the thought of my old man in Japanese language school is absolutely hilarious!)

Whenever I think of this, it strikes me how fortuitous life is. It's an infinitely branching road, and for every choice you make - or someone makes for you - you embark down another branch. Just about 6,000 Marines and Navy Corpsmen were KIA or DOW on Iwo Jima. Another nearly 18,000 were wounded. That's a casualty rate of about 1 of every 3.  I wonder if whoever denied my Dad's request for transfer sent him down a branch that eventually led to me. I wonder, had my Dad's request been granted, if that branch would ever have existed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Reason Auctions End With the Word: "Sold!"

I don't care what any of the on-line auction sites tell you in their TV commercials. You are not "winning" anything. You're buying it. It's not in any sense a contest to be "won", except maybe you're competing to spend the most money. Maybe I'm splitting hairs here, but I don't care. It irritates the shit out of me to hear these shills saying, "I won the very first auction I bid on!" No, you didn't. You bought something, just as sure as if you'd gone to the store and gotten it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Fastest Diagnosis In The West

Dr. St. Francis of Assisi and an RN are holding down a struggling, highly intoxicated wack-job that we had brought in for a psych eval. Amidst all the drunk's screamed curses and attempts to punch/kick/headbutt everybody present, they have this exchange across the gurney:

RN (ever so calmly): So, immediate clearance and off to jail?

Dr. St. Francis of Assisi: (even more calmly): Sounds like a plan.

Monday, February 16, 2015


I see a lot of bad things in my job. All kinds of bad things. I've become jaded over the years, and not a lot gets to me. But this did:

I was on patrol on the evening of July 4th a few years back. It was a typical Fourth of July - calls about drunks and illegal fireworks filled the shift. Then, I was sent to check on a dog by the side of the road near an interstate overpass. I found the dog - a good-sized, gray giant schnauzer-looking guy - lying in the gutter just below the interstate. The caller was there, and said that he thought the dog had either jumped or been thrown from the overpass.

It was clear that the dog had severe spine injuries. His back legs didn't work at all, and his front legs were sticking out straight in front of him and quivering. I picked him up, put him on the back seat of my squad car, and drove him to the emergency vet clinic, which was only a few blocks away.

I got him inside, where the vet confirmed the dog had a broken spine and pelvis. She said his survival was questionable, but they'd keep him overnight and see how he did. I told the vet to do whatever was necessary, and I'd cover the cost.

That night, I went home and tried to tell Mrs. Cynical about the incident. I couldn't get through it. I cried like a baby. The one and only time I ever did over something at work.

The next day, I stopped in to check on the dog's progress. I was told that the owners had somehow found out the dog was there, and had come in. They had already had the dog put down. They were also really angry that the cops hadn't done more to help the dog.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Suspect in the back seat of my squad car points at his own mug shot, which is on my in-car computer screen:

Mr. Rathbone: "That's not me!"

Officer Cynical: "Is that your name under the photo?"

Mr. Rathbone: "Yes."

Officer Cynical: "And is that your date of birth, right under the name?"

Mr. Rathbone: "Yes."

Officer Cynical: "And you're telling me that that face, which looks exactly like yours, and has your name and date of birth under, isn't you?"

Mr. Rathbone: "Yes."

Officer Cynical: Cannot stop laughing for the next 20 minutes.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Nocturnal Admission

"Have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night by a thunderstorm and wondered 'What's going on?'"

Um, no.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

There's flea on the hair on the wart on the frog on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea...

I'm pretty sure that the dent on the roof of your car is not from another car. Yes, I see there is some white transfer paint near the dent on the roof, but I still don't think it was from a car. Yes, I see the scratches next to the transfer paint near the dent on the roof, but I don't think it was caused by a car. Yes, I see the tail light lens is broken too, just below the the scratches next to the transfer paint near the dent  on the roof, but I don't think it was done by a car. OK, maybe one of those flying cars from the 1950s, but I haven't seen one of those around here lately. No, I'm sorry, I'm not taking a hit-and-run report, because there's no way that damage on the roof was caused by a car.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Idea Of Fun

I run a lot of license plates during my shift. As a result, I get lots of people with suspended licenses, warrants, and more. Occasionally I hit the jackpot.

The other day, I ran an out-of-state plate on the car in front of me. Before the hit came back, the car turned off into a grocery store parking lot. A second later, it came back as a stolen car. I whipped into the parking lot, but the car was gone. Vanished. Disappeared.

I got two other squads started my way to help me search, and I began checking the parking lot and surrounding streets. Nothing. After about 10 minutes, I was frustrated and mad that I'd let one get away.

I decided that if the guy was heading to a grocery (the only thing open at that time) for cigarettes or beer, maybe he'd go to a nearby convenience store instead. I was on my way to the closest one when who do you suppose drove right by me, heading back toward the shopping center? I whipped my squad around, hit the lights and siren, and tried to catch up. Unbelievably, other traffic did exactly what they were supposed to do - pull over and get out of my way.

As I pulled up behind the stolen, the driver shot into the grocery store parking lot, hit the brakes hard, and did a 180 in the ice and snow. I was sure he was going to take off in the other direction, but he actually stopped and threw his hands up. I radioed my situation (I'm sure my voice was about 12 octaves higher than normal), jumped out of my squad car, and got the driver at gunpoint. My back-up arrived and we took the guy into custody.

I realized then that adrenaline was practically shooting out of my eyeballs: I was breathing hard, my hands were shaking, and I was pacing back and forth like a caged lion. Once the dust settled, I advised the guy he was under arrest for the stolen car, possession of drugs and paraphernalia, and driving under suspension.

His response? "OK, but I'm gonna fight the suspension". Good luck to ya', buddy.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Don't Call Me, Chapter 107

First of all, if you call the cops because you've had an automobile "accident", stick around until we get there. Because the parking lot is full of cars, and it's hard to tell which one's been in an "accident" when you leave the scene to finish shopping. I don't have time to go into the store and hunt you up.

Second, an automobile "accident" requires that there be some visible damage. I don't do reports when two cars touch, and there's absolutely no visible damage.

Finally, I definitely don't do reports because you think there may be "undercarriage" damage that doesn't show up right now. I can pretty much guarantee you that when there's absolutely no visible damage to the outside of your car, there's not gonna be any invisible damage to your "undercarriage". If you're going to own and drive a car, you might want to try being a grown-up, too.

Friday, February 6, 2015

I've Said It Before

and I'll say it again:

Do NOT drive 10 mph slower than the speed limit when there's a cop car behind you. I guarantee you, the cop won't like you better because you're such a careful driver. Do the speed limit, or move the hell over.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dumb and Dumber

So, you have an ongoing feud with your neighbor over parking on the street, and you two exchanged words about it this morning. There's nothing you want the cops to do about it, but you called because you want to "counteract" any calls your neighbor may make to the cops about the same incident. I'm sorry, but I'm leaving. You may want to consider remembering that you're 70 years old, not 7.

And you're the other half of this neighbor feud over parking, and you're flagging me down because you want to know why I was talking to your neighbor. I'm sorry, but I'm leaving. It's none of your business why I'm talking to anybody. And you may want to try remembering that you're 80 years old, not 8.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

This Is Rule 1

I was reminded again today by the topless drunk woman we had to remove from a crappy hotel room:

There is no good naked in police work.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Memory Lapse

I have to admit, you're the first person ever to tell me that you "forgot" whether you were speeding or not. Good luck with that defense in court. I remember just fine, and so does my radar.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Not a Package Deal

Today I took a complaint from a lady that her ex-husband showed up at her house, in violation of a no-contact order, and chased her around. This is grounds for immediate arrest. I go to the guy's house, and he readily admits what he did.

Officer Cynical: "OK, well, you're under arrest then for violating a no-contact order."

Mr. Gallo: "You can't arrest me."

Officer Cynical: "Really? Why not?"

Mr. Gallo: "Because I have a court date scheduled for doing exactly the same thing last week."

Officer Cynical: "So why can't I arrest you today for what you did today?"

Mr. Gallo: "Because you can just attach this one to the court date I have for the other one. You can't take me to jail."

Officer Cynical: "So, you're saying if you were scheduled for trial for a bank robbery, you could in the meantime just go rob a bunch more banks and we couldn't arrest you for them?"

Mr. Gallo: "Well, when you put it like that....."

Officer Cynical: "Turn around and put your hands behind your back."

Mr. Gallo: "Boy, you're an asshole!"