Friday, May 29, 2015

The Clapper

Ms. Neisseria: "I want to file charges against my boyfriend."

Officer Cynical: "Did he assault you or something?"

Ms. Neisseria: "No, he gave me gonorrhea."

Officer Cynical: "OK. Did you know he had gonorrhea?"

Ms. Neisseria: "His other girlfriend told me she got it from him, but I didn't believe her."

Officer Cynical: "Well, I don't think there's been a crime committed here."

Ms. Neisseria: "But it's the second time I got it from him!"

Officer Cynical: "Public Health is just two blocks that way."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

You Make My Job Easy

If you've failed to register as a sex offender for so long that a warrant's been issued for your arrest, you probably shouldn't call the cops to complain about some other dumb crap. I run everybody I deal with, including the callers. You obviously didn't know that. The look on your face when I arrested you was priceless.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Mirror Images

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, forecast the precipitation probabilities for the past 3 days (including today) thusly: 100%, 80%, and 0%. It didn't rain a drop the first 2 days (the sun was even out yesterday). Today, as I look out the window, it is pouring rain with no end in sight. Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, can come cut my foot-high grass for me, since I put it off until today due to the surety of rain on the previous two.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

You Never, Ever Know

Officer clocks 44-year-old woman at 60 mph in 35 mph zone, and attempts a traffic stop. Then, this:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day, 2015

In 1944, my Dad returned from an 18-month tour in the Pacific Theater. He stayed in the Marine Corps until after VJ Day, and was discharged in late 1945. I joined the Marines because of him. He's been gone sine 2000. He is my Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I'm Having Trouble Believing You

I was dispatched to one of our locked mental health facilities, because a female patient wanted to report an assault. She said another patient, Mr. Ambo, had chased her into her room, held her down with one hand, and grabbed her breast with the other.

I went to interview Mr. Ambo, only to find that he had been confined to a motorized wheelchair for years, could barely lift his head, and had one arm amputated at the shoulder.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wasting A Second Chance

Prologue: Imagine a chain link fence. Take away the chain link, and you're left with a series of vertical posts sticking up out of the ground. Resting horizontally atop those posts is a tube, which is the top rail of the fence. The top rail consists of one or more continuous lengths of galvanized steel, each of which may be up to 30 feet long.

One evening a call came out for an overturned vehicle just a few blocks from me. This was on a long straight 2-lane road in an industrial area, with a ditch on each side. I was on scene in about 2 minutes, with other cops, fire and ambulance still en route. It was about 15 below zero.

Across the ditch in a flat area was an older Dodge van, resting on its roof. The driver and one passenger had been ejected, and were lying in the dirt, largely unresponsive. There were no obvious wounds that I could treat, so I let them be for the moment. The other passenger was still in the front passenger seat inside the upside down van. My first thought was, wow - that seat belt did a fantastic job. Then I realized what I was looking at.

The van had been traveling about 70 mph in a 35 mph zone. All the occupants were huffing Dust-Off. The driver blacked out, crossed the center line, went down in the ditch, up the other side, and then went airborne. The van then came down on top of a very long chain link fence, and actually slid along the top of it for some distance before falling off and rolling over on its roof.

In the process of sliding along the top of the fence, the top rail punched through the front of the van. It continued through the radiator, engine compartment, and firewall, then entered the passenger compartment. There, it penetrated the front passenger's thigh just above the knee. This 2-inch diameter steel pipe then  traveled the length of the passenger's thigh near the femur, and exited his right buttock. The top rail continued its journey through the back of the passenger seat, the back seat, and the rear door. The metal pipe had passed through the entire length of the van, including one person, and the broken ends were still sticking out the front and back of the van.

The passenger was, in effect, "pinned" like a bug in a bug collection to his seat by the pipe that had slammed through him. I couldn't believe my eyes. I'm not sure, at first, that even the passenger realized what his predicament was.

Finally, fire and ambulance arrived. Everyone was wide-eyed at what was in front of them. While ambulance dealt with the driver and the passenger on the ground, fire did the only thing they could do: they started cutting through the top rail as close as they could to the entrance and exit wounds. I'll spare you the audio from the passenger. It was horrific. They finally got him out of there and off to the hospital.

All three survived.

Epilogue: A year or two later I was sent to a physical domestic. Guess who? He was sponging off his mother and had slapped her around during an argument over groceries. We talked briefly about the accident, and he showed me scars from that night. It was about as bad as you'd imagine. Then I hauled him off to jail.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Signs you may be a drunk driver:

- You pass out at the wheel while waiting for the light to turn green. Bonus points if your head is resting on the horn, but that blaring sound doesn't wake you up.
- The people in the car behind you think you've had a stroke and call an ambulance.
- You keep passing out and slumping sideways in the driver's seat while Officer Cynical tries to talk to you.
- When Officer Cynical asks for your driver's license, you give him your library card.
- You have a Pepsi can in your cup holder, but it smells suspiciously like bourbon.
- It takes both Officer Cynical and Officer Sarcasm to hold you up when you try to exit your car.
- You keep grabbing onto Officer Cynical to keep from falling down during the sobriety tests.
- You give almost no breath sample on the portable breathalyzer, but still score over a .30.
- While on your way to jail in the back of a squad car, you keep giving Officer Cynical directions to your house.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


I was on a traffic stop this morning outside an office building. Affixed to the side of the building next to the entryway, in plain view of the entire world, was this great big sign:
Standing right next to the sign was a woman, smoking a cigarette. I watched as she smoked it down about halfway, rubbed it out on the sidewalk, then put the unsmoked half back in the pack and went inside.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Today Isn't Today

In addition to plaguing the airwaves, Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, also runs a local weather website. The home page shows a 5-day forecast, with each day in a discrete square containing the day of the week, date, projected high and low temps, and projected percent likelihood of precipitation.

I was baffled that Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, could be so consistently wrong. I was repeatedly foiled in my outdoor plans by believing the 0% chance of precipitation predicted for a given day, only to be rained out.

Then, I clicked on one of those squares. And lo and behold, the true idiocy of Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, was revealed unto me.

The main square would say, for example: Friday, May 1st, Hi 75, Lo 55, 0% Precip. Stupidly, I presumed this meant that there was no rain predicted for that day. But when you click on that square, it subdivides into morning, afternoon, evening, and night. There, you would see 0% Precip in the morning. But then you might see, say, 30% Precip that afternoon, 50% that evening, and 100% that night. So, once morning is over, it's a new and different day, with a new and different forecast. I don't know how that happens. It just does.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Never Get To Go Anywhere

I'm often relieved when it's another cop who gets sent to some dumb call. Selfish, yes, but we all feel the same way. Nobody wants to be the one who has to deal with somebody calling 911 because their neighbor blew leaves onto their property, or because there's a rabbit stuck in their window well. But there was one I heard dispatched recently that I really wanted to go on, but couldn't:

A local celebrity was bitten on the finger by a monkey.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Something's Wrong

One night I get dispatched to see a guy who called 911 and reported that "something's wrong" with his roommate. I get there, and the caller is sitting on the couch, looking like he just saw the Frankenstein monster. He says he came home from his swing shift job and saw the light on in his roommate's bedroom. This wasn't unusual. He figured the roommate was getting ready for his night shift job, as usual. But when the roommate didn't come out after a while, he went in to check on him and found "something wrong".

I go in the the bedroom and find the roommate. From what we could construct, he had sat on the edge of his bed, leaned forward, put the muzzle of his Winchester .270 hunting rifle directly against his forehead, and pulled the trigger. What was left of him was on the floor in a pile of dirty laundry. The rest was splattered across all four walls and the ceiling. There was not a square foot that didn't have some part of him stuck to it.

I called my supervisor and an investigator to let them know that, indeed, "something was wrong" with the roommate.

Friday, May 8, 2015

It's Out There

The murder of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller occurred back in 1998. If you're a cop, you've seen this video before, and probably more than once. When I first saw it, I was in the police academy. The audio alone scared me enough that I actually considered quitting. I offer it now as a reminder that these kinds of predators are still out there - more now than ever. We never know what we're walking into.

On the positive side, the murderer, Andrew Brannan, was finally executed this year. Rot in hell, you asshole.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Another Conversation From Hell

I get dispatched to my millionth hit-and-run in the parking lot of a shitty motel. The caller has a small scratch in the side of his car, and wants a police report.

Officer Cynical: "I can certainly do a report for you, sir. But just so you understand, all it will have on it is your own registration and insurance information."

Mr. Bitterpill: "Well, I called my insurance company already, and they said to get a police report."

Officer Cynical: "OK, no problem, but your insurance should cover you without a report with damage this minor."

Mr. Bitterpill: "No, I want a report. My insurance company demands a report."

Officer Cynical: "OK."

I go back to my squad car to do the paperwork. Mr. Bitterpill follows me and stands outside my window, looking in.

Officer Cynical: (rolls down window 2 inches) "This will just take a few minutes. You can go back to your car and wait."

Mr. Bitterpill: "I already checked with the hotel; they said there are no security cameras covering the parking lot. So, how are you going to solve this?"

Officer Cynical: "Well, the truth is I probably won't. I'll take the report and ask the desk clerk if he saw or heard anything, but that's about all I can do."

Mr. Bitterpill: "I saw a suspicious truck parked at the other end of the lot last night."

Officer Cynical: "Did you see it anywhere near your car?"

Mr. Bitterpill: "No, But it was suspicious-looking. It was an odd color. Maybe you can track that down."

Officer Cynical: "If you didn't see it near your car, there's no reason to think it was the vehicle that hit it. And I'd need more than "an odd color" before I could even find it. And if I did find it, I'd need way more than that before I'd accuse anybody of a hit-and-run."

Mr. Bitterpill: "Couldn't you examine my car more closely for transfer paint and check it that way?"

Officer Cynical: "There is no transfer paint. There's barely a scratch. Here's your copy of the report. There's nothing else I can offer you, and I have other calls waiting. Have a nice day."

Mr. Bitterpill: "I know you could solve this if you just cared more."

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Nice Call, Genius

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, reiterates several times that there is ZERO percent chance of rain for the next week. So, yesterday I power wash the patio steps and slab to prep them for painting and sealing. This morning I wake up, all motivated to get it done, and find an inch of standing rainwater on the ground. DAMMIT!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Property Lines

Officer Cynical: "How can I help you ma'am?"

Mrs. Paxil: "My neighbor is building a fence, and I don't like it."

Officer Cynical: "OK. Is it a problem with construction noise early in the morning or late at night?

Mrs. Paxil: "No, his fence is too close to mine."

Officer Cynical: "You mean he's building the fence on your property?"

Mrs. Paxil: "No. But I like to walk around the end of my fence and along the other side. If he puts his fence up, I won't be able to do that."

Officer Cynical: "I see. Well, as long as he's building on his own property, I don't see what I can do."

Mrs. Paxil: "But I live here. Don't I have the right to walk wherever I want?"

Monday, May 4, 2015

Honesty: Not Always Best Policy

One night a couple of us were sent to a hotel on a complaint of marijuana odor coming from a room. We get a dozen of these calls a week. Typically, we'll just make our presence known as a deterrent to the responsibles, let Narcs know about it, and go on our way.

This night, on a hunch, I asked if we could come in and talk to the three who were staying in the room. They agreed. In plain sight on a coffee table were a bunch of pills, which the genius who let us in readily admitted were morphine that he had been taking, and for which none of the three had a prescription. One arrest.

The lone female was lying on the bed, so I went over to talk to her. When I asked for her ID, she opened her purse to retrieve it and in plain view on top of all the other crap was a bag of weed. Two arrests.

During a search incident to arrest, in which I can look pretty much anywhere within about arm's reach of the arrestee, I checked a backpack that was laying on the bed next to the female. The second male started explaining that it was his, not hers - I'm sure thinking I wouldn't look inside if I didn't think it belonged to the female. He was incorrect.

Inside were 3 gigantic bags of pot they were transporting from Oregon to sell here. Three arrests.

Advice: If you're trafficking dope in my city, don't consent to a search of your stuff.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Regional Genetic Defect

I've lived in several parts of North America over the years, and I've noticed that each locale has it's own driving peculiarities. Here, it's an inability to merge onto the interstate or make a proper lefthand turn.

People trying to get on the interstate here seem to be afraid of actually getting up to speed within the first, say, 5 miles. They get on the entrance ramp and accelerate up to about 35 mph. Then, they don't bother to look for a space in traffic to get into - they wait for those in the right lane to move over for them. If no one does (i.e., assholes like me) before they reach the end of the ramp, they just stop and wait for an opening. Or, they continue straight ahead, using the emergency lane until they can eventually move over.

Left turns also are problematic. When I took driver ed many years ago, I was taught to drive out into the middle of the intersection, then make a somewhat sharp left turn into the nearest lane. The turn is sort of upside down and backwards L-shaped. Here, drivers universally just take the shortest possible path. They start turning well before they're in the intersection, and cut across to whichever lane they feel is a good fit for them. I can't tell you the number of accidents I've worked where one of these idiots, making his shallow-as-possible left turn, has crashed into some poor sap minding his own business. It drives me nuts.