Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Medical Disclaimer

As I've said in the past, I really like and respect doctors and nurses, especially the ER variety. I come into contact with them almost daily in my job. Consequently, you'll see a fair amount of hospital/medicine-related stuff in this blog.

But I realize I don't actually know squat, medically speaking. Although I do take the time to at least Google stuff, I'm not a doctor or a nurse, and I've never played one on TV. Indeed, after carefully considering those career paths, I decided I didn't even want to talk to most people I saw in medical waiting rooms, let alone have to put my hands on them.

So, if I get the name of a medication wrong (e.g., smegmastatin), or confuse, say, Carnegie-Mellon Syndrome with Abbott-Costello Disorder, or report an incorrect diagnosis (e.g., axillary rambunctious cerebromyopathy), give me a break, will you? Forgive me and just chalk it up to the fact that I'm only pretending to know what I'm talking about. Medically speaking.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Asleep On Duty

Cops falling asleep on duty is by no means commonplace, but on very rare occasions it happens. When it does happen, it's usually a nightshifter. Not only are they working against a natural sleep cycle, but lots of them have family duties, second jobs, court requirements, and other things during the day that make staying up all night a big challenge. It's not so tough on a busy night, but when the radio goes silent for long stretches, the sandman works against you. I've been there; I know.

One night one of our guys succumbed. He wasn't responding to the radio, so we had to go looking for him. There he was, behind the wheel in a secluded parking lot, a report half done on his computer, arms folded, chin on his chest, fast asleep. He readily admitted his transgression, and the appropriate disciplinary measures were administered.

What he wasn't prepared for was the dozens of copies of a photo of him asleep in his squad, which one cop had taken at the scene and then hung all over the station. He couldn't pull them down fast enough to keep up with the rate at which they respawned over the next several weeks.

Sometimes a little street justice is called for.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Coffee. Thick, strong, hot, black coffee. Lots of it. If I can see the bottom of the cup, either the cup is empty or the coffee is too weak.

In the morning, my first duty after showering and dressing is to get coffee. Sometimes Mrs. Cynical will have set the pot up to start brewing when I get up. If not, I'll reheat what's left from the day before.

My first stop when I hit the streets is to fill up the coffee mug. I bought one at a convenience store chain that includes free refills forever! I'm waiting for the day they put in a drive-up window just for coffee refills.

When my hands shake in the wintertime, I just tell people I'm cold. In the summertime, I tell them it's the excitement of the job.

When I get home, I make another pot or reheat what's been there since morning. I ignore the cardiac arrythmias and wonder why I can't sleep at night.

I'm considering retirement in Brazil or Colombia.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

High Explosives

If, while cleaning out your late grandfather's house, you find a souvenir live hand grenade from WWII, please do not bring it to the police station. It gets everybody all excited and causes them to run outside in inclement weather, and it makes cops point guns at you until they figure out what your intentions are. It also makes the bomb squad guys have to come in on their days off. Call us; we'll come to you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Marathon Man

There was a convenience store on my old beat, which was a magnet for crooks. I cruised their lot all the time, running plates.

One day, a plate came back with a registered owner who had an open felony warrant. I checked out his mug shot, then went inside looking for him. There he was at the check-out counter, so I went back outside and waited for him.

When he came out, I approached him and said I needed to talk to him about his warrant. He replied, "I don't wanna talk about it", and took off running. As he sprinted across the street, he dropped his wallet. Either he didn't notice or didn't care, because he kept on running. I chased him until it was clear that there was no way I was going to catch him, then I got on the radio to set up a perimeter. Long story short, the perimeter failed and we gave up looking for him after about an hour.

But unfortunately for the runner, I had two things that he probably wanted: his wallet, which had about $400 in cash in it, and his car. I impounded the car, and entered his wallet into evidence. The next day, I was notified that our boy had called the evidence room, looking for his wallet. He wanted the cash released to him. I told the evidence tech there was no way in hell I'd sign off on that. I also found out that he showed up at the impound lot trying to get into his car, and was turned away.

One of our cops lived a few houses away from the runner's mom's house, and knew the guy was staying there. Next time the cop saw the guy, he called it in and we went over and picked him up on the warrant, and a fleeing charge.

Some months later, I saw in the newspaper that a nearby agency was looking for him for another offense. I called the detective working the case, and gave him the information on mom's address. They picked him up there. The detective later called me up and thanked me.

Moral: Don't run from me.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


There's been a real uptick in vampire, werewolf, and other monster types in the movies and on TV in the past several years. They all miss the boat. By a mile. Here are the real deals:

Vampires? Christopher Lee:

Werewolves? Lon Chaney, Jr.:

Dr. Frankenstein? Colin Clive:

And Frankenstein's monster? Well, come on now.....

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Welcome Aboard

Officer Alpha: "So, what do you think of the new guy? He seems OK, huh?"

Officer Bravo: "I don't know what it is. He works hard, he tries his best, and he asks good questions. He's a nice enough guy, but for some reason every time he opens his mouth I want to hit him in the face with a bat"

Officer Charlie: "Yeah, I know what you mean."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Turnabout Is Fair Play

Ex-NFL player claims police officer who pulled him over pointed a gun at his head and he feared for his life. He demands an apology from the police department. The police department releases multiple dashcam videos to show what really happened, and demands an apology from the driver.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Insurance Fraud

I get dispatched to see a guy who wants to report vandalism to his motorcycle. I meet up with him at his apartment, and he tells me some kids in the apartment building pushed his motorcycle over and damaged it. OK, let's go take a look.

We go out to the parking lot and he shows me the motorcycle. One whole side of the bike is destroyed. Foot peg busted off, handgrip torn up, lots of cosmetic damage - all obviously the result of a crash.

Officer Cynical: "So, when did you crash your bike?"

Pinnochio: "What do you mean?"

Officer Cynical: "There's no way in hell this damage came from a kid pushing your bike over. This bike has been laid down.

Pinnochio: "..."

Officer Cynical: "I don't think a little kid could even push this bike over in the first place. And if he did, you might have a scratch or a dent or two. But this thing is practically totaled."

Pinnochio: "..."

Officer Cynical: "You crashed this thing, and you're trying to blame the damage on someone else so you can collect insurance or sue. Does that sound about right?"

Pinnochio: "..."

Officer Cynical: "You know, it's against city and state law to file a false police report. You can do jail or prison time. Are you sure this is the way you want to go? Because I'll do it, then investigate to the very best of my ability. What do you want to do?"

Pinnochio: "..."

Officer Cynical: "Good choice. Have a nice day."

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ode To Suicidal Types

Don't put a bullet
into your brain.
Don't throw yourself
under a train.
Don't close your garage
and start up your car.
Don't take 90 pills
from a medicine jar.
Don't act like a dope
and hang with a rope.
Don't make yourself dead
with a bag on your head.

And absolutely do NOT duct tape the trigger of your running chainsaw down, then lower your neck onto the whizzing blade out in your back yard where kids coming home from school can see you.

In fact, don't do any of this where your friends or family will find you and have to carry that mental image to their graves, or where I have to deal with you after you've been lying there percolating for like 6 weeks.

Yes, I've been on all these calls.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Sleight Of Hand

As I write this, I'm looking at Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman's online forecast for the next three days. He lists the chance of rain as 0% for that entire time.

Mrs. Cynical just walked in the door from work, and showed me a weather alert she just received on her smartphone. It's from the same TV news channel that Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman works for, and says "85% chance of rain within the next 15 minutes".

How hard can it be?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What Would You Do?

A nicely annotated video of an actual traffic stop, first from the dashcam point of view, then from the bodycam point of view. I invite you to answer the questions as they're posed. This is how screwy it can be out there.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Taser, Taser, Taser!

One night we got called for a drunk guy who took his infant son away from the mother, then drove home, still plastered, with the child. He wouldn't answer his door, and we legitimately feared for the infant's safety, so we knocked his door down.

As we barged inside, he was standing there threatening us with a wooden post. He just kept screaming obscenities at us and waving that post around, and refusing to comply with any commands. My partner tried to go hands-on with him, but the guy managed to squirm loose. I finally stood on my tiptoes to see past my massive partner, and fired my Taser over his shoulder.

The Taser barbs hit the guy dead center. He briefly assumed the position of attention, made a long "Wooooooooooooooo" sound, then toppled over like a felled tree. I cuffed him up, and the drama was over.

We found the infant tossed into a basket full of dirty clothes in a back room. We bundled him up and returned him to his mother.

Meanwhile, the drunk idiot continued to spew obscenities at everyone present. I knew I was going to be good on the Taser shoot when my Sergeant said, "I wasn't here when it happened, but if anybody ever needed to be Tasered it was that asshole."

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hey, Rocky! Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out Of My Hat!

You would be amazed at the number of people who live in apartments, drive cars, and wear clothes, any and all of which contain illegal items and substances that the occupant/driver/wearer doesn't know are there and has no idea how they got there. I can't tell you the number of times I've found a pot pipe on a coffee table, or a bag of weed in a glove compartment, or a switchblade in a pocket, and the occupant/driver/wearer tells me, "That's not mine. I have no idea where that came from."

My favorite was the young lady I arrested on a warrant outside a gas station. As I searched her before putting her in my squad car, a clear plastic bag full of pills fell to the ground.

Officer Cynical: (picks up bag) "What's this?"

Ms. Rolling: "That's ecstasy that doesn't belong to me. I loan this coat out to all my friends; one of them must have put it in there."

Epilogue: She was later found not guilty in a bench trial. No one could understand why, until we learned that the presiding judge was later removed from the bench for "inappropriate conduct with female defendants".

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Feel-Good Moment

I got flagged down by a frantic single mom, whose two little boys had disappeared from in front of their house. They'd been gone for nearly an hour, and she couldn't find them. As we always do in these cases, all available cars responded to the area and started looking. After another 15 minutes or so, the kids showed up at home. I drove over there to check on everybody, and gently admonished the kids about staying near the house unless they had mom's permission. Done.

Later, I came into the station to finish off the day's paperwork. In my mailbox were a 'Thank You' card from mom, handmade 'I'm Sorry' cards from the kids, and a huge Tupperware container of homemade cookies with a note attached saying they'd been made by the whole family.

On some days - on some very, very rare days - Officer Cynical becomes a little less cynical for just a minute.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015