Monday, February 29, 2016


I don't know the exact origin of this piece, but it was posted on the Facebook page of Blue Lives Matter. It was sent to me without a reference or citation. I'm going to post it anyway, because I like it. If anyone knows who wrote it, please let me know and I'll give them the credit due. It is priceless. 

NOTE: This appears to be from a 2009 entry on a blog called "Randy's Busy Life". Here's the link:
Thank you, jbt369!

A local police station received this question from a resident through the feedback section of a local Police website:
"I would like to know how it is possible for police officers to continually harass people and get away with it?"
In response, a Sergeant posted this reply:
First of all, let me tell you this... it's not easy. In the rural area we average one cop for every 505 people. Only about 60 per cent of those cops are on general duty where we do most of our harassing.
The rest are in non-harassing units that do not allow them contact with the day to day innocents. At any given moment, only one-fifth of the 60 per cent of general duties are on duty and available for harassing people while the rest are off duty. So, roughly, one cop is responsible for harassing about 6000 residents.
When you toss in the commercial business and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 15,000 or more people a day.
Now, your average eight-hour shift runs 28,800 seconds long. This gives a cop two-thirds of a second to harass a person, and then only another third of a second to drink an iced coffee AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to the challenge day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilise some tools to help us narrow down those people we can realistically harass.
PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause us to focus on a person for special harassment. "My neighbour is beating his wife" is a code phrase used often. This means we'll come out and give somebody some special harassment. Another popular one is, "There's a guy breaking into a house." The harassment team is then put into action.
CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars with no insurance or drivers with no licences and the like. It's lots of fun when you pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light. Sometimes you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have drugs in the car, they are drunk, or have an outstanding warrant on file.
LAWS: When we don't have phone or cars, and have nothing better to do, there are actually books that give us ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called "statutes". These include the Crimes Act, Summary Offenses Act, Land Transport Act and a whole bunch of others... They spell out all sorts of things for which you can really mess with people. After you read the law, you can just drive around for a while until you find someone violating one of these listed offenses and harass them. Just last week I saw a guy trying to steal a car. Well, the book says that’s not allowed. That meant I had permission to harass this guy.
It is a really cool system that we have set up, and it works pretty well. We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And we get away with it. Why? Because, for the good citizens who pay the tab, we try to keep the streets safe for them, and they pay us to "harass" some people.
Next time you are in the area, give me the old "single finger wave". That's another one of those codes. It means, "You can harass me." It's one of our favorites.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Veteran Status

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know the great respect I hold for military veterans. I'm proud to have served 6 years in the Marine Corps. My dad served 4 years in the Marines, 2 of that in the Pacific during WWII. My uncle landed at Normandy, and was WIA in France. Another served in France and Belgium during WWII. Veterans are a special crowd.

But I've had it with the drunks, bums, slackers, and assorted dirtbags who use veteran status - real or imagined - as a shield against responsible living, or as an advertising campaign for a handout. Here are some examples I've run across while working the street:

Transient drunk on a street corner, holding up a cardboard sign that reads: VETERAN. ANY HELP APPRECIATED. OK, let me see what I can do for this guy. I can get you in the local homeless shelter with no problem. No? OK. The VA Hospital is about a mile from here; I'll give you a ride. No? OK. There are two day labor outfits a block from here, too. I'll show you where they are and help you get signed up. No? I didn't think so.

Drunk wearing a USMC Vet ballcap, hassling people for money in the ER waiting room. With three quick questions, I determine he knows less than my dog does about the USMC. Get out and don't come back, or you're going to jail. Oh, and lose the hat until you brush up on the basic info any real USMC vet would know.

Guy bitches me out because he's a vet on his way the the VA Hospital, and I dare to pull him over for going 20 over the limit in an active school zone. He repeatedly reminds me he's a VETERAN and going to the VA HOSPITAL, then gets mad that I would cite a VETERAN, who's on his way to the VA HOSPITAL. So, which is it: you think vets should be exempt from obeying traffic laws, or vets should be allowed to run down kids in a crosswalk?

I stop a guy with a suspended driver's license. This is a criminal traffic offense. But he's in the Army and has been overseas and doesn't deserve to be cited, and he actually tells me so just like that. Seriously, you think your military status exempts you from having to have a freakin' valid driver's license?

Being a veteran is an earned privilege. At least it is for me and my family. But I believe it entitles me to exactly nothing other than bragging rights. Rather, it places on me the onus of displaying my veteran status in a respectable way, and not shaming it. I consider myself the legacy of all those Marines who went before me, and an example for all those who came later. I understand that many people don't leave the military in one piece, and need medical, emotional, and psychological support. I've been there. I'm glad facilities exist to help those people, and I encourage anyone who needs them to take full advantage of them. And if the VA is really in such poor shape that vets are dying while waiting for treatment, that's inexcusable and needs to be fixed immediately.

But veteran status is not a free ride. It's not an advertising slogan for a handout. It's not an excuse for committing a crime, or a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. It's a responsibility.

Monday, February 22, 2016

People In TV Commercials For Whom I Would Buy 1-Way Tickets To The Sun

Those 2 dipshits sitting in the car at Sonic
The Popeyes "chef"
The AFLAC duck
Ellen DeGeneres
Anyone who sings off-key on purpose
Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman
Everyone bitching that their car insurance rates went up because they wrecked their cars.
Matthew McConaughy
Ellen DeGeneres
Everyone touting
All women talking about erectile dysfunction
The Mucinex mucus blob
The world's most interesting man
Ellen DeGeneres
The Australian-sounding guy selling everything
Peter Pan from GEICO (I would also punch him in the nuts before launch)
The Burger King king
The woman grinding calluses off her feet
Ellen DeGeneres
The reincarnation of Colonel Sanders

More GEICO camel, Robb Webb, and Maria Chudnovsky, though, please.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wasting My Time

I'm dispatched to an address where a 9-year-old boy won't get out of bed for school. I arrive to find Mom standing outside the apartment door. She is laughing.

OC: "You think this is funny?"

Mom: "No."

OC: "Well, you're laughing, so I just assumed. Tell me what's going on."

Mom explains that her 9-year-old son won't get up for school. She's done nothing other than tell him to do it once, and when he wouldn't she called the police.

I walk into the  kid's room, pull the covers off him, and tell him to get up, get dressed, and get ready school. He does.

I tell Mom - politely, mind you - that this is not - I repeat, not - a police matter. It is a parenting matter. When I ask her why she called the police, she says the SRO (school resource officer) at her son's school told her to. This is a real cop in an adjacent town, who works in the kid's school.

I call him and ask him what's up. He says the kid has been a problem, and he told mom to call the cops whenever the kid acts up. Good for him, since the kid doesn't live in his agency's jurisdiction. He then tells me to write a report on the incident so "it'll be on file".

I ask him if he's lost his mind. I tell him there's no way I'm writing a report on this. I tell him if he wants a report, he can write it himself. I tell him that his narrative can read "police officer in another jurisdiction wasted 30 minutes of high traffic accident time getting a child out of bed because his mom didn't want to be bothered". He says "OK". He knows damned good and well this is ridiculous. I hang up.

I'm pissed off for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Have A Nice Trip. See Ya' Next Fall

Watch an as-yet unidentified man stops a suspect fleeing from police in London, England. Superb use of less-than-deadly force.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Napoleon XIV

If you didn't want to get arrested, you shouldn't have opened your apartment door and handed us a still-smoldering crack pipe. Yes, I understand you thought we somehow knew you were in there smoking dope, and were knocking on your door to come and get you. But actually, we were knocking on the door across the hall about another matter entirely. Perhaps less dope would help your paranoia. No, I'm sorry, there are no do-overs in law enforcement.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Pronounciating Rite

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: "Tomorrow, Sunday, the area will be enveloped (pronounced like the past tense of the item in which you mail a letter) with snow and blizzard conditions."

On Sunday, we got zero snow and nearly zero wind.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

That Hostage-Taking Stuff Ain't Like In The Movies

From the Calibre Press website:
Irving police on Friday shot and killed an armed robbery suspect who had taken a woman hostage at a check-cashing store, the police department said.
Officers responded around 1 p.m. to an armed robbery in progress at the Cash Store, after a store employee had triggered the alarm, police spokesman James McLellan said.
When police arrived, 29-year-old Christopher Michael Dew took a female employee hostage and came outside with her. He warned officers that he would hurt her if they approached, McLellan said.
Dew then threatened to put the woman inside a vehicle. Police didn’t say whose it was.
According to police and as shown in video taken by a witness, two officers shot Dew as he moved toward the vehicle while holding a handgun to the woman. Dew, who was convicted in 2007 of aggravated robbery, died at the scene.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Citizen Complaints

It's really common for citizen's to call the Police Department with complaints. Most often, it's about traffic in their neighborhood. On my department, the beat sergeant would assign the beat officer to spend some time there, monitor what's going on, and write citations, if appropriate.

There was one street in particular on my beat that was constantly the subject of complaints. Citizens complained that people were completely ignoring STOP signs at a particular 4-way stop, and that people were driving 50 to 60 miles per hour in a 25 zone. Since I was one of the day shift officers on that beat, I was regularly assigned to check it out. And what I learned was that, at least in that neighborhood, people generally had vision and/or perception problems.

I'd sit at that 4-way stop in a location that, I can assure you, drivers couldn't see me for an hour at a time and never see a citation-worthy violation. Would people "roll" through the intersection? Sure. But so do I, so do you, so does everybody. Occasionally someone would do the brake-check thing and I'd stop them, but it was pretty rare.

Likewise, people rarely would drive more than about 5 mph over the limit on those streets. I actually had some old guy (I'm sure he was the repeat complainer) come out to my squad car and point out cars that were "flying" by. They'd be doing the speed limit, or maybe a little over. The old guy didn't believe me, so I finally had him sit in my squad and watch the radar readout. He was flabbergasted that his judgement was off so far. I don't think I ever wrote a single speeding ticket in all the hours I sat down in that neighborhood.

In the complainers' defense, STOP sign violations are a judgement call. It's easy to point out people who are rolling through STOP signs, because almost everybody does it. I always felt that if a driver appeared to be making a reasonable attempt to stop and be safe, that was good enough for me. And as lenient as I was, I wrote plenty of tickets.

Speed is also very deceiving, even for experienced cops, especially on winding roads with low speed limits. It's easy to misjudge how fast a car is going - it usually looks like it's moving faster than it really is. I was what some would say is shockingly lenient on speeders, and I still wrote a ton of speeding tickets. I learned that there's no reason to be an asshole. There are plenty of violators out there if you're willing to look for them.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

His Nickname Is "Lucky"

One day I ran the plate on this car sitting in a convenience store parking lot, and the owner came back with a suspended driver's license. So, I park down the street where I think he can't see me and wait for him to come out and drive away. He finally comes out and gets in his car, but just sits there. After waiting forever, I start thinking he's spotted me. Then, a truck pulls in next to him, blocking my view, so I give up and leave.

I'm driving off - now about three blocks away - and guess who goes right past me on the cross street? I had to laugh. He had at least 15 other routes he could've taken that would've missed me. Don't buy any lottery tickets today, pal!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Unified Police Department Officer Brandon Sulich was off duty, outside the Kearns, Utah, precinct. He was waiting for an 8:15 a.m. departure to the funeral of Officer Doug Barney, who was shot and killed a week earlier. That’s when Officer Sulich heard the dispatch for a house fire nearby. 
“Once they put out the address, I realized that I was probably only 30 seconds away from it,” Sulich said Tuesday. The young officer, who is still on probationary status, now had to decide whether to wait for the group to go to the funeral or respond to the house fire. “It was a very quick decision. It almost seemed natural. It wasn’t like I struggled with it. It was about the time it took for my hand to get up to my shifter was about how long it took me to make a decision,” he said. “Of course, the priority to possibly save lives is more important.”

Monday, February 1, 2016

Remember Me?

I was always pretty lenient when it came to handing out traffic tickets. I was never the guy who'd write someone for 5 over the speed limit, or for almost - but not quite - stopping at a STOP sign.

One day I was monitoring a 4-way stop on my beat, in response to complaints from citizens in the neighborhood that people were flying through the intersection without even slowing down (Citizen complaints about traffic are the subject for another blog post). As I'm sitting there watching, I see this pickup truck slow down for the STOP sign just enough that I decide not to pull him over. A few minutes later, I see the same pickup do the same thing going the other way. I let it slide. And a few minutes after that, I see him doing it yet again. In the words of George S. Patton, "Alright, by God, that's enough!" I catch up to the guy, pull him over, and walk up to the window.

Mr. Gameshowemcee: (smiling and acting all tickled to see me) "Hey, man, how's it going? Long time no see!"

Officer Cynical: "Uh, I'm OK."

Mr. GSMC: "So, how you been doin'? What's happening?"

Officer Cynical: "The reason I'm pulling you over is I watched you bust that STOP sign three times in about 5 minutes. We've been getting complaints about people not stopping."

Mr. GSMC: "Really? Sorry, I'm looking for an address and I guess I wasn't paying attention."

Officer Cynical: "Can I see your driver's license and proof of insurance, please?"

Mr. GSMC: "Oh, c'mon - you're not gonna write me a ticket, are you?"

Officer Cynical: "Actually, I am. You're just completely disregarding the STOP signs, and I don't feel I have any choice."

Mr. GSMC: "Wow, after all the times we worked together, I can't believe you'd do that."

Officer Cynical: "Sir, I have no idea who you are. You don't look familiar and I don't recognize the name on your license."

Mr. GSMC: "You don't remember me? I drove for We-Yank-'Em Towing Company for years. I retired about 3 years ago."

Officer Cynical: "No, I'm sorry. I don't remember you at all."

Mr. GSMC: "Hey, I apologize if I rolled through the STOP sign. But you can cut me a break for old time's sake, right?"

Officer Cynical: "You have 14 days to either send this in with the fine, or register it for court. I need you to sign right here. And press hard, three copies."