Friday, December 10, 2010

When the universe strikes back...

Vocabulary Time

Today's word is:

"Dope Fiend."  noun and verb.  To give back to one who has given you something.  To pay back for certain actions.  To be "Dope Fiended" means you have been on the receiving end of aforementioned payback.  aka "Karma," aka "You just got what you deserved," aka "What goes around comes around," aka "Paybacks are a bitch."  In a sentence, "That motherf*** stole my weed, so I went to his pad and Dope Fiended his ass!"

Criminals, if you find yourself in a position of getting, or having been, dope fiended, do not call the police. Get over yourself.  Do you really think we care if Ray Jay from down the street took your meth AND your money?  Hey jackelope, you just got dope fiended.  The taxpayers, (you know the people we work for) would like for us to worry about their house getting burglarized, which by the way, was probably committed by the local tweeker who was trying to score some shit to sell so he can buy your meth.

Recently, my partner Mike, and I had the pleasure of telling a certain idiot to pound sand after he got a dope fiend treatment.  About a month ago, I was dispatched to take a report from a man who had been shot with a BB gun.  My victim had been sitting on his own front porch, smoking a cigarette, when he got shot in the chest with a BB.  He looked across the street and saw a guy duck behind a patio wall right after it happened.  My victim walked across the street looking for this miscreant, who then ducked into his house.

I was so infuriated on this man's behalf.  I mean, he was on his own porch, and he was a funny old retired codger.  He was polite to me, he wanted a report taken, and was willing to give me all the details of the incident, (as opposed to a gang shooting, where no one ever sees anything).  So I took his statement and filed the report.

Two weeks later,  detectives went to the house of the possible suspect.  Turns out, my suspect had a 4th waiver.    Detectives conducted a 4th waiver search, which yielded the BB gun in question, and a cache of fake DVDs.  The DVDs were in plain view, but were the property of the suspect's roommate, who was running an illegal, but small and scrappy DVD copying business.  Many of the fake DVD stuff is connected with organized crime, but this guy was clearly small potatoes.  DVD guy was not pleased with his moronic roommate.  Funnily enough, he did not have an issue with us, "You're just doing your job," he said.

Another two weeks later, after my suspect was out on bail, he called the police because one of the other roommates allegedly threatened him with a gun and told him to leave the house.  Apparently, small potatoes DVD guy didn't like having be be detained while the police got all up in everyone's business with a 4th waiver search, due to the fact that dipshit suspect was shooting at people in the neighborhood for no good reason (there were three other cases besides mine).

I listened to his whole drama story about how DVD roommate had a gun and he was all scared and freaked out and so on.  I looked this guy in the eye and said, "Soooo, lemme get this straight, YOU are running around shooting people with your BB gun and thus being an asshole and an all around leech on society, and then your roommate shows you a gun and tells you to get the hell outta dodge, and you have the f***ing nerve to call us for help?  Give me a break man!  You had it comin'!"  His reply?  I couldn't believe it, he actually justified his actions by telling me that no one was killed.  I took a moment to lay into this guy about my victim.  Had that innocent little BB struck him a few inches higher, and in the eye, that guy would have been blind.    

Dude, you got a bloody well deserved dope fiending.

Friday, November 26, 2010

At the tone, the time will be...

I met Marvin several months ago while on graveyard shift.  He was a large man, and upon closer examination he appeared to be pinch-hitting as a "she" on certain occasions.  I approached Marvin in the McDonald's parking lot around 0200, "Hey, how's it going?"

Marvin answered with a flamboyant lilting tone that was totally incongruous with his large lumbering frame, but somehow matched the knowing smile in his eye.  "Oh heLLO officer!  Ima jus' out walkin around, you KNOW?  I ain't doin nothin, my mom's boyfriends at the house so I gotta outta there cuz he don't like me, you know? An I don't wanna cause no drama so ima out walkin' around."

I smiled and laughed, as I always do when speaking to someone like Marvin, because he was one of those odd characters one meets at odd times in odd places who presents as a left field existence, slightly detached from societal norms, even for the run-of-the-mill crook.

"Marvin, are you on probation or parole?"  "OH YES officer!  Ima on probation, I got a 4th waiver, and I AM a crack addict!  I ain't gonna lie,  I'm addicted to crack.  We ALL know what time it is around here."

I laughed again.  What a great expression. This is why I love this job.  I mean, you can't invent these people and the things they say.  We all know what time it is around here.  Yes we do.

My partner Mike and I have since adopted this term as a form of tactical communication when dealing with shrinking violets who wants to play the "I last used a month ago" game, or any "I didn't do (insert crime) officer..." game.  Hey man, we all know what time it is around here.

I am still amazed at Marvin's candid nature.  I did a 4th waiver search on him that night.  He didn't have anything on him, at least not where I could legally get to it, so Marvin was sent on his way.  Most likely to the local crack house, which are unfortunately plentiful in my beat.

And so I keep chipping away the evils that lurk in the world, small pieces at a time.  Sadly, I fear, smaller pieces than I realize.  I know what time it is around here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Apparently, anger is for lunch and dinner too.

Since I am new to the cop blogging community, I took a few moments to scan through some of the police blogs.

Good Grief,  Charlie Brown.  We are a cynical, bitter crew of folk.

Anger. It's what's for breakfast today.

Last time I checked, emotions are still legal.

Two weeks after I went to the call, here I am still shaking my head.  The call was a "check the welfare" on a lady whose daughter told her school counselor her mom and dad had an argument the night before.  This immediately set off concern my head.  Concern for violating someone's civil rights.  Because, dammit, an argument is not against the law.  As far as I am concerned, these people do need the police in their business.  We are an invasive presence.  We have guns.  We have the power to take people, forcibly if necessary, from their home, and put them in a jail cell.  The police tool should be reserved for the most deserving: those who commit crimes.  You know, stuff that IS against the law.

My partner and I knocked on the door and were greeted by a well dressed woman who was speaking with a young girl.  Turns out this lady was from Child Protective Services (CPS), sent to the apartment to investigate the children's safety.  The CPS lady told me mom and son were in the bedroom.

We went into the bedroom and saw a hysterical crying young boy and a sad mother.  The boy was screaming, "Don't take us away!"  Apparently the daughter told her school counselor she saw mom and dad hit each other, which is why CPS was there.

I spoke to mom, who insisted she and her husband did not hit each other.  She didn't have any injuries.  I did not see evidence, and she was wearing a short sleeved shirt and bermuda shorts.  No telltale bruises on the arms, legs or neck.  "Are you scared of him?"  No, she said, we just argue a lot over money problems.  The apartment was clean.  Young son told me his dad gets mad when he gets injured at work.  Dad was a car mechanic and sustained a lot of work-related cuts and bruises.  Son explained that a bad work injury kept dad home from work.  By my calculations, no work for this man means he cannot provide for his family, which equals...anger.  So, maybe mom and dad need some heartfelt advice about dealing with stress, but I am not the emotion patrol and their anger level is not my business.

Rest assured, if mom was turning her head or hiding her arms to keep me from seeing a bruise, or the kids were clearly in an unkempt, abused state, I would have been documenting every little detail I could scrounge, tossing dad in jail, and whisking the kids to a safe place.  But this was just a struggling family, not deserving of my intimidating presence, and not deserving of some CPS worker threatening to take the kids.

I talked with the CPS lady who told me she KNEW (she knew!) mom and dad were hitting each other, because daughter said so; and furthermore, if mom continued to lie about it, the kids would be taken away.  I thought, okay, so, did CPS consider the daughter was lying?  I told her I could not take a crime case from a person who told me that a crime did not occur and the elements, the evidence of the alleged crime were not present.  CPS protested.  "But the father has a problem with anger!"  I wanted to scream.  Hell, I got angry.  I retained my composure and politely told CPS that based on what we saw and heard, a crime did not occur, and we would not be taking a crime case report.

What is wrong with anger?  What is wrong with yelling?  Yelling is allowed.  Anger is a normal, healthy human emotion.  People yell at each other occasionally out of frustration, sadness, anger, etc.  This is not a crime.  I am pained going to calls from second/third hand reporting parties who call the police because their neighbors are "yelling at each other."  In a perfect world we could all face adversity with the calm and centered mind of Buddha, but we are not perfect.  We are human.  We get angry, and it's not against the law.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I have been blessed

In the world of patrol, simplicity is a far away land.  The simple task of learning a child's name because he is suffering from a potentially life-threatening head injury can present a challenge that makes K2 look like a walk in the park.

Yesterday, a young boy and his friends were riding their skateboards up and down a street.  During one of the downhill portions of this usually fun activity, the boy accidentally ran his skateboard under a parked vehicle, giving himself a decent whack on the head.  Head injuries usually bleed with a frightening amount of efficiency, and this kid's head was no different.

He was with several friends, so, easy?  Right?  We'll get his name, address, call Mom and Dad and get this show on the road.  Ha! Not in the inner city.

We tried talking to this kid and his friends, and quickly realized, he does not speak English.  Not even a little bit.  And his friends do not speak English.  We are not even lucky enough to be dealing with a kid who speaks Spanish.  I say lucky, because we have an abundance of well trained Spanish translators on the department.  

The frustration mounted because we wanted to help this young man, but the simple tasks were kicking us in the face.  The kid looked like he was of Asian decent...should not be to hard...  What language will be the right one?  Cambodian?  Laotian?  Vietnamese?  All easy enough, as we also have an army of skilled translators in those languages.  

The ambulance arrived.  Well, at least the medical part, and really, the most important part, of this puzzle is covered.  Medics asked us, "Hey, do you guys know his name?  What about his parents?"  We had nothing.  One of the victim's friends directed us to an apartment complex, and a specific apartment where this kid lived, but no one was home.  To add yet another layer of confusion, the neighbors insisted no one lived there.  Ugh, wall. bang head. against.

And then we learned;  He is from Burma.  Our young victim speaks Burmese.  Any Burmese speakers in the house?  City wide?  No.  Other divisions?  No.  Mega no.  AT & T has a language line that police officers may use for translation, but the rush of a slight medical emergency is not the best time for this service.  One of his friends speaks just enough English to give us his name.  I quickly told the dispatcher, so when the missing person report was called in from Mom and Dad, we could let them know, hey, junior is okay, but he is at Children's Hospital with a busted noggin.

The medics took off with our young man from Burma.  I wondered for a moment, what the heck kind of political nonsense has he seen in his very green years?  Burma is not necessarily the most stable place right now.

Then the lady blessed me.  A stern, but jovial looking lady who lived in an apartment complex on the street where the incident occurred walked up to me.  She thanked me for my service and told me she was disgusted with some of the residents on her street she sees dealing and using drugs.  She was a retired elementary school teacher and spoke with the passion of old school-Baptist-god-fearing religious conviction about told me she did NOT allow any disrespect in her classroom, and that she is appalled when she sees the criminal element creating discontent in the neighborhood.

This lady was a character.  She wore a bright blue flower print dress and wool bowler-type hat.  She placed her hand on my shoulder and said, "Brother Roark, I bless you!  No one crosses Brother Roark, I can tell.  Brother Roark don't let anyone mess around!"    I laughed out loud.  I thought, the criminals on this street will hurl all the insults in the world at the coppers, but this woman,  this woman, they wouldn't dare cross this woman.  And not because she is armed with a gun and taser and pepper spray.  This woman would bring fire and brimstone and fear DOWN to their beings and tell them the way it is.    This is a fascinating part of my work.  Fear.  Who fears who.  A hardened gangster will puff out his chest to an armed cop any day, but the harsh disapproval from a grandmother will reduce the same man to a shrinking violet.



Oh dear.

The call came in right after the sun went down.  Our interest immediately peaked as the address was in a neighborhood that is known for being not well known to us.  Translation: a nice neighborhood.

We walked up the driveway to a beautiful two-story home and there she was: Cruella Deville, minus the coat.  She had long stringy blond hair, lips puffed to size of garish pillows, and implants that heaved out of her tank top like choked blobs with each angered, hyperventilated breath.  A wave of the odor of alcohol emanated from her direction.

Her voice seethed under the heavy influence of too much drink and thus too much anger as she explained how she allowed her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter to rent house, but they were behind one month on the rent and she wanted them OUT.

A conversation with the daughter and son-in-law revealed they were in fact behind on the rent, due to a recent job loss and financial constraints, but the daughter was going to school to obtain a master's degree in public administration, and the son-in-law had three job interviews in the next two weeks. Fair enough.    They further explained this is not their first go around with Mom.  Apparently she has a habit of drinking herself into a stupor, driving(!) to her kid's house, and then making a drunk, crazy scene.  

"I OWN THIS HOUSE.  I PAID CASH FOR THIS HOUSE!!!!  I WANT THEM OUT NOWWW!"  Said the drunk, harpy, who harbored under the misconception that she had fooled everyone into thinking she looked like a 24-year old gal.  She shrieked away about her son-in-law calling her a f* c*.  Lord, oh lord, grant me self control.   I wanted to say, yeah, I agree with the poor guy.   If someone showed up at my doorstep ranting and screaming like that,  I would lose my temper too.

Instead, I calmly explained that ultimately, this was not a police issue.  Name calling is annoying and rude, but our founding fathers saw fit to let people tell it like it is.  I also told her she could not simply barge onto the property at her whim.  Landlord/Tenant laws in my state protect privacy and frown upon property owners tromping around a person's living space without proper notice.  Oh, and eviction?  30 days notice.

As I spoke to this lady, I noticed she was breathing heavy and gritting her teeth, I wondered if she was going to started wailing on me and I briefly considered taking her to jail for public intoxication, but a sympathetic (and sober) family friend who was also at the house offered to drive her home.  Cruella Deville put up an argument, saying she was not going ANYWHERE and she wanted them OUT and so on and drunken so on.  I quickly shut her down with two options, jail or home.      

She sobered up just enough to realize I had just uttered the "j" word, and stepped into the passenger seat of her car.  The family friend, who was obviously familiar with this woman's issues, drove her home.

Be safe out there.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 23, 2010

More vocabulary:

"Where are you from?"  or "Where you from?"  a noun.  Not a true question or polite greeting, as in, "Hello fine sir, may I inquire as to where you are from?"  "Oh, hello jolly fellow!  I am from San Francisco."  Nor is it meant to be inquiry about someone's accent; as in, "Oh, I can't understand a goddamn thing you are saying, where are you from?"  "I am from the north, you uneducated sap."

It is a statement usually uttered in a neighborhood area with crappy street lights between the hours of 2200 and 0300.  The direct translation is, "I am going to (hurt, maim, kill, rob, shoot, etc...) you for no good reason right now."  The  person on the receiving end would be well advised to start running in the opposite direction.

I have been to more shootings and stabbings than I could ever count that started off with this otherwise friendly question.

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 22, 2010

I started this journal on my days off, and I don't want to re-hash an old story, but I thought I would begin with a short vocabulary primer.

"Clicking" a verb.  To speak in a rude, obtuse manner.  "I was like, hey, knock it off, and then she started 'clicking' on me."  I heard this expression for the first time when I was a baby cop.  A young female was describing how another female was speaking to her.  At first I thought she meant the young lady was clicking a pair of canastas.

"A Kick It"  a noun with verb tendencies.  To meet with close friends and speak in a jovial manner.  "So you went to a party with your friends?"  "No, it wasn't a party, it was 'a kick it,'  you know, where you go and you're like, hi."  I heard this term recently when I was taking a statement from a witness.

"Mollywhopping" or "Mollwhop"  a verb.  (Not violence against people named Molly).  To hit and kick another person in an angry, uncontrollable manner.  "Hell yeah, that motherf** got a 'mollywhopping' and he deserved it!"  My partner told me about this one.  He responded to a fight call, and needless to say, the sympathy for the victim was a bit thin.

"Whoop Whoop Whooping"  well, a verb, although it is often used as an adjective.  I think the best way to define the "type" of this word is to use it in a sentence.  "Well, she came over here, and she was all 'whoop whoop whooping' and I TOLD her, you gotta GO."  Obviously,  this is an action, but it's really being used to describe a person's actions.  I have heard this term countless times.  People use it to describe everything from generic snarkiness, to physical violence.

"Barely" an adjective and a verb.  To describe how long one has lived in a house or apartment, but also an effort to cultivate a lie about where one lives.  "Where do you live?"  "I am not sure, I just barely moved there."  "How long have you lived there?"  "Oh, I just barely moved there last year." The use of this of this term is usually an indication the person is lying.
These are just a few that I remember, more to come later...