“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bad apples

I was talking with a non-cop friend the other day, who shared with me the story of a traffic stop they were in recently.

I won't go into the full details, but it boiled down to what (in my opinion) was a questionable stop in the first place... normally I'm all for "two sides to every story" and I can certainly name plenty of times that I've had a valid stop on someone, or even arrest, that they really didn't understand until later. Unfortunately, this wasn't one of those cases from what it sounds like...

But the unfortunate part was this officer's behavior once the stop took place. He apparently never identified himself, and spent a good five minutes on the side of the road yelling & ranting at my friend about various things, without ever explaining why they had been pulled over or anything else. Just a whole collection of rudeness. Then he got in his car & drove away. And I trust this friend enough to believe that is how events occurred if that's what they say happened.

It's officers like this who give the rest of us a bad name, and make our jobs harder. Now you have a normal citizen, who's never had an issue with cops before, pissed off at the entire profession because of how one idiot acted. From here on out every time they see a police officer, or even worse gets stopped by one, this is the memory they are going to start with. Which means their interaction is going to already be at a negative level when it shouldn't have to be.

Even worse happens when these idiots pull these games on some of the thugs out there... now you have someone who's already anti-law enforcement, and you've just given them more reason. So the next time someone else stops them, especially if they're riding with their crew, their mind is going to remember... and is more likely to say "I'm not going to get disrespected like that again." and end up fighting, or shooting someone who has no idea what brought this on beyond the badge they are wearing.

I have a job to do out there. Sometimes that job requires me to be abrupt with people, to arrest them and sometimes even to be violent with them. But that doesn't mean I have to be rude, disrespectful or treat them poorly while doing so. I've written people multiple tickets and gotten a thank you as they drove away. I've taken someone to the ground in a painful hold and called them sir the entire time. It's people who bring too much anger to this job, or who take everything personally, that make the citizens wonder about what their police are doing, and makes it harder for me to do my end safely and fairly.

Just a brief rant.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Absent lucidity

No real good stories from the past two nights, sorry...

and apparently the insomnia is back with a vengeance - and my schedule is already messed up for the next 48 hours...

hope to return to rational thought soon.

and thanks for those that have commented lately, I'll catch up with them tonight.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Do people not read?

I've noticed an increasing trend over the past few months of mine and other DUI arrests for people completely out of their gourd on medications. Not illegal stuff, just prescription stuff they have no business trying to do more than operate a TV remote on, much less drive a car.

And usually mixed up in combinations that would make a college street-pharmacology major proud...

Do people just not read warning labels or listen to their doctors anymore? I mean, I have simple stuff I take and it has more labels on it than most appliances - I've seen the warnings on the stuff you can't drive on!

My favorite recent quote on it was this:
"Didn't they say anything about not driving when you take this stuff?"
"Oh yeah, but it doesn't affect my driving at all, so I didn't stop."

This from the guy who just backed his vehicle 30 feet into a wooded ditch between highways at speed...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Soldier of the day

Here is the story of a Digger who definitely has earned full credit for his Regiment - good job sir!

Random Feline Filler

I have been firmly convinced for years that if you laid a newspaper out in the middle of the Serengeti a lion would show up inside of five minutes and lay across it as you were reading.

Discuss amongst yourselves. Show your work.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Falling apart

People who get arrested generally fall into three different categories, which you can pretty quickly figure out as soon as you start looking at their records (if not sooner).

One is the career criminal/user - they get into the system early & it's just a constant bounce back & forth for them - pages of history and they know how the game is played.

Another is the one-time mistake - that person who does something stupid at the wrong time, and ends up getting arrested. Hopefully it is the only occurrence in their life & they move on from it, and it's more common than you think the number of people you know who probably have a minor offense in their history. Their but for the grace of God and all that...

But today I'm going to discuss the third type - that person who has had some major event, and all of a sudden they enter the spiral. It could be a spouse leaving or dying, loss of a job or just financial troubles. But something kicks them off the path they've been on their whole life, and now they are starting that circle.

I guess about 90% of the time in my experience the catalyst will be drugs or alcohol or both - the person starts using something to cope with what has happened, the sudden loss of control as they are cast adrift, the only way they can numb the pain. And unfortunately this abuse quickly leads them into other problems.

I've seen someone take their lives from being a successful high-school teacher to living on the street as a prostitute, in less than a year, all because of a crack cocaine addiction.

Watched someone else smoke and snort away a house, a car, a job and a family because their new boyfriend got them hooked on stuff, and it made dealing with a disability that much easier.

And, most recently, watched someone take themselves from 50 years of a spotless life, to multiple alcohol and driving offenses in a span of a few months once his wife left him.

For me, at least, the saddest part of these kinds of cases is the way things end. Your career criminals generally bounce in and out of jail, as I said - sooner or later they get a good long stretch away or else they die on the streets & that is that (sad as it is, very few are ever really rehabilitated, but that's another topic.)

Your one-time offenders usually move on & never have to worry about it again - most they have is a good story about a night they spent in jail once for being dumb.

But these folks move from a generally spotless life to serious offenses in such a quick time, I don't think they ever really even comprehend what they are doing to themselves. They go from that first minor arrest all the way to actual felony time - sometimes before the first cases even make it to court. It just surprises me at how quickly a life can fall apart and people can get trapped in their own mistakes.

Unfortunately, I don't have any earth-shattering revelations or fixes in this post... I don't know some magic way to spot these people early and save them from the path they are on, when someone else in the same conditions pulls through just fine.

It's just something I was thinking about following the past week. The sadness of seeing good lives go to waste.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Double standards

Roanoke Cop has had a good series of reader questions up, including advice for those looking to enter law enforcement. Just wanted to add my own comment on that tonight.

Being a cop means you're going to have to make a decision. I don't mean the simple everyday stuff "Where will I eat?" "What to wear today?" I don't even mean the normal police work "Do I want to stop this car?" "Should I write her a ticket or give her a break?"

No, I mean that late one night, when you're all alone with no one to ask for help, you will have to decide how to deal with someone who wants to fight you. Who doesn't want to go to jail, and who certainly isn't going to cooperate. And who has already made the decision about what they are going to do to avoid it. And you never know which call, which stop, which moment it is going to be.

Your backup is going to be a ways away, you will have two billion thoughts running through your head, and you have to make your choice right then.

And, whether you shoot them, fight them, spray them, use a baton or a TASER or whatever else you have to do, you make it home.

THEN the hard part of being a cop begins.

Because this is the one that is going to run to their attorneys, to the press, to internal affairs, and to everyone else they can think of - or their family will do it if it was that kind of unfortunate situation.

They will accuse you of every sort of misbehavior possible as they swear to the angelic innocence of the person you had to deal with.

They will demand you be fired, demand you be charged for crimes and sent to jail.

They will call you every name in the book that will raise the flags of their cause, whether based upon the slightest truth or not.

They will threaten lawsuit after lawsuit; and if you are lucky you will have a jurisdiction which helps you when this happens - otherwise you face the risk of your own home and assets being tied up for years while the courts decide whether you made the right choice in the split second you had.

You may even face the threat of Federal charges.

The stigma of being labeled by the press and the public as a bad cop, or a bad department. Of wondering, even after it is all said and done, if that is what they are going to whisper behind your back.

All based on that one moment's choice.

And the very worst part of it all - you will have to turn your cheek and suffer in silence. Sure, you will have your coworkers, family and friends that you can talk to. But when the press publishes these things, when the news shows you as the nightly headline, and when the crowds call for your head you have to keep your mouth shut, wait for things to be resolved and grimace every time someone asks a friend or family member what is going on with these accusations towards you. Even when you know you did the right thing, when you are innocent of everything they accuse you of being, you have to suffer in silence and play the game.

When you are ready for that, THEN you can start thinking about being a cop.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some days off

Worked the last two nights back on the road. Both ended up being rather busy - nothing majorly dramatic, but apparently it was the weekend to drink, act stupid, argue with your significant other, etc. So it kept me from getting any schoolwork done, much less anything else.

Did manage to get a couple of easy DUI's out of everything. Saturday was someone who was at home arguing with her boyfriend & decided that going outside to slam her car into his was the way to show him... didn't work out quite so well for her, but at least she didn't give me any problems.

This morning I was SUPPOSED to be coming home early (the new meds are still doing a bit of a number on my stomach, and after the past week I was done) when a guy driving a bit fast in front of me & weaving managed to grab my attention. One of those that I KNEW was going to be a drunk even before I stopped him, but let's see what happens anyways.

Yes, he was - another of the "nice and friendly" ones at least. Every defense attorney's nightmare too. I was starting all of the tests out when he asks me "Wait, is this to see if I've had too much to drink?" Well, yes sir, that's exactly what this is for. "I've had way too much to drink."

Thank you sir. That's the kind of statement that pretty much makes the rest of what you say superfulous. Of course, still have to go through the rest of the process and do a full file on it (which is why I win more of these cases than lose them - that whole attention to detail thing), but with a statement like that you are pretty much hosed in court.

Now I get a few days off with no work obligations. I have a chunk of things I would like to get done around the house, schoolwork desperately in need of catching up, and rumor has it there is a family somewhere in the building that I would like to see. Plus I'll be just thrilled if the new meds level off & I quit feeling sick every meal - if this is the fun of morning sickness I'm glad my gender got a pass!

A few post ideas percolating as well, and perhaps I'll have time for one or two of them. But, that's a summary of things for now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

No good stories

Spent the past week teaching at the range for the academy going through right now; this was one of the harder groups from an instructor side in that it took a lot of work. The ratio of students really needing attention to those who were already somewhat competent was a bit more skewed than normal. This meant that not only were we all feeling a bit more frustrated with things, but we ended up having to spend a lot more time with the one group & kind of short changed the other. Fortunately yesterday and today I was able to shift over to one of the groups with more experience, and help them fine tune some skills. Kind of let me end the week on a high note.

Only other highlight of the week was getting shot - lol no, nothing like that! Caught a ricochet round in the hand at one point, which left a nice cut & bruise but fortunately nothing more. Gave me a good laugh & that's about the only long-term effect.

Also managed to get a chance tonight during their dinner break to do some shooting for myself - just to unwind with one of my friends who also teaches. It was enjoyable, but I definitely have been working a lot more on my pistol skills than rifle in the past year & need to balance that out...

So, nothing thrilling but wanted to let the world know I am alive & such.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Early hours

Yes, a very early post...

Teaching at the range again all week, so have to be up for "daytime" hours... but even this is early.


One of the fun side effects of one of the medications I'm on until the new stuff kicks in is a bit of insomnia... which I have always been plagued with anyway. So when I woke up at 0445 tossing and turning I figured I'd just get up so I didn't wake anyone else up in the process.

Ah well, at least this way I'm not rushing out the door at the last minute.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Playing with Google Reader, following etc over the next week - so I know the page looks a little busy, but I'll try to get it manageable and useful. Any thoughts as I proceed from others are of course welcome.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Busy times

Just a busy work week - nothing incredibly fun, but keeping me running around & tired, so real posts waiting for a day off.

I have noticed that it is apparently the month for women to be getting all the DUI's... not only my last four, but several others among coworkers this week. Apparently it's some new equality thing I missed....

anyway, going to unwind for a few and then bed. I have dreams of cooking a real meal before work tonight.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Safe bets


- the only ID you can produce is a check cashing card...

- and you say "well, I don't know WHERE my driver's license is, I haven't seen it in a while."

- and you're driving a "friend's car" that magically is short of a lot of paperwork...

The odds of you being suspended and not supposed to drive are suspiciously high.

Just your cop lesson for the day.