“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

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Yes, I've been online long enough to relate to this...

Painful to watch...

Had one of those long, painful mornings in court today. Not because of anything of mine - I sat around two hours for an attorney to come in & plead his client guilty to a DUI. No, it was painful and frustrating because I watched the whole comedy of errors going on:

  • - Officers who had no idea how to testify in the first place.
  • - Officers who had very obviously not taken any time to review their cases beforehand, so they were stuck fumbling for simple answers when asked the particulars.
  • - Officers who had no system of organization for their cases and tickets, again looking incompetent as they dug through piles of paper seeking things.
  • - Officers (and a prosecutor) who didn't know the elements of their offenses, in order to show the crime committed; another who didn't know case law and policy which made his arrest a valid one when he was questioned; and one who didn't even know which jurisdiction his offense took place in when asked.

Etc. etc. - to the point of the judge just about banging his head on the bench; doing everything but giving hints "sounds like.... might be.... maybe...."

It bothers me when I see things like this too. IMHO, courtroom testimony is one of the most serious aspects of this job. Whether you are affecting someone's pocketbook through a traffic summons, or their freedom through possible incarceration, or ultimately potentially their very life, you owe them your utmost professionalism and preparation. Taking a bit of time before the day to look over your cases; being able to explain what happened to a judge or jury; and simply being on-time, organized, and ready for the day is the very least we can do. Officers who do otherwise are a discredit on the profession, their training and their communities.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lack of communication

Cop bloggers tend to share the stupidity we encounter in the community as a matter of habit, but rest assured it is alive and well within our agencies as well. This post is a fine example.

So, the other night I'm working a DUI patrol & in the middle of locking my drunk up. It's been a busy night, both on the road and at the jail, so things are moving slower than I prefer - added to which, I tend to be a bit detailed in my paperwork and arrests. Plus, while it's a good arrest, in order to improve the conviction I'm in the process of starting on a search warrant for a blood sample to go along with everything else.

Right in the middle of all this the patrol units get themselves in a fight and a foot pursuit with a subject wanted on Federal charges. They manage to catch him, but then my phone starts ringing... the Patrol Sergeant is asking for some help.

"You have your dog with you, right?"

I let him know my partner is with me - I bring him along on these things for just such events. But I also explain I'm in the middle of a DUI arrest and the jail is kind of busy.

"Well, this guy says he ditched a stolen gun, and we need you to see if you can come find it."


Knowing this means I'm not going to have time for my search warrant, and that I have to rush other stuff, I let him know I'll be there shortly - the bomb and dog stuff is my primary duty after all, and if they need me I roll. So, I quickly finish typing up my report, take the subject in front of the magistrate after apologizing to several others for cutting in line, and head on out to the scene...

Whereupon I am presented with a grassy area about the size of a parking space in front of an apartment - two bushes being the sole obstructions to anything at all.

I look at him a bit incredulously I know - "You mean this is what you need me to search? What about the woods back there where you chased him, or the back yard where you were fighting?"

"Oh no, just here - we were right on him and he didn't throw anything; he says he tossed it here when we started."

I manage to keep my mouth shut as I get Helix out, and sweep the extensive area in question - I throw in the neighboring small plots just to keep up the momentum and account for any overlap. It literally took more time to type the sentence than to do it... Then, with a thanks from the Lieutenant for coming out, I'm loaded up & off to finish up my paperwork for the night.

Now, don't get me wrong - I certainly don't mind going out to help units find stuff; even when sometimes we're just going through the motions to cover our bases in the paperwork. But in the first place, there's no point in bringing the dog to check something that you can plainly see every inch of - it's not like you're seeking buried treasure. And in the second, after I've already let you know I'm in the middle of something, it would have taken zero effort to say "It's not a big search, we're just making the bosses happy for the report, take your time." and let me finish up my arrest with a stronger case, and not have to go screaming across town for a complete waste of time.

This is just an example of some of the fun we deal with on an internal basis.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Officer Down

Been a rough year for cops already, and we aren't even a quarter of the way done yet. Two more in Virginia last night, with two others injured.

Be careful out there folks. Wear your vests, don't be stupid & go home at the end of your shift.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Worthy Cause

The Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation exists to provide support to those EOD technicians and their families wounded in the service of our country. They are able to do so strictly through donations and support from our communities. For the second year in a row Virginia Beach's Lendy's restaurant is sponsoring the Wings for Warriors fundraising event on April 1st from 2 to 6:30 pm - wings, beer, a bomb-suit race between an EOD technician and a SEAL Team member, and various other events. If you're anywhere near Virginia Beach this is a great time to get all-you-can-eat wings and support a worthy cause.

For those of you not able to attend I would encourage you to show your support by ordering a shirt. $20 gets you a nice t-shirt and supports our service members and their families in times of need. Click on the link for ordering information and let's all help these guys have a record year.

The face of evil

Earlier this week an Israeli family was murdered in their homes in the West Bank by Palestinian terrorists.

This was quickly glossed over or minimized by the media; or worse the victims themselves were blamed for living where they did.

I usually try to keep the politics and preaching off of here - leaving people free to choose their own way.

But this case is different.

I've spent extended periods of time in Israel, and have good friends amongst Israelis. I also have Arab friends I've made during my time in those nations.

Argue everything else you want - there is one side in this conflict that tries to protect innocents, and one that seeks to harm them.

The link here goes to graphic pictures of the attack. I won't post them here out of respect for how the family is dealing with this; but they want the information shared.

Take the time. Look. Absorb the evil which could do this to innocent children and families, sleeping in their homes.

This is what Israel has faced every day since 1947 (and before, when the Mandate was still in effect). People who seek to kill them simply for the crime of existing.

Remember this when you are deciding which side you are on in life.

שלום עליהם

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stylish Blogger - ummm wow ok

So, as part of my neglected online presence lately, it seems that Shepherd K went and tagged me in the Stylish Blogger award which has been floating around. Much appreciated sir, even if I am a bit slow in the reply.

So, part one of the rules is that we're supposed to cough up seven secrets about ourselves for the readers to enjoy. Not sure how many of these qualify as "secrets" per se, but I'll share some bits for you all.

* I have a whole list of places in the world I can never visit, due to my prior military and Government work and associated clearances. It also means I have to be careful what I write, say etc. due to agreements I signed. I only wish the background matched the intrigue of the story! But I will never again get the joy of visiting Hong Kong, won't write a best-selling memoir, and always steer clear of certain conversations in public.

* Much like my moniker Mal, I've gone through a number of variations of religious crisis in my life. Growing up in parts of the country infested with either overly pushy missionaries, or hypocritical Bible-belters left me with a sour taste in my mouth for many years towards organized religion as a whole; combined with an open-minded single mother, a broad education and a love of reading I came to realize that all of this was much bigger than what the small-town churches painted it to be. Yes, I believe in a higher power - but I'd be hard pressed to nail down a faith or label for things. I can also freely say that this is one area my lovely wife & her family (missionaries of the right kind) helped remind me of the big picture.

* While alluded to here & there, most people don't realize that despite my life of adventure, I actually suffer from a crippling disease - psoriatic arthritis, in a severe form. Fortunately it is controlled by medication, but I am technically disabled and have a number of effects that I deal with daily. My prayers are that it continues to stay controlled so that I can keep being there for my children, and keep doing work I love.

* Despite the fact I am a native English speaker, and don't speak anything else beyond a basic conversational level, there are a number of concepts and thoughts which I literally can't think of in English - having learned them in a particular language or milieu they are forever colored in that shade, and my brain will always treat them as such.

* I work on bombs and explosives daily, can handle most firearms armorer work with very little guidance or training, and can easily install car & home stereos, build computers etc. Despite that I have very little mechanical or electrical aptitude - car engines bother me past the basics, and I am fortunate enough to have a wife who loves getting greasy & working on stuff.

* My English grammar knowledge is severely lacking. Due to a change in states and school systems when a child, I basically missed a whole year of English. The vocabulary was never an issue due to my voracious appetite for reading, and spelling is not normally a problem for me - but if you ask me to diagram a sentence and work out parts of speech etc. I get lost. This is part of what has led to difficulties in truly "learning" other languages for me.

* I am a multi-tasker to an almost disruptive level at times. I think nothing of working online, writing emails, watching TV and talking with someone all at the same time - and fully tracking each event. I am never without at least three books in progress, finishing each at a rate depending on the level of interest. The best analogy I ever heard was that the mind works like tracks on an old magnetic tape in sound recording - the guitars on one track, vocals on another, drums on a third etc. - my mind is at least an eight and often a 12 to 16 track event at any one time. Unfortunately, this also affects my patience and dealing with people, as I have to force myself to remember that not everyone processes and works in the same way.

Part two is that we're supposed to nominate a number of others for the award in return - unfortunately it appears that everyone I'd choose has previously been tagged... the price of showing up late to the party as it were.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rode hard, put away wet

Yep, this week played rodeo all over my butt...

Homicide-in-progress callout to stand by for a possible explosive entry...

Numerous suspect items calls (to include four in one day)...

Several "OMG the sky is falling" meetings on a grant audit...

Staff crisis mode following events asking us to prepare equipment and contingencies we've been asking for over the past two years, and to have it done last week or earlier...

Attempts to fit normal bomb squad training, time with the dog, time with the family, gym, meals, etc. in the midst of all this...

A wife who is still medically under the weather and me not able to help as much as I should...

There were other events that blurred through the past several days, but you all get the idea. I feel like hanging out in the stall & recovering tonight. Have some actual time off the next few days, so see if I can get back to things here.