Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The 12 Days Christmas . . .

Grab your moose mugs full of eggnog and sing along . . .

On the 12th day of Christmas my Sgt. gave to me,
14 reports and the paperwork to a felony

11 pairs of shackles

10 use of force sheets

9 prisoner pickups

8 warning tickets

7 in house trainings

6 sets of flex cuffs

5 time of request forms

4 warrant checks

3 pending calls

2 surety bonds

And a subpoena to the grand jury . . .

"Hallelujah! Holy shit, where's the Tylenol?"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Angles among us . . .

Lately I've been suffering a terrific case of writer's block. It's not that the jail has suddenly gone calm and people have started to engage their brain before their mouth before calling us. I think it might be the holiday season in general. I've been trying to concentrate on planning time with friends and family on my off days and scheduling in precious sleep. Somehow my love of snow hasn't even made me super cheery this year.
Maybe it's the fact that it's the first year I have to walk up to a headstone to tell my best friend Merry Christmas. They played "Blue Christmas" the other day and I cried like an idiot for ten minutes. This year I am less worried about finding everyone the perfect gift and more worried about giving everyone a hug. I am content to skip the holiday parties and sit on the couch with my friends and watch Christmas Vacation for the 30th time. 30th time this month.
What can I say? I'm trying. There are angels among us, I just miss mine the most right now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Better angels . . .

I hold no office in my union. You will not find me in contract negotiations. You will find me fighting for you in public meetings, attending budget sessions for my county and educating people. Yesterday I was accused of being "aggressive" and "outspoken" by several people I work with. I know what I want for myself and my department. Several county officials congratulated me on my piece at a town hall budget meeting the other night. One was a Democrat, one from the Tea Party and one from the GOP. Politics and diplomacy at their finest.
Here's the thing. In the jail someone who mf's you through the door all night is called a "cell warrior;" as soon as you open that door and come face to face they've got nothing to say. I'm no cell warrior. I won't post thinly veiled comments of hatred toward my sheriff and administration on Facebook. I won't join in the mud-slinging sessions in roll call where we decide we hate every elected official. Ask me who I am and what I stand for. I will tell you. I will quote financial data, employment figures and cold hard facts.
Most of of all though, I will fight for you. Your job, my job, any cop in my department's job. I am a fighter, a warrior and a protector. My voice will be heard.

"I'm a (wo)man of my convictions. Call me wrong, call me right; but I bring my better angels to everything. You may not like where I'm going, but you sure know where I stand. Hate me if you want to, love me if you can." -Toby Keith

Monday, November 22, 2010

Guardian angels . . .

It's been a hard couple of weeks. The wolf is at the door again for layoffs. Now they want to eliminate two entire patrol shifts. God help us.
A few nights ago I was going to pick up one of our inmates from another county. I am a deputy sheriff with full arrest powers, I just happened to be assigned to the jail and not patrol. A man turns the wrong way down a one way street in front of me. I stop him in the cruiser. He gets out on me in the middle of a completely shitty section of town. Flight or fight. Looks like flight. Behind me I hear the unmistakable sound of a police K9 and his handler. The driver freezes and suddenly becomes cooperative.
I've never met this officer, he comes from one of the biggest city departments in our state. He works in the county adjacent to mine. We left that stop and I asked how he heard me call the stop out on my channel. He didn't. He told me he was just watching over me.
Thank God for guardian angels.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Callin' Baton Rouge . . .

We have an inmate in our jail on a holder from the Baton Rouge Police Department. Nationwide pickup radius, they will come almost 1,000 miles across more than five states to get their prisoner.
Family calls about the prisoner. "What are they charged with?"
"I don't know, I didn't confirm the warrant. All I can see is the holder."
"Well. When do we know when they'll let them go? They're not coming up here for that."
"Uh. Yes. Yes they are. That's why they sent a holder that says 'We will extradite."
"They don't even know what they're charged with! That's not legal!"
"Tell them to think back to the last time they were in Louisiana and see if any felonies jump out."
"How do you know it's a felony?"
"Police departments don't come 1,000 miles for misdemeanors."
"Well you need to call them and see when they'll lift the holder."
"They're not lifting the holder. An extradition hearing is scheduled for the beginning of the week."
"Do you have the number to Baton Rouge?"
"Why not?"

That's like asking me why I don't have the number to the police department in Juneau, Alaska. I'm sorry, we don't just call them up to chat on a weekly basis.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Political games . . .

So a friend of mine called today all upset over the elections. Like crying upset. Now to be clear, I'm an informed voter and I enjoy politics in moderation. I could care less about political smear campaigns and constant bickering. She rages on and on about how she's experiencing the stages of grief. No joke. She doesn't work for a candidate or a campaign, she just follows politics.
I'm not trying to be an asshole here, but really?
The candidate you wanted to win lost. I've lost my best friend. You're crying about the governor. I'm trying to put my dress uniform together for an awards ceremony without crying. You can't believe they were predicting the wrong winner in an election. My Sgt. can't believe he had to go tell a child's parents that the media was wrong, their child is dead. You're trying to reconcile the next 2 to 4 years of politics. I'm trying to reconcile leaving my department of 4 years and starting over.
I guess we all take a different view on life.
As I polish my nameplate and collar brass I'm reminded of the one person who would have enjoyed seeing me get my commendation for exemplary service more than me. My award will be just like his. I just wish he was here to see it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

But then, I've been there before . . .

Repeat offender syndrome: (noun) - 1) Displayed by any inmate who informs you "this isn't my first rodeo" or "I've already been to prison so this is nothing." 2) Any pattern of events at the intake desk that lead you to believe the same thing is happening over and over. (i.e everyone has been arrested for domestic violence, is drunk or both) 3) Any time you release someone from jail and they get arrested again during your shift. 4) When any inmate states they got arrested just so they could come to jail for food/shelter 5) When any inmate explains any part of the process to you better than most officers

See also: Rehabilitation (obsolete)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Take it to God . . . or your Lt., whoever you find first

Recently things have been hectic at work, as I'm sure you've gathered from the posts about my coworkers' mental health. Our chief deputy recently came forward and told the sheriff that "our jail is sick." He laid out everything to the sheriff, and it was ugly.
Our lieutenants have been pulling various employees in to talk with them about problems at work. Luckily I got selected by one of the trustworthy ones, you know the supervisors that you can have a meltdown on and they never tell anyone.
When I was done voicing my observations and concerns my Lt looked sick. I don't know if he was ready to take confession when he started the meeting. Some of the things I told him visibly disturbed him. He asked how supervisors could willingly and purposefully belittle a suicidal officer. He asked why no one came and debriefed the officers that had sat with him until help arrived so he couldn't harm himself. He asked how a sergeant could lie and falsify documents to protect one officer and implicate an other.
I had no answers. I still don't.
I feel better, because I gave my problems up to someone with power. I'm pretty sure that's not what my grandmother meant when she told me to give my problems up to higher power. She was talking about God. Unlike my inmates, I have never found God in my jail. I did however find someone willing to listen.
I don't think the administration's willingness to take action now will affect my decision to leave for another agency as soon as the opportunity arises. Just like the Wizard of Oz, you can never go back once you see what evil stands behind the curtain.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Crisis epidemic . . .

When one of my colleagues committed suicide over the holidays I posted this. Now belatedly the people I work with have realized the big picture. Since my date of hire 4 years ago, our department has had 2 suicide attempts while on duty and 10 people go out on "stress evaluation leave." Only 3 of those 10 have returned to duty. 2 officers have walked in to the brass, put their service weapon on the desk and stated: "I'm going to quit or I'm going to kill myself." All but 3 of these incidents have happened within the last year.

My administration is clueless. "What problem?" Like your employees running like lemmings to a cliff isn't a big enough clue something is wrong. More and more officers are expressing signs of stress; yet we are told to do more with less.

This week a man who trained me, joked with me and cried with me simply walked off the job. He walked into the Captain's office laid his equipment and his paperwork on the desk and left. Again I'm left with the feeling of "What did I miss?" Surely to God we should have noticed something in a man we worked with every night, drank with and talked to every day. I hope he's happy in a world far from law enforcement and corrections. I hope we can stop the trend, our lives depend on it. Only thing is, how do you fight a monster you can't see?

Monday, September 27, 2010

No, I am not poison control . . .

One of our frequent fliers calls 911. We get called out for "an overdose on unknown substance." Nice, so it could be bleach or Tums. Upon arrival we find our resident system abuser who says this: "Why are you here?" Behind me I can barely make out my engineer whisper, "I was wondering the same thing."

FF: "I called poison control"
Me: "No, you called 911."
FF: "Well yeah, but that was because I wanted the number to poison control."
Me: "That's what 411 is for, not 911."
FF: "No, 411 is information not poison control, everyone knows that"
Me: "Clearly not."
FF: "So are you going to do your job and give me the number?"
Me: "Did you take something you think is dangerous?"
FF: "No, I wanted to see if this pill my girlfriend gave me is really a Vicodin."
Me: "Right. Go back in the house before I call the cops."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Honestly, I thought we covered this. . .

For the record:

1. Do not drive to the sheriff's office to produce paperwork to a deputy when you are drunk, suspended or both.

2. Do not walk in a 24 hour diner where there are 3 uniformed officers and two plainclothes eating dinner at 4 am; while smoking a joint with active warrants for your arrest. Especially if you are going to come up and talk to us.

3. Do not drop off inmate medication to the jail pharmacy that has 5 kinds of pills in one bottle. When one is a schedule 2 drug, that's an even bigger problem.

4. Do not come bail out the person you have a protection order against and then yell at the deputy because they tell you to leave the property before that inmate comes outside.

5. Do not turn yourself in at the jail with illegal drugs on your person.

That's all for today's PSA. Remember, we're here to serve your ass; not kiss it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So. . .your're a cop?

This has gotten said to me like 20 times while I've been in uniform this week. Is it bad these are some of the responses I've concocted in my head?

-Nope. Stripper.
-Halloween is a religion for me. I celebrate it year round.
-Stole the uniform. Don't tell the cops.
-I'm an explorer. We're short staffed from lay offs so they let me carry a gun after school.
-They said military uniform inspired clothing was the new thing this fall, my own twist.
-I dress like this because I like looking like I weigh 20 pounds more and like a man.

Or just, "No." I wonder what they'd say to that?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Red light, green light . . .

*Quick note: Thanks to everyone for the song suggestions, my I Pod and I love you.

Sarge: (Pointing at our extra guy.)"You're on red light" (Pointing at my partner.) "You're on green light"

Extra guy: "Wait, so I'm on red light?!"

Sarge: (Speaking to my partner) "He's only greenlighted if you give him permission. If he goes green without your permission I green light you to beat his ass."

Extra guy: "Red light means I'm on time out and I'm the good cop?! What the f***"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ideas welcome . . .

So I'm about to buy myself an I Pod Touch, which I am super excited about. The purpose for this shiny new toy (other than I want to play Apps at work) is that I need it for a half-marathon. That being said, I have a limited idea about what I'm going to put on my playlist.
Side note: For all you awesome half-marathon runners, I am not you. This is going to take me a while. A long while.
So I need at least two and a half hours of quality running music . . . feel free to share ideas, I'm kind of out here on my own.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I just stopped to say I love you . . .

Hey buddy,
I just stopped to say hello. Work is really bad sometimes; I wish you were here to point out the good parts. I got involved in a disciplinary hearing and I didn't even know I was part of the original event. You would be happy know that I was cleared and my file is still clean. I see that the guys have been tucking notes about work under your memorial stone. It's time to move on from the Sheriff's Office, somehow I know you would approve. I went to visit my parents and thought of you, I want you to be proud. It will all be ok, it's just hard here without you. You would approve of my current half-unit, I know you never liked the last guy I dated anyways. I miss asking you my "rookie" questions more than you can imagine. Watch over me. . . I love you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ya think?

From the cartoon "Police Limit" by Garey McKee. Hallelujah, he speaks the truth.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moving on . . .

Yesterday I reached one of the hardest decisions of my life, to go ahead and move on from my beloved SO. Work has been so bad lately that people are quitting with no other job to go to. The current status can only be explained as "dark." There will probably be yet another round of layoffs to bring the total to an even 100.
This is not the department that hired me. This is not why I became a cop. They announced there will be no promotional exam for patrol in 2011, there has not been one since 2008. This is now my fourth year in the jail. I remember when work was fun and people cared about each other there.
As one friend leaves for state law enforcement, I lay flowers on an other's grave. It's time to move on. I started updating my resume yesterday, my first choice is city law enforcement followed by the state investigative division.
I never wanted to leave this place but it's time to move on to bigger and better things.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lost in translation . . . cop to English

"Hey CO, all I did was a quick search for weapons."
translation - "If you find dope or anything else, please handle the charges and report so I don't have to."

"All he has wrong with him is a small abrasion to his knee."
translation - "I think it might need stitches, please don't make me take this guy to the hospital."

"Unable to locate."
translation - "I can't believe you sent me here to check on this. The "suspicious" person was last seen an hour ago. Like they're still going to be here. Right."

"It's a civil matter."
translation - "Why the hell did you call the cops for this?"

"Do you have any pending calls?"
translation - "Please say no so I can eat for the first time in eight hours."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crap cops . . .

"You're a crap cop . . . you didn't used to be." -Ofc. John Cooper, SouthLAnd

Every department has one, or sixty depending on your size. The cop who no one wants to work with. They go by many names: shit bag, d*****bag, asshole, slacker, dead-weight, no-show, retired on duty and many others. They are young, they are old, male, female, fifth year or twenty fifth.
Every cop fears them for the simple fact cops are convinced this person will ultimately be responsible for their death. They half-ass paperwork, dodge calls, bitch endlessly, punt things to unsuspecting officers and are generally worthless.
Every supervisor tries to shove them off on some other shift or some random administrative assignment. Every cop on their shift hates them. It never seems like the administration catches on or even cares. They are the bad apple in a batch of 1,000 that ruins cops in the eyes of the public.
The concept of the badge being a symbol of the public trust is a complete loss on them. They miss weapons on pat-downs. They leave drugs "for the jail to find" and thereby write the report for. They don't go the extra mile for the victim, the public or their brothers and sisters.
Don't get me wrong, everyone has their days. I've left work and wondered how I made it out alive. But that's one day. Unfortunately in law enforcement that's all it takes for you not to go home. Or someone else not to go home.
I beg you don't be a crap cop. If you think I'm becoming one, stop me. If you know one, tell them to shape up.

"You're a cop because you don't know how not to be one. If you feel that way, you're a cop. If you don't, you're not - you decide." - Ofc. John Cooper, SouthLAnd

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Field Guide to Prisoners . . .

Drunkus Maximus: Nocturnal. Two varieties of species: one is funny, the other one only thinks they are.

Drunkus Obnoxious: Male- You may have to go hands on if aggressive. Will probably ask for your badge number. Female- Characteristics are screaming/crying/informing you she was a former beauty queen/is married to someone who makes six times what you do. Very vocal.

Flirtatious: Male sightings are rare but not unheard of. Females are more social. Found often on traffic stops. May have bright plumage and very colorful facial markings.

Polywarrantus- May attempt to fight or flee if cornered. Has multiple outstanding warrants. Can be highly aggressive and dangerous.

Entitlement Complexus- Will attempt prove superiority/dominance, young male of the species is the worst. Can also share some traits with Drunkus Obnoxious, generally comes from a wealthier background than average. Impervious to reason and consequences.

Emotional Complexus- Defense mechanisms include tears and hysteria. Reasoning may or may not work. If all else fails, safety in numbers.

Unstableness Obvious: Use caution, unpredictable and potentially violent. Is not playing the same game with the same rules you are.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Clearly your brain has gone on vacation . . .

This week in a nutshell:

Woman calls me at midnight about her husband's case in federal court. Proceeds to ask me for federal court house's number. Calls back complaining because they are not open. At midnight. On a Saturday. Right.

Man shows up to post bond on wife charged with DUI. Shows up drunk. Gets pulled over on the street in front of the SO. Man arrested on DUI and warrant. Wife sees husband walk into intake and is very confused.

Man does not understand that coming to visit someone in jail who has a protection order on him will result in his immediate arrest. Requires almost an hour of explaining that while this is a jail, there is no "home base" where the protection order does not apply. Including the jail.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Being polite and other things my Dad tought me. . .

Today I was missing my buddy so I went to the cemetery to say hello and leave a few things. I know he's not there, his spirit is somewhere else, but it made me feel better. For those of you familiar with various other religions, specifically Native American, you will understand the significance of a tobacco offering.
My friend smoked, (don't start, it's not good for you) it may/may not have helped to contribute to his death. Despite having a degree in community health and disease prevention, I could never persuade him to quit. All that aside, I went and bought a pack of cigarettes in his favorite brand.

is what the convenience store clerk does to me:
"I would like a pack of Marlboro Red please."
"Smoking's bad for you. You shouldn't buy those."
(Showing great restraint and smiling) "Thank you."
"Those are pretty strong, I don't think that's what you want."
"You have no idea. They will be fine."
(He hands me a pack of Marlboro Lights) "No. Marlboro Red please."
(With a disgusted look) "I can't believe you smoke these."

Really? If you have a moral problem with selling people cancer in a stick, don't work somewhere you have to sell tobacco and alcohol. Thanks.

This is followed by a wonderful experience in the cemetery.

"You shouldn't leave cigarettes on someone's grave, children will take them and smoke them."
"I'm going to field strip 5 of them and take the rest with me."
"I think that's just terrible."


At what point did Americans find it appropriate to be so anti-tobacco that they accost people in cemeteries? I'm old enough to posess them and I'm not smoking them. I think we'll be ok. I'm also pretty sure that most underage children don't get ahold of their tobacco products from cemeteries, but I could be wrong about that.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Am I talking to myself here?

Sorry for the extended delay . . . I was enjoying some extended time off thanks my wonderful build up of comp time. Now that it's time to get back to work, here's some of my recent phone conversations.

"What's my son charged with?"
"Felonious assault."
"Is that a felony?"

"What's my daughter charged with?"
"The official term is a 'capias,' it's a Latin term meaning to seize."
"What's it for?"
"She did something the court told her not to."
"What was it?"
"I have no idea. Depends on the conditions of her probation."
"That's illegal. You can't hold her when you don't know what it's for."
"I don't know what it's for, but the court does and that's who counts."

"What's my son's bond?"
"He's sentenced to 180 days in jail. No bond."
"Why not?"
"Uh, that's the point of a jail sentence. To serve it."

"My daughter got released on her charge of theft this morning, why isn't she out of jail?"
"She has 6 other pending charges including 2 felonies, one of which is escape."
"So why can't she get out for the morning and come back?"
"Nice try."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shameless plug . . .

So thanks to Mrs. Fuzz over at "a police wife" I found this awesome little item on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/49174029/to-protect-and-serve. There are several other cool things in this shop including this: http://www.etsy.com/listing/47305224/it-is-not-how-he-died-that-made-him-a.
So in other news, I'm now addicted to Etsy. Nice.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pain in the . . . oh, you know.

Actual dispatch: "Respond to the front of the city administration building for a female down in the lawn complaining of pain in the rectum and buttocks."
No one moved for the truck for a good second. "Are we getting punked?" "Is this the cops' idea of a joke?" "Is this a joke from our union negotiators?"

Oh no. Actual call.

Pain was not secondary to a fall, a bowel movement, heavy lifting or anything else we could find. May have been secondary to sitting on concrete for awhile down at the city park? Who knows, my medic's assessment provided no magical insight.
"Do you want transported to the ER?"
"Seriously? Then why did you call 911?" (She was in fact the original caller)
"I want an aspirin."
At this point my Captain looks like he might strangle someone.
"I called you out here, I want you to do something. I'm not buying a whole bottle."
"We're leaving."

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorials . . .

I have a question for all of you out there who may be reading this. Does anyone know of a company/person that makes police memorial jewelry? I would like something that can be concealed in my uniform (i.e. a necklace) or something that fits in our uniform regulations (a plain metal memorial bracelet). I have seen several places that manufacture stainless steel and aluminum bracelets, but all suggestions are welcome. Honestly my first choice would be a necklace, preferably my department's five point star, or custom dog tags. Any and all options are encouraged. Please leave suggestions in the comments section. Thank you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sunrise . . .

Hey buddy,
I'm sitting on my bed with my laptop just like I almost always was for our 2am phone call marathons. I keep waiting for you to call me and ask me to look something up for you. I'm waiting for the phone to ring with that ringtone I assigned to you 6 years ago and refused to change out of pure stubbornness. I wanted to call you so bad yesterday and ask about the dress uniform for the funeral, but it's your funeral. I polished the gun belt you helped me put together and hollered at me about constantly. I kept crying when I thought about it, so I think there's probably some tears on there too.
The boys cleaned up your cruiser, you would have been proud. I unloaded my magazines on my off days the other day because I swore I could hear you yelling at me about it. Someone is driving me in the procession because I know you wouldn't have wanted me behind the wheel all upset. I went to the doctor the other day when I was feeling sick; I didn't want you to think I never listened to you about anything. (And on that note, just for the record, you were right. As usual.)
You know which ones on your shift you have to keep a close eye on. Promise me you'll still look out for me, I don't know what I'm going to do with out you. I'm going to breakfast this morning with my favorite person, you know which one I'm talking about. I'll miss telling her about you, those were always great stories.
This is the hardest thing I've ever done. You were always the first person I hit the speed dial for when things were too much to bear alone. I can't understand why God would take my best friend. I know what you're saying, I can hear you. I'm not blaming God, it's just hard.
Well that's about it. "What are you doing exciting?" "Absolutely nothing." "Well why not?" I'm going to go outside in a little bit and watch the sunrise. Watch it with me please.

I love you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

End of watch . . .

It is with a broken heart that I post this. Last night my best friend/mentor/favorite deputy passed away suddenly before start of shift. I am at a loss. He was 42 years old.

I will say this. For six years, from the time I became a firefighter and eventually a deputy, he watched over me. He answered my questions and loved me unconditionally. The last words I ever spoke to him were "I love you."

God give me strength for I know I cannot do this alone. Never in a million years did I ever think a man I loved with all my heart would leave so soon. A man who will never see me get married, be promoted to patrol, turn 25 or any of the hundreds of other things we often spoke of.

I love you. Watch over your brothers and I; you would have been the person I would have turned to to get through something like this.

Please, if you are out there and feel the need say a prayer for my deputy. I know you didn't know him, but he would have loved all of you.

Rest in peace my brother, we have the watch.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Public safety partners quiz . . .

Take the following quiz and give yourself a point for every answer you can say "yes" to:
(The partner can be your husband/wife/significant other/or your work partners)

You've ever been hung up on preceded by any of the following statements:
a. We've got a run.
b. I've got a call.
c. Some dumbass just about took off the front of my cruiser.
d. I've got to go help this unit/person.

You've ever been the last one in the restaurant of your party and ever had to say:
a. They're on duty, they have a call.
b. Sorry, we're on call.
c. Could we have that to go?

You've ever been woken up to a phone call that starts:
a. Did you know I had court?
b. What are you doing right now? (Extra point if the answer has ever been, "SLEEPING.")
c. I forgot something, can you bring it to work?

You are perfectly comfortable with long silences in phone conversations due to:
a. Someone running a tag.
b. Answering the radio.
c. The other person typing/eating/yelling loudly at traffic.

Any of the following is in your personal vehicle/work vehicle:
a. Disposable gloves.
b. Extra handcuff keys/handcuffs
c. Extra uniform parts.
d. Anything your partner has had to move off of their seat and rolled their eyes about.

More than five? Congratulations, and welcome to the edge of reality.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Greater love hath no man . . .

In honor of National Police Week . . .

Thank you for being my brother. Thank you for being my sister. Even though I've never met you, I have your back. I might not know your name, but I love you. I will be faithful unto the death for you. I will lay down my life for you. Should you ever need me, all you have to do is call.

Somewhere tonight is someone who only gets to say "I love you" to a headstone. Somewhere a child dreams of a parent who will never see them grow up. Somewhere a parent cries that they have had to bury their child.

Be safe.

Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his brother. John 15:13

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cries for help . . .

During headcount a few nights ago I heard someone repeatedly call out for me. After locating the cell, an inmate runs up to the door in tears and says "I just hung up with my sister before count and she's going to kill herself."
I took the name and the address and called central communications. They sent a deputy and the fire department. She did not kill herself. The deputy kicked the door in before she succeeded.
One of the reasons I remain in public safety is I believe someone should always be there to hear cries for help. I also believe that someone should answer them.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Much like the post I wrote about suicide, I guess I chose to ignore that our profession also boasts one of the highest rates of divorce. So far this week two of my best friends have dropped on me they are getting divorced. One is a young guy who has only been married four years, one is a guy on his second marriage. Sure, people at our department get divorced but it's almost always the ones that you cringed when they got married. The "that's not going to end well" type of marriage.
Both of my friends are devastated. There are children involved in both marriages that are devastated. The younger one says that after counseling it is a mutual split. Apparently as the mother of a two year old his wife was not able to come to terms with him working 12 hour shifts at night. The older guy had been divorced for a while before marriage number two. He was so excited to have a family situation back in his life; he even took full custody of all three children from a previous marriage. There was a big communication problem in that marriage that several of my friends tried to gently point out to them.
Both of them have to come to me for advice. I told them both the same thing; I've never been married, I'm not qualified. My parents have been married almost 40 years. I have no idea what divorce is like.
To me marriage is an institution not to be taken lightly. I'm not just going to run off to Vegas or marry someone I've only known a year. Communication and trust is a big thing to me. At this rate I'll just stay single . . .

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quotations and observations . . .

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." - Invictus, by William Ernest Henley

I have an engraved bracelet that says "Fall down seven times, stand up eight." It was a saying told to me when I graduated the police academy.

On that note, this post will be kind of flighty and short. Given how work has been going, this is about as good as it is going to get today. Today I saw a good friend of mine in a shoot/don't shoot situation in real life. He is not sure he is comfortable with the decision he made, I have every confidence in the world in him. You don't make your decision because you hate what is in front of you . . . you make it because you love the men and women behind you.

If you're in California and see a San Bernardino deputy . . . tell them thanks for what they do. It's a long story, but they're worth it.

"There's no such thing as coincidence" - Lt. Joe Leaphorn, from the Tony Hillerman books.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hang on . . .

That about sums up how work has gone the last two weeks. Our division has had some major staffing changes and we are no longer working 12 hour shifts. Hello 5 days of 8's. My best friend has been moved to second shift. We have no idea what supervisors will be assigned to our rotation.

Did I mention I hate change? No, I didn't? Well, I do.

Just close your eyes and hang on.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reality . . .

Pawn: (noun) - What you are to your politically motivated administration. See also: means to an end, bargaining chip.

Morale: (noun) - A rare mental and emotional condition involving enthusiasm and confidence. Sometimes seen in departments without layoffs and budget emergencies.

Brotherhood: (noun) - An unbreakable bond shared by members of a law enforcement agency. The only known defense against crisis within or outside of a department. See also: thin blue line.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We didn't start the fire . . .

My night went something like this, sing along in your mind:

Warrant problems
Low manpower
Whiny cops
Amateur hour
No service
ER Rooms
Awful leadership

Fire department
Power outage
Failed to mention
Schedule changes
Venue changes
When can I go home

Long day
Jail's full
Hazard pay
The bond is payed
And the Sgt's on his way

Med pass
Have we called a squad for this
Clear the sally
Call the medic
Where the hell's my Sgt

We didn't start the fire
It was always burnin' since the worlds been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it but we tried to fight it

And for amusement purposes: http://www.sporcle.com/games/wedidntstartthefire.php
I have gotten up to 113 of the 120 . . . some things I never can spell.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Uncommon criminals and other myths . . .

This is starting to be my new least favorite line from new prisoners: "I'm not a common criminal, quit treating me like one!" Guess what? I treat everyone who comes through my doors the same. Just because you've never been to the county jail does not mean you're special. You have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Sorry. I don't care if you're innocent, that's the court's problem. Don't complain it's not fair that you have to go through the same processing as the girl we've arrested five times for prostitution. Five times this month.

Landfill fires are not "cool" they are not "a training opportunity" or anything else you might try to make them. They suck. The last one took me two months to get the stench off of everything I own. Let's just call a spade a spade . . . it's flaming garbage.

You can not answer medical assessment questions during an actual seizure. If you are faking however, you definitely can. Try harder, we're like American Idol, we've seen it all.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Do I know you?

It's the question every deputy/CO hates while they are out in public off duty. Yeah, you know me. I arrested/processed/restrained/transported you. Do I really want to tell you that in front of my family and yours? Probably not. I usually just smile and then they suddenly realize the connection and quietly move on.
This morning I had a very disturbing encounter while paying for my breakfast. I hand my bill and my cash to the lady behind the counter. I'm not really looking at her because I'm with two dispatchers, all of us in civilian clothes. Halfway through making my change the cashier bursts into tears, and sobbing, tells the other clerk to give me my change as she bolts for the door.
The new cashier looks at me and goes "I guess she knows you." "Uh, not that I'm aware of." I have a fairly good record with faces, and I swear I didn't know the first cashier from Adam. I feel pretty weird about this. Obviously this lady recognizes me and it is not a pleasant reminder of something. I try to be a decent officer and treat people with respect. However when I was a new officer I was a little badge-heavy and that's not something I am proud of. I know that I am a better deputy now than I was for the first two years, and I also know that I could use some improving. I have no idea what I could have possibly done to this woman.
Again, disturbing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life imitates art . . .

Irony: (noun) - Defined as being the mediator for a dispute in a housing unit while all the inmates watch an incredibly similar and equally ridiculous dispute on "COPS."
See also: Learning curve, job securtiy

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Keeps me turning home . . .

"I don't know no friends like the old friends" - Turning Home, David Nail.

After an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable weekend with college friends I returned to the joys of work. Nothing like checking your messages and discovering three of your good friends just got hit with lay offs. Sometimes, even though I mostly love it, I wonder about the place I work at. Politics are getting old. Don't get me wrong, I like the Sheriff and the people I work with; I just have issues with the institution.
For all of you who have ever worked nights, especially these glorious twelve hour shifts, you know how important good coworkers can be. I am bitter. I am a little depressed. I am feeling a little guilty too, if layoffs ever reach me it pretty much means we shut the jail down. Turnover in our division is so high here it's ridiculous. Those of us who stay have pretty much decided we can endure anything. Our shift has been together for almost 4 years. My two best friends may be leaving also, one for state law enforcement and one for city.
Somehow we keep coming to work, most times with a smile. We keep coming back to the politics, the layoffs, the fights and general bullshit. Why? I think because it's our home. Our best work related memories are here with each other. We are the last line of defense for each other, and somehow that makes it worth it.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Can't have it . . . not yours

So let me just say there is nothing I love more than driving almost an hour for a warrant transport only to discover the arresting agency won't let me have the prisoner due to a paperwork error. Yes. This is how my "Monday" at work started. I felt like yelling really loudly "YOU called ME." (I did not, I let my Lt. yell at them.)
The day continued to be awesome when on the way back to my HQ a guy runs a red light and causes a wreck directly in front of me. Awesome. Here's to keeping the peace and directing traffic in the rain while waiting for the locals to show up.
You know what made this completely better upon arrival back at work? Wrestling a guy covered in mace out of the back of a cruiser . . . so much for my clean uniform.
Can I go home and start over?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bring in the cot . . . and apparently the spinal immobilization devices

During one of those nights at work where you swear the clock has gone backwards at least twice, I get this call from my control room officer. "Uh, can you go back into the infirmary? I'm pretty sure they have a problem back there." Not good.

I find one of our jail medics with a female having a possible stroke. After notifying one of the on-duty supervisors and the control room we prepare for transport to the hospital. Five minutes later the supervisor calls me on the radio. "Can you bring her down to receiving?"
"Uh. No."
"Do you need the fire department to bring you anything?"

"A cot would be nice."

They arrive. With splints and a c-collar.
"Do you guys know something we don't know?"
"What do you mean?"
"This is a possible stroke."
"Yeah, your Sgt. definitely just told us we needed to bring the c-collar."
"No. The cot. Cot, c-collar, similar but no."

Sometimes I think I'm talking to myself at work . . .

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wait . . . what?

For amusement purposes . . .

This guy comes to visitation at the main complex of our SO. We happen to be large enough to have multiple facilities. His girlfriend is at one of the other complexes; he knows this and tells me this. I inform him that he needs to go to the complex she is housed in to visit her. The response?
"Are you serious?" Funny, that's what I said to my partner once he left.

While seated, in uniform, behind the bullet-proof window with "VISITATION" stenciled above it I get the following. Man walks in, takes a number for the "serving now" line. Makes it up to me and goes "I'm here to see my girlfriend but there's no deputy back in the visitation room and the door is locked."
"Sir visitation is a secure area, I have to hit a button to let you in."
"Yes I know but there's no deputy out here to tell who I'm here to see."
"Sir that's me."

From a phone call we took in intake and receiving:
"I'm worried about my son, he said he is in with some tough guys."
"Ma'am this a jail."
"He's not a violent offender!"
"He's at a minimum security work program."
"Well bad things can happen in there!"
"Tell him these are the best accommodations our county can offer. The only upgrade I have available is disciplinary isolation."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I hate everybody . . . and other myths

I don't know how many of you in law enforcement get this from your significant other/family members regularly, but I get it every once in a while. Every once in a while they drive it into the ground.
"You hate everybody." "You're grouchy all the time." "You won't trust anybody." "You're like talking to a rock when you come home from work." "Somebody from WORK is on the phone for you." "Why do you have to take a call from a supervisor if you're not at work?"
You get the point.
Here's the thing, I don't trust many people. Unfortunately, sometimes that includes people I work with. I am not about to tell people at the grocery store, your barber or the guy installing my cable that I am a cop. Sorry. Not happening. Don't get crappy when you get "the look" shot at you for telling random people "Oh do you know what she does for a living? You'll never guess . . "
I work 12 hour midnight shifts. I'm not grouchy, I'm tired. Okay, who are we kidding here? I am grouchy. That's because I want to go to sleep in the morning. I also want to sleep without getting awoken to "Hey, do you know where the can opener is?"
If I told you what actually happened at work, you would panic. I'm just saying. Some of the guys I work with are spazzed out after things we do.
Public safety unfortunately is not a 9-5 job where you leave everything at work. There are times when work calls and you have to answer. Somebody got seriously injured at work. There is a shift shortage and you are getting called in early. Your vacation is approved/denied based on coverage. Surprise! You have/do not have court today.
So here's the thing; I'm sorry. It's nothing personal, I'll try harder. How are you supposed to explain to your friends and family how to handle you when you spend most of your time trying to figure out how to handle everything else?

Friday, January 22, 2010

What you do matters . . .

Recently, I was in one of those annoying funks where you're fairly certain your supervisor wouldn't pay attention to you if you were on fire. Then amazing things happed. I wrote a memo. Someone read that memo, and, wait for it . . .


I think I'll be in a good mood for the rest of winter now. Sometimes that's all you need, a shot in the arm of "What you do matters."

So for all of you out there with the winter blahs, what you do matters. Thank you.

For every CO that's ever been spit on, for every cop that's ever done their best and still got complained on, for every 2am call EMS has responded to for an earache and for every "structure fire" that's a tiki torch; thank you for what you do.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Amazing . . .

Sometimes I feel like this is my life. The only warning I give is there is some bad language, and remember this is a joke. I don't want any nurses coming after me with pitchforks and torches.

Firefighter vs. Nursing Home

Good times . . .

So here's just a few of the better moments of the last few days at work . . .

I logged a guy's property who had these little white business sized cards that said: "You park like an asshole." Hilarious. Not that I would use them personally, but hilarious.

A sign over our visitation window says "You must possess and present a valid US government issued ID to visit." A guy hands me an ID made in the back of some gas station probably, that says the following across the front. "Not a valid government ID." Then he's shocked we don't accept it. Awesome.

One of our deputies was waiting on a vehicle registration to be faxed to him from dispatch for a report. An hour later he calls them on the phone and goes "Could I have that before the vehicle registration expires?"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why did you have to go and do a thing like that . . .

It has been awhile. I did not think the following was appropriate to post during the holidays. I think it needs to be said though.

Every time someone brings up that our profession has one of the highest rates of suicide, you might think: "Not our department. Not my friends. Not here. Maybe some department 500 miles away of people I don't know."

And then one day someone wakes you out of a dead sleep and sends you flying headfirst out of your little land of denial. It is your department. He was your friend. You do know him, his family and all of the co workers. You spend about two weeks wrestling the question that won't leave: "What the hell did I miss?" Along with a few others. "Why didn't he talk to me?" "What could I have done?"

Eventually you start to understand that it was their choice that they made. Maybe you'll always have those questions unanswered.

If you find yourself in that deep dark place that you cannot escape . . . please, I beg you, come talk to me. Please. Please talk to me.