Saturday, April 29, 2006

1st Week Solo

My first week of riding solo is over. After one more week I'll be assigned to a new squad/shift. I have no idea what shift I'll end up with but it will most likely be 8pm to 6am with three weekdays off. Not ideal but us rookies have to start at the bottom.

The week was great. Each day on my way to work my heartbeat quickened with anxiety. At first the anxiety was due to nervousness but has changed into anticipation to hit the streets. I can't describe the feeling of power and responsibilty that arises when I step into the police cruiser and start patrolling the city. I can't wait to get to work each night to see what I'll come across next. There are so many interesting, creepy, wierd, and terrifying thing happening out there.
Plus, have you ever wished you could do something about a lame-ass driver running a red light, speeding, not putting their kids in seatbelts, or doing any number of other idiotic things? Well, now I can do something. It's so rewarding to 'light up' a driver who thinks the rules don't apply to them and issue thousands of dollars in citations; impound their vehicle; or even arrest them for outstanding warrants or DUI. It's especially rewarding to pull over an arrogant driver who thinks he/she can get out of the ticket by acting cute or questioning the validity of the traffic stop.
Just last night I pulled over a woman driving with Texas license plates that expired in August, 2005. Many of these 'out of staters' that move to AZ think they don't have to register in Arizona and we'll never know the out of state license plate is bad. Well, they're wrong. I wrote her a ticket and brought it to her for a signature. The following conversation then took place:
(me): I'm issuing you a citation for expired out of state registration
(male passenger): Officer, can you tell me exactly what you pulled us over for?
(me): Expired out of state registration.

He thought there needed to be some kind of improper driving for me to make the traffic stop when the only thing I needed was to run the plate and confirm it was expired (we can check all states).

Other items of notes:
-I was on my way to call where a new homeowner was landscaping his yard and unearthed human bones. (they turned out to be cow bones)

-I was told by a family to arrest their 15 year old son because he refused to get back in the family car after eating dinner at a restaurant. (nice try)

-I helped arrest 2 prostitutes with warrants. In one's purse was Viagara, condoms, classified ads for an escort, $500 cash, and a hand-written note that read 'planned parenthood -Thursday 2pm, $290 + $50. (I wonder what that was for)

-I transported a drunk 14 year old kid home after finding him on the sidewalk puking. He paid a bum to buy him a bottle of Southern Comfort. At home his 15 year old brother asked me, "Officer, do I have permission to beat his ass?" (I wish I could have said yes)

-A citizen outside a convenience store approached me and asked if it was illegal to call a black person a nig***. (I told him it was not illegal but advised against trying it)

-I responded to burglary alarm and peeked into a house to see a man in his underwear, standing on a scale, flexing his muscles in the mirror. (he was the homeowner, and well-built I must say)

That's it for now. Now I'm enjoying one of my last three day weekends off (my new shift will probably be Tue-Wed-Thu off).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The prophecy of Taser

My trainer used a Taser for the first time in his 7 year career last week and is now a true believer. He related the following story to me that I had to share:

He and a partner responded to a domestic violence call at an apartment complex. One of the officers ran to the office to get a key from the manager while the other posted outside the door to listen to the fight. The verbal argument soon turned physical and he could hear a woman yelling, "stop it...quit hitting me..." Just as he was about the kick the door in, the other officer returned with the key. My trainer pulled his Taser and the other officer drew his gun and they both entered the apartment.

They saw a large Indian male choking his wife from behind. The guy was about 6'5" and 250 pounds. They yelled, "police" and then fired the Taser at the male as he started coming at them. One of the metal Taser probes struck the suspect in the chest and the other lodged itself in the groin. Luckily, the second probe didn't penetrate the skin (it just got stuck in his boxer shorts). This was enough to arc the electric current through his body sending him backwards like a rigid board. On the floor, he was writhing in pain for 5 seconds (we call this "riding the light" or "getting the Edison medicine") while thousands of volts of electricity took control over his nervous system.

After being handcuffed and pulled into a seating position, the exhausted suspect caught his breath and the following conversation took place:
Suspect: "Do you guys have enough of those for all the criminals?"
Officer: "Oh yeah, we have tons of them."
Suspect: "They ain't gonna like that."

Imagine that; the police doing something the criminals don't like. I hope he spreads the gospel of Taser to all of his friends in jail.

Friday night, my whole squad was at the academy for training. We practiced high-risk vehicle stops and active shooter scenarios (dealing with people shooting at you). We use simunition rounds which are like paintball except they are actual metal casings with gunpowder and a plastic paint-filled bullet. I was shot a few times in the arm when I approached an angry driver. It was good experience to deal with aggressive suspects trying to fight/shoot. It was also a good reminder to be constantly aware of everything going on and to always watch the hands of people we deal with.

Tonight is my second night riding solo and I'm anxious to hit the streets.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Riding Solo

Thursday was my first night riding solo. The night started off easy with a couple burglary reports. I then made my first solo vehicle stop for a car with suspended plates. The driver turned out to be wanted for a misdemeanor warrant so I called for backup and arrested him.

The rest of the night was relatively routine: a guy that wanted his neighbor arrested for criminal damage when his car door opened too far and left a microscopic fleck of paint on his car. When I tried to explain that we couldn't proove his neighbor was responsible and that even if we could, we would have to proove that the damage was intentional, the guy wanted to argue. I told him it was a civil matter and he could sue him in small claims court for damages if he wanted to. The guy started showing me polariods of the door-ding, had a clipboard with notes he had written and showed me the neighbor's red car that matched the speck on his car. I congratulated him for his detective work and told him again it was not a police matter since no crime evidence of a crime existed. He was not happy with my answer but then told me, "yeah, that's what the last officer told me, too." I guess he thought it was important to waste police resources to get a second opinion on an obvious civil dispute.

With my night nearly finished, a 'shots fired' call came out at a stip club in my area. I heard three other patrol units respond to the call and decided I would go over and be a backup for them. As I pulled up to the club, the bouncers started jumping up and down and waving frantically at me to come in. Somehow, I was the first one there. I thought to myself: great-I get to take a shooting call by myself at the end of my shift. Luckily, another patrol unit came right after me and took control. There was no victim -just a few empty .45 shell casings on the ground.

I was nervous but enjoyed my first night alone.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I was reminded yesterday of the importance of conducting a thorough search of arrested subjects. I made a traffic stop and noticed the passenger hiding a large can of open beer between his shins. I got him out of the car, discovered he had a warrant and arrested him.

I searched him and found nothing illegal. We brought him to the county jail and returned to our patrol. An hour later, the jail called me to come back and get some 'property' still in possession of the prisoner I brought in. When I got arrived, there was a baggie of marijuana the detention officer found in his front pants pocket. I thought I searched him well (his pocketes were even pulled inside out) but somehow I missed the drugs. I had to complete all kinds of additional paperwork for this mishap but I'll be sure to double search everyone from now on.

Novice Detective Award: An SUV involved in a hit and run was ditched at a car dealership and the driver fled the scene. I arrived and searched the car and found marijuana, meth, a large hunting knife, and a laptop computer. After a while, a guy walks up and says he wants to get his computer out of the car (his 1st mistake). He is not the driver but is a friend who lent his laptop to the driver and now wants it back. Our answer, "not a chance." We have no way of proving the laptop belonged to him but I asked for his ID for the heck of it and he gave it to me (2nd mistake). I copied down all his info and checked him for warrants but he had none outstanding.

I brought the items taken from the vehicle to the police station to impound them. I notice a small sticker on the bottom of the laptop that had the name of a company on it. I looked up the company name on the internet and found an office in Tempe. I called the company and sure enough: the laptop was stolen out of a car a week ago. Not only did the guy not get the laptop, but now the detectives have a name, birthdate, description, and address of an 'investigative lead' for vehicle burglary.

We returned the laptop to the grateful business manager in Tempe.

Tonight is my first night solo and I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Repeat Offender

I had a run-in with my first repeat offender last week. I pulled over a truck because its license plate was not visible. I asked the driver for his license, registration, and insurance. As I got back into my patrol car to run his information, the picture on the license seemed very familiar. Then, I remembered writing a ticket to this kid several weeks ago for rear-ending another car. He never went to court so his drivers license was now suspended.

I confiscated the license, issued a CRIMINAL ticket for driving on a suspended license and asked him if he remembered getting a ticket from me last time. He replied, "Yeah, I tried to go to court......." and that was it -no explanation of why he was unable to get to court. I told him that this time, failure to appear in court would result in a warrant for his arrest. It was nice to be the one to 'enforce' my own minor traffic ticket by issuing a criminal one for failing to take care of the first one.

On Friday, just before the end of our shift, my partner and I pulled over a 80's Cadillac with three young men in it for having a bad license plate. As my partner was talking to the driver, he suddenly drew his gun and yelled, "Get out of the car -NOW". I was standing at the passenger's door and drew my weapon too. I didn't know what was going on yet but pulled the two passengers out of the car. We handcuffed all three of them and conducted a quick 'pat-down' to make sure they didn't have any obvious weapons. My partner then reached into their car and pulled out a handgun that was pushed down into the seat near the driver. He then found a shotgun in the trunk. We ran a check on the men and the guns and everything turned up okay (guns not stolen, men not wanted). We were about to release all three of them when a plastic baggie containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana (that's how we document this in our reports) fell out of the passenger's pant leg onto the ground. So, we arrested the guy with the marijuana and let the other two go (after locking the unloaded weapons in their trunk). The arestee turned out to be a City employee which requires all kinds of extra paperwork to be completed.

The ironic part is the license plate was perfectly good. The MVD had mistakenly listed it as being invalid which was the whole reason for our traffic stop. Sicne we rely on the information provided by MVD, our traffic stop was valid -and so is the arrest.

I'm supposed to go solo next week but my sergeant has moved it up to Thursday. My trainer is in a class and instead of finding a new trainer, my boss feels I'm ready to hit the streets on my own.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Don't Play With Guns

Last week my partner and I were posted outside the door of a gunshot victim at a hospital waiting to see if he lived through the surgery. The detective working on the case approached and told us what happened:
A sixteen year old kid and his seventeen year old girlfriend had finished smoking marijuana and "having relations" when the boy picked up a revolver from the desk, and while still in the holster, pointed at the girl and said "bang." He did not pull the trigger so the gun did not discharge. He placed it back on the dresser and went to the bathroom. The girl decided to return the joke and picked up a semi-automatic handgun that was lying next the revolver. She told the detective, "I know how to use these things so I racked the slide back and ejected the bullet that was in the chamber -so I knew it was unloaded." (Unfortunately, a loaded magazine was in the gun so when the first bullet was ejected, the next bullet was loaded into the chamber). When the boy walked out of the bathroom, she said, "bang" and pulled the trigger on the "empty" gun which happened to rip a hole clean through his abdomen, large and small intestines, and severed a major artery. After several hours of surgery and 30 units of blood the kid lived but will face a great chance of infection since the contents of his bowels were exploded into the surrounding tissue.

I pulled over a vehicle the other night that had expired registration. The driver had a suspended driver's license, no registration, and no insurance. I then found out he had a felony warrant outstanding for his arrest. I handcuffed him and then found 5 large buds of marijuana in his shirt pocket. As I escorted him to my patrol car he said, "Don't arrest me, man -I didn't do anything wrong." I told him most cops might overlook a felony warrant, a criminal traffic violation, and felony drug possession, but not wearing a seatbelt could not be ignored.

I am entering my final two weeks of training and can hardly wait to start riding solo. Every night is either exciting, interesting, hilarious, or all three.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I thoought the stuff on Jerry Springer was fictional but I witnessed a real-life Jerry moment last week.

We responded to an assault call involving a 15 year old girl. When we arrived, the young girl was crying and covered in blood from being hit in the nose by her 26 year old ex-convict boyfriend Charles. She is about 3 months pregnant with his baby and made him upset because she wasn't looking at him while he was talking to her.

The 15 year old lives with her 33 year old mother in a small run-down house with 5 other kids. The mother has six kids with five different last names. After the injured girl was transported to the hospital, the mother revealed that Charles used to be her boyfriend but after a few months of living together, he decided he liked the 15 year old better. He continued to live with mom while "dating" the daughter. We then learned that this is the SECOND time a boyfriend of mom's got the 15 year old pregnant (the first time was not Charles).

A CPS agent was on the property and decided she had seen enough. All of mom's kids were seized by the state due to mom's inability to keep her creepy boyfriends away from her daughter and because of the squalid living conditions.

We were able to track down and arrest the boyfriend later that night. He had a few outstanding warrants and we added two class 3 felonies to his resume for aggravated assault and sexual conduct with a minor (he admitted everything to me during an interview).