Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bad Idea

Lately, we've been receiving calls about people shooting paint-ball guns at pedestrians from their cars. If any of you think this is no big deal since it's not a "real" gun; think again. I've been called to a few different scenes to take pictures of these idiots and the damage they've caused. Their night of fun turned into felony charges of aggravated assault and criminal damage.

Then, there was the real duo of geniouses that bought a BB gun from Walmart and decided it would be a good idea to test it out on citizens walking in the parking lot. They shot a woman in the arm and a man in the back of the head and then sped away in their mom's minivan . If you're going to shoot at people with a very realistic looking handgun, you probably shouldn't do it in a crowded parking lot with dozens of cell phone carriers and a police helicopter already overhead for an unrelated call. The pair was quickly caught and booked for aggravated assault.

I'm just waiting for the night one of these fools points a toy gun at the wrong citizen who happens to be carrying a real gun.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


We answered a call last night from a woman whose husband called her and threatened to kill himself. She went home and found an empty shotgun case and an empty handgun case. They live in a nice complex of expensive condominiums. Several patrol cars and dozens of officers arrived and started setting up a perimeter. We assumed he was armed with at least two guns and were extra careful since suicidal subjects can be the most dangerous.

I was just about to eat my lunch nearby but raced to the scene to help. I was assigned to an arrest team (a group of three officers with one designated as lethal (handgun), one less-lethal (stunbag shotgun), and one "hands-on" (in case he's unarmed and tries to fight.) My team positioned itself at the end of the building he lived in.

Then, we learned he was the maintenance man for the complex and had keys to all of the units. He had already left his unit and was somewhere else in the complex. We scrambled around to get into safer positions since we didn't know where he was.

Our best guess was one of a few vacant units or a maintenance shed in the pool area. We focused on the maintenance room after hearing noises inside. It had no windows and double-metal doors. My team was just outside the door and around a corner to this shed. He was on the phone with a sergeant but wouldn't say where he was. My team had guns pointed at the door (except for me -I was the designated hands-on guy). All of a sudden, he came out of the shed and quickly approached my team. One of the guys on my team advised, "he's got a gun" on the radio. He walked directly towards us but I didn't see a gun in his hand. He saw us and turned around and walked out of the pool area in the opposite direction.

A team of officers confronted him there and took him into custody. He did not have a gun (just a big key chain full of keys). He was upset because the management wrote him up for the third time for poor work. They told him he had one last chance before being fired. He decided to take that chance, get drunk on Jack Daniels, and turn the property into a war zone. I'm not sure he'll be working there for long. After puking his guts out, he was transported to a mental health facility for evaluation.

Earlier, a man insisted on police coming to his house to document some illegal dumping. I expected to see hazardous or excessive wasted dumped on his property. I arrived and was greeted by an old man who was irate about someone placing bagged grass clippings into the community trash can in the alley behind his property. He became even more angry when I told him placing bagged trash into a garbage can was not illegal and was, in fact commendable. He said, "But the trash can is now full and it won't be picked up for two days -What am I supposed to do if I have some trash to throw away." I offered the phone number to waste services for help but he did not want to hear it.

He gave me the license plate of the vehicle he saw in the alley and asked me to find the culprit. I explained there was no crime and, therefor, was unable to conduct any follow-up investigation. He then asked, "Well can you put out a bulletin so if some other officer sees his car, they can stop him?" I held back my laughter (and the flood of sarcastic responses brewing inside) and responded, "No." He then said, "I know you've got other important things to do but I'm gonna call you every time someone puts trash in my garbage can." I again, restrained myself from saying what I wanted to and replied, "Okay."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

DUI Certified

I completed a day-long class today at Department of Public Safety headquarters and am now certified on the INTOXILYZER 8000. That's the name of the latest approved breath alcohol detection instrument. There's only one problem: my station is still using the Intoxilyzer-5000 which I am not certified to use. We have to be certified to use each an every piece of city equipment from digital cameras to pepper spray. There's even separate certification courses for collapsable metal batons and side-handled straight batons.

I'll be able to pull over intoxicated drivers and perform field-sobriety tests but I'll have to ask someone else to operate the breath alcohol machine (until the new machines are installed).

Here's a picture of a day's worth of seized driver licenses and license plates. All suspended and invalid license plates are destroyed and all suspended, revoked, and cancelled driver licenses are returned to MVD.

I handled a disturbing call of sexual abuse on a ten year old girl by her step father. The little girl bravely told me the terrible details of the numerous times she was abused while her mother was at work. She was afraid to tell anyone untile recently when he was sent to prison for an unrelated charge. He's going to be released from jail next month and the family is scared he will return. The girl and her little sister were fascinated by my Taser so I showed them how it sparked before I left. Then they asked me when I was going to catch the Baseline killer. I told them we were working on it and hopefully we'd catch him soon. All the girls could talk about was seeing me on T.V. shocking the Baseline killer with my Taser. I told them if that really happened I'd wave my Taser into the news camera for them. The little sister got really excited, started dancing around the apartment yelling, "I cain't wait to see you on T.V." Then she stopped and asked me, "What day will this be on -I want to tell my mom so we can record it."

Monday, August 14, 2006

New Beat

A new officer joined my squad so I know have seniority over one person. This means I'm no longer the last one to choose a car each day (the more time you have on, the better the car you get to drive). Some of the older cars are a joke. The other night I drove a car with over 125,000 miles with a door that wouldn't close and a crumbling steering wheel that had to be turned about 20 degrees to the right in order to drive straight. It also means I got to choose a "better" beat in the east part of the city where I grew up. I like driving through and taking calls in the old familiar neighborhoods.

Last week the Motor Vehicle Department computers were offline so we couldn't run any license plates or conduct records checks. Drivers with bad licenses, suspended registration and outstanding warrants had a freebie night since we could not verify any records. This allowed me to focus my attention on a different segment of law-breakers: the ordinance violators. That's right, I pulled out the city ticket book and headed for the shopping centers looking for code violators. It didn't take long to find a vehicles in the disabled parking spots without the proper handicapped placard. One crafty individual thought he/she could get away with displaying a disabled driver placard from the rear view mirror that expired in 2003. Well, his/her free-loading days just cost $125. I also taught a few people about parking their 'for-sale' cars on a dirt lot. That too, is a $125 ticket (parking on a non-dust free lot.)

My squadmates issued a ticket to a van parked in a fire zone. When they approached the van, they saw an open can of beer between the front seats. So, they parked nearby and waited for the driver to return. A women came out of the grocery store and drove off in the van. After a bit of swerving, she was quickly stopped and determined to be DUI. She was on her lunch break and was too lazy to park in a regular spot while she ran inside the store to cash a check. She ended up with an arrest for DUI (oh, and this was her first day at a new job.)

For all you pet-sitters out there this one's for you: A woman and her boyfriend were taking care of the woman's sister's dogs while she was out of town. The couple was preparing to feed the dog when is started advancing toward the man. He happened to be carrying a gun and thought the dog was going to attack him. So, he shot the dog three times through the head and neck, killing it. The girlfriend backed up his story and no charges were filed against him. Can you imagine the conversation between the couple and the dogowner when she came home?

Talking your way into an arrest:
A drunk man in a restaurant was asked to leave by the manager. He had been kicked out of the place a few times before and asked never to return due to harassing customers and using vulgar language. As the manager turned around, the man grabbed him and poured a margarita down the back of his shirt. He then raised the margarita glass over his head as if to hit the manager with it. He was subdued by customers and didn't have a chance to cause injury. Unfortunately for him, dousing a drink on someone with the intent to provoke or insult is a type of assault. Because it is a minor class of misdemeanor, an officer has discretion on whether to make an arrest or issue a citation and release the offender. My partner and I were prepared to write the citation when the man practically asked to be arrested. He started by telling me, "I used to kick the asses of kids like you back in school. You're probably a pussy and decided to become a cop to try to be tough." I confiscated his drivers license since it was suspended and told him he was lucky I didn't catch him driving. After a few more insults I told him he was under arrest. He said, "Good. You better call down to the jail and warn the other inmates I'm coming." He then demanded my name and badge number which I happily provided. All the way to the station he talked about what a big job he has and how many important people he knows.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Driver's Ed

In the past few months, I've responded to numerous traffic accidents. I'm amazed at how bad some people are at driving a car.

Then, while driving normal speed to a routine call, I crashed my police cruiser. This was my first (and hopefully last) traffic collision. I was turning left and somehow didn't see the car coming directly at me. He slammed into the rear passenger-side door of my patrol car causing me to spin 180 degrees. Luckily, neither of us where hurt. His Chevy Cavalier sustained quite a bit of front-end damage as he was going about 40 mph and didn't brake at all before the impact.

I had the embarassing pleasure of notifying the entire city over my police radio I had been involved in an accident and needed a supervisor to respond to the scene. My Sergeant and Lieutenant arrived to investigate. Several of my squadmates and other officers I don't know were sure to drive by to see the mess.

Here's the result of my precision driving:

It didn't take long for the hazing and ridicule to begin from my squadmates. I carried the nickname "Crash" for the rest of the night and was the target of many driving related comments and jokes.

Friday, August 04, 2006


For those of you in the valley, I have some good news-

The serial shooter has been captured. Actually, it appears to be serial shooters. Similar to the Washington D.C. snipers, it appears to be a pair of men who have terrorizing the streets of surrounding cities shooting dogs, horses, and people. Someone who knew them found the $100,000 reward too tempting and turned them in.

All of this has not yet been confirmed but I heard from some reliable sources they're pretty sure they have the right guys. Hopefully by the time you read this, the story will have broken on the conventional news stations.

Now, if only we could close in on the other serial killer.

Also, I met Jesus tonight at the Maricopa County Jail. The self-proclaimed Messiah was a 35 year old black woman that wouldn't stop screaming about the 3 billion dollars in cash the police stole from her convertible Jaguar. I told her nobody drives around with $3,000,000,000 in cash anymore. She screamingly replied, "No sh**, motherfu**er, cause all you fat fu** police officers be trying to steal my sh**.... I'm Jesus Christ." I told her I didn't think the real Jesus Christ would speak to me that way. Her reply: "You motherfu**ers been trying to raise white children for centuries and you can't even figure out how to stop them from getting the motherfu**ing flu. So there police bitches. Next time you take my money I'll kick all your asses."

The other prisoners in the jail's holding area were very amused and started chuckling. I warned them not to laugh just in case she turned out to be the real thing. I'm pretty sure she was crazy but I think the ancient Romans learned a valuable lesson about mocking those who claim to be the son of God.