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.