Monday, September 25, 2006

Traffic Stop

A female driver was stopped for an unsafe lane change and was found to have 5 felony warrants for drug sales outstanding:

"Is there anything in your car that I should know about? "


(after a search of the car):

"What about the loaded 44 magnum revolver, counterfeit $20 bill, bag of marijuana, and the heroin syringe kit?"

"I didn't know those were in there......I swear......Why would I lie?...I don't even do heroin; just Meth."

We found out this same driver was wanted for identity theft and forgery for signing her dead sister's name to a traffic ticket she received a few months ago. All the way to jail she yelled, "I didn't do anything wrong...Why are you treating me like a criminal?"

Friday, September 22, 2006

Oh boy

I responded to a call from a guy complaining about receiving threats from a neighbor. I arrived at a low-income apartment complex. As I approach the complainant's apartment, I see a note tacked to the door at eye level (click on picture to enlarge). I read the posted warning and anticipate a lively and intelligent conversation will soon take place with the resident inside.

I knock and am greeted by a tall man about 25 years old with corduroy shorts pulled up to his rib cage and a short sleeve dress shirt buttoned all the way to his adam's apple. The shirt is tucked neatly into his shorts. The ensemble is gracefully capped off with striped knee-high running socks and brandless shoes.

"What kind of threats did he make to you?" I ask.
"He's been bothering me for a few days. He just bothers me a lot."

Then he tells me he wants his neighbor arrested.
"What for?", I ask.
"Suspicion of drugs", he replies.
"Can you proove he is in possession of drugs?", I say.
"Yeah, he's on drugs right now. -If you go in his apartment, you could find some."

I try to explain probable cause, hearsay, evidence, privacy, and the fourth amendment to the Constitution of the United States that addresses unlawful search and seizure.
After some effort, I am able to make him understand that the most I can do is try to talk to his neighbor. He tells me that would be fine and adds as I walk away, "Tell him to compromise."

I walk across the courtyard to his neighbor's apartment. Of course, he too, has a note tacked on his front door. I didn't take a picture but it read: 'Please come around to bathroom window.' I ignore the note and knock loudly on his door. After a delay, a short, chubby man opens the door holding a towel around his waist. He is dripping wet and has soap lathered all around his large hairy belly and clumps of shampoo in his hair. Afraid of the pending slip of the towel, I quickly tell him to leave his neighbor alone and begin to leave. He starts telling me his life story with this neighbor (how they used to be friends, etc) and the towel is ready to drop. "Thanks for working it out", I say and quickly make my escape.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

If this van's rockin'.....

Every Thursday, two members of my squad are assigned to wagon duty. This involves shuttling prisoners from our precinct to the main jail downtown. This way, officers can make arrests and then return to patrol without having to drive prisoners one by one to the jail.

The 'wagon' is a van outfitted with a large rear cage for males and a smaller middle cage for females. Each prisoner is handcuffed behind the back and sits on a padded bench. The separation of genders is meant to discourage any inappropriate contact. Unfortunately, this does not eliminate all inappropriate behavior.

Last week there were several male prisoners and not enough handcuffs for each one. When this happens, we handcuff the prisoners together with one pair of cuffs (one guy's left wrist handcuffed to another guy's right wrist). This leaves one hand free but since they're in a locked cage inside a locked van, they are secure. Apparently, one of the prisoners became aroused on the way to jail in the back of a van with a bunch of other criminals and decided it would be a good time to pull down his pants and pleasure himself with his free hand. He was lucky the guy attached to his other wrist didn't get offended and knock him out.

There were five other men in the back of the van while this happened and all were willing to testify against the fornicator in court. He was charged with indecent exposure which is a minor misdemeanor but here's the real justice: It turns out this guy was a convicted sex offender and was released from prison early on probation. The indecent exposure was a violation of his probation and now his original sentence will be reinstated. He would have been out of jail later that night for the original crime he was arrested for but the probation violation meant several years to be served in state prison.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More Jail Humor

County Sheriff Joe Arpio is known to many as "America's Toughest Sheriff." From issuing pink underwear to inmates to housing them in sweltering army tents in the summer heat, he knows how to antagonize prisoners. Inside the county jail (which takes in all of the prisoners from the surrounding cities) he makes sure the inmates are aware of him. As prisoners are brought in, they are fingerprinted and photographed. During the photograph, they are told to look up and focus on the framed picture of Sheriff Joe hung just under two large cameras.

This is their first reminder of who's in charge before being escorted to a holding cell to await an appearance before a judge.

The other day, I was riding with a squadmate and a guy in a truck started to merge over into our lane nearly hitting our patrol car. We pulled him over just to give him a warning and make sure he had valid license and insurance. I entered his info into the computer and heard the tell-tale beeping of an outstanding felony warrant. He was wanted for aggravated assault and had a $9,000 bond. He was shocked when we arrested him and insisted he already 'took care' of the assualt charge. I asked if the charges were dismissed and he replied, "Well, I went to court and was told everything was okay." I asked if he had an paperwork from the court verifying this and he said, "No, I just thought it was taken care of." He'll probably check his mirrors better next time he wants to merge.

What's the best way to get caught while driving intoxicated? How about slam into the back of a police car while it's red and blue overhead lights are flashing? That's what this guy did on Sunday. A police car was stopped and getting ready to make a u-turn when Mister blood-alcohol content of 1.65 rear-ended him. The legal limit is .08 and .15 is considered 'extreme DUI'. This collision will end up costing several thousand dollars in fines, attorneys, and possibly jail time. I stayed at the scene waiting for a tow truck while my partner took the drunk to be processed. I rode to the police station with the tow truck driver who admitted, "I'll be honest with you -I drive drunk; but I always look out for cops so I don't get caught or get in wrecks." Nice, just the kind of thing you like to hear from commercial tow truck operators.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Rich kid poor kid

Here's one for all you parents out there:
A mother left her six year old son alone in a dumpy apartment complex and said she'd be back in a few hours. A few weeks later, one of the residents called police. This kid had been staying with various neighbors (including drug addicts, prostitutes, and other degenerates). One of the junkies decided he was too much responsibility and called police to come and get him. We were unable to contact the mother but the boy seemed happy to be taken by Child Protective Services where he was promised something to eat, clean clothes, and a decent bed to sleep in.

Even the rich have problems:
I was called to a pricy neighborhood where a mother was chasing her 15 year old son through the streets. The boy was barefoot and shirtless and decided he'd had enough with mom and dad's rules. Dad is a multi-millionaire who left home at 16 and lived on the streets until finding a fortune in auto-recycling. Dad said, "just let the kid go -he'll be fine." Mom, however, knew it was a crime to let a minor just walk out so she was in a panic. Apparently, the excelling prep-school athlete recently fell in with the wrong crowd and mom found an x-rated myspace website he was hosting. The crucifix-wearing mom was horrified over the sexual content and communication on his website so she took away his computer and cell phone. His reaction was to go on a two day hunger strike and try to run away (literally) from home. The kid begged us to take him to CPS where he could be placed in foster care. If only he knew the difference between the comforts of his life and that of the kids in the state's care. It was funny to see the six foot tall teenager wearing only a pair of shorts running through the neighborhoods of Camelback mountain with five foot tall mom close behind. In the end, he agreed to go home and work it out.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Crash Day

Fridays have become known as 'crash day' in my squad as the number of wrecks seems to multiply at the end of each week. Maybe it's happy hours or people rushing to leave town; Whatever the reason it's becoming a mess.

Take for instance the nice mother getting ready to pick up her three young boys from school. She decided she'd make the ride home interesting for them so she drank a liter of Vodka and downed a couple Vicadin pills. Imagine the boys' delight as the car jumped the sidewalk and ploughed through grassy lawns and then crossed over to the other side of the street and tore through a chain link fence of a front yard while the residents sat on a bench a few feet away. Mom then puked on herself and tried to drive away. The car was hung up on a small tree and some landscaping bricks and was unable to move. Luckily the boys were in the backseat (to leave room on the front passenger seat for her bottle of licquor) and were not hurt. To add to the ridiculousness of it all, her 85 year old grandmother showed up and started yelling at us to let her precious granddaughter go. She told us it was no big deal and we shouldn't treat her like a criminal. Last time I checked, three counts of aggravated DUI, reckless driving, criminal damage, and child endangerment were considered 'crimes' in this state. She's lucky she didn't kill or seriously injure anyone.

Later, I pulled over a driver that almost merged into my patrol car from the tw0-way turn lane. I passed him and then watched him in my rear-view mirror almost merge into the next two cars driving behind me. He was not a US citizen and did not have a driver license, insurance, or valid ID. I arrested him and brought him to the station to get fingerprints and a photo. I issued him tickets for no driver license, no ID, and no insurance and explained he was not allowed to drive in Arizona. He walked two miles back to where his car was parked, got in, merged into traffic without yielding and caused an accident. He then tried to drive away but one of the wheels was crushed. He tried to run away but was caught by one of my squadmates. He was arrested again and issued tickets for: no license, no ID, no insurance, leaving the scene of an accident, and failure to yield. His car was impounded and he was sent to jail.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Don't Drink and Walk

We all know about the dangers of drinking and driving but trying to walk while totally inebriated can be perilous as well. A woman called police after her 55 year old male roommate had too much to drink and fell down while trying to walk in the kitchen. His fall was broken by the back of his head shattering the glass front of the oven door. Then, he walked barefoot over the shards of glass to the living room to sit is his Lazyboy.

We arrived to find him deliriously drunk watching T.V. His normally white hair was now pink from the bloody gash. The blood was soaking in the headrest of his chair and his feet were all cut up. He was oblivious to our presence for a few minutes and then started ranting some unintellibible monolog. We had the fire department check him out in case he needed stitches. They cleaned up the wound while we hid the rest of his beer.

Another danger of drinking too much -thinking it's okay to masturbate in public. My partner and I arrived at a burglary call where a house-sitter saw a man in the backyard of the house. We drove around to the alley behind the house which had a short chain-link fence around it. It was windy and I thought I saw a newspaper swirling around near the ground behind some tall grass. As I approached I realized there was a drunk transient lying on his back with a porno magazine held on his chest. He had spread a blanket out on the ground right next to the see-through fence. He was turning the pages with one hand and tugging on something else with his other. I yelled, "Hey, what are you doing?!!" He replied, "Watching T.V. and slowly started pulling up his shorts with his right hand while continuing to look at the magazine. "You can't do that out here", I said. "Why??" was his reply. The owner of the house was his aunt and he told us she let him "hang out" in her backyard. He was arrested for trespassing and indecent exposure.