Sunday, January 28, 2007


"But, officer, I only drank four beers."
"Yes, but you told me they were 20 ounce beers, and you're 4 feet 11 inches tall.

"But, I'm moving to Europe in a few months and am having my car shipped there. Why do I have to renew my registration now?"
"Because your registration expired over 3 years ago and you are required to keep it current as long as you drive."

"But, she was speeding. I could tell she was driving way too fast. She ran into me when I turned left in front of her. It's her fault."
"If you could see her car was speeding towards you, why did you turn in front of it?"

"But, I'm on my way to church." (holds up Bible for me to see)
"You are required to have a valid driver license and proof of insurance while operating a motor vehicle regardless of where you are driving to."

"But, I had to drive. I'm the least drunk of all of us."
"Have you ever heard of taxi cabs?"

"But, I only parked in this handicapped space for a few minutes while I ran in to get coffee. Plus, my dad is disabled."
"Do you have a disabled parking permit?"
"My dad has it."
"Is your dad with you now?"
"No, he's at home."

"But, I didn't know the bike was stolen."
"How much did you pay for it?"
"How much do you think it's actually worth?"
"About $1,500."
"Do you think the stranger you bought it from was being really generous?"
"Well, I thought it was probably stolen, but I didn't know it was stolen."

"But, I'm not a legal U.S. citizen so the Motor Vehicle Department will not issue me a driver's license. What am I supposed to do?"
"Not drive."

"But, I didn't know these DVD's were pirated. I am just reselling a bunch of movies I bought at the swap meet."
"Let's see, 'Eragon', 'Night at the Museum', 'Blood Diamond' -these are all still in theaters, right?"
"I think so."

"But, I want you to arrest him?"
"For what?"
"For slander; He called me an asshole and told me to get off his property."
"It's not a crime to call someone names. And, you should get off his property."

"But, you can't seize all that money; It's mine."
"Where did you get it?"
"From selling drugs, I told you."

"But, why are you arresting me?"
"For driving under the influence and for possession of cocaine."
"But, the cocaine isn't all for me. I was just bringing it to a party where a bunch of us were going to use it."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Kids These Days

When I was growing up kids listened to what adults told them. Back then, the kids I knew showed respect for parents, teachers, and especially police. I remember when "bad" kids smoked cigarettes in the alley behind school or shoplifted clothing from cool stores like Millers Outpost or United Colors of Benneton. I'm not sure what happened over the past few decades but the juveniles I run into these days are a whole lot different. In a way they're more mature but at the same time uncaring and clueless. It seems stealing cars, robbing people at gunpoint, and doing drugs are becoming commonplace.

What happens when these teenagers are confronted by police? Forget about respect for authority, shame, guilt, or remorse. Most of the juveniles I've arrested don't give a damn about the monetary, emotional, or physical damage suffered by their victims. And then come the excuses: "That bitch deserved it." or, "You police are always fuc*ing with me.", or most commonly, "What are you talking about -I didn't do nothing." One car thief crashed the stolen vehicle he was driving, ran from the scene and hid in some bushes. When the police dog tracked him down and witnesses identified him as the jacket-wearing driver, he concocted a brilliant defense: "Man, I was just walking down the alley and some dude put a gun in my face and told me to wear this jacket. What would you do? I put it on and hid in the bushes." When asked how his wallet and state issued ID card ended up in the stolen car, he blamed police for setting him up. The lies, excuses and accusations of being set up by police are endless.

Most of you wouldn't believe the way kids talk to cops these days. I've heard the most offensive, vulgar, hateful things from both boys and girls. There are so many uneducated know-it-all teenagers out there with heads full of misguided ideas of entitlement. The worst part isn't what they do, it's the deep seated belief of entitlement that worries me. The "I'm gonna get mine" attitude is spreading and is making it acceptable in certain circles to steal, cheat, and do drugs. My eight year old daughter immediately recognized this the other week while at dinner at a kid's pizza restaurant. A group of teens surrounded the game token machine while one of them repeatedly kicked it to dispense free tokens. Each slam of the machine produced a free token or two followed by giddy laughter from the group. "Daddy, those kids are stealing.", she told me. "Yes they are.", I replied. "And if they keep acting that way, they'll grow up and get into real trouble."

I'd like to think most kids are honest and good and realize my perceptions are influenced by my frequent exposure to the law breakers. Let's hope this trend is nearing its crest and that after the wave of ignorance has crashed down, a calm and settled sea of undertanding prevails.

On the lighter side:
A call came from a frantic woman trapped inside a pharmacy. Apparently, she walked into the drug store and was shopping when the employees locked up, set the alarm, and left. The woman was locked inside and set off the motion-detector alarm. I was on my way to try out my new lock-picking skills when an employee returned and freed the frightened woman. I'm glad she was released but wished I could have seen the look on her face through the tempered glass security door with the alarm siren squealing.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Fired Up

A man called police after his 31 year old son went on a rampage in the house and started breaking things. The man told his son, "let's take it outside." The son thought dad wanted to fight and happily went out the door to the carport to meet dad's challenge. Sly dad closed and locked the door behind him and called police.

Son became enraged at dad's ruse and decided it would be appropriate to douse the family car in gasoline and set it on fire. The car was parked under an open-air carport a few feet from the house and directly under the roof.

Dad noticed black smoke coming into the house from under the carport door. He quickly grabbed his sleeping grandson and escaped to the backyard.

I followed the fire engine into the neighborhood and pulled up to see a vehicle fully engulfed in flames parked in the carport. The flames where quickly spreading up to the ceiling of the carport and were moments away from entering the attic (certain doom).

Two more fire engines arrived and the small army of firefighters doused the fire just in time. They pulled down the charred and soggy ceiling to the carport to make sure the attic was safe. Dozens of neighbors poured into the streets to watch the spectacle and to check on dad's welfare.

Meanwhile, the 31 year old son ran from the scene, shirtless and shoeless in sub-40 degree weather. He was spotted by a motorist a few blocks away running down the street but police were unable to find him. He doesn't have a car or anywhere else to live so it probably won't be long before we catch up to him.

The following day, son showed up at home and rang the doorbell. His mom answered the door, let him in and called police 45 minutes later. Now, I love my kids but if I had a 31 year old son that destroyed the family vehicle and almost burned his father and six year old son alive, I might have called police a bit sooner. Even worse, mom coached son to ask for a lawyer and deny any knowledge of setting the fire (fortunately, I conducted a taped interview with dad right after the fire was put out which will be strong evidence).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's Official

Today marks the end of my year-long probationary period. I am now an official full-time, genuine, certified, approved, police officer. I'll still be considered a rookie for another year or so but am happy to no longer be a probationary employee. I can hardly believe a whole year has passed since I graduated from the police academy. Like they say, "Time flies when you're having gun."

You know you live in a nice apartment complex when you see this courteous notice affixed to the window of the manager's apartment.

God forbid you're a tennant with a legitimate need to communicate with management. Aside from the grammatical and spelling errors, I was touched by the sincerity, availability and professionalism of this manager.

I was almost enticed to slip a police card under the door stating something like: "The city police were here to inform you of the tragic accident involving one of your family members. We intended on providing you with critical information about the condition of your loved one. Additionally, medical personnel are unable to proceed with emergency treatment until certain pertinant information is received from you. When it is convenient, would you please consider contacting police so the proper medical care can be initiated? We apologize for the imposition and hope we did not disturb you."

Here's something most of you will never see in person:
If you instantly recognized the contents at the bottom of this plastic container as bullet fragments removed from the body of an armed robbery suspect, you've been spending too much time watching 'Forensic Files.'

The bullets are being impounded as evidence in case the 'alleged' robber goes to trial (yes, he survived the gunshots.)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

To Be or Not To Be (Crazy)

My partner and I responded to an apartment complex to find a woman on the ground floor yelling at some neighbors on the floor above her. She was angrily shouting at them for ruining her stuff. We asked her what the problem was and she walked into her apartment to show us the damage.

"Those people break all my stuff. They came in here and broke my can opener. See, it won't work -they ruined it."

As she complains, I watch her repeatedly try to press the manual can opener onto the can. Only, the can is upside-down and the rounded edge on the bottom is causing the can opener to slip off.

"The can is upside down.", I tell her. "Turn it over."

She turns the can over and is immediately able to close the can opener, puncture the lid and begin opening it.

"Well, they broke my other can opener too.", she insisted. She holds up a different manual can opener which appears to be fine. "Let me see you try it.", I ask.

She places the other can opener on the can and, again, is immediately able to open it.

"They came in and fixed it 'cause they don't want to get arrested. They call me crazy but I ain't crazy. They snuck in and changed my ice cube tray. I had to throw it away."

True Love:
The other day, I arrived at a seedy apartment complex to take a theft report. I was met by a woman who told me her boyfriend stole $300 out of her purse while she took a shower.

"Okay, what's your boyfriend's name.", I ask.
"They call him 'Bone'."
"I need his first and last name."
"I don't know, he told me he wasf Muslim but I can't say it or spell it."
"He's your boyfriend but you don't know his name?"
"He's called 'Bone', I told you."
"How did he come to be your boyfriend?"
"I met him in Santa Fe (New Mexico) a week ago. He just got out of prison and he told me he didn't have anywhere to stay so I asjed him to come to Arizona with me."
"Do you think it was a good idea to live with a guy who just got out of prison whose name you don't know?"
"Well, he said we's gonna kick it."
(I have to admit: This girl had a pretty good reason to allow this man into her life. I mean, what better foundation for a genuine relationship than the promise of 'kickin' it? I also compliment her mastery of the English language. I was unaware there existed a contraction for 'we is'.)
"All right, I'll enter this report in the system and see if we can locate him. There's a possibility we may not be able to find him, though, since he never lived in this state and we don't have his name, address, or birth date."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How About a Movie?

Why pay $10 to see a movie in the theater when you can buy the DVD on the street for $5?

Because it's illegal, of course.

A couple of guys were busted with a few crates full of pirated CD's and DVD's. They were caught by private investigators hired by the entertainment industry to find bootleggers. I was looking through the confiscated booty when this movie caught my eye:

'Rocky Balboa' opened in theaters a couple weeks ago and is already being peddled illegaly on DVD. We watched a bit of it to check the quality and were surprised to see it was pretty good. This was not one of those deals where a person sneaks a video camera into the theater and records the movie from the big screen. Someone must have gotten an advance copy of this film and started copying it.

This week I startedInvestigator school which is necessary to obtain Detective certification. It's several months long and is being taught by the city's premiere homicide detective. I'm getting back into 'student' mode and am glad it's not like the 'cadet' setting of the academy. After completion of the class, and another year of tenure, I'll be able to seek any number of detective positions.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Generation Gap

I responded to a theft call from an eldery couple. I arrived to meet an 89 year old retired reverend and his 85 year old wife. They told me how some servicemen were in the house and emptied out a hallway closet to repair a leak. A few weeks later, the couple started to return the items to the closet and realized many things were missing. They had a different perspective of cost as the following conversation will show:

"What items are missing?"
"Well, a gun, ring, silverware, some sweaters, and a men's jacket."
(after getting a description of each item, I asked for the current value to determine the class of theft.)
"How much was the gun worth?"
"Oh let's see. It was an 1800's cavalry rifle so it's a collector's item. I'd say it be worth $25."
"Okay, how about the ring?"
"Oh dear, it was one of kind. I couldn't possibly place a value on it. It was so beautiful and meant so much to us. It was very expensive when I bought it and I'm embarassed to say how much it would be worth now. I paid $300 for it when I bought it. It's got to probably be about double that now."
"All right, tell me what the men's jacket would be worth."
"Well, it was a really nice jacket and we paid a lot for it. We bought that in 1975 and it cost about $35. It's probably worth about $40 today."

They told me the value of the other items and I was finished getting information for my report. The wife then added, "My husband won't be able to testify in court against anybody; He's got irritable bowel syndrome. He can't go anywhere without having a bathroom nearby. He just can't control his bowels anymore."
I expected him to be embarassed over his wife's indescretion but instead he confirmed her description. "Yep, I've got irritable bowels alright. I had to get an excuse to get out of jury duty last week because I knew I couldn't sit on those hard wooden benches for long without needing a bathroom."

Just when I thought I had my fill of unwanted information, the reverend dished out another serving:
"Dear, I bet this officer would love to see your spoon collection.", he offered.
"Oh I couldn't.", she replied. "I haven't cleaned them lately and I'm afraid they're not polished."
"Come on darling, I'm sure he's excited to learn about your spoons.", he insisted.
"Would you?", she asked me.
(No! Please! No!, my inner voice pleaded. It'll be certain death! Don't do it!)
"Of course.", I replied, conquored by her sweetness and obvious desire for attention.

An overload of information poured from her as she described each of the 300 spoons in detail. "This one's from Holland. From my aunt's friend. Emma. She was a school teacher in 1947. Related on my half-sister's side. These were etched in blah-blah-blah fashion -revolutionary for the time period. And these were originally crafted for blah-blah-blah. I almost forgot the blah-blah-blah's. Special and rare due to blah-blah and I know you've seen these, right?"

I made it through her dissertation and was thanked kindly for my time.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


From the creep files:
I took a call from a grocery store manager when a customer found a pornographic photograph on the windshield of her car. She had kids with her and was apalled at the act.

I arrived at the store and was met by the loss prevention agent (a guy in plain clothes that catches shoplifters). The agent gave me the Poloroid photo below (I placed a plastic bag over the 'sensitive' part to reduce the disgust level.)

He told me this was the 3rd time in the past few weeks this type of photo has been left on a female shopper's car. He added he worked at a grocery store of the same chain a few miles away that was the victim of this same thing a few months ago. The pervert left several graphic photos inside that store hidden among food products and magazines. They were never able to catch the guy.

Nobody saw this guy place the picture on the woman's car so I took down the information I needed for my report and headed back to my patrol car outside. As I was leaving the store a teenage boy walked up and said, "Officer, I'm not sure what you're here for but there's an old guy in the store taking pictures of women with his cell phone camera." I asked the boy to show me where this was happening and he lead me to an aisle and pointed to a 60 year old man.

I walked quietly up to the man from behind and peered over his shoulder as he slowly shuffled forward while leaning over his shopping cart and held a cell phone in camera mode. I followed him halfway down the aisle and then asked him to stop. He turned around with a surpised look and a nervous smile. He told me he didn't know how to take pictures and was just trying to pull up the shopping list he programmed into it. He was unable to show me this list, however, and seemed uncomfortable to be talking to me.

I took down his information and returned to my patrol car to run a records check on him. His name and birthdate information checked out and he had no criminal record. I was about to leave and decided to take one more look at the photograph in my pocket. All I could see was a white male, a white male's junk, and a pair of grey sweatpants with a red and blue tag. Ding!!: The guy I just talked to was wearing grey sweatpants so I reentered the store to talk to him again. I found him exiting the main door and asked to see the tag inside his pants. He showed me the red and blue tag that matched perfectly to the photgraph. I also learned he moved to the area a few months ago and used to live near the other victimized store.

I showed him the photo and pointed out the matching pants and tag. He denied it was him and started acting even more nervous. Because the photo didn't show his face (and I wasn't about to ask him to drop his drawers for comparison check), I didn't have enough evidence to arrest him. I made it very clear, however, I knew it was him and told him I'd be at his door the next time any kind of photo showed up at any store. The store manager had him trespassed from the property so he's never allowed to return. They were also going to pull video surveillance from the other store to see if they could match him to those incidents. I knew the creep was getting off easy and wished I could have done something more to get him off the steets.

Monday, January 01, 2007

And They're Off!!

After nearly a year on the street I had my first foot pursuit last week. I heard a squadmate announce over the radio he found a stolen truck parked in front of a small strip of business buildings. There was nobody in or near the truck so he called for a tow truck. I drove over to stand by and wait for the tow truck to arrive.

He told me the engine was still warm and he guessed the driver was probably in one of the apartments. "Apartments?", I asked. I was familiar with the row of business buildings but didn't know there were any apartments in them. He told me there were about 10 small apartments in a courtyard between businesses. "Just look for the white gates and and archway.", he told me.

Both of our patrol cars were parked on the side of the building and the stolen truck was in the front. I walked around the corner of the building to the front to look for the white gates. Just then, a man and woman came out through the gates and walked toward the truck. They split apart with the man approaching the driver's door and the woman to the passenger side. Just as the man was reaching for the driver's door handle, he looked up and saw me coming towards him. He quickly turned around and started walking briskly back to the apartment courtyard.

"STOP! POLICE!", I commanded with my gun drawn. My partner was right behind me and also yelled at him to stop. The man bolted into a run and threw something to the ground as he rounded the corner through the gates and into the courtyard. We were right behind him and caught him quickly in the dead-end courtyard. My first pursuit was over before I had any time to even think about it.

"I didn't do anything! You got the wrong guy!", he pleaded.
"Then why did you run when we told you to stop?"
"Well, I was going to jaywalk across the street and figured you guys knew what I was planning to do."

We put both of them in our patrol cars and returned to the courtyard to see what he threw. A black handgun and remote-key to the truck were lying on the ground. We then found some suspcious items in the stolen truck including: cell phones, bolt cutters, pry bars, a blow torch, laptops, fake checks, mail, tools, hundreds of keys, and many other items. The man had 3 drivers licenses with the same picture but with 3 different names.

As we begain to reveal the scale of the crime, the man then treated me to my first fake seizure/suffocation routine. He gasped for breath, rolled his eyes back, and was unresponsive to any of my questions. The fire department arrived to check him out and took his vital signs as he convulsed and panted on the ground. They all laughed at his act after confirming all his vital signs were normal. He continued his performance well after the medics left but instantly recovered and then pleaded with me to 'give him a break' as I drove him to the station. He insisted he was the victim of an elaborate set up but couldn't explain how someone created fake id's with his actual MVD picture on them and then placed them in his pocket without his knowledge. We'll await the results of the numerous fingerprints we took from the interior of the truck and the property inside.

It took us over four hours to inventory all of the property. A records check revealed an extensive criminal history for the guy.

Some of the recovered property: