Tuesday, May 29, 2007

This is What I'm Talkin' 'bout..

Want to know why I really became a police officer? Was it for pride, glory, honor, duty, sense of self-worth or accomplishment?...

No, it was so I could stand outside in 100+ degree weather for six hours in my solar oven uniform (black nylon pants, black shirt and ballistic vest, and boots) watching the city water department fix a manhole cover:

I know what your thinking: "Well, he didn't have to volunteer for this kind of off-duty work. It's his own fault he picked this job." To which I would reply, "Never mind what I did, I can complain if I want to."

In reality this wasn't a bad job. Since it was sponsored by the city, I got paid timeandahalf and was able to store it in my 'comp' bank instead of being immediately paid out. This is like added vacation time for me to take at my discretion. Besides, I was able to replace most of the 3 quarts of sweat I lost with the 2 quarts of water I brought.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Imagine being a single woman sleeping in bed with two dogs when at 2:00 a.m. you're jolted awake by their barking. You get out of bed to see what the commotion is all about and walk sleepily to your bedroom door. You slowly pull open the door and are met by the darkened silhouette of a man standing directly outside your door in the hallway. You are about to dial 911 on the cell phone your holding when a gunshot explodes in front of you and a bullet shatters the phone and your hand. You scream and run frantically back into your bedroom towards the closet. A volley of bullets follows your retreat striking you in the knee, arm, and side. As you slam the closet door closed, more bullets tear through the wood and into your flesh.

You are alive but badly wounded and don't know if the intruder has left. You don't have a regular telephone but risk bleeding to death if you wait too long in the closet. Imagine the courage needed to open the closet door, walk through the house and then go outside into the unknown darkness to your neighbor's house for help.

Police and detectives arrive but do not locate the murderer/rapist-to be. Several of the neighbors' back yard gates are open and burglary tools are found in a different backyard. You appear the be the victim of a random attack but cannot be certain.

This nightmarish scene seems like something out of a horror movie but played out in real life last week to a woman living in a "nice" neighborhood. It turns out this woman's grandfather and my wife's grandfather are brothers but I've never met her.

After investigating the scene, it was determined the suspect entered through a doggie door on the back side of the house. I can't tell you how many burglaries I've investigated where the point of entry was a doggie door. And, if you think that thin piece of plastic that slides into the inside of the doggie door will keep a person out, think again. A simple kick or a screwdriver is all it takes to remove the plastic cover. If you have a large or medium sized doggie door that leads into your house, please do something to deter criminal from using it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


As I was driving around last week, I saw a thick column of black smoke billowing from a couple miles away. I could see a fire engine ladder truck ahead of me so I activated my lights, caught up to it, and followed it into a neighborhood. A house was fully engulfed in flames as neighbors ran around frantically and news vans arrived.

Here's a picture I took from outside by patrol car as I blocked traffic from coming down the street.

After the blaze was put out, I walked up to see the damage. I took this photo from the backyard. I was standing next to some firefighters applying water to small flare ups.

The house was full of junk which made it harder for the firefighters to put out the fire. Luckily, nobody was inside and nobody was injured. I left after the arson investigators arrived to seach the scene for evidence.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Remember Laci?

In case you were absent from planet Earth in December, 2002 there was a mother to be named Laci Peterson who was murdered by her husband Scott in Modesto, California.

Today I attended a training session organized by the FBI on the investigation of the Peterson homicide. The session was presented by the homicide detectives assigned to the case. I was somewhat familiar with the case back then but gained a whole lot more insight into the details of the murder.

What a tragic story this was and for no good reason. The homicide detectives' opinion was Scott killed his pregnant wife because she was hindering his aspirations of living a 'player' lifestyle. He had several affairs during their marriage and even attended a Christmas party with his mistress Amber Frey while Laci attended a separate party alone. It was apalling to see his utter lack of compassion, brazen arrogance and extreme narcicism. After reviewing the details of the entire investigation, there was no doubt Scott premeditated and carefully planned the murder of his wife. I've never learned of a more manipulative and pitiful monster.

At the end of the session, presenters played a video originally intended to be shown to the jury after the guilty verdict to help them choose the appropriate sentencing (i.e. death). The video was a series of photos of Laci progessing through life from infant to college grad, to bride. I was haunted by her beautiful shining brown eyes, adorable dimples, and delightful smile. The judge did not allow the video to be shown but in the end, it was not needed as Scott was convicted of 1st degree murder for his wife and 2nd degree murder for his unborn son Connor.

R.I.P. Laci and Connor Peterson

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

White Trash

An adult daughter called police after arriving at her elderly father's house and noticing a strange truck parked in the driveway. Her father had been placed in a medical facility a few months prior and she was checking on his 'empty' house.

I and two other officers entered the home to search for burglars. There was nobody inside but we were shocked when we opened the door to a back bedroom and saw this:

The room was so full of junk I couldn't back up enough to get a good photo. You can see the opening to a closet in the background. The pile of trash was about six feet tall and stretched from one wall to the other. There appeared to be some furniture behind the great wall of garbage but we couldn't see behind it clearly.

The woman was convinced people had been burglarizing the house for months. She told us she had not been inside the house for three years but wanted to come inside and see what was missing. We held our breath as she approached the back bedroom. We anticipated her reaction of shame/disgust/embarassment and she walked into the refuse room.

"Oh my God!" she muttered.
(Feeling her shame, I remainded quiet.)
"There's a bunch of stuff missing from in here.", she added.
"From this room?", my squadmate asked, "What stuff is missing?"
"I'm not sure but there was a lot more stuff in here three years ago and now it's gone.", she insisted.

In my mind I pictured a band of ruthless burglars masterminding the repeated break-in of this home to steal countless bags of trash. What a score! This goldmine of cardboard, aluminum, glass, and plastic #2 would be any recycler's paradise. These clever thiefs were wise enough to pass up the electronics, jewelry, and guns in the house and focused on the highly lucrative rubbish.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Detective School

One of the main reasons I joined the police force was to someday become a detective. After watching countless hours of 'Forensic Files', 'The Investigators', and other detective shows, I was motivated to leave a corporate career in financial services to law enforcement.

After 17 weeks of Investigator School, I am now one step closer to my goal. I am still a rookie officer, however, and am required to serve three years in patrol before I can apply for a detective position. The class was taught by one of the city's most well known and respected homicide detectives. I haven't decided exactly what field of detective work would be the best fit but I've got another year or so to think about it.

Other notables:
Officers were called the hospital to respond to a man brought into the emergency room due to an apparant drug overdose. He was unconscious when the hospital staff discovered a plastic baggie containing a white powdery substance in his rectum. One of my squadmates was lucky enough to take possession of the contraband.

I arrived at house where a girlfriend claimed her ex-boyfriend was trying to break in. I met the loser out front living in a broken down car parked on the side of the house. He hadn't committed any crime but I was apalled when I learned of his freeloading ways. He wasn't mooching off his ex-girlfriend, but rather, the good taxpayers of the nation. This 32 year old house painter receives $650 in Social Security benefits because of his self-proclaimed 'ADHD'.

"What are you talking about?", I asked.
"ADHD: I have trouble concentrating on stuff.", he replied.
"But you're 32 years old. Why do you need to get paid for not being able to pay attention?"
"I also hurt my hip, so I'm disabled."
"Don't you paint houses for a living?"
"So you can put up and climb ladders, carry 5-gallon buckets of paint, and spend hours at a time doing physical labor?"
"Yeah, but I need that money and I deserve it."
"We all need money but some of us have pride and wouldn't take undeserved handouts."
"Well, I do."

This is what's wrong with Social Security. I'm all for helping out those who need it but sending out checks to losers like this is shameful. Judging by this guy's behavior and past criminal history, there's no doubt in my mind a good portion of his monthly payment is being used to buy Meth. That's capitalism for you.