Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. You Have The Right To Remain Silent; So Shut-Up!


If the title of the post wasn’t enough; Trigger warning! This post contains sarcasm, and acerbic humor.

Unlike some police shows on TV, my empathy quotient was not wasted on those who rationalized their criminal behavior. I was compassionate when I could be, and I could fight, and take someone down to the pavement when I needed to. I compare it to being a Golden Retriever that turns into a Belgian Malinois, and then back again.

I started police work in the late ’80s when gangs had started to migrate out of the LA area. Drugs were sold out of homes that had fortified front doors. Steel doors that had a slot for letters. The money would be pushed through the slot, the drugs would be pushed out the slot. Depending upon the neighborhood it was either crack cocaine, or meth that was being sold through front doors. Tar heroin and heroin were sold on street corners. Today pharmaceuticals are sold on street corners, along with heroin. It was no accident that the homicide rate went up after the Baltimore riots. The first businesses looted were pharmacies. Gangs that were late for the party hunted down individuals belonging to other gangs to get their fair share of opiates from gang members that arrived on time for the party.

Police humor can seem… let’s call it insensitive in this day of sensitivity. One night a meth lab in a house exploded, and the house went up in flames. This house was moving a lot of meth. A story started floating around the precinct that a concerned neighbor called the precinct to report the fire. The desk officer told the caller; “Yes ma’am we know, as soon as I finish my dinner break I’ll call the Fire Bureau”. The story wasn’t true, but we liked it. The house was a total loss.

There are a lot of different personalities in the roll call, including comedians. One comedian typed-up a “Request for Service” on official city stationery for a neighborhood block party. A list of events was provided:

1. Drive-by shooting competition
2. Fence jumping competition
3. Running of the Pit Bulls
4. Best recitation of Miranda Rights
5. All the stolen beer you can drink

All copies were promptly removed from the bulletin boards outside the offices of the admin-cops in the precinct.

One night my partner and I were assigned to a special detail to take down a crack house with a fortified door. Our job was to wait in the backyard for a frequent flier that would try to escape through the backyard as the front door was knocked off its hinges. The detail was on a different Net (radio channel). We could hear command; Execute! Execute! Execute! on our radios. Then we heard; 484 you can enter the house through the front door. We were 484.

There were two kids in the house, about 6, and 4 years of age. They were sitting on a couch with a police officer. We walked into the kitchen. There were fast food cartons scattered across the floor. The top of the stove looked like a pizza, and the floor was so greasy the cockroaches were wearing crampons.

There was no clothing in the closets upstairs, with the exception of a fur coat in the master bedroom closet. The only toy in the house was a small set of scales with a bag of flour so the kids could learn how to weigh cocaine.

My partner and I took mom to jail. She never asked about the kids on the way to booking. She kept asking about the fur coat. I asked her if she had been told that she had the right to remain silent. She said she had. I told her; Then shut-up!


This is another look at police work. I saw it from the street, not in the rarified air of a classroom.

Published in Policing
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There are 14 comments.

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  1. Rapporteur Coolidge

    Wonder how much we paid for that fur coat, measured in toys, food, and cleaning supplies that were never purchased instead. 

    • #1
    • March 29, 2020, at 6:35 PM PDT
  2. Randy Webster Member

    You went in a little different direction than I expected from the post title. I expected you to say something like don’t talk to the police without a lawyer present.

    • #2
    • March 29, 2020, at 7:07 PM PDT
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    @dougwatt police stories, always great value. 

    • #3
    • March 29, 2020, at 7:43 PM PDT
  4. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    @dougwatt police stories, always great value.

    Thank you.


    • #4
    • March 29, 2020, at 7:46 PM PDT
  5. Blondie Thatcher

    Cops and most medical professionals do have a strange sense of humor. We have to or we will go crazy.

    • #5
    • March 30, 2020, at 4:48 AM PDT
  6. MichaelHenry Contributor

    Thanks for your service, Doug Watt.

    • #6
    • March 30, 2020, at 5:33 AM PDT
  7. Columbo Member


    • #7
    • March 30, 2020, at 5:44 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Stad Thatcher

    Doug Watt: Trigger warning! This post contains sarcasm, and acerbic humor.

    This is what you write to hook people into reading a post!

    • #8
    • March 30, 2020, at 5:47 AM PDT
  9. Columbo Member


    • #9
    • March 30, 2020, at 6:32 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Joe Boyle Member

    I can top that one. I spent 24 years in the Army as Military Police. When troops are deployed, thing get weird. As a patrol supervisor or duty officer, I got a ring side seat. I got a call around 2AM. A lady unknown to the house residents was a bloody mess and beating on the door demanding help. I got her an ambulance and found out that she lived in the house directly up the hill. So,up the hill. We found a four bedroom house, completely trashed, with a very calm guy sitting in a recliner. Since it was a four bedroom house, I asked about children. Recliner guy told me no children. I looked, sure enough no children.I was able to have people do follow ups and write ups, so I left. Further investigation. When recliner guy deployed to the NTC, the wife and four kids went to see a boyfriend at Ft Polk LA. The boyfriend killed the four kids. When recliner guy got the news and returned he was devastated and wifey’s very sorry wasn’t enough. It also turned out that all of MP leadership and CID knew the story. They chose to not tell me.

    • #10
    • March 30, 2020, at 7:02 AM PDT
  11. CACrabtree Coolidge

    The “list of events” reminds me of the “Inner City Olympics” in the 1988 movie “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”. A one hundred yard dash carrying a TV on their shoulders and a car stripping competion. Hilarious!

    • #11
    • March 30, 2020, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    One of the things in Ron White’s comedy routine is a bit about being drunk in public – he was in a bar and in his words, “I wasn’t drunk in public… I was thrown in public”

    He also said “I had the right to remain silent… but I didn’t have the ability”

    • #12
    • March 30, 2020, at 9:44 AM PDT
  13. Titus Techera Contributor

    Wow! As I say, Doug, there’s a book in all these stories… & as Bob Hope said, thanks for the memories!

    • #13
    • March 30, 2020, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    Safety officers often have similar levels of black humor. I describe my job as helping professors avoid blowing their labs up, and it sometimes fits. We also had someone who hung a biohazard sign on their office door after having a bad reaction to a vaccine. Listed precautions included lab coat and gloves, along with bringing coffee. Another stated that the only use of alcohol hand sanitizer against many cold viruses is to drink it, and had a poster on the wall announcing “Safety Third!

    • #14
    • March 30, 2020, at 3:08 PM PDT