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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