People ask me if I ever reflect on my police calls, people, places. Every single day.
It isn't that I am pining for the job or even mourning its loss. Just reflections of fondness and little things can spark a memory.
Now more than ever, I realize my training was so critical to the recruits. I know there were days or even months where I was not 100 for them and many times I was downright worthless. I worked two full time jobs and lacked sleep. Sometimes I fell asleep in the passenger side because the motion of the car has ALWAYS put me to sleep, but worse when I lacked proper snoozing time. That's when I reported myself to my supervisor. At the time, he was very disappointed, took it up the chain. I didn't get disciplined, but they didn't take me off training either. I had to do the best I could.
Thankfully, they understood my personal dilemma and my needs to salvage what I had of my life at home and with my personal business. But it came at a cost to my profession. Later, I chose my profession and closed the personal business.
The realization of my errors makes me regret that I wasn't better. I went through a divorce (22 years with Bug's father) and a miscarriage during some training times which really gave me head damage. No one really takes into account those things because you aren't supposed to bring your baggage to work. Well, that's a nice perfect world, but it isn't true life. I asked for breaks and so did others, but we were all denied despite our various reasons because we were so short handed.
So it is what it is and has become. People got let go because they weren't cut out to be cops. Nothing I could have done or said would have changed that. And that is how it should be. But for the ones who passed their training, I could have served them better.
If I can leave anything to forward to administrators and trainers it is that they should be in top form and if not, realize a break is needed. Monitor your people. It is necessary for the trainer and the organization. More importantly, make sure fair is fair to the recruits. They expect the best. Administrators need to be on top of those requests and know that a trainer who recognizes they aren't top notch and need a break should be evaluated carefully for the better of the department. A department cannot afford to make this kind of sacrifice just because they are short-handed.
I think administrators lose sight of the big picture sometimes or maybe they have so much faith in that trainer that they think he or she will pull it through. Trainers are human. They also can generate human errors. It is critical to organizational success to have them all in prime condition mentally and physically.
As a trainer, there are times you get a very endearing young person as a rookie, but they just are not street wise. In fact, you can see early on they have to make great strides to overcome things or they are just not cop material in the first place. It is almost always that obvious. Some are salvageable and we do go leaps and bounds to get them training needs. But you really need the right people.
These candidates I speak of above, passed the test and have dreams of grandeur to be a savior to people and put on the uniform with pride. That part is the cool part. I had those feelings when I first started and the uniform pride continued until the last day. I don't know if I was really street wise at first, but I knew how to read people and detect criminal activity right out of the gates. I loved problem solving.
Some rookies are dangerous. Some are just dense in the head. These are the ones who need to be terminated as soon as possible. Of course, it has to be justified and documented.
Additionally, some rookies just aren't cut out to be cops because they are true bleeding hearts. They cannot fathom nor see nor detect evil. They miss criminal action unless it is blatant. They cannot even sense suspicious activity. Some are just academically intelligent and are fit for other careers. They are in a world of blissful ignorance but only because they are darlings. I have had my share of darlings.
I loved this rookie in the mother sense and loved his good heart, but I knew early on, despite his wishes, he would not be cut out to stay a cop. He did well, generally, even in dynamic calls, but I could tell it was too much for his psyche. He really had no idea about the street side nor really grasped hints of danger.
And what mother would want the purest of hearts to be cynical and jaded for the rest of their lives? I kind of liked his innocence. It was a sign that kids were still raised right and the 1950s existed.
After he left the department, I would see him around town and we had great reunions and hugs and laughter. He even anonymously bought me a Starbucks in the drive-thru one day. I chased him down to thank him and he was the same happy kid. He is very intelligent. I always wished him well and I know he has and will continue to do good...just not in police work.
That was one we saved for his mother. He was restored to normalcy.
But on this day...he was in training...with me...
Late night lurking.
He doesn't do it very well...but he does try.
Pretty soon...a loud noise grabbed our attention to the left. A speeding motorcycle. Most of the time, bikers enjoy riding around our vast neighborhoods and mountain roads. However, at this time of night, we usually get teased by pursuits. Well, we used to because a directive came out that we were not to pursue them in most circumstances because of the danger to them and others going over 150 mph. There was a group of them out there riding together teasing the PoPo. The problem is they knew we couldn't pursue them unless circumstances elevated above a misdemeanor, so they ruled the streets.
Sausage at first ignored this motorcycle rider. He was the only motorist on the road at 2 AM. Hello! It should grab your attention at least for a look-see because it is the ONLY thing on the road.
ME: Seriously? You aren't going to follow him?
SAUSAGE: Well, he was going fast. I guess I could.
ME: He was going about 40 in a 30.
SAUSAGE: How can you tell?
ME: We are all trained in speed estimation. It's a matter of whether or not you use it. Go after him.
SAUSAGE: He's about a mile down the road.
ME: How fast are you going?
SAUSAGE: About 60 mph.
ME: And you're not catching him. He is speeding up. Probably saw you. Go after him.
SAUSAGE: I have no reason to stop him.
SAUSAGE: What do I have?
ME: My speed estimation, no visible registration...oh looky there...he's swerving in both lanes of traffic. He's probably drunk.
SAUSAGE: I don't think I have enough.
ME: I'm gonna slap a bitch.
|Me...trying to avoid saying cocksucker|
Soon, we were closer to the motorcycle which accelerated even more and the dude swerved all over the road when we got about two car lengths behind him. It was apparent he was going to hurt someone if we didn't stop him and he was trying to outrun us.
ME: Pull him over.
SAUSAGE: I don't have enough.
ME: Pull him over before he kills somebody...NOW!
Activating our lights had no effect; the dude kept going and ignored our disco show. I pushed the siren..like one little hi-lo and an air horn bleep.
Crash. Beautiful. Wreckage.
Even though he wrecked his motorcycle...mechanical carnage everywhere...he was fine. Standing up and scratching his head, he faced me. Bloodshot, dilated eyes. Smell of a brewery. And...swaying... with pee pee pants. We call those clues. Very drunk this man was, Yoda. Or it was the new age of motorcycle driving with wet pants and bug eyes. Maybe it was a summer thing since they didn't have air conditioning on those rides. Well, I guess the wind in your face would be somewhat considered an air coolant of sorts.
We talked to the man. Sure enough. He came from a bar...had a lot to drink...slurred his words...couldn't get anything out of his wallet. He looked like a character out of Mad Max. Yes, I'm dating myself. But he was.
Crazy hair. Jeans. Black boots. Face grime. Big, furry mustache...like a squirrel on his face. It could have been a pet squirrel. It was hard to tell. Big ass glasses. Actually... big ass glasses are the first sign of a pedophile. But in this instance...Mad Max character. He looked like a Festus, although his name was Robert. Names were not changed to protect the guilty.
ME: What happened there?
ROBERT: [holding a piece of handlebar] Put the brakes on too hard.
ME: Hmm. Sure it wasn't because you were impaired?
ROBERT: What's impaired mean?
ME: Super. Why don't you talk to SAUSAGE here. I think he speaks your language.
SAUSAGE: Now. How much did you have to drink at the bar?
ROBERT: 4 beers.
SAUSAGE: How long ago was your last one?
ROBERT: I guzzled two about an hour ago.
So Sausage went through the routine questions. Then he went back because he forgot some questions...standard ones...or something.
SAUSAGE: How big were they?
SAUSAGE: The beers.
ME: Big enough to make him pee his pants. Or did the PoPo scare you?
ROBERT: I think I did that when I wrecked.
SAUSAGE: I didn't even notice. You did pee your pants.
SAUSAGE: All be darned. Is that uncomfortable?
ROBERT: A little wet.
SAUSAGE: How can you pee your pants? Don't you know when to go?
ROBERT: Yes. I was scared. Couldn't control it.
SAUSAGE: I don't understand. Couldn't you hold it?
ROBERT: I tried. It just came out.
SAUSAGE: How long was it before you realized you peed your pants?
ROBERT: I dunno.
SAUSAGE: Isn't that gross? I mean...especially when the temperature goes from warm to cold. And you peed a lot. Is it cold now?
ROBERT: Yup. It's a little cold and wet.
SAUSAGE: Did it go down to your boots? Because it looks like it did. There's a trail and all.
ROBERT: Maybe, not sure. Have to take my boots off and check.
SAUSAGE: Are you going to keep those boots after you peed in them?
ME: Oh for the love of Harriet. As interesting as this conversation is...I think I will interrupt. Sausage, he's drunk. You lose control of those things when you're drunk. And then he wrecked. Whether or not Mr. Robert here peed before or after the wreck is irrelevant to our investigation. Robert, would you be willing to do field sobriety tests to see if you are safe to drive?
ROBERT: Hell no.
ME: Awesome. Turn around. You're under arrest.
And so I arrested him. Sausage stood there. With all his driving patterns and the observations I made and later had to articulate, this old salty dog was surely not going to let Mr. Pee Pee Pants go free. Sausage later asked me how I could have enough to arrest the man. [head hit dashboard] Apparently, we did not teach him enough to know to recognize what reasonable suspicion was for the stop and needed probable cause for an arrest. Good question for Phase I. We are at the end of Phase III. Perhaps if the Captain wants to salvage him...he could be his assistant...make coffee for him and solve crime by binary code. I worry about the kid getting killed because he is just good and pure of heart.
ME: You know what, Sausage, it's too bad we didn't siphon that pee pee out of Robert's boots or squeeze it out of his pants and send it in for testing of his alcohol content. With a search warrant...we could go back and do that if you would like to.
SAUSAGE: Are you being sarcastic?