Gary was 52 when he started. I think that might be the most "ancient" rookie we've had so far. I say that with endearment. Well, and some truth. He really was 52 when I got him. I probably aged him a bit to 67 with my training methods. I often teased him about teaching senior citizens. He had a good sense of humor.
We got along great. He really was already potty trained from his last department, but we had to go through the process according to policy.
We developed a trainer-rookie favorite word we used all the time. I made fun of his east coast accent at every opportunity. It was like I was rolling dirty with the mob or something. When we had strange calls or things we talked about, we would turn to each other in unison and say it was "weeeerahd" (weird in his New York accent). Gary hails from New York City. Yes, just like the salsa.
Gary and I laughed a lot.
Some of my training was a little unorthodox. Like the times I would test his alertness to his surroundings. I would often ask him as we passed by a house while patrolling residential areas, "Did you notice anything different than yesterday?" Most of the time his answer was, "No".
My "thing" was to notice changes and things out of the ordinary as well as criminal activity afoot. For instance, are the garage doors up or down? Sometimes late at night I would let citizens know about securing their property by shutting the doors and putting their kids bikes away. It was good community policing and PR, besides preventative measures. Most of the time they were polite. It gave me an opportunity to reach out to kids.
As for the kids, they are number one. I always bought lemonade at the lemonade stands and played games, basketball, or just made chit chat.
With regard to the neighborhood patrols, I always wondered how the citizens would take it that I was such a hawk eye with their homes? I did judge their landscaping. It was my job. I owned a tree nursery. They might be creeped out if they knew that.
It was good to use my garden knowledge in police work. To pique a rookie's interest, I would ask them questions just to make them more detail oriented. It was more of a game for me. Aren't we supposed to have fun? I think so. Torturing rookies in a non-hazing way was part of that.
Gary was no different. I tortured him also. Even if he was a senior citizen, there was no discrimination in treatment. I would ask him, "What kind of tree was in that yard?" He would look at me and roll his eyes. I told him I was serious. He would say "green." Good answer. He got points.
By the end of the phase, he was on board with the species. He has since forgotten, however, I am sure. I'm going to have to modify my training techniques for retention, perhaps beat him with a stick which might be similar to training puppies about poop. You rub their noses in it.
Anyway, never mind. Man, a cop's mind runs all over the place. It makes you wonder, right? I wah, wah, wah, wah, wonder...I wonder why.
So...about this call.
We have had an influx of illegal aliens in Gotham City. It goes up and down. There are times when I.C.E. makes a sweep, clears the town, then it comes full circle. I don't like it when they shut down our favorite restaurants, but hey, it is a side effect of their job.
Dispatch sent us to a drunk at a motel who was bothering guests. When we arrived, we didn't find anyone. No guest we talked to outside had seen the man. The motel employees had lost him.
Soon, Gary found him hiding behind the building near a staircase, avoiding the police. He was very intoxicated and an illegal alien working for a construction company. No one understood what he was saying so they thought he was harassing them. That is part of the equation. The other part is people are scared of drunk people. Plus he was yelling and pounding on things. Those behaviors naturally alarm the citizens. When they slammed their doors, he would knock loudly and yell. So, it appeared he was a dangerous drunk man to them. Enter the PoPo.
Despite his intoxicated state, he was a nice young Hispanic fellow who said he was from Mexico but was staying at the Motel 6. He was creating quite a ruckus. I.C.E. didn't care about him because he was small potatoes and was only drunk.
However, we had to remove him from the parking lot because he was creating quite a disturbance. First, we tried to locate his room and came to find that he didn't have a room. We didn't know who he was staying with either because motel records were not helpful nor was the night clerk. The bazillion by-standers played possum and could not help us.
The language barrier was more of a problem because he was intoxicated. I spoke enough Spanish to not get dead. But I couldn't carry on a fluent conversation about a motel room. If we were going to talk guns, drugs, lies, and curse words plus basic bio stuff, then I was a master of the street language. I could also give out orders in Spanish in dire circumstances.
Speaking of orders, I am pretty sure I could order food and plenty of margaritas and cervezas. Rosetta Stone did me no favors, but our Street Survival Spanish classes were most magnificent.
After attempts to figure that out what to do with our new friend, we called on our Spanish speaking sergeant. It was later determined our friend got drunk and was staying with people who decided to throw him out of their room because he was too obnoxious. Now we were getting somewhere. Actually, nowhere fast.
Eventually one of them showed up and talked to us. He told us, the police, they did not want him back and he refused to tell us what room number he was in, then ran off. He did not even acknowledge the friendly recognition given by our newfound friend. Rude. This guy appeared intoxicated as well, He was higher functioning, however, because he could talk and run.
There we were. And so we had a new buddy.
Give us an 'A' for extra effort. We tried to avoid jail.
During the call and arrest, our buddy could only say "I do nothing wrong." He could not speak very good English, but tried to communicate as best he knew. I told him he was drunk in public and waking up several guests, yelling. He responded with, "Si."
(Great confession, but I didn't think he understood what we were telling him. I thought he was just being polite to the PoPo. But I couldn't read his mind and assuming the language barrier was part of this assumption may have been a stretch)
I told him it was illegal to be drunk in public in America in Spanish. Wow. That was confusing to write let alone tell him in what I call Spanglish because I sucked. I don't like language barriers, by the way. I always wished I spoke several languages fluently. It is important to know what is going on around you and how to communicate with several people.
Anyway, he still didn't understand. I wonder why. Perhaps because my Spanish language skills sucked and so did his English skills? We had a global misunderstanding.
He was arrested and placed in the cruiser.
He did understand the process. It was the longest short ride to the jail. After 400 bazillion "I do nothing wrong" statements, we started to ignore him. We turned on the music and "bopped" to it. Pretty soon, we heard a noise in the backseat...
"I do nothing wrong! I want out!"
Was he singing it? Gary and I looked at each other and shrugged, but we smiled. He did what every good rookie would do, he ignored him and kept driving us to the jail on the hill.
Me, not so much.
After doing this job so long, I am really not afraid of what I say as long as it is legal. So, I sang back to him.
(Yes, it was recorded. I am who I am. They know this.)
"You can't get out!"
It became a song. I am sure it will be a hit. He sang back.
"I want out!"
I sang back, "You are drunk. You can't get out. You go to jail...go to jail...go to jail!"
He again sang a reply in a lower tone, "I not drunk. I want out. I do nothing wrong."
Now, Gary had to have a piece of the action. Fun must be had by all. Gary and I sang in unison louder and somewhat in an opra-like rendition. "You can't get out! No out! No out! No out!"
We smiled at each other because, well, we were funny. Duh. We amused ourselves. We were not sure what the little guy thought until he responded.
He spoke with a smile, "At least...you guys funny."
So, we arrived at the jail with our little Elvis and booked him in. I bet he will never forget his privileged serenade in my g-ride.