Monday, December 31, 2012

Family Business

Posted by: Blue

There's one family in my district who is no good.  Actually there's a number of them, but one of them in particular seems to grab my attention more than others.

On Friday, we arrested one of them that I had never dealt with before.  He had been out of jail 7 days before being re-arrested by us on new Assault charges (domestic) and Breach of Probation.

At ident, the tech looked at him and commented "That's not a very common last name.  There was another guy in here with that last name last night.  For Robbery I think"

"Really?  If he's from the city, I'm related to him." He said, laughing

After getting back into the car, he asked me to look up the report.

I told him which of his family members I was betting it was before pulling up the reports.  I told him my guess was that it wasn't a big old fancy robbery of a commercial business but rather that he tried to take some beer at knife point or some such offence.

"That's considered Robbery too?"

"Yup.  Robbery is Theft plus Assault.  The crime is complete if you have a weapon or imply a weapon or violence plus attempt to cause something to be converted to your use or possession.  A Theft at it's root definition doesn't necessarily mean that anything was actually stolen.  Just begun or even attempted to be stolen.  In the same way, an Assault doesn't necessarily mean that anyone was contacted by a fist or a weapon.  Pointing a firearm at someone for example, is an Assault with a Weapon (among numerous other firearms offences).  So is handing over a note which implies violence if one's demands aren't met, whether it is expressly written or if only the impression is given."

"Huh."

"Yeah."

I pulled the report.  It was a cousin.  The offence wasn't Robbery after all.  It was Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking (drug dealing charges).

I don't like that family.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Semantics

Posted by: Blue

JT on the phone to a homeowner: "Hello.  It's the police calling... Not to alarm you but we've had a distress alarm at your house..."

He immediately turned to me and silently rolled his eyes over his ironic choice of words.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Safety Lesson

Posted by: Blue

The other day, we responded to another district for a high priority domestic.  The wife was calling in on the husband, stating that he had been threatening to play Russian Roulette with his revolver and "take a bunch of people out".

While on scene, the male was calm but obviously depressed and emotional.  As we were clearing out the gun safe of the firearms that he had agreed to turn over to us for safekeeping, he asked one of the other district's cops if he could go and change.  The officer agreed and the male went into the study.

I was looking through the safe with some of the other officers at the time and hadn't seen him go into the room and close the door.

I came around the corner to find no sign of the male.

"Where'd he go?" I asked.

"Changing." Said the other officer, gesturing towards the closed office door.

"What!? No! Hey, c'mon out of there bud. I don't want you behind closed doors with no one around you right now.  It makes me nervous."  I said, giving the senior officer an admittedly dirty look.

He came out and looked frustrated.  I told him he was welcome to change in a few minutes when we got things sorted out, but one of the officers would need to be in the room with him.

Later on, we discovered a loaded revolver in a holster under the coffee table in that office.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The (un)Usual

I often find myself laughing at how unusual our lives have become now that Blue is a police officer, but how normal the unusual now feels. I suppose it's more that Blue's life is on the crazy side of things as mine is still pretty uneventful with being a stay-at-home-mom (Although, I signed-up for a boxing class. That counts for something, right?). From time-to-time Blue's work experiences spill over into our home life through stories, texts, phone calls or random things that make it through our door. Sometimes the things are shocking and sad, sometimes they are hilarious, sometimes they are down-right frustrating but they almost always leave me thinking that Blue must have one of the most bizarre jobs out there. If only more civilians could see what police actually have to deal with.

Yesterday I was yet again reminded of the absurdity of Blue's line of work when I got a text from him later on in the day which read:

Probably some OT. Guns. Bullets. Crazy drunk Russian. The usual. 

I find it funny, and only slightly off-putting, that this is Blue's usual. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Back to Work

Posted by: Blue

Tonight is the shift Christmas party.  We're headed for ribs and drinks and then to one of the guys houses.

Sunday I head back for Nights.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

HWT

Posted by: Blue

Last night I ran downstairs to grab something just before dinner.  I stepped in a puddle at the bottom of the stairs.

Our hot water tank blew out.

In preparation for the new tank, I went about tidying our messy laundry/utility room.

I hate letting people into my laundry room.  It is dark, dank, dismal, dreary, destitute, drippy and dungeon-esque.

Here is a list of other things that make me uncomfortable:

  • Dentist check-ups
  • Vehicle maintenance and repairs
  • Tax season
  • Meeting with bankers
  • Crossing the border
  • Security checks at the airport
They all make me feel scrutinized unnecessarily; like someone is judging me based on my flossing technique or how often I change the oil in my truck.

I imagine that these things make me feel very similar as a good person does while talking to the police. Traffic stops used to be on the list before I became a cop and saw them from the other side.  My brother has voiced many times that cops give him the heebie-jeebies.  I can totally understand that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holidays

Posted by: Blue

I have extended my holidays for another week and a half.  I have been enjoying my time with the family and our new boy.  My days have been spent washing dishes, washing clothes, and washing my daughter's vomit off of the floor... but I am loving it.  

When I'm not doing any of the above, I have been geeking out on the couch, perusing knives, flash-lights and all things paracord (a new find for me).  To sample my latest hobby, take a look here, or click on the link for Stormdrane's Blog on the right hand side of the page.

Tomorrow my relaxation is cut down and I will be double-dipping by working on 4 kitchens during my time off.  Gotta pay for Christmas.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all of you American readers, by the way.  I hope you all had a good time with friends and family (even if you aren't celebrating the real Thanksgiving which actually comes in October).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Baby Blue


Our Baby Blue is a boy! He came into the world at 8:27 last night after only 2.5 hours in active labour. 
It was crazy and it was beautiful and I'm glad it's all over and that we're home and doing well. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Waiting Game

Posted by: Blue

I'm off until December 2 in anticipation of our new baby.

The little bugger has held on perfectly until I was off duty.  Now for the waiting game.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait


Blue has started calling me 'Preggo-Pop'

I thought that I was going into active labour last week. Blue was on a serious Motor Vehicle Collision call involving a truck and a young pedestrian. It was his unit that was escorting the girl to the hospital. Apparently his phone doesn't work too well in hospitals. My contractions were coming every 12 minutes. If I had needed him I would have had to call 911. 

Thankfully they fizzled after two hours.
We are still here and still waiting.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Quiet

Posted by: Blue

Last night was quiet.

Quiet is a bad word.  It usually means the bad guys are regrouping and planning a sneak attack.

The longer the quiet time, the more violent the uprising.

But while it was quiet, JT and I were resting, completing paperwork, and shooting the shit with the SGT and the rest of the shift.  It was a welcome change of pace for the night shift.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembering

Posted by: Blue

A thank you to all veterans, to whom we owe every ounce of our freedom.  God bless you for your sacrifices.  We would not be where we are today without the young men and women who left their homes and travelled overseas to fight, hoping to see the world and come back victorious but more often than not returning to their families broken both in spirit and in body, or worse; never returning at all.

It behoves us all to honour a moment of silence today while we reflect on what they have given.

Today, I saw a weathered veteran in his dress tunics on his way to or from some Rememberance Day ceremony stop his vehicle to help an elderly lady whose car was stuck in the snow.  It struck me that he was a person who had spent his whole career giving to others not because it was his job, but because he was a king among men who cared for others around him.



Monday, November 5, 2012

Sleepy.

One of the things that I love most about Blue working evening and night shift is that he doesn't see how freakishly early I go to bed. It's 4:30pm and I'm already eyeing the clock...so sad.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hair

At the breakfast table today:

CB: Can we do a #2 and a #4 this time? I feel like I kinda botched the last cut with the #1 and #3.

Blue: Ya...you kinda did.

Blue has been asking me for a haircut for a few days now. Between him asking at inopportune times (don't ask a ready-to-pop pregnant lady to get-up and cut hair right after she's snuggled-up in bed for an afternoon nap...it's not happening!) and me putting it off for fear of messing it up it just hadn't happened.

I always cut Blue's hair. I've done it for quite awhile, but since becoming a cop he is very particular about how his hair is. Last time he decided to go a bit shorter than normal and, well, the shorter the hair the more noticeable the mistakes.

He showed-up to work and was made fun of for his totally goofy hair. Don't worry, I ended-up fixing it.

I normally get a bit nervous cutting his hair because the man is slightly OCD. Now I'm even more nervous because he'll head into the station and potentially be laughed at (all in good fun, of course). However, he agreed to switch back to the #2 and #4 which has calmed my nerves. It looks much better, but that's just my opinion.

Do any of you other police wives cut your officers hair?





Saturday, November 3, 2012

Breathe in, 2, 3, 4...

Baby Blue can come any day now. Actually, it would be perfect for Baby Blue to decide to enter the world right now as Blue doesn't go back to work until Monday. So I'm sitting here blogging and drinking my Raspberry Leaf Tea and seeing if I can get something going.

But then that will stop on Monday and I'll hold my breath until Blue is off shift again.

Here's the problem with being married to a Police Officer, they aren't always accessible. And that's normally not a problem at all, except when I'm about to go into labour. This is the single most stressful thing on my plate right now. I'm not all that worried about what will happen when I get to the birth centre and am with my midwife, but it's the not knowing when it will happen and where Blue will be and if he'll be involved in a high-risk something-or-other right when I need him.

So I have a back-up, and then another back-up and a couple more back-ups after that. We only have one vehicle and Blue has to take it to work. So what if I'm at home, with my two kids and baby decides to come while Blue is at work? Well, I'll call one of my back-ups and hope that Blue isn't in the process of arresting someone. Not a big deal, right? Well, here's the thing, this is my third. Waffle only took 4.5 hours to make her grand entrance into the world and they say (whoever 'they' is) to halve your labours with every child. My midwife even asked, raised eyebrows and all, how quickly I can get to the centre once things start moving. It's only 15 minutes away, but if Blue is at work and I'm at home and I have to wait for someone to get to my house to pick the kids and I up then how much time will that take? I don't know.

This is where my composure crumbles and I start to stress. I'm sure everything will be fine and, if anything, I can always have the baby in an ambulance right outside my front door like my friend did last month.

Blue isn't concerned in the least bit. He's got a car with lights and sirens and doesn't have to abide by traffic rules and speed limits...

I will admit that it would be pretty cute for Baby Blue's first family picture to be with Blue in his uniform, but I'm not going to be upset if I go into labour when we're all relaxed and together at home.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Halloween Special

Posted by: Blue

It was a dark and stormy night.  The rain hadn't come yet, but the clouds had blackened out the stars and moonlight.  Lightning streaked sporadically around the sky, creating eerie strobes of illumination over the darkened stables.

We were there on a distress alarm.  The huge grounds of the horse racing track on the West end of the city were shadowy and lonely at 2:00 a.m.  The race track ran a small daycare centre out of one of their outbuildings, and the alarm company had reported multiple alarms coming from various zones.

We approached the security gates and were given a laminated hand-drawn map of the grounds.  They covered the space of approximately 4 football fields and were full of stables which housed the Thoroughbred horses.  The long, narrow, squat buildings stretched out in a grid pattern.  We had to navigate through them on pot-holed dirt roads.  The only light came from our headlights and take-downs, but those didn't pierce far into the night and seemed to bounce off of all of the right-angles of the structures and served to diminish visibility rather than improve it.

As we navigated the minefield of watering troughs and hay bales, exercise loops and horse-shit, we crept closer and closer to the target building.  It was a converted stable.  The roof was low-slung and it was entirely sheathed in sheet metal.  The windows had been cut-out as an afterthought and looked out-of-place and ramshackle.

The yard was fenced and the scattered plastic toys seemed oddly foreign in the huge acreage dedicated to horses.  They cast long shadows in the beam of our headlights.  The wind slowly moved the chain swings and the rusty bolts squeaked with each sway.

There was a faint glow of light exuding from one of the windows.  The rest of the building was dark.  We searched the perimeter, first observing whether windows were open or broken, tripping a few times in the process over Tonka trucks or discarded dolls.  Then we began checking the doors methodically for security.

As we worked in tandem around the building, we found a single vehicle: a minivan.  The hood was cold.  It had been there a while.  But then again, the call was about 45 minutes old.  JT turned to me and said "I've got the heebie jeebies about this place dude.  All the friggin kids toys and creaky swing sets are freaking me out a little.  Wouldn't it freak you out if shit went down out here?  It looks like some kinda evil child labour camp or something."

I laughed a little, but really it was to hide the fact that the whole scenario had me right scared.  Something was off.  I couldn't put a finger on it though.  I definitely couldn't picture children enjoying themselves in the yard on a bright summer's day at that point.

We had found a window which had been cracked open, but it appeared that it was only for ventilation purposes.  As we rounded the building the second time and checked the last three doors, I began to relax a little, realizing that the alarm had probably been a false, set off by the weather.

Last door, then we would clear and head back to the station.

I grabbed the knob and rattled it.  It turned.  It popped open.  It creaked as it swung, revealing a blood red glow coming from the exit sign above it.

My glance snapped over to JT.  He was surprised and wide eyed.  His hands went for the Taser holster.  I went for my Glock.

"POLICE!  SHOW YOURSELF! COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!"

I stepped in first, slowly cutting corners.  The door was in the centre of the building and the hallway it entered ran in both directions.  I slowly went left, JT went right.  We began the building search, flashlights in hand, methodically clearing each room as we went, calling out our presence to whoever might be inside.  I had my light in my left hand, supporting my right hand with the back of my left hand, pistol at high-ready.

As I got closer and closer to the end of the building, I had gone through two long rooms with a couple of offices in-between.  Neither JT nor I had found the lights yet.  I opened the last door with my flashlight hand. Just then, my light cut-out.  The room went black.  I shook it.  It flickered on momentarily and then extinguished again.

The audible alarm started up with a shrill, piercing siren.

Suddenly, a shout and a crash came from JT's end of the building.  I called out to him without turning around, in case it was an ambush and I had someone waiting for me on my end too.

"JT, YOU OK!?"

Silence first.  Then I hollered the same thing again.  This time a muffled yell.

"JT you sonofabitch, if you're just screwing with me I'm gonna shoot you.  Are you alright?"

I smacked my light a few more times and searched by feel for a light switch nearby.  It seriously crossed my mind for a split second to fire a few rounds to light the room with the muzzle-flash.  I thought better of it immediately though.

"Ya.  I'm fine.  Just tripped on a doll carriage.  Stupid toys!"

"Geez man.  Don't do that to me!"

I found a switch.  The room lit up.  My nerves were frayed and I was on high adrenaline.  I breathed deep and focused.  I crept around the corners and cleared the last room.  As I holstered my firearm and turned, I found myself face-to-face with the single ugliest face I have ever seen.  My heart skipped a beat and I froze in terror.

JT had snuck-up behind me and was pulling on his ears and puffing-out his cheeks like a monkey.  "BOO" he yelled.

I almost asped his ass.

"C'mon.  It's clear.  Someone just forgot to lock-up."

We waited for the key-holder and then cleared once they had re-set the alarm.

It remains the only time so far in this job that I have been elevated past adrenaline-flowing to fear-pumping.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

...thanks?

I took the kids to a birthday party yesterday afternoon.

I always get a bit nervous meeting new people as I can be quite shy at first, but it's a lot easier when you're chatting with someone who's kids are in the same class at school as there is at least some common ground; teachers, activities, friends, kids are the same age and probably into the same things. While Waffle and The Boy were glow bowling I struck-up a conversation with some of the other mom's. It went well, but I find that pregnancy always brings out the most bizarre comments from people. They say things to your face that, normally, wouldn't be the least bit appropriate to mutter even under your breath as you walk away. Comments like "You're huge!" or "How many are in there?" or "Wow, you're really waddling now!" or "You're still here!?" Granted, there are the good comments from people as well, but it's always the slightly off-colour ones that stick.

Other Mom: So when are you due?

CB: Oh, in a few weeks.

Other Mom: Ya, you look it.

Awkward pause

(What do I say to that!? Thanks? "Gee, thanks for pointing out that I'm waddling like a preggo-potamus and my clothes are having a hard time stretching enough to cover my very pregnant belly! So kind of you.")

CB: Haha, well, I'm definitely feeling it alright!

Aaaaaand, change subject.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

No One Said You Had to be Smart

Posted by: Blue

Two days ago, one of the other crews had an intoxicated prisoner in one of the cells.  They filled out a property form and asked him to sign for the items that they had taken for safekeeping.  His name was Isaac.

The first attempt at a signature was painfully slow.... then he scribbled it out, presumably due to a spelling error.  His next attempt stuck.  This is how he spelled "Isaac":


That's right.  "I - Backwards 3 - Backwards 3 - 9 - C".

I've encountered a number of illiterates already, but none that couldn't spell their own name.  Wow.

Remarkably, his last name was correctly spelled on the first attempt.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Package Deal

Posted by: Blue

On our second-last evening shift, JT found out that his uniform pants were ripped right down the fly.

He didn't have another back-up pair in his locker.

He spent the night working with his bright tighty whities poking out of his midnight blue duty cargoes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tommy Solami Part IV

Posted by: Blue

The other day, while doing combined duty typing reports and patrolling, I spotted a familiar face.

I hit the lights and siren for a short chirp and then hopped out of the shotgun seat and yelled: "TOMMY!"

He looked like he was about to bolt until he recognized who was hollering at him.

"Hey, guys, long time, no see!  How's it going?"

"Not bad Tommy.  How you been?  You're not back with Mariah, are you?" I joked.

Tommy just gave me a look that said it all.

"Did you have to find a new place to live when you got released?"

Another look.

"We're gonna leave now before you say something that gets you arrested."

Looks like we're gonna be doing an address check next week for old Tommy Solami.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tommy Solami Part III

Posted by: Blue

We got a call that there was a male at the complainant's apartment door with a knife trying to break the door down.

We showed up a short time later and found the apartment building quiet.  The suspect had apparently left and was nowhere to be seen during a search of the building.

We spoke to the complainant who clearly had a number of stab marks in his front door.

The trouble with his neighbour had started when he had found his neighbour's girlfriend standing in the hallway buck naked and locked out of her apartment a few weeks ago.  The neighbour was Tommy.  The girlfriend was Mariah.  The complainant had given Mariah a phone to use and a set of clothes to wear.  Tommy had become convinced that they were sleeping together and today he had gotten good and drunk and gone over the edge.

We decided to try knocking on Tommy's door which was a floor up.  We knocked and knocked and called to Tommy through the door, but there was no answer.  We were just discussing whether to write him up for warrant when we heard a noise in the stairwell behind us.  We both turned just as the door opened into the hall.

There was Tommy.  Shirtless again.  His stitches in his neck looked red and infected.  We both drew down on him, 'cause he apparently had a knife.  I pulled the Taser, my partner pulled his Glock.  We yelled at Tommy to get down.  I called him by name.  He had a series of facial expressions going from fear to acceptance to relief.  He recognized us just as he started raising his hands into the air and said "Oh thank God it's you guys!"  He continued onto the floor into the prone position and gave us no trouble.

"You still have a knife on you, Tommy?"

"Ya.  Ya, it's in my back pocket."

"OK.  Don't reach for it or you're gonna get either shot or tasered or both.  You understand?"

"Ya.  I'm just glad it's you guys.  You guys are good guys."

We cuffed him and took him down to the car.  I arrested him for all of the nonsense that had happened that night.

On the way back to the station, I asked him what his version of the story was.

"Well, about a week ago, we were having sex on the couch and then we finished and everything was good until she told me to get her a cheeseburger.  I told her 'forget it, bitch, I'm not your servant', but she wouldn't give it up.  She kept demanding a cheeseburger, so I threw.... I shoved.... I placed her gently outside the apartment and locked her out.  That guy from that apartment brought her into his place and she's been fucking him ever since.  Tonight I just lost it."

"Ya.  You kinda did."

JT and I laughed.  Tommy laughed.

"Thanks for being good with me guys.  I'm glad it was you that came to arrest me."

"Tommy, you've gotta get rid of the girl and quit drinkin' man.  No woman is worth going to jail over just cause she's screwing some other dude."

"Ya.  I know.  She's such a bitch.  But I love her."

Back at the station, we introduced Tommy to our Sergeant as "Tommy Solami".  The Sergeant snapped his head up from his desk.

"THE Tommy Solami?!"

"Yes sir.  The very one and only."

"How do you know about me?" Tommy asked.

Just then a few other cops walked by.  We informed them that they were in the presence of the legend, Tommy Solami.  They all raised their eyebrows and a couple of them went to shake his hand, playing along with our mock reverence (which of course didn't work because Tommy was cuffed).  It was clear that the attention was going to Tommy's head.

"Everyone knows you here, Tommy.  We were telling the whole shift about you when we were looking for Mariah."

As we carted him off to his cell, we passed the detective's office and Tommy hollered out "Hey guys, it's me, Tommy Solami!  Need an autograph?  I'm here all night!"

We finished our reports, hauled him away to jail and locked him up, still beaming.

The best part of the night was still to come.  When we came into the provincial jail, Tommy walked up to one of the grumpy senior guards and tried to shake his hand (once the cuffs had come off), introducing himself as "The Famous Tommy Solami".  It was clear then that his fame had not extended to the provincial jail quite yet, because the guard simply responded "I don't give a FUCK who you are!  Shut your mouth and listen to what we tell you to do when we tell you to do it and there won't be any problems."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tommy Solami Part II

Posted by: Blue

Two days after we forced Tommy to see a doctor by promising him we wouldn't arrest his girlfriend that night, I ran her name to see if she was still wanted or if she had turned herself in like she had promised.

She had not.

We went and knocked on her door to try to find her.  Tommy answered.  We asked him where she was.  He said he didn't know.  He let us check the apartment.  We didn't find her there.

Tommy was shirtless.  I noticed he had a poorly done tattoo on his left shoulder: TOMMY SOLAMI.
I pointed it out to my partner.  We had a good laugh at the misspelt sausage variety he had permanently inked on his body.

When we got back to the station, the legend began.  We told our whole shift all about Tommy and Mariah and how we really wanted to arrest her on her warrant after she had lied to us about turning herself in.  The tattoo was brought-up, and Tommy Solami began to be a well-known name in the station.

We even had the nickname added as an alias on our system.

We searched high and low for Mariah the next few weeks.  We never found her, but all the while, Tommy's fame grew, as we continued to brief the Sergeants on the female we were looking for.  The true extent of his infamy will come to light in Part III.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tommy Solami Part I

Posted by: Blue

Tommy and Mariah were having a domestic.  A neighbour called it in that Tommy had come to his door looking for help with blood streaming from his neck.

We showed-up on scene and met the couple who were both drunk.  Tommy had a small cut on his neck which he insisted was from falling and cutting himself on a bike wheel.  We managed to get it out of him eventually that he was mad at his girlfriend for saying she felt like killing herself sometimes, so he held a knife to his throat to show her how it felt.

But he was drunk and cut himself by accident.

We called an ambulance.  Tommy didn't want an ambulance.  It was clear from Mariah's behaviour that Tommy was gonna get lucky that night if the cops would just leave them alone to make-up after their argument, but Tommy wouldn't stop bleeding.  Probably because his blood was so thinned-out from the alcohol.

It was a busy night and we hadn't put a rush on the bus, so the ambulance was taking a while.  JT and I played darts in the living room to pass some time.

A little while later, it was clear that Tommy's neck had stopped bleeding and the cut was clotting itself.  Ambulance was still a long ways away.  We cancelled the paramedics and I turned to take Mariah's name for my report.  She gave me a name and I quickly ran it on our information channel.  It came up negative.  No involvement with police whatsoever.  My spidey sense lit up.  She must have a warrant or court-ordered conditions to abstain from alcohol.  We brought her down to the car to try to ID her.

It took a while, but we finally got her real name out of her.  She had a warrant.  It was a cheap one for FTA court.  They were a dime a dozen.  She didn't have a bad record.  Just some silly youth charge.  I was about to arrest her, but then we looked over to Tommy who had come down to the car.  There was a huge puddle of blood at his feet.  He had started gushing again.

We ordered another bus on a rush.  We punted her from the car and told her to turn herself in on her warrant first thing the next day.  Then we took Tommy with the ambulance 'cause he was still refusing treatment.

Tommy ended-up getting stitched back together.  He was complaining to the nurse about us keeping him there.  The nurse told him he would have bled to death if we hadn't.

That was the first time I met Tommy.  Stay tuned for parts II to IV.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Waffle's Information

Waffle started Kindergarten this year. She catches the bus at noon and has to be accompanied by a parent. She's picked-up, by a parent, at the corner when school is finished and gets off the bus with 7 or 8 other kids.  It's safe because either Blue or I are always there for her and when she leaves us she is with the bus driver and other children.

On the first day of school all of the Kindergarten kids were given big buttons to wear on their backpacks. The button is bright yellow and very noticeable. On the button is all of Waffle's important information; her name, where she catches the bus, her bus # and the name of her school.

Blue has been thinking about speaking to the principle about this. He sees this as a serious risk, freely giving out our daughters name and information to anyone who walks past her. We teach her not to talk to strangers, but the truth is, Waffle would run up to a creepy looking man in a dark van and ask him to push her on the swings before thinking twice. She's just that kind of kid. It makes it harder when that individual might know her name and street and school from the button on her backpack. The button has fallen off a number of times so I've just stopped putting it back on and will continue to leave it off until told otherwise.

I can see why the school asks the kids to wear the buttons and since she's always with a parent I do think that everything will be fine. I don't live in fear of my kid being snatched. But every year there are 30+ little kids being given these buttons with their information on it.

What are your thoughts on this? As a police officer, or the wife of one, where do you stand on having a child's information on display for the world to see?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday

It's lovely having a quiet Saturday afternoon.

Blue is sleeping, Mozart is playing in the background, The Boy is working on some math, Waffle is working on writing her letters and I just finished organizing/cleaning a bookshelf.

I need to enjoy these moments while Baby Blue is still in my tummy.

Only two more months until we are a family of five.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oblivious

Posted by: Blue

Last night, on a fatal motor vehicle collision, we had to shut-down one of the biggest streets in the city going West-bound right in the middle of rush-hour.

On at least 5 separate occasions, pedestrians and cyclists crossed the bright yellow police and fire tape "DO NOT CROSS" lines, ending-up in the middle of a crime scene.

There were also countless vehicles who tried to sneak-by the road flares, officers in bright reflective vests and cruiser cars with lights flashing to enter the working scene.

On top of that, the only two witnesses to the crash refused to wait and provide statements.  One of them said "Dude, I just want to get a hamburger and go home."  They both had outside wants and cautions for drug tafficking.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to reason with people who have no common sense whatsoever.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dreams.

Blue has action packed dreams about being in officer involved shootings.

I have action packed dreams about buy one get one boxes of block margarine.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Escalation

Posted by: Blue

Tonight we had a Domestic Assault arrest.

He had punched her repeatedly in the face and then choked her.  We were called because a neighbour heard her begging him to stop.  Her screams got quieter as she got closer to passing-out.

When we arrested him, he kept asking if she would be okay.  I said: "I think she'll be fine if she never sees you again".

Upon reviewing his record, it came to light that this was the fifth time he had been arrested for assaulting her.

She declined to provide a formal statement each time, including tonight.  Each time the charges were dropped.  Each time she went back to him 'cause he said "sorry".

Maybe he'll kill her next time.

We can solve the crime.  Not the life.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On the Home Front

Posted by: Blue

As I have posted before, I have a second life as a finishing carpenter and cabinet maker/installer.  It was one of my previous careers.

We bought a "fixer-upper" house.  Here is a list of the things that I have done to it so far:

  • Tore-out kitchen, re-designed it, built a new kitchen, installed it
  • Tore-out 3 walls (lath and plaster), re-designed main floor layout (including re-routing ducts) 
  • Re-painted every square inch of wall and ceiling
  • Replaced all of the flooring on the first and second floors and stairs, including sub-floor on second floor
  • Re-cased all doors and windows, repainted the same
  • Painted the exterior (minus trim)
  • New door for kid's room
  • Walk-in closet addition to master bedroom, including manufacturing built-in cabinets and shoe shelves
  • Built-in pantry cabinet closets for kids' room
  • Built and upholstered 2 chairs
  • Built office desk
  • Milled and replaced all of the railings on second floor
  • New curtain rods and curtains on most windows
  • Multiple electrical upgrades
  • Crown moulding in the dining room and living room
  • Re-drywalled the dining room and living room
This is what is left to do:
  • Remove all sod, re-grade front and back yards, replace sidewalks and front steps, re-sod
  • Replace front chain-link fence with hedge and wrought iron gate
  • Scrape and paint all exterior trim
  • Baseboards
  • Replace kitchen flooring (again) as I tore the vinyl with the fridge pushing it in (stupid rookie move)
  • Replace stairs into basement and all of the flooring on them
  • Re-drywall the back entrance
  • Replace much of the flooring in the basement
  • Finish the spare bedroom in the basement
  • Touch-up all paint
  • Hardware for a few of the cabinets
  • Knock-down shed and garage, build mega-garage with shop
  • New parking pad
  • Repair and replace parts of the back fence, repaint entire fence
  • Take out current flower beds and re-design, re-plant
  • Clean gutters
  • Trim pine trees
  • Tear-out both bathrooms and replace tub, shower, sinks, possibly toilets and rough plumbing
  • Install exhaust fan in main bath
  • Build medicine cabinet and shelves for bathroom with mirror
  • Build entertainment unit for rec room
  • Install false stringers for stairs
  • Sell this stupid, stupid house and buy one that some other schmuck has already finished
Out of all of these things, the only thing I have not done myself (or plan to do myself), is the carpet for the two bedrooms.

Most weeks, heading back to "work" at the station means I get a bit of a break.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Parentless Children

Posted by: Blue

In our province, there is one service which takes care of children.  It governs all of the smaller off-shoots and the variety of levels of care which are needed for the variety of concerns.  CFS (Child and Family Services) is the organization, and it is mandated to care for children whether in temporary care, emergency care, foster care, or as long-term wards of the state.

In a city of just under three quarters of a million people, there is one locked facility of an emergency nature where problem girls can go if they have not broken the law or are not intoxicated, but have become a danger to themselves due to behavioural issues (running away from care etc.)  It is frequently full.  Police are not given power to determine to place the run-aways in this home.  I don't know exactly how many beds are available for girls there, but they number in the low double digits, possibly even single digits.

Runaway girls are at exceptionally high risk for exploitation.  They are also far, far more frequent to run away than boys.  Girls as young as 10 frequently leave their CFS mandated homes to prostitute themselves for money, crack, meth, booze or other drugs.  It is not surprising that suicide risks often accompany young girls in these situations.

The CFS workers do nothing to stop the girls from leaving.  Indeed, it is in their policies and procedures that they may not physically stop a child from leaving a house, whether they are threatening suicide with a razor blade in their hand or just going down the street for an ice cream at the corner store (though this policy is contrary to both the Criminal Code of Canada, which grants the use of reasonable force by a legal caregiver or guardian to enforce rules and discipline and to ensure the child's safety).  Ironically, the policy could also result in criminal charges, as Failing to Provide the Necessities of Life to a Minor.

Their procedure instead: call the police.  That way, the responsibility is entirely off their shoulders.

Now a child threatening suicide is a reasonably simple procedure for the police (when they are in immediate danger of following through).  We form the opinion that they are a danger to themselves and have them undergo mandatory psychological examination.  The doctor has a brief meeting with them (around 5-10 minutes in the emergency room) and then almost always releases her.  Very, very, very few are admitted to hospital psych wards.  I have repeatedly had teenage girls in the hospital waiting rooms with cuts to their wrists or rope burns on their throats who have been stitched or bandaged up and released without being admitted.

The wait before seeing the doctor is frequently between 4 and 10 hours.  All while in the custody of the police.

When a child is not an immediate danger to themselves or to others, they are not able to be forced to undergo this typically meaningless examination.  Ergo, a child thinking of suicide rather than planning it is not able to be taken into custody as it is not a police matter.  This is where everything gets very fuzzy.

A child who is not able to be taken into custody because they are not a danger to themselves, because they haven't committed a crime and because they are not intoxicated, but who has shown that they will run away from their caregivers as soon as the police leave, with no restraint from the caregivers is a major problem.  And it happens far more often than you think or would like to believe.

There is only one organization who can lock a child such as this up.  And they are always busy.  And there are often no more beds.

In short, if a child of any age less than 18 wishes to leave their mandated housing and prostitute themselves for money, drugs or alcohol, there is almost nothing that police can do.  We just search for them, hopefully find them (alive), and bring them home, praying that this time, they will keep their promise to stay.

The most interesting thing to me is that if that child turns up dead or raped or beaten, it is always the police who are blamed first, not the legal guardians who allowed the child to leave the safety of the home in the first place.

So what the hell should a cop who cares about kids do?  Maybe the police should start adopting children and showing these "caregivers" how to parent.  We are the only ones they ever hear "no" from in many cases.  I guess there's a reason they learn to hate us and run from us and fight with us.

It makes me sad.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Different Kind of Life

I've started to run into a few different outlooks, or possibly attitudes would be a better way of wording it, from people around us towards the way Blue and I live. Not everyone. There have been many supportive people during this transition, but once-in-awhile I've noticed this seeping in.

It's not that I feel that they don't like the way we live, they just don't understand it.

They don't understand what it's like for Blue to work 10+ hours doing a job that isn't, by any means easy. It's physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. Then he comes home to let his body and mind rest. Then he wakes-up (depending on which shift he's working these can be switched) for a very little bit of down-time, eats something and heads to the station to start over. This routine goes for 5 or 6 days in a row. When he actually does have a set of days off, he's either working a side job or working on our house renovations, trying to get the bulk of them done before Baby Blue gets here in November.

As a wife, I try to support him the best that I can and I'm still learning what this looks like. I try to keep the house somewhat quiet when he needs daytime sleep. I don't ask anything of him when he's on shift. I don't have lists for him to do on top of working 10 hour days. I realize that a lot of my things have to wait until his time off, or I need to do them myself. I've become very independent.

We can't always make it to family dinners, church or time spent with friends. We're no longer weekend warriors. Planning a get-together usually need to be done weeks or months in advance. Unless it's only our immediate family involved, spur-of-the-moment plans are practically non-existent now. The Boy and Waffle can go days without spending significant time with their father. When they're in school they can go his whole evening shift without seeing him (pictures, phone calls and texts have to suffice).

I'm fine with this way of life. More than fine. It's different and unusual, but it has so many perks that it's hard to see the downsides. What I find irritating is when people just can't seem to wrap their minds around the fact that we're okay living like this. It doesn't bother us. Sure, it was an adjustment, but one that we were happy to make. It's not that I expect everyone to understand a life they've never lived, but it's hard to be talked at, or down-to, with this 'you poor dysfunctional family' attitude a lot of the time.

Does anyone else ever get this? How do you deal with it?


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Impaired

Posted by: Blue

Last night, on an Impaired Driving arrest (the worst possible type of call and arrest in terms of paperwork and B.S.), our guy tried to sprint when we opened the cruiser car door at the station.  We watched him take 2 steps and then bail in the gravel, likely because he only had one shoe on (he had lost the other trying to jump a fence running from K9).  The turf surf was pretty harsh, 'cause he was cuffed behind the back per policy.

Nothing to break his fall but his face.

Sometimes, Karma does the ass-kicking for us.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Anthony

Posted by: Blue

The other day, while on a bathroom break at Mickey D's, a young, drunk Native male walked up to me and offered his hand, introducing himself as "Tony".

I shook his hand.  He said "Mind if I ask you a question?"

"Sure."

"I wanna work with kids but I have a history... a violent history to be honest..."

"OK."

"What should I do?"

It was 3 a.m. and he was downtown, alone in a rough neighbourhood.

"Go home and go to bed.  No one ever gets in trouble while they're sleeping.  Stay out of trouble for a few years and then apply for a pardon."

"OK."

I ran him when I got back to the car.  He had been convicted of Manslaughter at 18 years old for stabbing a youth to death in a fight.  Under our sickeningly lax laws, he was released on parole after 3 years.

I hope he never gets pardoned.  No one needs him "working" with their kids.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shadowmaster

Posted by: Blue

We have a shift change approaching.  It's part of our contract so that everyone gets an equal amount of time on the same rotation.

My last day shift was the 17th.  I will not be on days again until September 28th.  We oscillate between evenings and nights until then.  They are my favourite shifts, but they leave me the most tired.

I try my best to sleep without sleep aids, but sometimes, when the sleeping hours are waning away, I take a mild dose of Melatonin, thereby overcoming my natural Circadian rhythm and forcing my body to believe that it is night time.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Answers IV

Posted by: Blue

Courtesy of Jordan:


11. Are police in your area required (or encouraged) to take any mental health training, such as suicide intervention training or courses on mental illnesses? 
12. Has your opinion on human nature changed since becoming a police officer? If so, in what way?


11. Yes.  We are required to take both mental health training and suicide intervention training as well as courses on mental illnesses and the frequent addictions that come with them.  

Of course, compared to the realities that we deal with, the simple part-day courses are borderline useless, not to mention taught by "experts" who frequently have no real-life experience talking a person off a ledge (literally or figuratively) or dealing with the aftermath of a complete suicide.  
Most officers become experts in their own right at dealing with people who are both legitimately suicidal (a very low percentage of suicide threat calls), and those who are attention-seeking, manipulative, and spiteful.  One of the most common reasons for a suicide threat call to be entered in my opinion is that people have limited or no coping skills and are angry at themselves or those around them and wish to lash-out, knowing that hurting themselves or threatening to is a very quick way of hurting others.  The difficult thing for officers is to try to help people in these situations and in legitimately life-threatening situations.  The health care system does not care, nor do their family or friends often, if they even have any.  Often times mental health issues combined with increased vulnerabilities to addictions provide for a combination which effectively isolates the person from anyone who would wish to help them.  They are constantly pushed through a revolving-door health care system which provides no long-term or follow-up care.  Without the ability to forcibly treat persons who do not wish to be treated for their illnesses, the cycle continues.  
Police, doctors and judges all have the ability to determine legally that a person is a danger to themselves or to others and cause them to undergo mandatory psychological evaluation, however it is only the police who take that person into custody forcibly if necessary, including under the orders of a doctor or judge.
It is rare to show-up to a suicide threat call and have someone who is genuinely suicidal.  Just like someone who is truly homicidal, there are few things that will convince a person who is determined to commit suicide not to.  People threaten to kill others all the time out of anger or in the heat of emotion.  The same is true with suicide threats.  Genuinely suicidal people are the ones that are often unreported.  These calls are usually Sudden Deaths - Suicide.  One who is determined, succeeds.  Instead, the calls frequently walk a fine line between medical issues (poor medication or lack of medication or misdiagnosed or undiagnosed mental health issues) and police issues (active cutting, attempted hanging, overdose, standing on a bridge etc.)  In my opinion, there is no classroom training that prepares you properly to determine the difference.
We respond to suicide threats at the very least once a week per crew, often once every two or three days.  Dozens of calls are entered city-wide daily.

12. My opinion on human nature has not changed.  I have always believed that people are selfish, perverse, liars, violent, and hurtful to others.  I just have more opportunity in this job to see these things embodied.  That is not to say I don't also believe that there is the ability for people to choose good, only that it goes against the grain of human nature to do so, and that there are varying degrees of the vices I mentioned.  It is clear to me, however that there is no difference to one side of the law than the other other than that those on this side of it seem to try a little harder to stifle their bad instinct.  It still comes seeping out though in the mistakes we make when we lose our tempers or in the selfishness we show when we do things like judge a situation based on our own emotions towards it (whether consciously or subconsciously).  Those on one side of the law - in general - wish to choose right over wrong and they sometimes don't.  Those on the other side do not necessarily wish to choose wrong over right, but they often do.


P.S.  These are loaded questions with loaded answers (though I took further liberties with the scope of the first question than the second) and I do not intend to begin a debate by posting either.  I am welcome to civil responses and disputes, however understand that I am posting my opinions based on my experiences and beliefs.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Answers III

Posted by: Blue

Courtesy of: Raindog:

7) How many officers are in your agency?
8) If you had your pick, what shift would you work?
9) How often do you go to court?
10) What are you doing to balance out your police life?


7) There are approximately 1400-1500 sworn officers and another 300-400 civilian members.

8) Evenings. I hate days. I quite like nights. Evenings is king though. All the action, very little difficulty transitioning back to daytime schedule for days off, plus I don't have to wake to an alarm.

9)I have been subpoenaed to court once in the year and a half I've been on the street. I was dismissed and not required to testify. Our Crown Attorneys seem to be lazy, unwilling to put criminals on trial, and are constantly either throwing out cases for reasons unknown, or bargaining down mountains to molehills. When a criminal does get tried and convicted, the judges are weak-kneed and never hand-out maximum sentences. Ever. It is sickening and embarrassing as a country.

10) In balance, I start with trying to avoid overtime unless it is necessary. I have enough work on my days off to overrun my time. I have a small side-business as a carpenter and cabinet-installer. I have a wife and 2 children with a third on the way. We have recently been out to the cottage and intend to go on a small trip as a family in January for a wedding. I do not socialize with a lot of cops off-duty, and I have tried to keep multiple connections with a number of people who have absolutely nothing to do with policing. This summer has been a hard one and a busy one, and I am looking forward to relaxing more this fall.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Answers II

Posted by: Blue

Courtesy of Raindog:

4) Have you been tasered or peppered sprayed in training?
5) What is the type of population that you serve?
6) What is the typical type of calls you field?


4) I was both Tasered and pepper sprayed in training. The Tasering however was only a drive-stun, not the full 5 seconds of riding the lightning with the probes. I hated the pepper spray way more than the Taser. The service would not permit us to be properly Tasered, however I am curious and if they ever start allowing it again, I will be headed back to the academy to volunteer. I really, really hate pepper spray.

5) The population of our city is somewhere close to 700,000. Our district has well over 100,000 people with a 3 car minimum (which is seldom supplemented). There is a 27 car minimum city-wide and 5 districts (soon to be 4), ours being one of the largest in area, and the smallest in cars.

6) We take every type of call imaginable. The highest percentage is definitely Domestics. My partner and I have a penchant for finding missing persons and also for any child-related calls, but we basically just try to take whatever comes our way in the district in an effort to keep ahead of the bad guys.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Answers I

Posted by: Blue


Courtesy of Raindog:
1) What is your primary sidearm?
2) What is the patrol car you drive every day?
3) Have you been in a good fight?

1) My primary sidearm is a M22 Glock .40 calibre, drawn right-handed from a Level 3 Blackhawk holster. We are not permitted secondary firearms and the Glock is standard issue with no other options unless you are small-handed, in which case you are issued the Springfield XD40. Given a choice, I'd be sticking with my Glock. We also have Police Model Remington 870 Shotguns in the cars with 5 rounds of 00 buckshot. I am told the service is looking into a carbine program which would introduce a .223 C7 Colt into the cruisers as well.

2) We drive the Crown Vics and nothing else in General Patrol. The service put in a huge order for extras when it was announced that they would be discontinued. I have heard a number of rumours about the possible replacements, including the Holden Caprice out of Australia, however the other day I was at the garage and they were setting-up two trial cars; the Dodge Charger and the Ford Taurus 4WD. I don't like either as much as the Crown Victoria as I am already too tall for the Vic and there is even less room in the two new ones.

3) I have not as of yet been in a good fight. I suspect that my size, my partner's size, and our ability to glare like a pair of cobras has taken the fight out of any of the would-be fighters thus far. There have been some struggles, but nothing "knock-down, drag-out".


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Questions?

Posted by: Blue

Nothing blogworthy has happened this past week.

I have decided to field some questions if anyone has some.

Fire away.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Directing Traffic

Posted by: Blue

When a 6'5", 230lb police officer wearing a gun and a bright neon green yellow reflective, full length raincoat that says "POLICE" in bright blue reflective material is standing in the middle of an intersection in the pouring rain with a partner who is similarly clad with a brilliant white and black police car blocking two lanes, LED light bar flashing blue and red with alternating wig-wags (definition courtesy of Wikipedia) and that police officer is pointing directly at you and making eye contact, telling you to turn left or right, do not ask if you can go straight with some kind of Neanderthal/ape hand gestures while idling your car in the intersection, blocking any other people with even half a brain in their heads from actually getting where they need to go.

The aforementioned officer may just not be in the mood for you to totally ignore him and try to mime out an argument.

Other things not to do:

  1. Roll down your window and ask what is going on
  2. Roll down your window and ask if we are busy or if we have time to listen to your problem with how your neighbour mows his lawn
  3. Roll down your window and ask anything else
  4. Swerve back and forth between lanes in an erratic manner
  5. Give the officer the finger
  6. Talk on your cell phone while driving past (at least pretend to have some respect for the fact that I'm right friggin there)
  7. Honk
  8. Flash your lights at me
  9. Play your stereo at such an ungodly high volume that there is no way you can tell when I am hollering at you
  10. Slow down and gawk while veering into the next lane because you're not focused on where you are driving

Friday, August 10, 2012

Noisy

Posted by: Blue

On our last night shift, we took a noise complaint.  One of the occupants of an apartment block was complaining that another was keeping her awake, throwing beer cans from the balcony, spitting, and speaking loudly or shouting.

We went into the problem apartment.  It was quiet.  The one male who was still awake pointed us towards the balcony.  As I stood outside and called my partner over to observe the saliva stains on the pavement which had been spit off of their third floor balcony, the dude had the nerve to ask us to keep it down while we were talking on the balcony, as "Sound carries really well out there and I'm just thinking of others."

He was politely explained that we were the police, investigating a noise complaint and that we had no desire at the moment we walked into the apartment to start issuing tickets, however the situation could easily escalate to a fine or a trip to the drunk tank if he cared to continue his attitude and smart-assery.  I told him matter-o-factly that there was always an arrestable criminal charge for Causing a Disturbance if he really wanted to be a wise guy.

The bluff worked.  He apologized, shut his trap and we had no more problems from that suite that night.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

What an exciting life I lead...

Blue left for work while it was thundering overhead. The rain was coming down in sheets. He had pulled-out his police rain slicker for the first time ever. It was looking like it would be a wet night.

I propped-up my laptop in front of my pile of laundry and settled-in for some folding fun. When the piles were neatly stacked and sorted the night was still young. I sat and looked around. What's a police wife to do on a dreary Friday night while her husband is out holding the city together?

I made a chai latte, had a bath, did a face mask and painted my nails (and then slept in the middle of the bed surrounded by pillows to support my aching pregnant body).

What an exciting life I lead.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Retirement

Posted by: Blue

I was speaking to a veteran officer the other day.  He relayed that he had recently run into a member who had been retired some years now.

When asked if he ever wished he was still on the job, he replied: "I miss the clowns.  Not the circus."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Don't Even Think It

Posted by: Blue

Further to "Magnetic Personalities"...

We have a rule in our car: if you don't want it to happen, don't say it.

It's akin to the "knock on wood" rule.  It seems as though if an idea is said aloud, the universe will bring it into fruition.

Whatever we talk about in the car, tends to happen.  If one of us needs to get out on time and says "don't get stuck on a last minute domestic arrest", dollars to donuts we get an arrest 45 minutes before quitting time.

We have taken to jokingly knocking on the wooden shotgun stock which sits between the front seats of the cruiser every time something like that gets said.

Three days ago, I had been cleaning out some old papers and receipts from my wallet when I came across a business card for Canadian Border Services.  We had been at a seminar about immigration warrants and deportation protocol.  I clearly remember thinking "I'll probably never use this number.  I should just toss this card to get some more room..."

The next evening, on the way home to the barn, a cyclist crossing the street slammed into the centre median which he hadn't seen due to his level of intoxication.  He vaulted over the handlebars, but didn't let go of the bike.  He ended up in a tangled mess of flesh and steel on the road directly in front of our cruiser which I was slamming to a halt.  He almost literally dropped from the sky into our laps.

We radioed it in.  He was none the worse for wear, apart from a few sore limbs.

As we ran him, his name returned on a DNA warrant and an immigration warrant.  I looked at my partner and just started laughing.  I guess we can't even think things without them happening.

Turns out the warrant was not for him, but for another male from Quebec with exactly the same name and a very close DOB.

It was, however, his DNA warrant, so we pinched him and brought him in for processing.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Irony of Ironies

Posted by: Blue

We were dispatched to a Motor Vehicle Collision.  Two persons en route to hospital.  One unstable.  One critical.  Both elderly.

It turns out that they had run a stop sign.  A young male had t-boned them on the driver's side.  They were just coming from a family BBQ at their grandson's house.  Alcohol was not a factor.  Nor was medical episode.

The elderly male driver and the passenger, his wife were in rough shape.  He had a massive brain bleed, fractured legs and spinal damage.  At 80 years old, his chances of survival were very low, let alone recovery.  She had a collapsed left lung, and a ruptured bowel, the contents of which the doctors were finding well into her chest cavity.  Due to her blood thinners, it was a difficult task to operate as she would not stop bleeding.

He was unconscious and already in treatment when we arrived.  She was still conscious and able to answer my questions through her oxygen mask as she waited for the trauma room to be prepped.  She was polite, coherent and very sweet, even in her agonizing state.

My partner and I sat and watched as the doctors and nurses went about trying to save the couple.  We sat and watched as the family made the difficult decision to remove the life support from their father.  We sat and watched as he slipped away.

The medical staff were still furiously working on her when another trauma victim came into the room.  A stabbing.

The male was gang related.  Drunk.  Full of tattoos.  Missing teeth.  A record as long as my arm.  He had lived a life of misery and crime.  He had made all the wrong choices, which, combined with his poor upbringing and home life had left him destined to walk in the shadows of sorrow.  There was no one with him in the hospital.

He had been stabbed.  As he lay in agony, asking for help, two passers-by rolled him for the $180 in his wallet (payment for the 6 hours of work he had done that week).  The next people to pass were more generous and called 911.  The wound was not severe or life threatening.  Just messy.  He had a warrant and he would be going to jail after he was stitched back up.

He cried and complained.  He swore and shouted at the staff.  He made an ass of himself.

There they were, all in the same room.  The two frail elderly patients on the brink of death, polite and stolid even as they lay dying.  The third, a sloppy mess of a human, blubbering, drooling in his drunkenness and lashing-out at all of those who were trying to help him.  And I thought: "The irony, is that the fool will live, and the remaining elderly female will likely not make it."

I suppose that it makes sense in a way.  I suppose the gang member needed another chance to make a different choice.  I just pray to God that he does.

In my opinion, there are a myriad of reasons that people end-up on the bright side of life or on the dark side.  Poverty and mental health issues, combined with addictions and a social system which is designed for failure and generations of parents who are ill prepared to care for children provide a seemingly impossible hill to climb.

But I wholeheartedly believe that a person can be redeemed.  I believe that a person can change.  There is a part (a small part) of me that is an optimist.  The larger part is a realist.  At times I border on cynicism.

Each of us has choice.  A free will.  Each of us must choose repeatedly and continually what sort of person we will be.  We will all make mistakes.  The issue is that we are creatures of habit, and we will invariably fall back on what we practice.  A lifetime of practising poor choices will put us in the habit so that even when we wish to make the right one, it will be against the grain that we have established for ourselves.  In the same way, a lifetime of making choices based on others' best interests and based on morality and ethics will cultivate a generous and integrity-driven individual.

I entered into this career intending to help people.  I believe it is difficult in this era to affect people in a positive way as an officer.  Our hands are tied in almost every way.  We are held to impossible standards, and the system of "justice" stands so squarely on it's head, that it seems at every turn that police are the ones on trial, not criminals.  Accountability for law enforcement has been transformed into distrust and unease.  We are our own worst enemies.  Many believe that to enact true justice, police must exaggerate and misrepresent the facts to garner convictions.  This can be true, as the law has been perverted and changed from being a system of rules which express a spirit of ethical and moral behaviour to being a system of do's and don't's which attempt to erase the lines of right and wrong.  The individual's (criminal's) rights are held above those of the public (victims).

All this being said, I am adamant that I am able to make a positive difference as a police officer.  However small.  However difficult.  I am in a position where, by practising good choices, people will be helped in a very real and tangible way.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Masked Bandits

Posted by: Blue

We were looking for an intoxicated male who had Asperger Syndrome.

He had been evicted by his landlord a few months ago and was now making false reports of all manner of things, attempting to get the landlord into trouble.  He would call from an unregistered telephone or payphone and today he was reporting that the landlord was beating his girlfriend, and there was "blood everywhere!"

We were searching the area, believing our suspect to be on the lam in the area.  A brief conversation with a couple of passers-by revealed that they had seen a male matching the description stumbling drunkenly through a yard just a few minutes ago, tripping himself in the hedges as he went.

We followed their direction and quickly found a pair of sunglasses and three empty beer bottles along the path that they had seen him on.

We headed through the yard and into the dark alley; kept our flashlights off to avoid illuminating ourselves and to maintain our night vision.

My partner was about 40 yards ahead of me.  Suddenly I saw his head snap to the right and the bright white LED beam of his Streamlight lit up the bushes of the backyard.  He hollered.  I came running.

There were three of them, all in a row, slinking along the fence.  The biggest one was in the lead.  They were all masked and wearing heavy coats, despite the hot weather.

We stared at them and they stared right back.

There we stood in silence for a few seconds until my partner turned out the light, and the family of raccoons disappeared into the night like ninjas.

Never did find our suspect.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Magnetic Personalities

Posted by: Blue

My partner and I are both classified as Shit-Magnets on our shift (Definition courtesy of Raindog).

We find: fires, drunks, warrants, fights, assaults, missing persons who we are not assigned to look for, drugs, weapons, break & enters in progress, drivers without licenses, unregistered vehicles and anything else you could care to name.  Sometimes Often all at once.

It is to the point where if I am driving and say "Hey, look at this...", my partner will intentionally look the exact opposite direction and say "Where!? I don't see a thing! You'd better keep driving!"  I of course reciprocate when the tables turn.

But we always cave, turn off the blinders, and pinch the dum-dum.

He says I care too much about doing a good job, and tells me "That's why you're gonna be a good cop.  You'll be a good cop, but I'll be a happy cop."

He doesn't like to admit that he cares just as much.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rest

The kids and I (and Baby Blue) are heading out to a cabin at a beach in a week and a half. Blue will join us a few days later, after he finishes-up a night shift. We will have four days of rest and relaxation.

The place we are heading to is lovely. You aren't allowed to bring cars into the area, so everyone walks or bikes, creating a slower pace of life. Families actually spend time together. There is a worn gravel path to a quiet sunny beach for morning dips and a  bed on the porch for lazy afternoon naps.

A bakery is at the heart of the little summer community, they have the worlds best Imperial cookies and White Irish bread and as you draw near you can smell the sweet aromas drifting through the woods. Across the way is a greasy diner serving-up your standard 50's meal.

It's almost as though you enter a time-warp when you visit that corner of our province.

I can't wait.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sacrifice - A little rant

I read a silly novel last year, right when Blue was about to start at the academy. It was your standard fluff crime story about a detective and a serial killer and was a complete waste of time other than one sentence that stood-out and stuck with me. The cop was remembering his wife, who had passed away, and how she'd always known how best to take care of him after a hard day; cold beer, good meal and a warm body to fall asleep next to. 

There are a few tid-bits of advice that have helped get us through the first year-and-a-half as a police family and this one, found in a very unlikely place, is one of the best.

I've learned that when Blue gets home from a long shift full of drunks, arrests, domestics and complainants, the best thing I can do is offer him a nice cold Keith's, a tasty meal and some down-time with me.

I recently found myself in a light-hearted conversation with an acquaintance about a few of the hardships of being a police officer's wife. I think that she started projecting her feelings about her own husband onto Blue and his career and immediately started-in on how we need to teach our sons sacrifice from a young age when they get home from school so that they can be different from their dads.

I let her have her say and then politely disagreed. I told her that when I start to feel that way I try and put myself in Blue's shoes. How would I feel waking-up at 5:45am to work a 10 hour shift dealing with all of the people in city that no-one else wants to deal with, not getting any thanks for it, often missing meals and being cursed and yelled at repeatedly? Finally your shift is drawing to and end but you get assigned to one last call of the day, which usually ends-up being your worst one or, in the very least, the most irritating person you've had so far. You're tired from dealing with all of the people, writing all of the reports, lugging around all of your gear that is strapped to your body only to come home to a wife that expects you to 'sacrifice' 4 or 5 more hours of your time? No, I'm pretty sure by that point all I'd want to do is have a beer, eat some food and crash on the couch with a wife who is understanding...with a wife who knows I'd like to do all those things around the house (and I'll get around to it when I can), but I've gotta get up and start all over tomorrow.

Maybe she actually does have a flaky husband. I don't know. All I do know is that I see how hard Blue works to make a good career for himself and a better life for his family (especially now that we have another Baby Blue to think about) and I see all of the sacrifice that has gone into it. Because of the daily sacrifice he makes we have a steady income, a pension, and benefits, just to name a few. I do try to teach our kids to put themselves aside and help others but I think that they've already got one of the best role models they could hope for, leading by example.

At least that's how I see it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Milking It

Posted by: Blue

It was my birthday a little over a week ago.  I was working nights.  I kept it quiet.  My partner knew about it, but forgot to say anything on the day of (though in his defense, he remembered at around 0020 hrs the day after...)  It passed without fanfare or notice, just how I was hoping it would.

Yesterday was JT's birthday.  He's been milking it for the past two days, starting with humming "Happy Brithday" in the locker room (quietly at first, but then louder and louder until someone noticed).  He did it again at morning briefing.

Over the past two days, he has extracted a "Happy Birthday" from every single complainant, accused, co-worker and outside agency personnel we have encountered.  He also managed to get a free brownie for dessert at breakfast today, complete with a candle, and a free green tea at the coffee shop, courtesy of one of the paramedics in our district.

He has started announcing "It's my birth week" in a less than subtle way into almost every conversation he has.

It is stupid,selfish, childish, impish things like that which make the day go by with a lot of laughter and a lot of light-heartedness, even in difficult situations.  That's why I love the big goof.

Happy Birthday, JT.

You're loveable and sickening all at once.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Code

Posted by: Blue

Our Service's radio chatter is made in plain speak.

If we need another unit, we say: "We need another unit."

If we're chasing someone, we say "Foot pursuit."

If there's an armed robbery we're responding to, the dispatcher says "Delta 203 responding to an armed robbery."

There is no ten-code or twelve-code as many departments and services have.

There are however a few relics of code kicking around from back in the day:

  • 99-06: Subject with mental health issues (there are also "99" codes for gang association, drugs, violence and family violence but only a few of the longest-serving members use them and I always mix them up).
  • 10-33: Officer(s) taken hostage.
  • Code 69: Plainclothes officers on scene.
  • Zulu: Prefix for unit who has activated one of the many emergency buttons on their vehicle or personal radios, ie.: "Zulu Delta 203, what is your location?"
  • Tango-Zulu: Used when you're about to Tazer someone and you don't want them to know and you want to ensure fingers are off triggers to avoid sympathetic responses to a trigger pull on the Tazer.
We have incident cards that we provide to complainants which have our report number on them along with telephone numbers to the non-emergency line for dispatch, as well as the responding officers' badge numbers.  It has long been practised to provide the badge number of 9906 to any "difficult" complainants to alert anyone on the other end of the complaint phone call that the complaint is likely unfounded.  I always put the proper incident number however, which links to our badge numbers anyway.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flipping and Kicking

Baby Blue has been flipping and kicking non-stop these days. I usually wake-up in the wee hours of the morning to the little thumps in my tummy. Blue hasn't been able to catch any of them yet.

Now that The Boy and Waffle are older I find that I'm even more excited than my past pregnancies to see who this person is growing inside of me. My kids have such different interests, strengths and personalities. The Boy is an information junkie just like his father. He hones in on something and has to know everything there is to know about it. Yesterday he was trying to figure out taxes. Waffle is...well, she's a special one. I took her to a clothing store the other day and she was half-in a bin of sale shoes practically vibrating with excitement over the colours and sparkles. It's been fun watching them figure out who they are and what this world holds for them.

And what about this one?
Boy? Girl? Artist? Active? Laid-back?

A few more days and I'm half-way there!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Force of Habit

Posted by: Blue

Today, while driving home in my personal vehicle, someone cut me off while changing lanes in an intersection, speeding, and talking on her cell phone.

I reached for the Federal System switch out of instinct.

Alas, my truck does not have lights or sirens.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Helping Out

Posted by: Blue

Helping out on a different shift is like being the new kid in school halfway through the year.

You don't really know anyone, you're not in on any of the inside jokes, and you usually end up pissing someone off without trying, just because they do things slightly different than your shift does.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Drunk

Posted by: Blue

Last night was a flurry of drunks.  Not unlike most other weekends.

Drunk # 1:

  • Wandering in traffic
  • Kept answering "That's right" to questions like: "What's your address?"
  • Wearing his shirt around his neck like a scarf

Drunk # 2:

  • Call info: intox. male, c/b (concious/breathing), passed-out at party.... (if he's passed out, he's not concious...?)
  • No one in the house knew who he was.
  • Couldn't stand on his own feet
  • Had a huge 6" x 6" scar from previous brain surgery
Drunk # 3: 
  • On a tear for his bachelor party but his friends had ditched him
  • Almost naked when we found him (underwear hanging halfway down his arse)
  • Kept asking me if I played hockey and then telling me I was a waste of tall when I told him I didn't
Drunk # 4:
  • Found while we were trying to find a place for Drunk # 3 to sober-up
  • Was trying to drink out of his cell phone when I told him to call a friend to pick him up
  • Went from not being able to walk down stairs under his own power to explaining technical details about flying F-18 fighter jets within 25 minutes
  • His friends had also ditched him

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fatigue

Posted by: Blue

Yesterday, I worked all day installing a kitchen and then worked all night in a cruiser.

I fell asleep at around 6:15 a.m. while typing a report.  I ended up with two pages of:

"ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff"

I was meant to be on Annual Leave this week but something got messed-up on the schedule so I had to go in to work, but I didn't have another day for at least six weeks when I could put in the cabinets.

When the shift was ending, all 3 night crews in the district were in the station on arrests with 2 of the 3 evening cars held-over (also both grounded in the station), and the city was well-established into a raging inferno of criminal activity and looked to be burning to the ground, metaphorically speaking (literally in the case of a few arson calls).  143 calls in the queue with 9 priority 2's (immediate danger including active assaults in progress).  The most I have seen thus far in my career have been 3 or 4 P2's.  The dispatcher was calling the Sgt.'s and desperately searching for a crew that could respond.  Everyone was tied down.

The Sgt. said we looked like zombies.  I said: "Brrraaaaaaiiiiins!!!" and laughed like a hyena.  Couldn't help it.  It wasn't really funny, but I was giddy with exhaustion.  He said he was thinking of sending us out to shag calls but after looking at us, he decided we were more of a liability than an asset out there.

I promised I would be better rested for tonight.

Staying Close

I went to bed shortly after Blue left to start his night shift. I turned back the sheets and slid into his spot. My head hit his pillow and I was out.

The next time I woke-up the light was poking through the curtains and Blue was humming a tune outside the bedroom door. As I got up to face the day he came in and lay down on my usual side of the bed.

It's the little things that help us stay close while we navigate this career. It's all in the little whispers, the little looks, the quick little texts that keep us feeling like we're in this together.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What Are Friends For?

Posted by: Blue

A few days ago my partner and I were parked on one of the major streets in our district, catching-up on a report.  I was jumping and I was grumpy because a woman had promised to turn herself in on a warrant that we hadn't had time to deal with the day before.  She lied.  I hate that.

It was a beautiful night so we had the windows down when a bright red Grand Am went flying by with a male in the rear right passenger seat who yelled something unintelligible at us as he passed.

"Light him up, JT."  I said.

JT already had his finger on the Federal System switch.  We pulled them over a few blocks later in a parking lot.

The passengers were all ID'd.  The driver gave us a name and said he didn't have a licence on him.

He lied.  I hate that.

He gave us the name of his brother too, so that's Personation.  In the end, he was a Prohibited Driver (criminal offence, not traffic violation), had a warrant for Fail to Appear in Court, and also was done for the new Personation charge.  The funny part was that two of the other three passengers had valid licences.

I told him his dumb-dumb buddy got him arrested just because he was leaning out a window and yelling something to grab our attention.

He said: "What are friends for, anyway?"