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


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


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.