Thursday, August 30, 2012


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


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


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


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."