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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #111
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post
    The way I have heard it (and believe it to be too true), most people only deal with police on either a bad day (for them) or the worst day of their life.
    Probably true, but fortunately for us here in the murder capital of the world, we often deal with police officers in a casual and friendly way. We are, of course the dominant culture, and they work for us, the middle class, "the citizens" as we are described in tv's The Wire.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 10-7-17 at 5:08pm.

  2. #112
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Dense fog slows your travel. It’s spring. There’s still patches of snow in the corn and bean fields that were prepared and fertilized prior to winter. You are returning from taking a burglary which turned out to be part of a rash of daytime heists. Money, guns, prescription drugs and oddly enough.....music cds are the serial burglars favorite items.

    Its becoming clear he is not working alone. Interviews of neighbors, postmen, UPS Driver’s and a little bit of personal digging reveal he has a girlfriend who is driving for him. They are bold. One retired school teacher answered her doorbell and found a scruffy looking guy on her porch. He asks for directions to the Interstate. The teacher tries to help but not too much. He gives her the creeps. She points him the right direction and closes the door. She also makes sure he gets out of the driveway and down the road before she feels comfortable enough to go back to reading and her morning coffee.

    Today, you don’t know who he is. You only know what he is. He is a dangerous and desperate criminal working your county. It’s just a matter of time before a confrontation turns violent. You hope you catch him before that happens but if you don’t .....you hope he comes out on the wrong end of the violence. You will eventually nab him and his girlfriend but not before an exhaustive investigation that covers the entire northwestern part of your state, numerous police departments, a gaggle of search warrants and a few lucky breaks. He has been in prison before for the same thing and this time he’ll go back for 20 years.

    But that’s not what’s on your mind as you drive back to the station. It might be the fog, it might be the time of year, or it could be a certain coincidental birthday. You are thinking about a little child. Her first name appropriately is a weeping tree. Her middle name, a word for eternal flower. And the little plastic dolphin in your cup holder. It’s been there for several months. You haven’t paid much attention to it but it’s not been forgotten. These things seem to be calling you to stop and visit.

    You are going to be travelling right past. It would only take a few minutes. Maybe talk to her. Tell her how sorry you are. Or just quietly keep her company. The dolphin seems to be staring at you with one eye. You pull up and park, staying on the asphalt. There is some snow still but little tiny flowers are forcing their way out of the ground. They are brave purple upstarts.

    Now you are standing before her. The birthday.....the same as yours. The day she left.....five very short but precious years. In your hands...the dolphin. There are other things on the ledge. A penny, little dolls and a picture. You have seen the picture before. It was the one you used at the trial. She is bouncing on a trampoline. Her blonde hair has just passed the apex of her launch and is sticking straight out. She is on her way down and her mouth is open in excitement. It captures her as she enjoyed the tickle in her stomach. The jury couldn’t help but connect with her.

    You place the dolphin on the ledge. You whisper “Happy Birthday”. Her mother had been holding the dolphin throughout the trial. At the end, she handed it to you and thanked you. This is where it has belonged but this is the first time you could bring yourself back. It is here now. You apologize that the person who hurt her, would only be locked up ten to twenty years. It hardly seems enough. You promise to come back on a sunny day, when the snow is gone and the trees are green.

    You are back in your car now pulling away. Passing under the cemetery entrance sign you meet a car going the other direction. You recognize the driver. She recognizes you. You are sure she’ll notice the dolphin. The fog is being lifted by the sun.

    The fairest bloom the mountain knows Is not an iris or a wild rose But the little flower of which I'll tell Known as the brave acony bell Just a simple flower so small and plain With a pearly hue and a little known name But the yellow birds sing when they see it bloom For they know that spring is coming soon Well it makes its home mid the rocks and the rills Where the snow lies deep on the windy hills And it tells the world "why should i wait This ice and snow is gonna melt away" And so I'll sing that yellow bird's song For the troubled times will soon be gone

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cufWYp4D28Y#

  3. #113
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    Only 10-20 years for killing a little girl. That is a crime. So sad.

  4. #114
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    As a temporary in the criminal investigation unit you work at a desk that seems to be placed as an after thought. When you arrived for your first shift it was piled high with castoffs, coats, shoes, and reports. It faces the wall, while all the other unit members have desks that face toward each other. The most senior member commands an entire corner of the room, he has a window and a radio that he turns on the minute he arrives and doesn’t turn off until the end of his shift. He is gone much of the time but no one touches the radio even though it distracts and annoys plenty.

    The supervisor gets around to giving you permission to clear off the desk but it requires you negotiate with the owners where they are willing to stash the unwanted stuff. You like a clean desk. It will be a challenge to keep it that way.

    You have weighed the benefits and taken account of the job. In uniform, you are gawked at wherever you go. If you slip into your daughters dance recital, everyone notices. There is no way to do anything without feeling you are in a fishbowl. It gets to the point where you won’t make eye contact with anyone, especially at the gas pumps. In plainclothes, you get deiscovered but people soon go back to their activities with minimum distraction.

    The schedule is the big attraction. No more midnight shifts. The last seven years in patrol, you worked steady midnights with a partner. It was so that you could attend your children’s activities and be with the family on a regular basis. You meet a different sort of people on the midnight shift. The nurses at the local hospital know you as do the bar tenders. The wrecker services and the fire departments and first responders recognize the way you walk in the dark, carry your flashlight and your mannerism. They understand that you want to be efficient and clear as soon as possible as much as they do. They respect the authority that comes with the uniform but when they get to know you they are relaxed enough to joke around and on a few occasions suggest a plan of attack that might save you lots of work and some embarrassment. You learn to appreciate them.

    The previous temporary had some of the same things in mind but he didn’t last. The reporting system has a way of beating you down. For every hour you spend in the field its three at your desk documenting what you did. He withdraws from criminal investigation citing his hatred for the multitude of different forms for each incident. You suspect however, it’s not really the reports. He was assigned an incident where three small children lost their lives in a heartbreaking situation. When he discovered the toddler, he was clutching a favorite teddy bear. He goes back to uniform and never again shows interest in criminal investigation.

    So you replace him. You don’t think about these things. It’s about freeing yourself from the bonds of that incessant screaming radio and the dispatchers. The pace is more measured here. You get an opportunity to attend training. No more prison riots or protests on the front line behind a heavy shield. No more first responder situations for domestic violence, suicidal subjects, missing persons, bank or grocery robberies. You work alone most often and carry a badge and identification. With one set of handcuffs and a .45 caliber Glock, and a pen and notebook......you are expected to handle anything that you are assigned.

    Over time you gain the respect of the entire compliment at the station and many come to you for advice. A position troopwide opens for a permanent criminal investigator. You will have to submit a letter to the Troop Commander, get a recommendation from the Station Commander and fight it out with anyone else. You get the position but it means transferring to a station an hour away. And it means establishing the respect of a whole new bunch of people.

    Leaving is difficult but it comes with the job. At your new station things are done a bit differently. It takes awhile to get used to. Everybody asks if you plan to stay or head back as soon as a position opens in your home station. You tell them you plan to go back. They aren’t surprised. One Trooper is particularly helpful in the transition, always positive and sacrificial of his time to a fault. He volunteers to take incidents for others. He grew up in this community.

    Before the first year of your stint is out, he will have been shot dead responding to a call to check on the welfare of a woman. He volunteered because he had been there before for domestic abuse complaints. You usher at his funeral in full uniform. Police Officers from across the nation attend. It is an overcast and drizzling day. Something about that day stays with you. Is it the folded flag given to his widow? Or the campaign hat his son holds. Perhaps it’s the unified salute from a thousand officers as his hearse passes. Whatever, you resolve to come home every day so your family doesn’t have to go through this. It will be a promise that will give you the will to fight for your own life...sooner than you think.

  5. #115
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Only 10-20 years for killing a little girl. That is a crime. So sad.
    Terry I have been trying to respond to your reaction and can only say...I felt the same way but the jury is instructed to go strictly by the law and the requirements for proof beyond a reasonable doubt on all elements of the crime irregardless of the affect their decision will have in sentencing. Homicide has several different grades depending on the circumstances and there were mitigating circumstances as far as the jury was concerned. Jury’s like to have an abundance of irrefutable and compelling evidence with which to make their decision easy......and most cases they don’t get that. I know this child touched the lives of many. Although she was tiny and here a short few years.....I think of her as a strong perfume. Only the tiniest of drops but a fragrance that lasts and can never be forgotten.

  6. #116
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Injury is a constant threat. When it happens of course everyone feels bad they couldn’t prevent it but silently in the lockeroom they breath deeply and are thankful it’s not them. A broken leg or a separated shoulder, a concussion...it can sideline you for long periods of time. That time is usually spent handling communications and emergency telephone calls. Many call the station direct instead of 911.

    Serious injury threatens your career. Nobody wants to admit that they can’t perform the duties anymore and take a disability retirement. Some will fail to recognize it and try to return only to lose benefits and eventually be forced off the job. You feel sorry for the new guy barely off coach trainee who runs headon into a tractor trailer combination. His injuries are devastating but being young he believes he can return to be fully functional. Unfortunately the brain injury changes his temperament and he is too short of patience to deal with the public.

    An officer shot several times in a drug raid recovers but is never able to psychologically handle stressful situations. You understand witnessing these things that your family relies on not only you coming home but your coming home in one piece. So you are constantly alert to potential danger. Do you over react sometimes? Maybe but it doesn’t seem like it at the time. From an outsiders point of view it all may look like overkill.

    Its easy to get complacent. After all, most of the time you aren’t being directly threatened. So sometimes you forget that your mere presence at an incident is a threat to the freedom of others. They simply see you as a barrier they must get by to reach that freedom. Some are willing to passively resist, others will attack you verbally and suggest violence and a few are willing to take it to its natural conclusion....your elimination as a barrier.

    It is not the calls that are obviously dangerous that are the worst threats. You can contrive strategies to deal with the violence you know is possible before you arrive. And you can be prepared. It is the surprise eruption of aggresssion like an ambush that tests your ability to react based on training and experience and not on rote planning.

    So the day you are asked to go to a local used car dealer for a complaint about a possible fraudulent purchase, you grab a notebook and pen, drop working on one of the forty cases you have pending and head for the door. This will require a routine report and probably end in the suspect being several states away by now even if you manage to identify him.

    You have a pretty good reputation for financial crimes and belong to a national network of investigators who assist each other with information without the complication of search warrants and subpoenas. You arrive and park on the side of the office. Your silver Ford Crown Vic is unobtrusive which business people like. Going inside you are met by a salesman. One other coworker is in a back office. You go through the schtick. The manager tells you that the the suspect was dropped off and quickly settled on a car. The suspect was told that some time would be needed to get the paperwork ready so he is asked to come back later. Checking his credit, it was learned that fraudulent purchases had been made for quite some time using this person’s name and identifiers. And so now, you sit before him expected to unravel the mess and advise him on what to do.

    Just as you are about to leave, the suspect arrives. Not the best situation but you can make do. You tell the manager to stall him while you are in another room concocting a plan and listening to their conversation. It doesn’t take long for the suspect to get impatient. He begins to get aggressive so you step in the room and the manager steps out. When you identify yourself ....all hell breaks loose.

  7. #117
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    The office is small. You never had time to call the station for backup. Your portable radio is in the car. If the suspect is not compliant, it’s going to get down and dirty and you are on your own. You are standing between him and the door. But there are two salesmen standing in the hallway and you expect them to be some support. Right now, all you have is a misdemeanor but still enough to make an on view arrest. The crime was committed in your presence. But you’d prefer to get him to the station and have a nice little friendly talk. Still when you identify yourself his response is silence and that thousand yard stare with the whites of his eyes surrounding open pupils. You check his hands and mentally make a plan.

    In the past, a blitz attack while you are talking worked well. It’s your favorite tactic.....grabbing the suspect by the throat with your hand while stiff arming him to the ground. Taking someones air away gets their attention. The key is to end up on top and stay there by spreading your legs out to made a solid base all the while maintaining control and making sure a gun or knife doesn’t appear. Speaking of guns. You have brought one to the fight but it is not a good thing to pull it out of your shoulder holster as an arrest tactic. It ties up one hand and thus far he’s given you no reason to shoot him. You have a pair of handcuffs tucked in the small of your back...one cuff inside and one hanging out. That’s it. No pepper spray, no taser, not even an asp baton.

    Suddenly, your choice is made for you. He lounges at you like a linebacker and tackles you to the floor. About now you expect the salesmen to push him off you or at least call for help. Both of them run out the back door leaving you alone to fight for your life. Prior to this for a split second you sized him up. He is older than you but more muscular. You are pretty sure your youth will be an asset. But you lost the benefit of surprise...he gained it and the outcome is in doubt. No matter what, you must maintain control of your handgun. This is a handicap because it requires keeping your left arm firm against your chest with the holster pinned between.

    You and him alternate being on top and there isn’t much room to maneuver. He is punching you but not landing any good blows. He is reaching into you searching for your weapon. You can’t let him have it, you won’t. You finally roll on top and get a good grip on his windpipe with your left hand. You only now become aware that blood is streaming down your temple from a cut on the head. With your right hand you withdraw your Glock and place it squarely in the middle of his forehead. Adrenaline is coursing through your body. The muzzle and sight blade make an imprint on his skin. You tell him if he moves, you will place a bullet in his brain. He sees the wisdom of remaining still. You have both his arms pinned under your knees and somehow your cellphone has remained in your coat pocket. You let go of his neck long enough to get the phone out and call for backup.

    It seems like an eternity. You staring at him, he at you waiting for help to arrive. Every once in awhile you repeat your threat. Finally, a uniform shows up and helps you get him handcuffed. There was so much that could have gone wrong but you have no time to think of that. The suspect has to be identified and arraigned. There’s going to be a mound a paperwork also.

    You go home later after a brief stop at the emergency room. It turns out the identity theft victim is a relatively famous former running back for an NFL team who has been tortured by this suspect for years. The former football star is very thankful. Very thankful indeed.

  8. #118
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    I'm so glad you posted the follow up quickly! You really left us hanging in anticipation of what would happen. This. Wow. I don't think I breathed at all while reading that.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  9. #119
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    wow what a story. Kept me on the edge of my seat. I had a good friend that had been a cop in Stockton and was undercover for a few years with a motorcycle gang in Idaho. He also went on to do executive security and rescue work when needed. Like you he had fascinating stories to tell. He had been a marine in Vietnam and got a rare form of cancer from Agent Orange. I remember when traffic stops were not such a huge risk for police but that ship sailed a long time ago. I am really careful when stopped and keep both hands on the wheel so the officer does not have to worry about some crazy old woman shooting him) It is really a shame that our society has become so violent.

  10. #120
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    I was reading the thread “Clearing Out Parents Home” started by saguaro. Because there are some near future issues I probably will face, the topic interested me. So it’s very early in the morning when I’m reading it and suddenly I become aware of the ticking of a “Baby Ben” wind shelf clock I purchased at an antique store for $5 just yesterday. These little clocks were made during the sixties, seventies and eighties. So far, the one I bought seems to be keeping time but I have to acknowledge that the reason I bought it.....was to hear it tick.

    I live in a very quiet condo. Each building is four units but even though I have quality complaints about the construction....they did a nice job insulating. I hear nothing. It is dead silence. This is what I was looking for...in fact coveted. But sometimes the silence needs to have some rhythm. We are rhythmic beings. Our hearts keep time.

    So the Baby Ben has found a place on my shelf. This brings me to the whole “stuff” issue. When I first retired and prepared to move from my four bedroom three bath ranch I went on a mission to get rid of stuff. I had plenty of it to rid myself of. There was all the workshop tools I wouldn’t have space for. All the clothes and junk in the attic as well as the shed out back with all my yard work, gardening and accumulated tools. The garage had unused discard stuff jammed in every corner along with the ATV and lawn tractor.

    So I got rid of everything I wasn’t using or had value. EVERYTHING! I had the time, I had the motivation I had the strength and energy. I realize that some of my motivation was reflecting on the state of affairs my mothers house was in and not wanting that to be me in thirty years.

    But this little ticking clock.....it has reminded me with every measure of time it ticks off.....that some things are like salt. It’s nice to have around, makes the quiet meaningful, jazzes up the blandness of everyday life. In the same way, I have been replacing my frying pans with vintage “Griswold” cast iron skillets. I detest Teflon pans especially from China. So there are four of them on my granite countertop waiting for permission from the wife to be tossed. My replacement skillets are works of art, when cared for and seasoned....outperform any spaceage non stick pan the world has to offer.

    It is time I admit I am prejudice against anything made in China. Try to find a microwave made elsewhere? Or any kitchen gadget. A toaster? Forget it. So when I ran across a toaster from the sixties at a fall festival I began drooling. It was a thing of beauty. Such a heavy stainless design made in Michigan. Curvy and solid. But the braided wire scared me off. Now I sit here wondering...why I hadn’t bought her. She would have loved my countertop. I could have enjoyed tossing my cheap plastic and thin pot metal toaster in the trash.

    The “BabyBen” seems to like my shelf. Tick..tick...tick....tick...tick.

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