On violence and the mental health of police officers…Who cares?

“Why don’t you go back in service, Don.”

It wasn’t a question so much as it was a request. There were enough police officers on the scene and I wasn’t needed anymore, so the sergeant was cutting me loose to go answer more radio assignments.

The scene was just another ordinary Monday morning homicide in the City of St. Louis, you know, the kind where a dude driving down a residential street in the Walnut Park Neighborhood is suddenly violently gunned down by multiple assailants with assault rifles and pistols.

I lost interest in counting at fifty shell casings on the street.

Somebody wanted to make sure this man died, and they got what they wanted for sure.

It was early on a Monday morning, so the crowd for this homicide scene was pretty sparse.

That’s always a blessing as fighting crowds of gawkers with their phones out ready to accuse police officers of being the shooter and shoot video for their YouTube channels is a headache not too high up on the list of things that need to get done to wrap up the initial stage of a homicide investigation.

It helped that many of the lots on this particular street are vacant, long abandoned by people tired of violence and blight, I’m sure.

I never bothered to walk anywhere near the dead man’s body. I’ve seen plenty of dead shooting victims over the years, probably more in the past three years than most non-urban area officers will in their entire careers. I wasn’t one of the first officers on the scene anyhow, and it was already clear that the victim was dead.

As I was standing with one of the first officers on the scene, he told me that when he got there, people were getting madder and madder every time another police car showed up.

“We don’t need anymore fucking police! Where’s the ambulance?” They were yelling.

He was obviously flustered by it.

“You can’t win with some of these people,” he lamented.

“Nope,” I answered.

“There was a better chance of reviving the dead Buick on cinder blocks without an engine across the street than this poor dude,” the officer said. “He was D-E-A-D, but they weren’t having it. Not from us anyway.”

I nodded. I got what he was saying. We aren’t even believed by certain people when we tell them that somebody is dead, even while pointing at a clearly dead person just two feet away as we say it.

The officer could have poked the body with a stick or lit it up with a Taser to prove the man was dead, but they’d still clamor for an ambulance to unnecessarily drive through a crime scene to have an EMS worker reiterate the exact same thing the police had been saying for five minutes.

It’s pathetic and it’s frustrating, but it’s today’s reality.

It was well before noon when I was done with this shooting, so I went back to answering radio calls for the next few hours without ever giving another thought to the dead man from earlier that morning.

After my shift, as I walked past a couple of younger officers, I eavesdropped as they talked excitedly about the earlier homicide.

It was clearly still on their minds, and while I was driving home, I began to think about one of the great absurdities of police work.

I touched on it a little bit when I wrote about the boy we raced to the hospital only to have him die a few months ago. It wasn’t a component of that story that I thought much about, but after we left the hospital, we had to return to work right away.

Here’s a quote from that post:

It’s queer, but I left the hospital and went back in service to handle more calls. I had to handle some subsequent calls with a little dead boy freshly on my mind.

That’s the thing with policing. It never ends. You have to carry on, so I pretended to care about a car accident and a stolen bike when I just wanted to shout in their faces, “AT LEAST YOU DIDN’T DIE AT FIVE YEARS OLD FROM A BULLET THROUGH YOUR CHEST!!! I HAVE NO INTEREST IN YOUR BULLSHIT PROBLEMS RIGHT NOW!”

In nearly 17 years as a police officer, I can remember only one time when I’ve heard anyone ask an officer, myself included, “Are you okay?” after an incident where emotional or mental trauma might be expected.


Run after a suspect or wrestle with one and many people will ask if you’re okay.

They’ll ask about cuts on your face or they’ll ask to make sure you didn’t twist or tear something in an arm or a leg.

The assumption with hearing, “Are you okay?” is never that they’re asking about your psyche when you’ve just tangled with somebody who would rather kill you dead than go back to jail.

Physical injury from running and tackling a bad guy is okay to inquire about, but something that might require some sort of emotional understanding or empathy for another human being is not macho to discuss in police circles.

I get that, but it’s important nowadays more than ever, and thankfully, is being discussed by others.

The Post Dispatch ran a story recently about officers who shot a suspect dead and still aren’t quite right because they probably returned to work too soon, or with too little intervention to make sure everything was indeed okay with them.

I’ve yet to have any training that allows me to dispatch with my heart and soul for eight hour shifts so I can deal with other peoples’ problems like a robot for them without letting it affect me at all.

All the negativity eats at us on some level.

It has to.

A career of dealing with violence and arguments and disturbances and accidents and death over and over again pounds on a person’s mental well being over time, even if we don’t think it does, I’m convinced of it.

Throw the whole Ferguson debacle and its aftermath into the mix and it’s no wonder that officer morale is at an all time low.

In the city, every time there’s a police shooting, no matter how justified it is, we have to defend ourselves both mentally and physically from attacks from the community, mostly the very community that calls 911 to utilize police services more than anybody else.

Facts are irrelevant.

It’s like trying to convince people that the dead person in front of their faces is really dead.

They don’t want to hear it from the police.

Unfortunately, they’ll hear what they want from their pals or community “leaders” on Twitter or Facebook or even some media sources, and the rift between police and the community will widen.

As I finish writing this, it dawns on me that I’ve rambled and never really tied together a point.

I’m listening to the news and hearing a woman blaming the lack of police presence after a Cardinal’s baseball game on her son’s unfortunate robbing and shooting.

Even though I feel for the family, the whole story is making my blood boil, so I’m too distracted to write anymore.

It’s another blow of blame to the police.

The chief of police has called in the FBI to assist in solving this case.

The reality is that there are more officers downtown than anywhere else in the city at any given time, especially when there’s an event such as a Cardinal’s game. This is often the case to the detriment of the other neighborhoods in the City who need us more, neighborhoods like Walnut Park, where dead shooting victims won’t get the courtesy of an FBI intervention to assist in solving their murders.

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It’s a tuesday night…

“I’m scared. Please don’t leave me alone.”

I was standing over a boy with dark curly hair and big brown eyes.

He was sitting on the floor in a back room of a small, two family house with his back against a wall.

The boy was a handsome biracial kid, but the color of his face seemed off to me. It was too pale or something. I knelt down so our faces were about level and said, “You’re doing great, kid. You’re going to be just fine. I’ll be back in a few seconds, I promise.” 

I turned to walk back down the hallway, to the front room where I had entered the house, when the boy spoke again.

“Officer?” The boy asked before I could take a single step away from him.

I turned and noticed that the kid’s big brown eyes were even bigger than they were just three seconds earlier. They’d started to well with tears.

His eyes were pleading with me to do something. 

“Make things right again for me.” Is what I read his eyes to be saying. 

 I waited for him to finish his thought. 

“I’ve never been shot before.”

I nodded my head, then smiled at the boy. 

“Just hang in there; you’re going to be fine, you hear me?”

He smiled the best smile he could muster as he nodded back to me in response. I had one of the other kids stay and talk with my curly haired friend before I hurried back to the front room. 

While the boy with the curly hair and brown eyes was in the back room pondering whatever it is that fifteen year old boys ponder after getting shot in the hip, another boy was laying on his back in the front room, struggling to even take breaths, let alone speak. 

He was in much worse shape.

He was also a brown eyed boy, and his eyes were pleading as well. Not to me, necessarily, but to anybody who might make eye contact with them.

This boy’s eyes were afraid.

They scanned left and right, fast at first, and then slower and slower. 

He had every right to believe that if something didn’t happen for him soon, he was going to meet his maker. His face made me wonder if that’s what was going through his mind, and I felt sorry for him a little bit.

“Keep talking to him like you’re doing,” I told the girl holding his hand as he drifted closer and closer to death.

The girl on the floor with the boy was entirely too young to be dealing with this sort of bullshit. “Keep holding his hand and talking to him. You’re both doing great.”

I tapped the boy on his shoulder and spoke to him briefly.

“Keep your knees bent, son,” I said to him as he tried to straighten out his legs. 

“Keep your knees bent, the ambulance is coming,” I heard the little girl repeat to the boy on his back as I grabbed for my radio. “It’s coming, right?”

I nodded and gave her a thumbs up while I advised the dispatcher that the scene was safe for EMS to enter. 

Now the wait was on for these two boys, shot at the same time in yet another act of depravity towards human life over something quite stupid, I’m sure.

The boy in the front room had been shot in his stomach, at least one time. His blood was on the couch and the floor and he was fading pretty quickly with each passing minute.

He was struggling to breath a little bit, but he was doing well enough that I still had hope that his young life would not end right there in that front room.

I looked around the house and felt bad for all the kids I saw. Some were very young, and others were well into their teens.

Their faces showed shock and pain and fear and disbelief and frustration and anger. Some cried while others just stared in disbelief. Some asked if the boys were going to die. Some begged for somebody to tell them the boys would be okay. Still others stepped up valiantly to help their friends or relatives who’d been shot and answer questions about what happened.

I shook my head knowing that it wasn’t just the two boys who will be scarred by this shooting.

Everybody in that house will be.

EMS arrived and swept the two boys off to one of the best hospitals in the country, and I was certain that this was going to be an assault report, not a homicide.

I was wrong.

A crowd had gathered near the outer fringes of the crime scene, as they so often do.

Just about the time we had finished talking to witnesses and taking our notes, the crowd suddenly moved around the corner and up the street. 

I went to the end of the street and could see a couple of cars stopped in the road with some people gathered around them.

I heard screaming and braced myself for the worst. I thought there was going to be another shooting right there before my eyes.

No shots were fired, but a girl yelled something about somebody being dead.

Officers and onlookers alike ran up the street to where the cars had been. 

I would be lying to say I was even a little stunned when I saw what all the commotion was about.

A teenage boy lay dead on his back in somebody’s front yard, with his arm bent upward holding a cell phone in his hand.

The crowd was pushed back and yet more crime scene tape was put up in North St. Louis City.

It’s become old hat to hang police tape around these parts recently, but there we were again.

This boy was tied to the shooting around the corner, and just like that, the whole mess belonged to our Homicide Unit. I don’t envy them at all these days. The workload has to be staggering and their hours long.

As we stood in the heat of the night I made eye contact with another officer and shook my head.

“It’s a Tuesday night,” I said.

He nodded in understanding. 

The night had already been hectic, especially for a Tuesday. It was call after call after call.

My partner and I had already helped to find guns in a house during a search requested by the homeowner, we’d been to an aid call to assist officers who had to fight with a drug addict in the midst of a simple car stop, and we had to use a Tazer on a guy who threatened us with a hammer.

That was all before the sun went down and the triple shooting happened.

But everyone did what they had to do.

Evidence was collected and witness statements were taken. 

A wailing mother who already had to know the truth was told that her teenage son was dead, and just like that, the crime scene tape came down and everybody left.

Before too long, the spectacle was over and many in the neighborhood wouldn’t know what happened as they slept until they saw it on the news the next morning.

On my way back to suburbia that night, I pulled into a gas station to fill up and get myself a sweet tea.

I wasn’t in my uniform as I filled my cup with ice and eavesdropped on two young municipal officers talking about what a busy night it had been for them up to this point.

“I’ve already handled a car accident report and had to yell at some kids who were dialing 911 while playing on their mom’s phone,” one of the guys boasted to the other, who nodded and said, “Yep, it’s been one of those nights.”

I snickered to myself as I paid for my drink and walked out the door.

Kids playing on the phone and dialing 911 just to see what would happen and not because three of their friends had been shot? 

Now THAT’S a Tuesday night.

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Murder? Hmmmph…

“Is he gonna make it?” The woman asked with no real concern in her voice. 

Her tone was so matter of fact that she may as well have been asking me about the weather or how my day was going.

“No,” I said. “I mean, I’m not a doctor, but no, there’s no way he’s going to make it.”

“Hmmmph,” was her response.

Hmmmph indeed. I thought to myself.

The man the woman was asking about lay dying next to his bullet riddled Camaro, about thirty yards away. I’d just asked her and the group she was with to step back a little so that I could hang some crime scene tape at yet another homicide scene in the City of St. Louis.

I don’t keep tabs on such things, but I believe that’s around 136 this year, if what I’d read was right. The local newspaper has taken to adding a line indicating the murder count in all of their articles related to murders in the City, and I believe that’s the number I’d read.

It’s that bad now.

Hmmmph bad.

The lady worked for or maybe owned a day care facility for little kids, and there were still kids waiting to be picked up by loved ones as this man was being tended to valiantly, though clearly futily, by EMS personnel.

As so many other people in the City have been recently, he’d just been shot.

His shirt was off and I could see the small puncture hole in his side. It didn’t look like much, and it certainly didn’t do justice to evidencing the violence that the projectile probably did once it passed through his skin.

Those pesky bullets tear through the skin and then ricochet off bone and tear through organs and veins and arteries and whatever else gets in the way before it either passes through the skin again during a violent exit, or nestles itself comfortably somwhere inside the victim’s body.

The lucky ones live to tell about it.

There are probably hundreds of people who’ve been shot or shot at in the City this year who didn’t add to the death tally. Everyday it seems a person is shot.

We’re lucky in the City to have two excellent trauma units at Barnes and SLU Hospitals. I’m always amazed at the number of people who get shot, sometimes multiple times, and live because of the skill of the teams of doctors and nurses in our City.

Many of these people drive themselves or are driven to the hospital without waiting on EMS. When every second counts, that’s probably a good idea.

For those who aren’t so lucky, their life often ends like this man’s near the daycare facility did, face down on a hot piece of concrete in a pool of their own blood in front of curious onlookers who will photograph or video a dying man’s last moments and do Lord knows what with the footage.


“Well what do you expect? This is Goodfellow and Amelia.” The woman said.

She was mostly being rhetorical, but that attitude can’t win the day. 

No matter where you live or work, a murder should bring outrage or fear or disbelief, not apathy.

Not Hmmmph.

On the day this man died, two journalists were killed in another part of the country as their killer videotaped their deaths.

Thankfully, there is outrage and grief and disbelief. There are loved ones who will demand action. They will demand legislation. They will demand research. They will at least demand something.

They did not say Hmmmph because that is a queer response to another human’s murder, even if the victim was no angel.

Nobody deserves Hmmmph, but in St. Louis City, that’s where we find ourselves. Unless a person is killed by a police officer, there is no public outrage, only indifference to what has become so common that we just say Hmmmph to the news of another person’s death.

Sadly, this murder that I touched on here isn’t even the most recent one in my City. Late last night, another man was killed on the South Side of the City, shot to death, of course.




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Here’s how it feels…

“Born Brave was the officer shot last night,” my coworker said as I was slipping my office key into the keyhole to start my Tuesday morning.

“What? What are you talking about?” I responded.

“Sgt. Brave was the cop shot this morning. In the Central West End.”

What the fuck? I thought to myself. I hadn’t heard anything about it.

“He was shot at work?” I asked.

“Yep, he was working secondary. He’s going to be okay though.”

Well, thank God for small miracles.

There was a police sergeant shot, ambush style, on Tuesday morning here in St. Louis. Thankfully, he was wearing his body armor and it saved him from serious bodily injury, and probably from meeting his maker, truthfully.

He was working secondary at 4:30 AM when he was shot by one of four buffoons who jumped out of a car and shot at him as he sat in his personal vehicle watching over local businesses in one of the ever dwindling ritzy parts of the city, the Central West End Neighborhood (“CWE”).

The neighborhood is home to all sorts of people and businesses. Its diversity is part of its charm, really. Every day, the young and old, rich and poor, black/white, gay/straight all go about living their lives together in the CWE.

Unfortunately, the criminal element is represented as well.

People from the area may recognize the neighborhood as being the same one where a young college student was shot and killed, ironically, also while minding her own business in her car.

While there are certainly areas of the City that are much more dangerous, the CWE has money, so the businesses and residents pool together funds and pay officers to provide secondary patrols to supplement the “on-duty” cops who patrol there as well.

When you see officers at Major League Baseball or NFL games, etc. across the country, chances are that they’re working what I’m referring to as secondary. They’re being paid by the team, not the City for which they work.

I’ve mentioned my shifts at the Chicken Palace here before. It’s one of the places where I work secondary.

I often have people come up to me while I’m standing around in the parking lot on a pleasant evening at the Chicken Palace to tell me how lucky I am to have such an easy gig. They think it’s my regular shift, and that I’m being paid by the City when they say it. They don’t get that I most likely already worked my eight plus hours for the City, and that when they tell me how lucky I am, I’m already nine or ten hours into what will be a sixteen hour day away from my wife and kids.

But, I smile and agree that I am quite lucky indeed.

In a way, we really are lucky that there is such a demand for police presence, because businesses are willing to pay off-duty cops to work for them since the on-duty cops can’t be everywhere at once. It’s a way for us to supplement our meager salaries in a way that a lot of other meager salary earners in other professions can’t.

Financially, the extra shifts are nice, but I assure you that any cop you see working at a bar or restaurant or ballgame would much rather be at their son’s baseball game or birthday party or at home rather than working extra shifts so that when the officer does have time to spend with that family, they’ll have some money to do something fun after the bills are paid.

Sergeant Brave had worked his eight hour shift before he went to work secondary for the CWE Neighborhood, so he was no doubt already tired and worn out from a long shift on a hot, summer night in North St. Louis City when he started the extra secondary shift that nearly cost him his life.

I went to the police academy with Sergeant Brave. He is a very likable man. I know that he has a young one at home, probably still in diapers, along with a wife.

They are good people.

They are professionals.

They are educated.

They are giving of their time to help others in their communities.

Also, they are black.

It’s passe to say that the color of the officer’s skin shouldn’t matter, but it clearly does to many, many people.

Whites and others on the side of the police quickly assumed that the race of the officer wasn’t given because he was white. They threw out the usual rhetoric about charging the shooter with a hate crime and how unfair it is that the outrage doesn’t apply when the shooter is a black man instead of a white police officer.

Those on the other side of the fence were quick to throw out their usual all police are cowards, oppressive communists, racists, etc. regardless of their skin color.

If you ever want to see the dregs of society showing their true colors, read the online comments after any news article about a violent police interaction with a black suspect.

I don’t follow the news as a matter of course because I don’t have time for any more negativity in my life, but normally I’d have heard about something like this through the grapevine.

As I settled into my office, I did get a couple of texts and phone calls from people either asking me who was shot, or telling me that they’d heard it was indeed Born Brave who was shot.

The story was true, but sadly, it wasn’t shocking.

Several years ago, news of a police officer getting shot was a big deal.

What was almost unheard of then, is expected to happen now. It’s always just a matter of when.

I was so happy that my friend was okay, and that he was released from the hospital to go home to his wife and small baby boy, a boy who may never realize how close he came to growing up without his daddy, but a part of me was disturbed that I was mostly ambivalent about the whole ordeal.

I was happy for Sergeant Brave, but sad that at least locally, this near tragedy had become less about a good man nearly being murdered just for being a police officer, and more about this.

This idiot.

Photo courtesy of ABC St. Louis KDNL Facebook Page

Photo courtesy of ABC St. Louis KDNL Facebook Page

When a news station posted a picture of this lone person standing in the middle of the street, it immediately went viral and sent both the pro-police and anti-police factions into their tizzies again.

The media loved it, of course, and played it up so that both sides could froth at the mouth about what morons the other side were.

Meanwhile, the condition of the sergeant and the reasons for the shooting were sort of secondary concerns.

Secondary to covering a single man with time to spare on a Tuesday afternoon asking, “How Does It Feel?”

I won’t waste space on my own blog with his name, but since he’s asking a question that I can only assume is directed at police officers, I feel obliged to answer.

How does it feel?

How does it feel for the officer shot to know that but for his vest and better aim, he would be a dead man right now?

Probably scary.

How does it feel for his wife to know that she was almost left on this earth to raise a tiny baby into manhood without the man she loves enough to call her husband to be by her side?

Probably petrifying.

How does it feel if you’re the wife or husband or kids of the other nearly 1200 officers who serve this city to know that they could be next and that they may not be so lucky?

Probably sickening.

How does it feel for the other officers themselves?

Pick a word, pal.

Frustrating. Sad. Pathetic. Shitty.

I’ve spent nearly seventeen years of my life doing the best I can to help people like you there, holding the sign above. To help people like your mother, your siblings, children, your neighbors, everybody who has called because their house was broken into or their car was stolen, or they were assaulted or robbed or whatever.

Ain’t none of them ever called me to tell me they were robbed by a police officer. Nope.

None of the suspects in any of the hundreds or thousands of reports I’ve written over the years was me.

You see, I’ve never killed anybody.

I’ve never shot at anybody.

I’ve never robbed anybody.

I’ve never assaulted anybody illegally.

I’ve never arrested a person I’ve known to be innocent or lied on the witness stand.

I’ve never done anything of the sort, or personally known any of the great officers I’ve worked closely with to do any of these things either, so when you ask, “How Does It Feel?”and you get your fifteen minutes of fame for essentially trying to be a dick, I have to assume you’re talking to somebody besides me or those officers like me.

Maybe you’re talking to the few bad apples that rightfully should be called out, and I hope they find you and answer your question more clearly than I can.

I won’t waste my frustrations on you or others who think it’s okay to harm anybody to make a point, especially an innocent police sergeant minding his own business while trying to make extra money to give his family a better life.

An innocent sergeant like my friend Born Brave.

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Gman’s zero fucks, camping and other nothings for you…

Hot damn, exactly one month between postings. That’s not too shabby.

I know all of you are just dying to know what’s up in my world, so let’s get to it.

We camped.

As a family.

The whole fucking family.


In the woods.

In this thing.

Home sweet home for a couple of nights.

Home sweet home for a couple of nights.

This contraption is hardly roughing it, I know, but it was still rough, since the closest liquor store was nearly an hour away.

The friends we camped with are a hoot. They’re nearly ten years older than we are and drank us under the table by a long shot. The wife and I couldn’t keep up, and that’s even with the children there encouraging us to drink by their very presence.

We only lasted two days and we had to go. The weather was too cold for my big ass to get into the river and it was about to start raining. We’re not savages for God’s sake, so we know rain is God’s way of saying, “Get the fuck out of my forest, DOAT clan!”

We listened.

Hopefully, we get invited again, in spite of our lameness and our children, because with some warmer weather, it’d be a blast to get drunk in the river.

Speaking of children, they’re still around nearly all of the time.

Gman joined me for a bus ride home on the Honkey Bus. He was less impressed than I think he had anticipated being.

I was all excited for this?

I was all excited for this?

He’s very difficult to impress, honestly. He’s too cool for everything, even when he’s asleep.

Giving zero fucks in my sleep.

Giving zero fucks in my sleep.

He started his athletic career with some tee ball. He’s also mostly unimpressed with that as well.

Giving zero fucks while playing defense.

Giving zero fucks while playing defense.

That’s Gman on the left, fully immersed in the ballgame to even hear his father imploring him to pretend as though he’s interested in anything but the post game snacks.

He’s able to maintain focus long enough to swing the pink bat (coed team) that he enjoys and occasionally runs in the direction of first base without much prompting.

Getting ready to battle the tee.

Getting ready to battle the tee.

This is actually a swing.

Lefty swinging pinky.

Lefty swinging pinky.

I do my imploring from the sidelines, as a spectator and not his coach. Gman is what we like to euphorically call “strong-willed,” so rather than risk the same head to head confrontations I had with Ace when I coached her as a 4 year old, I’m deferring to strangers to coach this child. I still coach Cool’s team because Cool is easy like Sunday morning, whatever that means.

Speaking of Cool, he got to hang with daddy at a bar finally. It turns out he enjoys playing pool and Golden Tee nearly as much as his old man. He was cracking me up with his focused squinty eye thing while taking his shots with the pool cue.

Such focus!

Such focus!

Cool gets very into whatever it is he’s doing and is way too hard on himself when he sucks, because being six isn’t a good enough excuse for sucking at things apparently.

One thing he most certainly doesn’t suck at is being a great big brother. The boys got to walk around Busch Stadium last week and they had a jolly old time with it.

Brothers getting along, briefly.

Brothers getting along, briefly.

Cool looks legit and Gman is at least wearing shoes.

Cool looks legit and Gman is at least wearing shoes.

Other than that, life is as always around these parts.

I had a brief affair with a $100 bill recently.

I sat in my driveway in suburban America with my bill and my beer and waited for something to happen.


Waiting pensively.

Waiting pensively.

But nothing did.

The suburbs are so boring sometimes.

Nobody tried to rob me or ask me for money or cigarettes, or to inquire as to whether I wished to purchase my own stolen lawn mower back.

I sat out there with my bill and my beer for almost an hour and all I heard were birds.

Stupid birds.

I sometimes miss living in the city. The soothing sounds of traffic and sirens and gunshots is hard to let go.

Anyway, that bill is long gone, as is my beer and my desire to write anymore of this post.

How have all you been? Top notch I pray!

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Just writing some words here…

Pay me no mind, it’s been a long two months since I’ve written anything, and I had a sudden urge to type some words onto a page, so here I am.

As some of you may remember, the last blog post here was about a little boy who was shot in the chest and ultimately ended up dying, in spite of the best efforts of my fellow police officers to save him.

I posted about the tragedy after work.  It was a late Wednsday night, well, actually, it was Thursday morning. I went to bed after 2am and woke up to work my secondary job the same morning at 6.

Comments came in on the post as usual, and I noticed that a few people had shared it on Facebook or whatever, and then somehow, it was all over the place. I was working, so I didn’t really appreciate how fast it had taken off.

City leaders shared it. Friends shared it. Even my own wife shared it.

That’s how I know when something I write is good. The wife doesn’t share my crap, which is most of what I post here. She reads it all I think, but she doesn’t share or make mention of the posts that are just meh to her.

Anyway, it went batshit crazy in ways I can’t even describe.

The local newspaper printed it using an entire page of the paper.

People.com called to talk to me about it.

It was flattering and humbling and lots of good stuff, but at the same time, it was very uncomfortable too.

There was a little boy dead, and that was a terrible reason for a blog post to go viral. I wasn’t the cop who drove in the car with the boy or carried him into the hospital. I think there was some confusion about that too. 

All I did was write.

I wrote to make myself feel better and move on. That the story was gripping had nothing to do with me. It was a gripping incident without my involvement. I didn’t deserve any credit for that.

Still, some good things came of it. The family of the little boy wrote the officer who carried him a “thank you” note. It was so sweet of them. The officer showed it to me one day. He was carrying it around in his breast pocket. 

The case remains unsolved, as far as I know. It’s still open.

As for me, I’m not on the streets anymore.

I was transferred to the police academy where I’m teaching new recruits Constitutional and Statutory Law, and I love it.

I made them read that blog post in class. 

The point of doing so was to give them a sense of what can happen on this job in the blink of an eye. I also wanted them to read the comments. There are a lot of people out there who, rightfully or not, hate the police, but that’s not the majority and they need to remember that. There were hundreds of supportive comments.

People want to trust and respect the police, so it’s important that these new officers understand that they have the power to make a positive impact on people’s lives. They can help us to earn respect back by simply being decent human beings. It’s not that hard, but it is hard sometimes too. 

I’m in a good place right now mentally. There’s a lot to be said for looking forward to going to work.

As for the family, things are great. Cool is going to take second grade math as a first grader next year because he’s apparently bright or some shit, and Gman didn’t bite anybody in preschool all year, so there’s that. Ace is doing great as usual too. I’m not looking forward to her becoming a teenager in a couple of years, but it’s coming.

Our beloved, well she was beloved at some point, dog Jojo had to be put down, so it’s not all been peaches and Bud Light Lime over here. I was in denial about how bad she was, but she was pretty bad.

I took her in myself since she was my before famiy dog and cried nearly the entire time. Blubbering even at times, but whatever. She was a part of my life for 14 years. I miss her. We all do.

I’m hoping that my better mood will inspire me to be a more consistent writer. I’m even kicking around writing a book, but that’s mostly just a thought in the way back of my head. We’ll see how that goes, I guess.

I hope all is well with you and yours as well.

I know this post was pretty lame since it was mostly for my own sake, a reason to put some words on a page to get back into it, but thanks for reading anyway!

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A senseless death…

We arrived at the Children’s Hospital Emergency Room at the same time.

He and his partner parked and I pulled up to their left and did the same.

I got out of my car and watched as the officer hurried from his seat and opened the back, driver’s side door.

When the officer grabbed the boy from the back seat of his police Tahoe, I knew almost instantly.

There was a split second though, before instantly I guess, where I didn’t know. For that split second, the officer looked like any dad grabbing his sleeping boy from the car and putting the boy’s head on his shoulder to carry him inside to sleep comfortably in his own bed.

For that split second, it was a sweet moment.

The officer, an around fifty year old white guy, clutched the little boy over his left shoulder gently, but with a clear purpose. The boy was small, a black child with his hair in corn rows and dressed as a typical five or six-year-old dresses.

He reminded me of my own six-year-old son.

The sudden, pained look on the officer’s face and the fact that the boy wasn’t crying or yelling or doing anything other than appearing to be asleep made the split second fantasy fade away fast.

We hurried into the emergency room where we were met by the trauma team and hospital staff. I’m always in awe at how these emergency room doctors and nurses and staff are so able to get to working on a patient so fast.

There was some sliver of hope that the boy would make it, at least that’s what we all wanted to believe.

The truth, and I think we all knew it, was that this boy would never fall asleep in his own bed again. When the officer laid the boy down on the gurney and stood back upright, any wind that may have been in my sails quickly faded to nothing.

His shirt said it all.

FullSizeRender (5)

Where the boy’s little heart had laid so close to the officer’s own heart, was a mess that told us things would not end well.

The three of us officers, with nearly fifty years of city police experience under our collective belts, waited not so stoically outside of trauma room two as the doctors and nurses busted their tails to save this little guy.

We paced and exchanged awkward smiles with each other and the nurses and staff who were passing by. There were several times when one or all of us was close to tears, but we held it together.

It was hard for the officer, because he did the best he could and it wasn’t going to be enough. It was hard for me, because I have a son about that age at home and couldn’t imagine anything like this happening to him.

It was awkward because we were all hoping, but we also knew that it was going to take a miracle for that boy to live.

He was not granted that miracle.

Just like that, at a couple of minutes after 8pm, a five-year old boy was gone forever.

The sheet of paper, which I’ve seen way to many times, verified it. It’s the one with a line printed on it. When it’s completely straight, you’ve died. You’ve straight-lined, as they say.

I was done with being in the hospital. I wanted to leave.

To go back to my car, I had to walk past the same group of people who were in the waiting room when we walked past them earlier with the dying boy. Three little boys grabbed at me and asked me if that boy we carried in earlier was dead.

“Did he die, officer? Was that boy dead?” They asked me.

I got no help from their mom, as she was tending to a clearly sick kid of her own.

“Boys, he’s fine. He’s a strong boy, just like you guys.”

I felt bad lying, but it seemed easier than having to explain death to three strange kids all under ten years old.

I went to my car and grabbed a bunch of Dum-Dums from the bag I carry around. Mom was cool with me giving them suckers, and they left me alone about the dead boy they still thought was alive.

I couldn’t tell them that the boy who was about their same age had straight-lined.

Five-year olds shouldn’t straight line.

Why did this one?

Because of gun violence in the city.

The weather was nice so the people were out.

Some people were out with their guns.

Why did this boy have to die?

Was it disrespect?


A woman?


All stupid reasons to fire a gun anywhere near another human being, let alone children, but here we are again, with another child lost to violence.

We tried to save this boy.

The officer showed up and there was a hostile crowd of people, most of whom had nothing to do with the shooting, and most not even sure what they should be angry at. The were just angry because anger is easy. Patience is hard. Kindness in the face of adversity is hard. Understanding is hard.

Some chose to be angry at the police while others were taking video on their phone. Meanwhile, nobody was helping a child as he lay dying on the sidewalk from a bullet that had torn through his little body.

The officer fought through the angry crowd and put a dying boy he didn’t know in his car.

Did he have to do that?


EMS was coming, but they were too far away. It was too risky to wait for them, so we raced that little guy to the hospital in record time. We had all sorts of cars shutting down the route to the hospital, just like we would were a fellow cop shot and in need of medical care. That’s about the highest honor we can give a person, and this boy deserved it.

Still, it didn’t matter on this night.

I truly believe that when it’s your time, it’s your time.

Five years shouldn’t be anyone’s time, but that’s not my call.

It’s queer, but I left hospital and went back in service to handle more calls. I had to handle some subsequent calls with a little dead boy freshly on my mind.

That’s the thing with policing. It never ends. You have to carry on, so I pretended to care about a car accident and a stolen bike when I just wanted to shout in their faces, “AT LEAST YOU DIDN’T DIE AT FIVE YEARS OLD FROM A BULLET THROUGH YOUR CHEST!!! I HAVE NO INTEREST IN YOUR BULLSHIT PROBLEMS RIGHT NOW!”

But that’s not professional.

I’m wrapping this up having finished a six pack of Bud Light Lime and I just kissed all three of my own sleeping kids as well as my wife. I also laid on the ground and wrestled my dogs at 2 am, even though one of them is dying and has no interest in playing, and I have to work in the morning.

I’m still thinking about a boy I never met alive, and hoping he’s in a better place.

I’m looking at my own six year old’s homework folder and wondering if this dead boy has a homework folder in a backpack never to be turned in again. Will his mom see it when she gets home and cry? Did he have a lunch packed for the next day that will still be in the fridge this weekend to remind his family of a lunch that was never taken to school?

Did he go to kindergarten?

Will somebody have to explain to his classmates that they’ll never see this little guy alive again and why?

This is all too sad and it needs to stop.

Someone please figure out how.

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Fun with letters…

It appears that it’s been over two months since I’ve posted anything on this floundering blog of mine. 

No worries, I’ve still been writing, I promise. No, not the novel that I may write on my deathbed someday, but rather letters. I spent the better part of a day recently writing letters to all of the companies who’ve pissed me off recently. That’s no short list. From Maytag to McDonald’s and everything in between, nobody was spared my lunatic wrath.

Since I have nothing better to share here, I’m going to share my letters to companies with shitty products and or customer service.

The first one for your reading pleasure is to Eastpoint Sports in New Jersey. Their quality products are supposed to bring years and years of fun. Look at these young, white people frolicking and enjoying their ping pong table below. That’s the exact table I was supposed to be playing ping pong on!

Look how happy they are! This could have been us, but our ping pong table never made it past being an eye sore on the basement floor in twelve thousand pieces.

Below is my letter to the company explaining my ordeal. They’ve still not responded, so they’re getting a follow up letter here soon. Enjoy!


Dear Eastpoint Sports:

So the wife and I purchased a fairly expensive EPS 3500 ping pong table from Walmart.com, in the hopes that it would be a nice Christmas gift for the kids, since that’s what the older two kids wanted. Walmart.com was probably our first mistake, right?


We were pleased that it arrived at our local Walmart in enough time for me to assemble it in time for Christmas.


After borrowing a truck and hauling this nearly180 pound sonofabitchin’ box into my basement, I began to put it together. All was going well until I got all the way to step one and noticed that the brackets weren’t all the same size as the instructions suggested they needed to be. I figured I could make it work, so I tried to assemble the table using what I was given.


My progress stalled at step 6 wherein a leg from the table is supposed to fit into a bracket, rather neatly, apparently, if the photos are any indication. While I had a couple of different brackets, the legs I had didn’t fit neatly into any of them. I called and spoke to customer service and they said they’d send me new brackets. It was going to take 7-10 days.

This was aggravating because it meant the table would not be assembled until not only after Christmas, but after the new year when the kids would already be back in school from their break.

Whatever, the kids were still excited to see the table on the ground waiting to be assembled on Christmas morning, so it wasn’t a total loss.


We got the new brackets and I was excited to see they all matched this time. Unfortunately, they were all the same size as a bracket we already had, so the legs didn’t fit into any of them, of course.


Stymied and increasingly pissed off, I noticed on your website that the dimension of the legs on your table didn’t match the dimension of the legs I had received in my box. See, your dimensions indicate that the legs I need are 33 inches from from one leg to the other.


The legs I got, however, were not 33 inches apart. See?

Aha, I thought! The legs were the problem! As you can see from the attached photos, the distance between the inner leg posts (according to your own dimensions) is supposed to be 33 inches, and the distance between the legs I had received was closer to 21-22 inches. I called customer service again and spoke with a very condescending and rude Blake person, who was having trouble understanding my explanation of the difference between 21 inches and 33 inches. There is apparently a language barrier between my midwestern Missouri English and the Snookiesque English spoken in New Jersey or wherever you people are. I digress, because in spite of his attitude, he agreed to ship me proper legs so we could all move on with our lives.


The legs arrived in a proper amount of time, and I knew they had arrived when they did, because when my daughter got home from school, she called me immediately while I was at work to tell me how excited she was that the legs had come and that her table would finally be put together properly.


When I got home from an exhausting shift patrolling the mean streets of my city, I thought a game of ping pong would he relaxing and fun, so I opened the box that the legs arrived in right away, only to be disappointed that there would be no alleviation of my exhaustion or fun to be had on this night. You see, when I opened the box, I was faced with another set of the exact same, non-fitting legs that I’d already gotten in the original packaging.


I called and spoke to a couple more people in customer service. They spoke to managers and warehouse people and I believe a sandwich delivery guy even tried to help at some point, but for whatever reason, nobody could figure out why the legs didn’t fit.


The implication from the fine folks at Eastpoint was that I must be a moron. That had to be the answer. While they didn’t say that explicitly, of course, it was implied.


Knowing that I’m not the handiest fellow in the world, and that perhaps I was just a moron, I had another two people look at the legs, plus, my wife snuck her father in to try as well. If it could be rigged, he could do it.


No dice.


Twas not I who was the moron this time at all.


So, Eastpoint Sports, it would appear to me that one of the following is happening:


1) there’s a meddlesome employee at UPS or the post office swapping out the proper parts in my deliveries for improper parts just to screw with me,

2) you people are sending out incompatible parts to begin with and UPS is innocent,

3) your dimensions on your very own website are completely wrong or,

4) this has all been a bad dream


As I’ve pinched myself and it hurt, this isn’t a bad dream,but it’s been a very bad experience. I’m not saying your company ruined Christmas for our kids, because they’re good kids and a gift that never materialized doesn’t bother them in such a way.


It did bother me though, because I had to drag that 180 pound bastard of a table back upstairs, repack it, and have it hauled back to wherever it’s being hauled to. You owe me $147 in duct tape!


The waste of time and energy that went into this gift has been exhausting and it’s my hope that your company will do something to make it right.


I’m still baffled as to why this couldn’t be worked out, so if you figure it out, please let me know. I’m REALLY curious to get your answer as to why this is my fault.


Also, we’re still in the market for a ping pong table.









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Winning a routine call for crazy…

The call was for an “OBS.”

If I’m remembering correctly, OBS is an acronym for Organic Brain Syndrome, but it’s used in my circles to refer to somebody who’s basically crazy.

I guess crazy isn’t politically correct, and maybe OBS isn’t either, but you get the picture.

OBS calls are by far my least favorite, because they almost always involve dealing with somebody who’s agitated, probably not taking necessary medication, and somebody often needs to go to a hospital against their will.

These calls are dispatched as two officer calls, and the other officer had arrived before I did. When I pulled up, I noticed the officer, who’s young and has been doing the job for less than two years, had his Taser out.

He’s a good, young officer. He’s not a hot head or one of those guys who makes a bad situation worse by escalating it with his mouth or actions.

In front of him was a large 19 year old, young man with his arms raised as he moved forward towards the officer. Another person tried to restrain him. The kid was waving his arms in the air and challenging the officer to shoot him with the Taser.

“Whatch you gonna do!? I don’t care, shoot me with dat Taser!”

He was loud and obnoxious and a pretty big kid to boot.

The guy trying to hold him back was trying to help with his actions, but his words were conspiring against those well intentioned actions.

I had grabbed my large flashlight and was walking towards the fun when I heard the other guy telling the OBS that “these officers ain’t gonna play wit you, man. They’s white dudes, man. They’ll shoot you dead.”

“Fuck them then! Let them shoot me; I don’t give a fuck!”

He was getting all wound up and I could feel my eyeball twitching. I’d be lying if I said the thought of drop kicking both of those men across the nearby park didn’t cross my mind.

As I got closer, the OBS turned his rage on me and asked what I was gonna do.

I ignored him and rolled my eyes to nobody in particular as I walked past the three of them to a woman I suspected was momma.

Momma said her son was schizophrenic and was two weeks overdue on his medicine.

“I ain’t taking my medicine!” the boy screamed at his mom.

“You need your medicine, Junior!” Momma said back to him calmly.

I could tell this poor woman was spent. She said Junior had torn up her house. The door was wide open and from the front yard, I could see a Christmas tree on the floor and broken ornaments all around.

“You’ve got your hands full, don’t you?” I’m the master at stating the obvious.

The guy who had been holding Junior back let him go and left in a car, obviously no longer concerned enough that we might shoot his loved one to stick around for it.

“Will you at least let the ambulance come to the house so the paramedics can talk to you, Junior?” I asked.

“I ain’t talking to nobody and I ain’t going nowhere! I need five dollars to buy my weed. That’ll calm me down!”

Junior unzipped his sweat jacket and took a couple of steps towards me.

“No sir,” I said in my regular tone. I pointed the butt end of my flashlight at Junior and said, “Come one step closer to me and you’re gonna need that ambulance for more than your medicine.”

Junior cursed me and started to walk away from the house. He walked down the sidewalk as I talked to mom about what we could do.

“I really don’t want to have to wrestle your son into the back of an ambulance, ma’am. Somebody’s going to get hurt.”

As we talked about different options, Junior came back ranting and raving about still wanting five dollars to buy some weed.

“Get off my property!” Junior yelled at me. “I need five dollars to buy some weed!”

“Oh my god, fuck! Go buy your weed, Junior.” I told him. I was frustrated by this point. “Buy your goddam weed and then come back here with it so we can throw your ass into the back of a police car and be done with you for the night.”

It wasn’t my finest moment, but this house wasn’t in my area and I was getting aggravated.

Junior walked around in a couple of circles before he finally sat down on his mom’s porch.

“Does he have medicine here, mom?” I asked.

“Yes, let me go get it,” she answered.

Momma walked into the house through the open door. I heard her say something to somebody and then say, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” probably to herself.

I felt bad for her.

Junior had lost much of his spunk and looked a little defeated when he looked towards me and said, “I ain’t taking my medicine.”

He said it matter of factly, not with anymore of the anger he had displayed just moments earlier.

Momma had come back out with several different bottles of medicine in her arms.

“Junior, if you let your mom give you your medicine, I’ll leave your property. I’ll leave you alone and you’ll never see me again,” I said. I don’t know how rational schizophrenics off their meds are, but getting rid of me seemed like one of the few positive outcomes for this kid at this point.

I started to walk away as momma coaxed some pills and a couple large spoonfuls of something down his throat.

We win, I thought to myself.

I turned back and walked a couple of steps closer to mom and Junior.

“Will that calm him down, mom? You’re going to be okay now?”

She assured us that he would be fine now and that they’d get him whatever more permanent shot he needed as soon as possible.

I thanked Junior for doing the right thing, wished he and his mom a Merry Christmas, and we left, without anybody getting hurt.

That’s a winning outcome.


Dealing with people suffering from mental disorders is one of the most challenging aspects of being a cop. Having mom here certainly helped to keep this from turning ugly. Had this kid left and been somewhere else, would we have known he had a mental condition and wasn’t just all worked up and angry about something or other? I don’t know the answer to that. People don’t carry signs with them indicating they have a mental disorder, and it’s not always easy to spot. I don’t know that he would have calmed down so quickly had he not been at home with his mom there. Had he continued on with his raging, he almost certainly would have been Tazed to keep him from hurting himself or somebody else, but that’s for another day, I guess.

Posted in Police Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

An atypical typical traffic stop…

I pulled a car over recently because it had an illegal temporary license plate attached to it.

The driver, who I couldn’t see as I turned on my lights, was a young, black woman.

She cracked open the door, as I stood outside her window, to tell me that the window didn’t work, and that’s why she hadn’t rolled it down.

“That’s fine,” I said, then I asked her if she had any clue why I stopped her. Of course, she said she didn’t.

“Your temporary plate is illegal,” I told her matter of factly.

“This is my cousin’s car,” she said. “What do you mean illegal? You mean it’s expired?”

“No ma’am, I mean it’s illegal. Somebody copied and tinkered with it.”

She furrowed her brow and gave me a quizzical look as though the person before her had three heads.

“I was just going to the store to get some groceries,” she finally responded.

“Do you have a driver’s license?” I asked.


“Can I see it please?”

The young lady rummaged through a bag and handed me a food stamp card and a non-driver’s identification card.

“Is this all you have?” I asked. “Neither of these is a driver’s license.”

Again, I got the puzzled look before she turned to half-ass rummage through her bag and console, ostensibly to find her driver’s license.

As she rummaged, I chuckled to myself about how many times I’ve been through this very same scenario.

“Ma’am, please stop. Stop rooting through your bag and look at me,” I said.

She looked at me, more deflated than puzzled this time.

I looked at the ID that she had given me and asked her if the name on the card was her.

“Yes, that’s me. I promise.”

“It’s a lovely name, ma’am. Very unique.”

“Thank you. Are you going to give me a ticket?” She must have thought she found an opening where we were getting along to ask that so abruptly.

“We’ll see. You may get a whole bunch of tickets, honestly. Let’s try this one more time. Do you have a driver’s license? I’m not asking if you have one on you, I’m asking if one exists anywhere in the world with your information on it.”

She looked straight into her steering wheel and pursed her lips.

“No.” She whispered.

“No?” I asked.

“No sir.” She said.

“Have you ever had one, or is it revoked or suspended or what?”

“I ain’t never got one,” she said.

“Okay. But this non-driver’s license is you for real?”

She turned to me and said, “yes, officer. I swear that’s me. I’m not lying to you about that.”

“Okay. And you’re twenty-two years old?”


“Okay. Do you have any warrants or anything like that? Please tell me you’re not wanted for murder or some egregious act of terrorism.”

She smiled and assured me that she was not wanted for anything and I told her to hang tight while I went back to my car carrying her food stamp card and her non-driver’s ID card.

It was cold and windy, so the car was nice and warm when I eased back into the seat and turned the computer towards me so I could run her information.

Having been told that she had zero warrants, I was hopeful that it was true, but alas, she had four, all from other jurisdictions.

I sat in my nice warm car and pondered what to do.

Arresting her would get me out of the cold for a little bit, so that’s a pro.

Writing her several tickets would maybe get her attention and be the wake up call she needs to get a license and the rest of her shit together, so that’s a pro also.

Arresting her and writing her tickets would both get me out of the cold and would surely get her attention, so that’s a another pro in favor of taking action.

I shook my head at the computer screen and muttered, “no warrants my ass” to nobody in particular and made my way back to the woman in the Pontiac Grand Am.

She opened the door to speak to me again and I returned her food stamp card to her.

“You’re a wreck,” I told the woman. “You have four warrants, not zero.”

She again gave me the I have three heads look of utter bewilderment and said, “what? No way!”

“Way,” I said, and explained to her what they were for and what police departments they were from.

“Are you going to take me to jail?” She was calm, but tears started to flow from her eyes. She wasn’t bawling or anything, they were those tears you can’t control that just race out of your tear ducts all of a sudden. They were maybe tears of frustration.

“Step out of the car please.” I said.

“Am I going to jail?” She was still calm and teary. “Do you want me to turn the car off?”

“Nah, you can keep it running,” I answered.

I motioned her to come to the sidewalk towards the back of her car. I noticed two mechanics watching us intently from across the street, amazingly, neither of them was recording us with a phone.

The woman was petite. She stood before me in a pink panther t-shirt and some fuzzy Hello Kitty pajama bottoms. She crossed her arms to try to keep warm.

“Four warrants is right about the number where I seriously consider taking a person to jail,” I told her.

She opened her mouth to respond, but before she could make a sound, I continued, “look at this temporary plate. The VIN doesn’t go to your car and it’s expired. You may as well put a neon sign in the back window begging officers to pull you over, you know that?”

“It’s not my car. I’m so sorry,” She said. “I just wanted to get some groceries for my kids.”

I explained to her that I could think of at least seven tickets to write her without even trying to look for less obvious violations. I explained to her that the cost of taking care of the bench warrants and the tickets would easily exceed a thousand dollars.

As she was about to respond again, I looked over her head and said, “but it’s Christmas.”

She closed her mouth and wiped her tears.

I had been feigning some aggravation, but not in a condescending way, just sort of enough to keep her from knowing that I never intended to take her to jail for sure.

I became a little more serious with her and said, “I don’t care about your traffic warrants from other jurisdictions, and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt when you say this isn’t your car and you didn’t know about the plate being illegal. You’re twenty-two years old though, so it’s time for you to get your shit together, don’t you think?”

“Yes. I think so.”

“Hey, you can drive a car, so I’m sure you can get a license. It costs like twenty dollars or so. Can you imagine how much better it’d be to have a valid license and not become a nervous wreck everytime a cop is behind you?”

She chuckled, “yes. You’re so right about that.”

“Okay, I’m gonna leave. Since you don’t have a license, please don’t drive at all, or at least until I’m gone. Tell me you’re walking home.”

“I have to walk home?!”

“I said I want you to tell me that you’re walking home, or taking a bus.”

Another quizzical look…

“I don’t want to SEE you drive this car away, but I’m going to leave and be out of sight shortly. Whatever happens when I’m gone happens. Understand?”

She smiled a great big, white toothed smile and said, “Yes. Thank you.”

“Bah! Get your shit together,” I said as I was walking towards my car with my back to her.

“Officer,” She said.

I stopped and turned to find her walking towards me.

“Can I give you a hug?”

I was caught off guard. Nobody has ever asked me that on a traffic stop.

“I never turn down hugs,” I said, and that’s the truth.

So we hugged, right there on the street in North St. Louis. A petite twenty-two year old black woman and a not so petite EARLY forties white man must have been quite a sight because the two mechanics across the street looked at us like we both had three heads.

As I opened my door to get into my car, one of them gave me a thumbs up, even though there’s no way he could have known what just happened.

I gave him a nod and a thumbs up in return and drove off hoping that three more people have a little bit more faith in the officers who serve their community.

Other than the hug, this is a very typical encounter when I conduct a traffic stop. I lose interest pretty fast, especially when people don’t act like total douchebags right off the bat. I’m lucky to have some discretion where I work, and this is typically how I choose to exercise mine, particularly now that I have many moons of experience under my belt.

Feel free to tell me if you think I should be more of a hard ass. I probably won’t change, but I’m interested to hear your take.

Posted in Police Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 104 Comments