Alive and well in the hood…

The trail of blood stopped then started again on the sidewalk across the street. Droplets led west on the sidewalk into a gangway then disappeared.

“Who dar?” A woman yelled out her back door.

“Police ma’am. Did you see anyone come into your backyard recently?” I asked.

“Ain’t nobody been on my property who don’t belong.” She insisted.

I stifle my annoyance and point out to her that there is blood on her side walkway.

“Well I didn’t see nothing,” she says before going back into her house.

Her indifference is both amusing and aggravating to me.

There are over 50, WAY over 50, shell casing on the street and sidewalk, some from an AK assault rifle. An old man’s two cars have taken some serious collateral damage while parked at the curb. I feel bad for him, but he’s taking the assault on his cars, broken windows, flat tires and holes punctured in the hood and seats, as just another minor nuisance.

The old man’s cars and the shell casings are a good 60 yards from a very bloody porch, and as I’m walking towards him I notice a woman sitting on her front steps smoking a cigarette as our eyes meet.

“Evening, ma’am, how are you?” I asked, mostly out of habit more than anything. I expected her to simply say she was fine or ignore me altogether, but she did neither.

“Terrified.” Is all she said, before taking a last drag from her cigarette and going inside.

I could hear her locking her doors as I stopped in my tracks, slightly stunned by her simple response.

I’ve been back on patrol for about three weeks now. My transfer was sudden and completely unexpected, so it’s taken me a bit to get myself in a good place mentally.

Wife and my own schedules have been thrown into complete disarray, but we’re figuring it out.

I was sent to North St. Louis, which is the undisputed “bad area” of the city.

“Who did you piss off?” I was asked time and again by other officers and family members alike, when they asked me about the move.

Poverty and violence are a part of life in most north side neighborhoods. Many people distrust and dislike the police. Many don’t open doors to talk. Many who do talk say nothing more than, “I didn’t see anything.”

As frustrating as that can be, there have been many people in my short time in the new area who will open their door to talk. They will tell you when they’ve seen something. They will get involved to be a part of the solution to a problem that affects their lives in ways that most of us can’t comprehend.

Those are the people who need better than angry, discontented police officers patrolling their streets, so I’ve made an effort to keep most of my angry discontent away from the public. I find that I’m a much more patient police officer than I was 10 years ago, maybe parenting has helped that to happen.

I work with a good group of guys, most of whom look like they’re 15 years old to me. I don’t understand half the shit they say and they think it odd that I don’t know who Ron Ross is, but they’re willing to listen and even teach an old guy new tricks.

I enjoy not taking my work home with me anymore.

I enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow officers again. I’d forgotten how awesome that is.

Shootings, cuttings, drugs, guns, foot chases, car pursuits…there’s no shortage of fun in North St. Louis, that’s for sure.

And while there are a lot of thugs, shit bags, lowlifes, whatever you want to call them, there are still a lot of good folks living in these neighborhoods too.

There are folks who want to work, play, raise their kids and just live like you and me.

They want to be happy and feel safe in their own homes or out on their streets. If they’re willing to help us help them, then I’m all in to give them whatever help I can.

“Terrified?”

That’s no way for any person to live their life.

 

 

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52 Responses to Alive and well in the hood…

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Agreed. Terrified is no way to live. Good to see you back, Don.

    • Thank you. It’s been tough getting myself motivated to do anything blog related which sucks because I love it. Also, the Blues suck. Damn, I can’t believe I thought it may be different this year. lol.

      • 1jaded1 says:

        I was so bummed. I hate the Hawks and I’m going to start rooting for them…maybe they will lose. Which team do you want to see hoist the cup? I would love to see the Habs or Gers win.

  2. claywatkins says:

    Glad to hear you are well. I believe most people want to live on peace, but it’s the pebble in our shoe – a small group of people – who make life miserable for us. I am grateful there are folks like you serving the community – making it safer for all of us.

    No one wants to be terrified.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. cookie1986 says:

    I was wondering where in the hell you’ve been. In the hood apparently.
    Anyway, you’ve been missing all sorts of fun over at my blog. What up, Don-O?

    • Lol. I’ve not been online too much, no. I did read you mother fucking something or other recently, but the phone app wouldn’t let me comment so I just said fuck it. I’m trying to get back into this thing though. How’s the little man and destroyer doing?

      • cookie1986 says:

        The offspring are good. Buddy’s almost walking, can you believe it?
        I had to take a little hiatus myself, kids were not sleeping and I was teetering dangerously between crazy and delirious. In hindsight, it might have made for some delightfully bitchy blogging.
        And you are away from your desk and back on the street? What provoked this change of heart? What did i miss?

  4. Nadia says:

    Don, you’re back! You’ve been missed. Patrol must be a major change, but it must feel good to make a difference on the streets.

  5. Paul says:

    Welcome back Don! Are you going to blog about the streets? It would be neat to hear what’s going on from a real cop instead of the media or TV programs.

    • I’ve been thinking about incorporating that into the blog, yes. There seems like there should be so much material, it’s just putting it all together without crossing any lines that’s tricky. I forget that people are interested in police crap for some reason. Lol. Hope you’re doing well.

  6. The apartment we were renting previously was in a less than ideal neighborhood. Sure, the rent was low but everyweek somebody was stabbed, shot, robbed or assaulted. After a year, my family and I were lucky we were able to get out and found a much safer place. Rent is making us gasp for air at times but much much safer. I feel bad for those who are left with very little choice. Bless you for doing what you’re doing.

    • tric says:

      Good to know you haven’t pissed the bad guys off yet! I nursed for a short time in inner City Dublin. A real eye opener but learned so much about people and goodness despite appearances. Just in case your ever tempted don’t be a hero!

      • I have met some of the kindest people over there too! But it’s just sad that things like this is a common incident.

      • Hahaha, I’m no hero, tric, and have no desire to do anything that risks me not going home at the end of my shift. Dublin sounds amazing. I may have to visit. There’s a 1/2 marathon in Cork sometime soon, no? You should run that.

    • Thanks, lady! These people deserve to have caring police officers instead of the officers being given last chances, if that makes sense. There’s a definite trust issue, but I think more people are coming around on both sides.

  7. JayNine says:

    Lol! Funny, i too have lived for MANY years in a “low income” area. I had enough about 6 years ago & left the prostitues behind. I have family that still manages to strive in that neighbourhood–for me I just got tired. Tired of being afraid, of watching my tween be asked if she wanted drugs was MY LAST STRAW: I do NOT make anymore money Now than I did then. I make serious sacrifices & still beg borrow & steal to live in the neighbourhood we do now. Funny though, i have had my Teens bike stolen, toddlers second-hand scooter stolen, had my apartment flooded which left us homeless w/2 kids for a month, callled police & bee verbally & physically attack by my psycho neighbour, & im sure theres a few other things i have missed… But my point: i have the biggest assholes & losers around me here in “perfec-topia”! Lol! I even cursed the heavens once questioning why i left “Dope-Town” for this a million times more has happened to us here, than there! LOL! My point, I just appreciate how you look out for those in the not so safe neighbourhoods. STAY the same patient as you are, be teue to remaining in this “honeymoon phase” & thank you for giving safety to the hardworking folk of those parts! I have learned much from those people, & i have been one but, i try to look at each one NOW as “my lost brother”–just needs to be shown the Light. You gotta be the Light in their Darkness: maybe thats why YOU ARE THERE xox Your Supportive Reader, J9 ;)

  8. K I must be old too who is this Ron Ross dude?

  9. Twindaddy says:

    You’re a much braver man than I, Don. I don’t know that I’d be able to patrol neighborhoods like that.

    • Bah, you could do it and do it well my friend. It’s rough at times, but more often than not it’s rewarding. You’d love it. Well, maybe not so much the violence, but the other stuff.

  10. The Cutter says:

    Seems like the police could use more people like you out there.

    • This Brony thing is killing me, dude. Lol. Thanks, man. I get a lot of “you’re not like most cops” and I take it as a compliment every time. It takes all kinds I guess.

  11. Save all of your angry discontent for us. We’re the only ones who truly appreciate it anyway. And for the love of God, don’t get shot.

    • Hahaha, not getting shot is always tops on my list of daily priorities my friend. Hope the family is doing well. I needs to get over to your blog to do a little catching up.

  12. I want to clone you and bring you to my neighborhood.

  13. Kristi Campbell - findingninee says:

    I read this from my phone earlier and it’s just as awesome the second time around. Being terrified IS no way to live. I’m glad they have you on their side, and please stay safe m’kay?

  14. Maggie O'C says:

    I have been wondering where you have been. This is a great piece. Let’s be careful out there!

  15. juju333 says:

    Good to see you on the blogosphere. Stay safe. Keeping you in my prayers.

  16. REDdog says:

    Old school AND teachable, you the man Don! God’s luck out there and stay safe. Respect REDdog

  17. Koa says:

    Who is Ron Ross?

  18. Koa says:

    But I really like this piece. I’ve been so gone from blogging. I’m coming back too. From the dark side. :-)

  19. rynolexson says:

    So did you solve the shooting? You can’t just leave us all hanging like that! I’m glad to hear that you are back in a better place, I know that change was a tough one and I’m sure it will work out. I’m terrified just reading this blog…the scene…the people…the shell casing…ekk! Officer Don, I’m rooting for you.

    • Oh young, naive Ryan without a penis. Can we call you that instead of girl Ryan? Hahaha, I like that! RWAP! That’s a RWRAP!! You’re welcome! Anyway, no, the shooters will likely never be identified. When the victims are shitbags, that’s often the case. Still, it’s scary for the decent people living among the riff raff.

  20. flyingplatypi says:

    Glad to have you back!

    Terrified is a horrible state to be in.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

  21. mollytopia says:

    Yay you’re back! Terrified would suck. This post makes me super thankful to live in my boring-ass suburban neighborhood : )

  22. I was a police reporter in Utica, N.Y. and worked with a girl who lived in the hood. She told a boss one day, after he made a snarky comment about the area where lived, “Sometimes I think you forget that people live there.” Yes, good people, and like the woman encountered, they are “terrified.”

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