Monday, October 1, 2012

Watching paint dry

Well I have these days I gotta serve as unpaid leave from the incident that almost ended my career. I have quite a few of them, but my LT is a rock star and hooked me up with some good timing. That makes them not so bad. 

Anyway, ole' Shamus can't really sit still the whole time, so I have some chores around to do while I'm off. Last week I had the bright idea to paint my kitchen ceiling. Now I know this has absolutely NOTHING to do with being a cop who is picking up the pieces and moving on, but bear with me a minute. I went on down to the hardware store and was cruisin' up the paint isle when I saw it. They have a ceiling paint that goes on pink and dries bright white. Now, that just blew my mind!  So, ole' Shamus plunks down the cash and buys some. Fast forward two hours, and there I am. Standing in the kitchen, staring up at this pink ceiling, watching it turn bright white. I was impressed, and felt like a total idiot at the same time. What will they think of next?  I will probably buy it, whatever it is....

Well this week, I am doing some work at Mrs. Shakleford's mom-mom's house. I get to do some plumbing, and light carpentry. 

I like that kinda work. I like looking back and seeing something tangible from my hard work. Something I can see, touch, feel, use. 

That's the problem with being a Police. We go out and bust our humps for 9, 10 hour days, at the end we really can't see what we've done. Sometimes we have a case file, or a stack of tickets. But especially now, that everything is going paperless, you really can't see your work. 

Our job is different. We are still held by quotas. {I know, I know, "quotas" are illegal and we aren't supposed to use that word, but a duck is a duck. } But instead of a product, we are "graded" on car stops and lock ups....but mostly car stops.  We respond to folks homes on the worst day they've ever had. To us, it's just another day, to them, it's the end of their world. We show up, we slap a band aid on festering cancer. It is all we can do. We keep peace, enforce laws, protect lives. 

Someone asked me once if Police-work was rewarding. I answered that question lime this, Police-work in itself is not rewarding. It is ball-breaking, and hard work for little pay, and a strained home life. It is, however, fulfilling. At the end of the day, you can look at yourself in the mirror and know that you're doing the best you can and doing the work. You are a Police. A sheepdog,the protector. 

When you're on the job, you never truly know the extent of the impact you make on someone. Most people don't think to say "thanks", or send a note, so we never know how the situation ends after we step off the porch. 

It's about closure. As a Police, you never get it. That is one thing that takes a bit to get used to. But trust IS worth it. 

If there are any Police out there reading this, what type of "regular" type work or hobby do you have to help you stay grounded?

For anyone else who aren't on the job, please pass this link around, tell your friends, and drop me a note, or ask a question down there in the comments.  Let me know how you like these stories. 

'Til next time....stay safe. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New beginnings?

Well, I've been a little busy for the past few weeks and haven't written anything for a bit.  Looking at the stats of this page, I see that I have had a few hits lately, I think its pretty cool. If you are a reader, share this link.  

The work thing has been pretty cool lately. As I said before, I wound up going to a different shift in the same district I work.  I used to work with the Lieutenant as a LT and as a Sgt before. He is a good guy.   

Well it came time for Ole' Shamus to start taking his days off without pay, and I have done a few.  It is a weird feeling to be sitting home and knowing that you ain't getting paid, and this just ain't a vacation day. It takes the fun out of it.  I have been taking thinks in stride, though. I'll get through these days by November, then hopefully this will just be a lesson learned, and not an ordeal to go through. 

Well this blog started as a mid 30's dude watching his career fizzle out and fade away, trying to pick up the pieces and move on.  Well, I am still a mid 30's dude watching his dream career fizzle to an end, and I am picking up the pieces. Now, by "fizzle out" the original meaning was meant to mean immediate. Now I find myself after watching my job almost escape me looking at the reality that none of us want to accept when we pin on that badge.  This job ain't gonna last forever.  I have 6 years to go until I am eligible for retirement.  I still have no real plan on what is in store for ole' Shamus.   That was something that hit hard while I was in trouble and treadin' water. 

In the last few weeks a good friend of mine was recently retired on disability. He is my age, and was on the department for 15 years.  A fight with a drunk a few years ago started his battle with injury. He fought his way back, then a different fight with a turd on PCP he blew out the same knee after turd mule kicked his same knee and tore it to hell.  This buddy of mine is now done. D O N E.  15 years of crushing crime over. I feel bad for him because he was the job. He was truly a good cop. A true friend, and an all around good guy.  He made his mistakes in the past, learned from them, and moved on. He is what we needed out there.  I wish him luck in his new start on life, and what ever he chooses to do in the future. 

Now, this had me doin' some lookin' around. Did y'all know that the age range for career changes is usually in the early to mid 40's?  That is the age that I will be when I hit my 20 mark. So, I will take that and start getting ready for the future.

So, how many of y'all out there are in their 30's and 40's have switched careers, and what did/are you doing now?  Leave a comment below, tell us your story....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Blog Future and layout.

When I first started this blog, I thought I was leaving Law Enforcement, or at the very least, the Department that I work for.  As you can see, that didn't happen.  I got lucky.

I found that writing for an unknown audience is therapeutic in it's own way, so I am going to keep it up.

However, this time, I am revamping the intent of this blog into how my life has changed.  Instead of picking up the pieces and moving on in a different direction, I will be picking up the pieces, and rebuilding my career.

I will continue to tell "War Stories" in the story tab, and will write updates about what is going on in the posts section.  I have added a new page.  It deals with police suicide.  I encourage y'all to read it and share the link I provided for the National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation with your co-workers.

Take care, and be safe.

Feel free to leave comments or messages down below, I would like to hear from you guys and gals.  I saw in the traffic activity that I had people from Russia reading this blog of mine, and it blew my mind!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Look who's back!

Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years. 

Wow! What a week. Last week, I got a call from the lawyer with the news of my case. The lieutenant in charge of Internal Affairs had sent a final offer, as was decided by the new Chief.

Now, I'm not going to go into details, but basically, I get to keep my job. I had to meet with the IA Lt in the afternoon later that day. He presented the same deal that my lawyer was able to work out, and we spoke about what I did, and how he and the Chief felt that my career was worth salvaging. I have to give them credit and respect. The way they spoke to me was respectful, and put it in a way that I could take ownership of the situation. I was able to see this as an opportunity to move on and improve, not an ass chewing that leaves you feeling like a scalded dog.  

And like that, the next morning, I was reinstated!

I spent the next day driving around the county collecting my weapon and certification card from the academy, my badge and ID card from the quartermaster, my radio from the radio room, my car, computer, and ticket printer from the district. 

I ended up in the same district, but a different Platoon I was on. I also did not get "my" car back, but at least I got a decent car. 

My first day back was yesterday. I really had a sense of pride as I got dressed in my uniform and went off to work. You really don't appreciate what you have until it is stripped from you. The last 10 weeks while I was suspended, I was on a roller coaster of emotions. Now, I get my powers back, and for the first time in a long time, I understand the level of responsibility and sense of duty I have. Before, it was a job.  Just a J O B. I forgot why we do the work. I lost sense of the importance of our line of work. 

Well, it took quite a knock in the pants to get Shamus to re-evaluate what he was doing wrong. One of the most important lessons is to not cut corners to try to clear calls out quickly, and to do the job right the first time. 

Cutting corners almost cost me my career, my pension, and most importantly, my dignity and calling. 

DO the job, folks. Do it RIGHT. It may get pulled out from under you if you don't. Or worse, it could get someone hurt. 

So, keep them belts on, we are going to finish this ride together. Still picking those pieces up, and I'm trying to move on. Why not join me? We'll try and have a good time at it. Don't forget to check the story tab up top. That's where the tall tales, and yarns are hiding. With every new post, I'm going to try to add a new story. 

Until next time......

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is that a light at the end of the tunnel?

Well, in the world of Law Enforcement, things are always changing. In the time since I wrote the last post and now, which in real time had been about three weeks, the department I work for has had a regime change. The Chief had retired, and a new Chief came in. With that came a change in personnel. This was a good thing for me, because now it looks like I get to keep my job. The new administration appears to be a little more forgiving than the old for what I did wrong.

Well, this is a really strange feeling. I was prepared to leave. I was starting to heal the wounds and get used to the idea that I wasn't going to be a police anymore. Now, after I pay my penance, I will get my gun and shield back.

This whole experience has played heavy on my mind. I have learned a great deal about myself and those around me. I see some people for who they are, and I see what is important to me.

Early on I prayed and agreed to let God take complete control of the situation. I tried to give Him complete control and not to stress. That was the hardest part, the not stressing. I was a beast to live with. I have to give a lot of credit to Mrs. Shackleford, for not kickin' my keister to the curb.

Things aren't all done or set in stone yet, and the deal ain't done, but an end is near. I still have a way to go until my ordeal is over, and I will keep the blog going. 

Check back and visit ole' Shamus, we still have a while to go, and stories to tell.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Still a Cop to the neighbors.

You know, it is a real weird feeling not having my police car around anymore.  The agency I work for gives you a take home car.  A lot of agencies around here do it. Well, it's been about two months now since I got suspended, and it's the little things that stick out. Neighbors started asking, "Shamus, where's the car?". I just smile and say, "They have me in the office right now.  Someone else is driving it."  

Well, tonight, I get a knock on the door, and it is a neighbor from down the way. He needs some advice, 'cause some dudes followed his teenaged daughter home and weren't too cool.  While I am chatting with him, it comes up. "Hey, I notice the car isn't around anymore, are you still in the department?"  

Now, I know people don't understand how cop stuff works, so they don't mean it, but, it really sucks.   Every time someone brings it up, I feel a knife in my chest. I feel like I am out of the game, and watching from the stands.  

You know, I am. I am watching my career wind to a close. Old Shamus is resigning, six years earlier than the standard twenty year tour. No pension, no retirement badge, no party, no nothing. 

Well, enough of feeling sorry for myself.  The work front is creeping along.  I have applied to a smaller township department. This township, ironically, works in the same jurisdiction I work for now. Same dispatch system, same reports, same academy. Other than that I have sent my resume out to a few places, filled out some online job applications, and am just waiting for my union lawyer to work out the details of my resignation. 

More on that as it comes. 

The Beginning

You know how if you know a cop, you always want to hear the cool work stories. Well it ain't much different in the old Shackleford family. Every Holliday or bar b que, I hear "hey Shamus, tell us a good one". And if I'm in the mood, or been having a good time and feel chatty, I'll spin a yarn or two.

Well, one day a friend of mine said, "Shamus, you are a funny sonovagun. You ought to do a blog thingy". And I said, "Nah...I could get in deep shit over that". Well. I'm about to quit the cop job, after 14 years, so I figured what the hell, why not start that blog I been kicking around for the past few years. See how it goes.  So here we are......

A little background before we get started.

My name is Shamus. I am a dude in his mid 30's at a crossroads in his life. I am watching my dream career fizzle out and disappear right in front of my eyes. There is not too much I can do about it now.  What's done is done.

The suck part of it is, I did screw up. But in this case, I screwed up at the wrong time, in the wrong way, in the wrong place.

Well, if you like a story of how an aging dude picks up the pieces and moves on, buckle up.  This is gonna be a bumpy ride...

Let's go back in time....... not that far back!

I was hired by a suburban police department in 1998. I started the academy in the fall, and it lasted six months. To say it was fun, would be telling a huge lie. It sucked. I have never been challenged more in my whole life. Mentally physically, and I matured a lot in those six months.

I was 22 years old. I had some community college under my belt, and was a volunteer fire fighter for a neighboring county.  I had seen death and broken bodies before, and was sorta used to the whole public service scene, just from a different point of view.

When I was hired I was a fresh face. No military experience, no real life experiences other than the VFD. I still lived at home until the first weekend I was in academy, when I moved out with the girl who is now my wife.

Oh, I was over weight too.  Well I learned something rather quickly the first day. Drill instructors do not like over weight recruits. I was tortured for six months straight. These two knuckle heads, who neither of them did 20 years on the department either, used to come up to me each morning during inspection.  One would stand on either side of me and say, "Shackleford. I just love the sound of that name. Frank Sinatra should have wrote a song and called it Shamus Shackleford". Let me tell you. That shit got old quick.

Well fast forward, I graduated in the spring of 1999. Still 22, still young, still overweight, but about 25 to 30 lbs less overweight. Proud to say, I even passed the final physical agility test and was awarded the PT ribbon.

My career was less than stellar from the beginning. I was picked on a lot. Rookie hazing type stuff. Now, don't get me wrong here. This ain't a feel bad for old Shamus thing I got going on here. Just a little taste of what horse shit young cops have to go through. Especially if they are a little bit different.

I had a lot of senior officers I looked up to and took the time to show me the right way to do things, and was good to learn from. I also dealt with the typical high school mentality and the cool kid bully horseshit too.

In my close to 14 years I have had great times, and really shitty times. I have been recognized for some really great things I have done, and been busted..or suspended..several times.

In this blog, or story, I want to share with the world, and hopefully pass on some knowledge to younger guys and girls, the unedited side of American Law Enforcement.   I am going to chronicle some stories for y'all. Of course, I’m going to change names, and places. I will have to leave stuff out, and because this is supposed to be entertainment, I am going to keep most of it on the lighter side. No one wants the details spelled out of a gruesome evil done to some kid. I don't want those memories either.

I am also going to talk in real time about my transition from being a Police Corporal in a suburban Police Department into whatever new career or adventure that I move along into.

If y'all want to ask questions, and have any comments feel free.  If it seems that that takes off, maybe we will have an, "ask Shamus" post day.  Who knows, I'm new at this.

So sit back, grab a beverage, maybe a snack, and enjoy the ride.......