As I got a cup of coffee earlier this week, I was asked the same old tired question that I have been asked for my 16 1/2 year career. It was by someone who probably thought it was the first time I had heard it, as he asked that age old question, "Are you gonna have a donut with that coffee, officer?" I say, "No, just coffee tonight", proceed to the counter, pay for my life's blood, and head back out to the cruiser.
At first, I was annoyed. Being an overweight officer, I tend to take it more personally than I should, but then, I figured, he's just one of "those guys".
So, I figured, I'd share a little background on the stereotype we love to hate so much, the cop and the donut.......
Do a Google search on the topic and I'm sure you will find many variations on the old tale, but this is how it was explained to us in the Academy. Yes, we actually talked about it in the Police Academy. It was during another class about dealing with diversity.
Back in the days before 24 hour convenience stores, and an "after dark" menu at the Taco Bell, midnight shift beat officers were up to their own devices and creativity for refreshments and sustenance.
Enter the bakeries. The neighborhood bakery would open in the wee early morning to start baking for the morning rush. Police being the resourceful individuals we are, would buy a few donuts, and a cup of java while doing a business check at the opening establishments.
Donuts being made of sugary, carbohydrate goodness, was the perfect snack, and compliment to the hot cup o' joe. Hence, a match made in heaven.
Besides, they are delicious, and EVERYONE likes donuts.
***** FUNNY THING********
As I sat to write this at the end of my shift, I was dispatched to a 10-50 (motor vehicle collision) involving a car into a building. Yup, you guessed it. The car hit a Dunkin' Donuts.
Can't make this shit up,
OK. Here is one for the books. I went on a domestic call today that was over.......wait for it..........
A slice of Pizza!
Yup. Apparently the wife bought a pizza, the husband took a slice of said pizza, and an argument ensued to the point where the wife called 9-1-1.
Yup. Pizza. Can't make this stuff up.
I know so far these yarns have been funny, and I intend to tell mostly the up side of police work and misadventures that can have a laugh at ole' Shamus, but I feel compelled to tell a serious one today.
One of my first calls yesterday was responding to a Family Violence call. This situation involved a young man of 17 who was transgender. He wanted to be a woman, and was living as one. His mom didn't, or refused to, understand or relate with him as a person. When I met him, I asked him how he wanted to be addressed, and he gave me his female name. For the rest of our dealings, I addressed her as she wished. I wound up having to take her to the ER for a mental evaluation due to her possibly taking pills. While she had to be admitted as a male, I made sure the staff understood the situation. When I was leaving, she told me that that was the first time she felt like a person, and thanked me.
Old Shamus did a good job. Calls like this where I can bring a bit of dignity to someone who has been degraded have always been important to me. Too many times we as Police are driven to slap the band aid on, and move on to the next one. I think we all need to stop and see the person involved in the situation and actually do the job.
Be kind to each other. It doesn't cost anything, and might actually make the day go easier.
This one is fairly recent. While I have been on the shelf they have me answering phones at the ole' Police station and writing reports for misdemeanors with no suspects, or things that we don't necessarily need to send a patrolman out on.
Well, last week I fielded a call from this gent, who called in to report both the passenger side doors to his Toyota stolen. As first, I thought he was yankin' my chain and it was someone prankin' the police. Nope. This dude was serious as a heart attack. He wound up sending me a picture of the car, because we both had a pretty good chuckle at the obscurity of the situation.
In my 14 years at this job, I can say I have never taken a report for someone stealing the doors right off a car as it is parked in front of someone's house. Jeep doors, and the bikini top being stolen, I have heard of, but not a regular passenger car.
Well, lock your cars gang, they might just take the doors off.
....what the hell is THAT doing there?
Cops, by nature are supposed to be brave and fearless, right? Well, we are human, too.
One night when I was on mids, I get a call from a friend of mine who works the next beat over. We'll call her Officer June. Well, June calls me on the cell phone and asks where I am. I had just pulled into a 7-11 by a strip mall in the center of the district to buy some cop juice (coffee). She asks me to meet her behind the strip mall 'cause she is having some car trouble and needs some help.
Well, let's start out by saying, I don't know shit about cars. I can drive em. Change the oil, put gas in them, some minor stuff, but that's it. I am always looking in the owners’ manual for stuff.
Well, off I go, cup in hand to help my buddy. Now June isn't your typical girlie girl. She is about six foot and built like a linebacker. She is also a true friend. She really helped me out on mids, and get adjusted to the cop life and figure out how to use one of those new fangled computer things. It was 1999, after all.
I pull into the back of the parking lot and drive over to where her car is parked. I get out and she comes running over, screaming, " Get it out of there! Get it out! Get it out! Get it out!". I look towards her car, and between the light bar and the roof is a bird. Wings a flapping. Making all sorts of sounds, but it is really messed up. Blood and guts everywhere.
I start laughing. Like a lot. June starts yelling, "Shamus, stop messing around and get that damn thing off my car!" I pull out my baton, walk around to the back of the light bar and like I am breaking the rack, I shoot between the roof and the bar. Plunk! The bird dislodges, rolls down the windshield, and across the hood onto the ground. It flaps a few times and stops. She takes one look at the bird, and says, "Is it dead?" I look over, yup. It's dead. She looks over at me and says, "Shamus, I can't pick it up. It's so gross. I hate dead birds."
So, I pick it up and fling it into the grass. Then I ask her the question that begs to be asked, "What the hell was THAT doing in THERE?"
Well, apparently she was driving down a road near some trees, and a line of birds went low and slow across the street, and one of them was a little too low, and too slow. She said when it got stuck it made an awful racket. She heard it flapping and scurrying around on the roof all the way to the strip mall.
I still get a chuckle every time I see a group or birds a little too low and slow. But not cause one got stuck. No, cause one got stuck, and scared the hell out of June. I have never seen her act that scared before, or after. It was really funny.
How NOT to get out of a ticket….
You know, I was sitting at my parents house one particular family cook out, and my uncle came over and asked, "Shamus, what is the craziest thing someone said to you to try to get out of a ticket?"
Well I sat there a minute, took a long drag of my diet Dr. Pepper, and said, "well. You know how people always seem to need to use the bathroom at the most inopportune times?". He said, "yeah". I then began to tell him this here story.
I was working the midnight shift one particular summer evening, and was pulling traffic looking for drunk drivers. That is the sort of thing you do on miss. Look for drunks. The bosses love drunks.
Well I'm sitting on the shoulder of the road and I happen to have a radar gun that I borrowed from a buddy of mine who was on vacation. This car goes screaming by me at 20 miles over the limit. So I pull out, hit the headlights and go after him. He goes up the hill and turns right on this one road by a 7-11 and was headed back to a neighborhood. I catch up to him at the light, make the right and when I get behind him, I switch on the rollers (over head light bar - this was before strobes and LEDs).
The car pulls over in this dark part of the road. We are about a mile or so from that 7-11 now and all that is near are courts and roads that spur off this dark road. I make my way up to the car, typical cop style, flashlight out, shining it all throughout the car looking for hunky stuff and guns and stuff. I get up to the window, and this dude don't look so good. I think, yeah, got a drunk. So as I'm talking to this dude, I'm smelling him to see if I can smell alcohol. I don't.
I do the old, "sir, why are you doing 20 over the limit tonight?" routine when the dude yelps out, "I have IBS and I gotta shit!". So I ask where he lives and it is still quite a bit down the road, I ask why he didn't stop at 7-11, he said they don't like people using their bathroom. Now I use that bathroom. I used it earlier. So I start thinking he is full of shit...figuratively. He starts balling, and doing that shaky leg I-gotta-go thing. He is sweating and turning green, begging to use the bathroom. So I say to him, "well. I tell you what. I have to check your record, why don't you hit the woods over there and do your thing?". I'm thinking he will have an excuse or say he can wait, and I can say then he could have been driving slower...you know?
Well. He asks for toilet paper. I say I have some 7-11 napkins, and offer them to him. He takes them scampers off and by the time his license check comes back, he comes moseying out of the wood line without the napkins.
Well, his record was clean, and if he was lying, it was certainly creative. I wrote him for a lesser violation I observed, and cut him loose.
Now, I don't recommend letting your traffic stops take a dump in the woods, but this is one of those cases where you are dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. And it was like one in the morning. I'm sure if he would have crapped in his pants, I would have been in the sergeant's office getting my ass chewed.
The next time something like this happened, I was in the same area, so I just followed the dude back to 7-11, and told him to beg the clerk to let him use that one. It was a lot safer for all involved.