Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Page From My Journal

Here are a few more entries from the handwritten journal I kept when I was on the police force:

February 5, 1989

One day in roll call, awhile back, the shift Lt read a report that M had taken about a stolen car. The car had no seats and had to be cranked with a pair of pliers. When the Lt read this, I laughed and said that this was really M's car and he was too ashamed to claim it as one of his. (Note: M is the same officer I wrote about in previous entry, "Tightwad") Everyone laughed because they all knew this was typical of the cars M drove.

February 6, 1989

When we were on our last third shift, there was a fire down at F & S.. An old house at the back of the property burned. A dog came from near the place and looked at all the officers and then back at the house. One officer had already noticed an odd smell and when the dog came up. someone remembered that there was an old man who sometimes stayed there as a self-appointed night watchman. We checked to see if he was in there and, sure enough, he was in there face down in one of the rooms. He was burned pretty badly, so it was awhile before he was found and recognized as human remains. Most of his arms had burned off and what remained had drawn up to his shoulders. He died of smoke inhalation.

February 11, 1989

I had desk duty tonight and I had to deal with a crazy drunk woman on the phone all night long,. She was calling the Crime Stoppers line and started of the bat belligerent and abusive. She started off by saying we weren't worth a damn and didn't care about doing anything. I asked her what the hell was she calling us for then if she believed that.

I took the information she had to give, such as it was, and she cursed at me for not getting emotional about it. She hung up on me when I told her it would be referred to the Sheriff's Department, as it wasn't in our jurisdiction.

Three hours later, she called back to curse at me some more and to demand to know why we hadn't caught him yet. It seems as if all the nuts come out of the woodwork on third shift. But no matter how unbalanced they are or how tenuous of a grip they have on reality, they always remember to call us. No matter what else they're incapable of doing; they're capable of dialing our number.

This Crime Stoppers line, which was meant to be a place where people could give anonymous tips about a variety of crimes, doesn't really work as it was intended to. In reality, it is a nut hotline for people, usually of the paranoid variety, to call when there's no one else who will listen to their paranoid prattle. Sometimes there are legitimate tips, especially when a major crime has recently been committed, but, far and away, the majority of the calls are from these paranoid cranks, who think that all their neighbors are criminals. 99% of the calls are about drugs and the callers either don't realize or don't care that a careful investigation usually must be conducted before a person is arrested for selling drugs. These callers think they can call this line and we'll run right over there and arrest the person in question just on their say-so. And most of the time, they don't tell you enough to go on; not even an accurate address. Plus, the calls are never about any specific incidents; it's always "all the time".

(that same night) I had an interesting nut come in. She came running in here saying that she had been poisoned, but she refused to go to the hospital. I called upstairs and the dispatcher called the Sergeant in, to see if she'd listen to a higher-up better than she did me. While waiting for him to arrive, she kept talking and it dawned on me that she was a Looney Tunes. The clincher was when she said she thought the Black Panthers had done it to her. And she'd driven here from two counties over to tell us this. She said she did this because one of our detectives had told her to stay out of our town.

February 25, 1989

A deaf man came up to me and handed me a piece of paper with a woman's name and address on it. I figured that he wanted me to call her for him. I radioed the dispatcher, explaining what I had and asked her to call the number for him. After the dispatcher called, she relayed that he was a relative of the woman on the phone and I told the dispatcher that he wanted his relative to come pick him up. The woman was very happy and appreciative when she arrived, and it was nice to deal with someone happy for a change, who appreciated our help.

No comments: