Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Talk About Timing

As an officer is patrolling he sees a car burning in an apartment complex. As he is making his way to the gate another car shoots out of the same complex and speeds down the streets with the lights off. Well, this is considered a clue. Literally, where there is smoke there is fire. The officer chases down the car and gets it stopped. All the occupants are arrested. Come to find out, they torched the car after stealing it and were making their get a way. Good job officer!

Friday, February 20, 2009

How I Knew These Guys

I mentioned in my previous post about two vice officers I knew from the past. Well here is the story of how we met.

***harp playing***

I worked in the hood. One of the most dangerous parts of town and I loved it! I get a call from some guys on the gang task force that I never met before. They are looking for a gang banger who goes by Q. I have never heard of him, but I have heard of his bitch wife. Now, you may think I'm harsh for referring to her as a bitch but there is a reason. Let me acquaint you with some of the principal characters in our little drama.

Q- Male gang banger
Jo-His bitch wife
Mook-A rival female gangbanger

I was already acquainted with Mook. She was originally a hurricane Rita evacuee who was dealing drugs while living in an apartment paid for by your tax dollars. I met her when I arrested her girlfriend. I was doing something when her girlfriend walked by making a snide comment. I identified her and she left. I later ran her and found out she had a felony warrant out of New York. I couldn't believe it! This bitch was making snide comments with a warrant. So I drove around the area looking for her and I finally found her walking on a sidewalk. I got out and slapped cuffs on her. She began complaining about retaliation. I told her she had a warrant, and perhaps she should shut her damn mouth because that is what tends to get her in trouble. Mook comes out and I learn that was her lover.

I had heard of Jo. She too was an evacuee and living off of your tax dollars. She got thrown out of one apartment complex because she threatened to shoot up another tenant over food stamps. A few weeks later she is caught fighting with Mook in the middle of the damn street. Jo takes off running and leaves her car. A few weeks later Mook crashes through an apartment gate trying to run over Jo. The next day Jo's husband Q shoots at Mook's vehicle. I also know that Jo is wanted for theft charges (but I didn't know until later she was also wanted on a parole warrant).

I get a call from some gang task force officers looking for Q. They brief me on what is going on and I bid them good day. About two hours later I see Jo's vehicle coming out of an apartment complex. Well I didn't know if it was her, but it was the same make/model. So I pull it over. The driver says he is Q and inside my heart is racing. That woman in the passenger seat trying to look at me has to be Jo. So I snatch Q and cuff him and throw him in my car. I then talk to the woman who gives me a false alias that I knew Jo uses. I wound up arresting Jo and sending her back to prison. Q went to jail for warrants, but first I called those guys and said I had Q if they wanted to talk to him. They were amazed two hours after talking to me I found their man for them. It was a proud moment!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shag Shack

I always miss the fun! I found out a house had been raided so I go over and see some familiar faces. Two guys and a sergeant I recall from my days in the hood (see next post). I learn that they just raided a house. The guy who lived there is an old man, cancer stricken and wears a colostomy bag. Everyone knew he was a big porno hound. Okay, nothing illegal nor really wrong with that. Although if I were having people over or received an unexpected visit from the police I wouldn't have my porn collection right out in the open. Years ago when I worked night shift I remember a disturbance call. He called saying a female 'guest' was causing a disturbance. Come to find out the female 'guest' was a hooker that he was done with and wanted us to make her leave. That pissed us off. We're not going to be an unofficial hooker taxi for him because he's done. Another officer went out there and told him if he did it again we'd make his life hell and he quit calling us.

Well, a few weeks ago his operation had the whistle blown. We received a call regarding shots fired at a residence. While en route a witness calls in saying there is a man beating another man in the front yard and they drug him back into the house. The officers arrive at the house and bang on the door. The old man, K answers acting like nothing is going on. Based on the information of a victim being drug inside the officers push past the man and find the victim in the back yard bound and gagged by a swimming pool! He was about to be tossed in the pool for whatever reason. He starts singing like Brittney Spears and tells us that K is selling drugs and running hookers out of his house. Skip ahead a few days and his home gets raided. I walk around and find a "shag shack" in his back yard. It is a simple shed with a mattress. On the door is a roll of paper towels for the inevitable 'messes' afterwards. Photographs litter three sides of the rooms. By photographs I mean action shots. Pictures of his hookers having sex with 'clients' in the room. Of course my sense of humor takes over and I'm wondering why can't I have parties like these. Hell, K is old with the bag and he gets more action than I do. Now that's pretty ***damn depressing!

I Hate To Be An Armchair Quarterback But...

I try not to second guess other officers scenes unless I'm there and can actually see what's going on. However this disturbs me. A man kidnapped a woman to ransom her for his two children. That should show you this guy's thought process isn't all there. Officers respond to the complex and find the kidnapper and his victim in the car.

"Officers went to the apartments on Bissonnet and surrounded Harris’ sedan, trying to talk him into surrendering."

"He refused, but one officer managed to slip up on the car, grab the woman and yank her out before Harris could stop him, Wilson said."

"At about the same time, Alexander (officer) grabbed the pistol and Harris grabbed her."

"The two remained there, struggling for control of the pistol, as Alexander tried to calm Harris and persuade him to give up...."

"Officers from HPD’s Special Weapons and Tactics team surrounded the car and one of them finally ended the standoff with his Taser"

The beginning paragraph of this story reads;
"A Houston police officer and a kidnapping suspect held tightly onto a .45-caliber pistol — and each other — for about 90 minutes this morning before the man finally was subdued with a Taser, ending a SWAT standoff without injury."

So, if I read this correctly, at least two officers (from the unknown number surrounding the car) made a move rescuing the hostage and securing the gun. However the officer and kidnapper held on for 90 minutes while SWAT was being mobilized and en route to the scene only to end it with a taser. Well, what the hell were the other officers doing? Street officers carry tasers why couldn't one of them use it. Were they afraid of the Chronicle coverage of the taser use? Why? Why? Why? Why did those officers have to wait for their SWAT team to do something they could have done?

This Happens Sometimes

One of my friends walked up to me and told me about this. He drove up on it as the truck was on fire and people were telling him the motorcycle and its rider was underneath. He isn't thrilled that he could only call for help while the man burned to death. I feel the man was already dead by the time he got there. The fire department arrived and put out the fire to find the man's legs protruding from the smoldering wreckage. Hopefully after a couple of days my friend will be better. Nobody wants to drive up on a fatal accident. Especially to learn the guy had a family. Unfortunately he was riding that motorcycle too damn fast.

Monday, February 16, 2009

This Is Funny

A buddy of mine sees some suspicious people walking through an apartment complex. As he drives and drives up to them they take off running. Okay, typically common behavior in that part of town. He jumps out of the car and goes chasing them down and catches one of them. As he's returning to his patrol car he hears a sickening impacting sound then a crashing sound. In his zeal to chase down what turned out to be kids skipping school, he rapidly put his gear in R thinking it was in P. His patrol car backed up, hit a pole supporting a car port and promptly brought it down. Fortunately there were no cars parked underneath. So, every time I see him I get to tease him about the difference between a P and an R on the gear shift.

Someone's Sweet Grandmother, But it's Got to be Done

For years I sometimes direct traffic as an extra job. It's an easy $120 for four hours work that I stash in my savings account. On my first day I almost got ran over by a little old lady. Over time we all got to recognize her and the profile of her head barely reaching over the steering wheel. We always wished we could find out who she was so we could sent a request to the state mandating she get a physician's approval to continue driving. Well, after 6 years the opportunity arose.

I got flagged down in the middle of a major street saying an old lady is all over the road. I find the car and it looks vaguely familiar. I pull her over and the poor thing has trouble stopping, well actually she isn't stopping. I know she just can't see her mirror. When she finally does stop I get to talk to her. I learn this is the same woman we all know from directing traffic. I spent the next half hour, on the side of the road trying to politely explain she really should rethink her driving. It maybe that her Lincoln is too big for her. She is a very small, 84-year old lady. After that half hour I realized she really was a sweet old lady. The last thing she would ever want to do is hurt another person with her driving. She also reminded me of my 89-year old grand mother. For years we'd been pleading with her to stop driving but she's stubborn and refused. It finally took her plowing through road construction crew and nearly hitting people (and not realizing it) before we persuaded her doctor to stop her from driving. As I was talking to the old lady I was mentally debating whether or not I was going to fill out the medical form and send it to DPS. I didn't have to heart to tell her this, I just couldn't. After pleading with her to either get a smaller car or reconsider driving I was torn on whether or not I should fill out the form to have her prove her eligibility to drive. She's a widow, and on this particular day was coming from a funeral. On the other hand, I've seen her bad driving for years and perhaps her family has been trying to beg her to stop driving. So, when I return to work I will reluctantly do it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Close Call

It started with a simple traffic stop as does most big pops do. A car with two occupants ran a stop sign and got pulled over. Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't run. Turns out these two clowns had just broken into the car of an undercover officer and stole his weapons, his ballistics vest. They also snagged a list of nearly 200 officers' names, addresses (many of them undercover). These guys also had stolen the officer secret manuals. Talk about a close call. Nearly 200 officers would have been compromised by these two felons. Good job to that officer who was alert that night!

"Get your butt home!"

A woman called us to her house. The call said her husband was having an affair and she only wanted a male officer to come to her house. My initial thought was she trying to get pay back and this was the wrong way to do it. At least wait until the officer is off duty! Just kidding! Anyhow, we get there and she tells us that her husband is spending too much time at the gym where there are too many younger, hot women. She wanted us to call him and tell him to get home. I had to stand there, oh so many quips were forming just itching to be said. I can only imagine the man working out at the gym, probably checking out the women there. When his cell phone rings;


"Sir this is officer George! Your wife is pissed and wants you to bring your butt home now!"

Another officer beat me to the quip. He suggested she go to the gym with him and check out all the young guys. Of course he didn't mention probably half of them are gay. We then left the house.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Witch and the Transit Cop

I knew this would make me late for dinner. However I felt I should go by. A woman was causing a disturbance on a bus. Normally this is a matter for the transit police. They handle all matters involving the public transportation buses, train, etc. A few minutes before I arrive they announce on the radio she is being combative. I get there to see a miserable looking Hispanic female sitting on the grass in handcuffs. I talk to the bus driver who says she was dropping off mentally ill passengers (how would you like that job) when this one jumped in the driver seat. Thankfully the key wasn't in the ignition or we'd have a TV style chase with a crazy woman behind the wheel of a stolen bus. Anyway, the crazy woman assaulted the bus driver claiming she was a witch. While I'm hearing this the crazy woman calls us all evil. Normally I'd be very unsympathetic and impatient. However something about this woman caused me to actually feel sorry for her. I also saw this as a chance to practice my CIT skills. I crouched down face to face and spoke in the softest, gentlest voice I could muster. I was trying to get her name, address, information, etc. She was toying with me saying she was Shakira. The bus driver didn't want to press charges on the crazy woman because of her mental state and because she (the driver) "loves everybody!" I can understand. This woman is seriously deranged. So the only thing left to do is to take her to the mental hospital. Another officer tells me that the bus driver's civilian supervisor is coming to take the woman.

"Oh hell no!" I announce. We got this woman in handcuffs and no civilian is going to come sweep this under the rug. We're either releasing the woman to the transit police or to the mental hospital. That's it! The transit officer finally arrives. He's brand new because he clearly has no idea what to do with her. We had to teach him. We should have told the transit authority to f*** off and let us handle it!

Best Story He Could Come Up With

Two officers just finished taking a burglary report. Someone walked in a resident's garage and stole a bunch of items including a bicycle. A few minutes later the resident walks outside probably reflecting on what happened to him. He then spots a guy riding down the street in front of his house, on his bicycle. The resident confronts him. The rider says something in Spanish and brandishes a machete. The guy calls police while chasing him into a nearby fiesta parking lot where he was arrested. When asked where he got the stolen bicycle his answer was an unknown person gave him the bicycle and told him to return it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Test

I'd like for you all to watch this video and tell me is this a good shooting or not!

Diversity usually the last thing they want....

Maybe I'm cynical but when I read this I had to sigh and shake my head. I'm not against diversity. My experience has been "diversity" means in appearance only.

"....left stacks of applications at meetings of several groups, including the Harris County Tejano Democrats and the Houston Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Political Caucus."

Great! None of these people have a chip on their shoulder. I doubt these people can put their prejudices and biases aside and look at the facts. These are the people who will use the grand jury to make political statements resulting in innocent people being indicted and guilty people being no-billed.

"An outspoken opponent of Harris County’s grand jury system, Joseph Gutheinz, Jr. said the typical 12-person grand jury with two alternates is not representative of the community.
“Most people who are indicted in our community are young, poor, black, Hispanic or another minority. They don’t reflect what appears on the grand jury, which is white, better educated, more affluent, more conservative and predominantly male,” the former federal agent, attorney and juror said

So Mr. Gutheinz doesn't want well educated whites. He'd rather have poor, uneducated grand jurors. I suppose this is the grand jury he'd like.

My First Pursuit

I thought I'd share the story of my first pursuit. It made the local news because another officer went to the hospital. Two women went to the hospital, and I took out a traffic light.

It was almost time for dinner, lunch, breakfast, whatever. I worked night shift and it was nearly 4 in the morning. I'm coming up to a street and this motorcycle goes by practically at the speed of sound. I'm thinking I can stop this guy, give him a warning for speeding (since I couldn't actually use my radar, it was one of those situations you can see the vehicle is going too fast). I catch up to him and stop him. At first he stops. He then turns his head and looks at me. Unknown to me he is sizing me up. He then takes off. I think my first reaction was "oh sh**!" I couldn't believe what just happened. So, I go after him. Chasing a motorcycle in a car is very difficult. A motorcycle is basically pure engine with a seat built into it. We raced down several streets, onto the highways and was joined by another agency. The man turned into a neighborhood and lost me, but not other officers. As he came out I was turning around to catch up. He turned up a street at an intersection where the traffic light sits on a post, in an island in the middle of the intersection. A dumb place to put a traffic light if you ask me. A block ahead an officer crashes into a car with two ladies. They all go to the hospital. I take the turn too fast and then try to hit the brakes. I skid up onto the island and crash into the traffic pole. At this time the radio traffic of the first officer's crash was being broad casted. I dreaded getting on the air to announce I'd just been involved in a crash. With great reluctance I uttered "23 crash!" I could already hear my supervisor cursing my name from miles away. I layed out that traffic pole just right, I obliterated it. All I did to my patrol car was lose a hubcap and dent the front license plate. Hell, I could have probably driven off, but I'm not that kind of guy. My supervisor comes out as does another officer to work the crash. I remember him asking how to write the report. Well it was obvious, I was at fault. He then asks if he should issue me a citation! I look at him and think "if he even tries to write me a ticket I'm gonna dropkick his ass right here and now!" The supervisor looked at him incredulously and said "no citation he was running emergency traffic remember!" While we were there, the suspect came fleeing through the intersection with about five officers on his ass. He looked at me briefly as if taunting me. He eventually surrendered when the helicopter hit him with the spot light. His reason for running, his license was suspended and he didn't want to go to jail. I drove the patrol car to the garage. I ended up with a written reprimand. I was cool with it, if that's all I was getting I was happy. Now today I'd probably be suspended. Our administration is more apt to hand out heavy punishments despite a written "progressive discipline" philosophy.

The next morning my family and peers saw the news footage. "A wild police chase last night on the south west side ended with two separate crashes, three people in the hospital and two police cars wrecked!" They showed footage from the more serious crash, then at the very end a two second clip of my patrol car on top of the traffic light. I could almost hear the "waa waa waaaaaaaaaa" in the background.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Friday. Typically I cannot work a Saturday and get off on time. Why I don't know. Usually because people tell me I can't keep my eyes, nor mouth shut.

A call comes in of a missing 8-year old girl. The units are sent emergency with lights and sirens running. However, the girl has been missing for four hours. Not like she just vanished. With about six cars flying at break neck speed to someone missing for hours was not prudent nor safe. I told them all to slow down. Now, some may think "George it's a missing child you need to get there pronto!" I agree. However in my view, running code 1 (as we call it) is dangerous and should be reserved for in progress emergencies. The kid has been missing for four hours before we were even called. That means family and friends have already been looking for her. Plus, in this case I feel it was more for show for spectators than for practical purposes. I get there and learn we haven't talked to the girl's parents. I'm starting to wonder if we even have a missing child since the parents hadn't called us. After some confusion we learn another child called us to report the girl missing. While everyone is out looking for the girl, I start looking for her parents. Before I go off hunting I want to hear it from the parents who are normally eager to meet with us and give us anything we need to find their child. The fact that the parents can't be found nor contacted bothers me. We also learn that she has a habit of wandering off. One evening she was found in the park, by herself at night. Another night she was wandering the streets and someone on a motorcycle brought her home. This bothered me as well. I decided to notify CPS (childrens protective services) because clearly the parents weren't keen on supervising their child. While shuffling through confusing stories and mistaken identities the girl comes riding her bike back into the park where she was. She doesn't understand why people are hovering around her. She said she was playing with a friend named Jake that nobody knew. The worse case scenario was that this girl was at a child molester's house for the last four hours. She doesn't know Jake's last name or how old he is, but that he's a kid. We also find out the girl lives with her grandparents and not her parents. Her parents are in Connecticut and her mother is in rehab for heroin addiction. I can't help but wonder if she used during pregnancy because this girl's behavior was, well slow for lack of a better word. We get her to show us where she was. A man opens the door and his family, including 4-year old Jake was standing behind him. We all breathed a sigh of relief and called it a day.

Later on in the shift I'm filling up some coffee when an officer gets on the radio with his siren blaring stating he's got one refusing to stop. By the time I get there it's all over and the driver is in custody. He had three warrants and I think he was just trying to get his truck to a parking lot hoping it wouldn't be towed. He played dumb trying to deny that he knew he was being followed. Yet when you see the tape the officer is right up on his tail and when he's being arrested he's apologizing.