Monday, November 30, 2009

A Look Back

I found this picture at my parents house. It is my dad and late uncle taken around 1977. My dad was a small town officer and my uncle was a deputy sheriff in Louisiana. I look at this picture and see it as a window into the past. Times were different back then and so was law enforcement. Granted police got away with more stunts then we do now and it's these guys who are now teaching us younguns to someday teach the new generation (if they bother to listen). The pay back then was abysmal to say the least. Yet these guys didn't do it for the pay. They did it because they wanted to. They wanted to make a difference and were thus exposed to a world and a lifestyle that is embellished in TV. I miss my uncle, he was character. I would listen to his war stories and being a Louisiana officer everything was 'this coon ass or that coon ass!' I remember he would tell me of a beer joint in rural Louisiana that they got called out to every weekend. Since it was the 70s, and it was frequented by black people there was naturally a tension between the deputies and the officers. The officers went in about half dozen and took advantage of the L shaped design. They would put their backs to the wall and slide their way to the stage. All the while they heard metallic clicking noises as people would walk out the door. By the time they reached the end of the bar, the floor was littered with knives and small handguns. My uncle had a strong sense of ethics as well. He relayed a story of a Vietnamese family that was stopped and their car searched. This was a rural Louisiana town. They searched the car and found a large amount of cash, but no contraband. They searched that car for over an hour. The chief was contacted who told his officers to arrest the driver, seize the money and bring the car to their impound lot where it was searched again. Within minutes drugs were allegedly found in the car. Anyone else see a problem with this scenario? Needless to say that chief and some officers wound up in hot water themselves. Cancer took my uncle about 8 years ago. He had been sick for some time. I was working night shift at the time and was asleep until I woke too early to find a message on my cell phone. It was my mom telling me to call her as soon as I could. I then knew. He had died. The funeral was scheduled for the day after the next. I had to go to work that night to get leave for the funeral. The night Lieutenant offered to let me have off that night but I declined. Why would I want to go to an empty house and just think. No, I needed to work for the distraction. About an hour later I was following a truck that was speeding, and weaving. I pulled him over. The driver is a middle class looking white guy and the passenger is an older Hispanic woman who spoke little English. He said he was giving a friend a ride but couldn't tell me her name. Oh yeah, somethings up. I suspected she was a hooker and he was a john but he'll never admit to it. Besides, I smell alcohol on his breath. I took him out and did the sobriety tests and wound up arresting him for DWI. I can't remember if he took the intoxylizer test or not. I do remember driving him to jail thinking "this one's for you uncle!"

My dad also has a strong sense of ethics. I credit him for instilling that in me. He hasn't shared that many war stories with me. I can certainly testify to two funny accidental discharges. One with a shotgun and the other with H&K 9mm. I do remember a story he told me of a civil standby he was called to. A man was taking his things out of the house after stabbing his girlfriend (not fatally). The woman's son was there and chatting with my dad. The man's demeanor suddenly changed when his mother's assailant walked out of the house. The man quit talking and responding to my dad and focused only on the other fellow. Without warning the man draws a pistol and shoots the guy right in front of my dad. My dad had his pistol jammed
into the man's face. The shooter then surrendered.

I doubt my dad will ever chronicle his experiences over the last 30 years. Sadly my uncle never did and all of his experiences only live on to a few people that were there or he told. Thirty years of experience that will eventually be lost to time. That's why we should blog.

Inept Courts Lead to Ambush?

This is one of every officer's worst nightmare. As more of this story unfolds the more it makes one wonder just if justice is truly served. The news is reporting former Arkansas Gov. Ted Huckabee (who has his own Fox show at the moment) let this guy out of prison. Teddy said he agreed with the parole's board crap about him being so young when he went out on his crime spree. Since then this monster just couldn't keep out of jail yet the courts doing what they do best looked for the easiest way to ease their burden and let him out. I wish there was a tally on how many people lost their lives because a team of lawyers eased their burden and let a monster back onto the streets. Why are they never held responsible? Police are held responsible for everything all the time yet the courts are inadvertently responsible for countless innocent deaths. We have that problem here in Harris County. Officers get assaulted yet the DA's office refuse to prosecute citing technicalities which reflect that particular assistant DA's incompetence in my opinion. There is one assistant DA who thinks shoving an officer is disorderly conduct despite having the statute read to him. There is another assistant DA who thinks kicking an officer while intoxicated isn't an offense.

Anyhow, anytime we don that uniform we are a target to any psycho like this. The odds are against us because we don't know who they are but they certainly know who we are. The sad reality is we, like the general public are also subject to the deadly whim of any psycho who is let back onto the streets by the courts. All we can do is keep our guard up. Be careful out there!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crazy Rainy Day

I like it when fronts come in. I like the cooler weather and I don't mind a little rain. However I do mind a lot of rain if I have to work in it. It started with me driving back to the station to get started on paperwork. Then I hear the words "rollin' stolen!" That means someone ran a license plate and got a stolen hit on it. I'm just a few blocks away. So I start racing down a wet street trying to catch up to him. By the time I get there about two other units have caught up to him as well. The car stops and all of us jump out with guns drawn. One of the other officers gets on the speaker and does the classic 'felony stop.' I cover the passenger as the female driver is taken out and handcuffed. Then comes the passenger. We clear the car and get to work on the vehicle recovery. We call the car owner and he first says he came out of work to find his vehicle gone. Then when told the name of the woman driving he says he knew her and lent her the damn car! Then we ask why the hell did he even report it stolen and his answer was that she didn't return it when she was supposed to but he didn't want to press charges on her. So of course no sense in wasting the district attorney's time for charges on her. I suggested that we try to file on him, but doubt they would take anything on it. Anyway, we tow the car and send the two walking. While we're doing paperwork we learn this intersection is where school buses stop and drop off kids. So I holster my weapon and help the crossing guard get the kids across.

I leave that scene and head back to the station. I'm behind on paperwork that I need to catch up on. While on the freeway a detective from the next county gets on our radio looking for help. He was sitting on a car of a burglary suspect that lived in our district that was supposedly filled with stolen guns. The car was moving and he wanted one of our units to stop it. Sadly everyone in that district was tied up so we had to send units from adjoining districts which will take time. I hit the gas pedal trying to get that way myself. Although with afternoon traffic in rain I can't go too fast. I'm thinking "great, two felony take downs in an hour span in the friggin rain!" The day gets better and better. By the time I get there another unit caught up to him and they got the occupants in custody. The female passenger has nothing to do with it, she just hangs out with turds. We find a little marijuana in the car and arrest the driver. Then we find stolen property inside the vehicle. So quite a few burglaries are going to get cleared by this pop. I talk to the female and suggest she hang out with better people. She says they are good friends to her and that's all she cares about. So I ask her if it's okay to steal from other people. Of course she says no. Even though her friends are burglars she says that is their choice. In a silly demonstration I snatch her purse and tell her it's my choice to take her purse and it doesn't matter what she thinks. I think it went in one ear and out the other. Oh well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Oh You're Good!"

They needed someone with a camera. I had to shake my head. Does anyone in this damn district bother to carry a camera? Apparently not! I get to the house to find an extremely drunk woman with a black eye and busted chin and bruises on her arms. She quit talking when I walked in which isn't a good thing. Come to find out she hadn't even given a complete statement. Everytime someone came into the room (i.e. original officers, EMS) she would stop talking and go off on a rant about her missing dog. This is a clear case of assault family violence. Her roommate (still considered 'family' under Texas law) beat her up and fled the scene. He tried to ride off on his motorcycle but he was so drunk he dropped the bike in its parking space and decided to run on foot. We ask what happened and she says she doesn't want to talk anymore. I have a feeling that she really does love to talk it's just a matter of buttering her up. I get her talking about her dog and then get ready to steer the conversation towards her assault when she quits. She gives this creepy, drunk smile and says "oh you're good!" Damn! Didn't think she'd catch on. Okay, had to try a more direct approach. Finally we got somewhat of a statement out of her. I then go to take pictures of her injuries and she at first refuses. I start again with the chatting until she decides she wants him to see what he did to her. Perfect! I can use that. I shoot some pictures of her face and she tries to grab my camera! Now this isn't department issued. This is MY damn camera with a 4 gig memory card. I spent about $300 on this equipment and I'm not about to let some drunk woman take it out of my hand. For a split moment a thought popped in my head that only someone with a dark sense of humor would appreciate. In that thought I was testifying and the defense attorney asks how one of her eyes was blackened. I answer his client did that. Then he asks how did her other eye got blackened and I answer I did that when she broke my $300 camera! That would be bad! I managed to keep her from doing any harm and then left to tag the photos.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Irony! Defense Attorney Tells a Truth

I encourage everyone to read this article in the Houston Press about local DWI attorney Tyler Flood. All this article is the bragging of a defense attorney who has a self inflated image of himself. Here are some memorable quotes;

"Listen, most of the people we get off are intoxicated. But that's the justice system," he says. "I've always thought people would be very concerned if they knew what we were doing."

So there you have it folks! A defense attorney admitting most of his clients ARE GUILTY of the offense they have been charged with and it takes creating an impression with a gullible jury of people who don't know any better to convince them otherwise.

"Defense attorneys lie. They lie their asses off, " Egdorff (an HPD DWI task force officer) says. "He's the only person in there that's not sworn to tell the truth. I get indicted if I lie. He gets a bigger paycheck."

Nothing could be further from the truth!

"His (Flood) suits are custom made. He wears a Baume et Mercier Swiss Luxury watch and writes with a Montblanc pen. He gives Astros tickets to court coordinators and is friends with at least one DWI cop on facebook. And (sic) he loves to boast about getting drunk drivers off the hook."

So all his truth twisting gets him steadily paid and he likes to spend his money. I've always said that DWI attorneys will claim they want to get innocent people off the hook. In reality they derive pleasure from getting people they know are guilty off the hook. It's a sort of bragging right. Imagine the bragging Johnnie Cochran did when he got OJ Simpson acquitted of two murders! That's the perverse thinking of an attorney.

"Flood failed the sobriety tests and blew a .12 (blood alcohol content)."

No sh**!!!!!

So read this article and enjoy it. This is what just about every criminal defense lawyer thinks.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Couldn't Have Asked For Better Luck

The call was a missing 11-year old autistic child. So I began heading that way. While everyone else was out looking I was planning on checking the house first. Halfway there a woman calls from one of our substations saying she found an autistic child. So I change course and go and turns out it is our missing boy. The woman who found him has an autistic child her self. She saw the child wandering in the street flapping his hands looking confused. She saw the same symptoms she sees in her own child. So, being the decent and caring woman she is she stopped and picked up the child and brought him to our substation. We bring the child's frightened mother who holds him for dear life. The woman invites the mother to join her support group for autism awareness. You couldn't ask for a better ending than that.