10 October 2009
The Quality has gotten much better...sometimes...
From the Cop side: When I started in police work in the late 70's, there were some pretty good old timers in the business. In the 30 years I've been a cop, I hate to say there have been some cops I worked with who were really in the wrong business.
I don't mean that they were corrupt, dishonest or anything bad...they were just not what I'd call the "cream of the crop."
Take the case of Negligent Discharge Norm. Norm had somehow survived being an Army MP for 4 years, when he decided that he wanted to be a civilian cop in his home town in Northern California.
Negligent Norm and I got hired about the same time. He did some things that to this day still amaze me. In those days we were issued a Smith & Wesson Model 66 Stainless Steel .357 magnum revolver. Being that our department was what we thought was "cutting edge" they issued a Hoyte break front holster to go with the revolver.
Norm's first incident was while he was driving the patrol car one night. He had his holster unsnapped so he could be a little quicker on the draw. Norm and I were dispatched to an alarm call at a business late one night. It was just Norm and me. I got to the alarm call first...Norm rolled up a few minutes later.
As we checked the business, we found a back door that had been pried open. We notified dispatch and proceeded inside to look for badguys. I drew my pistol and looked at Norm. Norm's holster was empty. He had to run back to the car and recover his pistol off the front seat---where it had popped out of his break front holster.
A month or so later, Norm was still on the night shift. In those days, as we still do now, cops would get out of their patrol cars and check things at night. Norm got out to check an office complex, where he found a door to a common hall way open. He went inside just as I was rolling up to cover him. He found the restroom door also unlocked. So, Norm stood back and kicked the door like they do on TV...as he had planned to run into the restroom.
The restroom door was spring loaded and when Norm kicked it, it kicked back. This startled Norm so much that he cranked off 2 rounds into the restroom door. Damn that was loud!
A month later, the watch commander did a roll call inspection and checked our gear. Guess what. Norm still had the 2 fired cases in his Model 66. That meant he only had 4 live rounds to use if he got into a gun fight.
I have only run into a few cops like Negligent Discharge Norm over the years....some who really want to do a good job, but have a hard time walking and chewing gum at the same time. They never got themselves hurt, but they sure caused a shitstorm around them.
These days I work on training cops how to talk to folks. Be careful what you ask...and if you're a rabbit, be careful how you answer.