30 September 2010

"C" for Crazy....

From the Cop side: The reasons I would never be police chief, or any other high ranking position, and the reason it took me so long to get promoted in Army are pretty much the same. I do have a “mouth” but I learned long ago that it can quickly overload my ass. So, I learned to “bite my tongue.” I have so many cuts on my tongue from biting it, that I no longer have any feeling in it.

Still, when either the police department or the Army needed something done that was really fucked up, they’d ask me to do it. Never for any promotion or anything, they’d just say: “hey, the other sergeant is going to take two weeks to do this, and I figure you can do it in 20 minutes.” …that sort of shit.

And I will tell somebody what I think. I don’t try to be nasty about it, but if you are walking past a pile of dog shit, I’m going to tell you: “Hey, that’s dog shit. Don’t step in it. Don’t smell it. It’s really dog shit.”
But sometimes, the Army or the Police Dept wouldn’t want to hear that…because it might offend somebody or some shit. I’m sorry, if it’s dog shit, we can’t change that fact. It’s going to stick to your boots and stink. Don’t step in it…really.

Now, one of the things I’ve done on and off over the years is to train cops. I really don’t like being a FTO (Field Training Officer) for the brand new cops…the ones’ who have never driven the patrol car before. I’d prefer somebody else to work on them for at least 10 weeks, then send them to me when they’re not so retarded and all. Let me teach them the shit that will help them survive the job. Where to eat good food and how to safely drive and stuff.
Many, many years ago, I was given a rookie on what was supposed to be his last phase of training. I was to evaluate him and polish off anything that needed fixin’. In this case, the FTOs who had been training him must have been too shy to fail his ass out of the program. (I’m really not that tight, I really want them all to make it!)
This cop, I’ll call “C” for crazy. He was like a monkey on crack or something…and he fucking argued with me all the first night!

To be cont.

22 September 2010

How's this for a post card?

From the Soldier side:  When I was in Iraq, one of the things that really made our day was when we got a pacakge from somebody.  The ones I really enjoyed had coffee in them. 
A good citizen is trying to send lots of post cards to the troops.  So please check out: (corrected link)

The Operation Postcard link is here   http://wordsforwarriors.blogspot.com/2010/09/operation-postcard-contest.html

and help out if you can. 
 Here's what I came up with for a postcard:

Lock and Load. Ready on the Right? Ready on the Left?  Shooters, watch your lane and fire!

19 September 2010

Catching Big Foot

From the Cop side: Over the many years I’ve been fortunate to have been a police officer in California, I have had some strange things happen. What’s so strange now, I find almost nothing shocks me anymore. Every now and then, I’ll be at a party or something and somebody might ask me what I do for a living. I usually say I work for the “street cleaning department” or something like that. That prevents the usually dumbass questions that might follow if I had said: “I’m a cop.”

(Notice the containers of Starbucks coffee nearby)

Some of the dumbass questions cops get are kind of like some of the same dumbass questions a soldier gets who’s been to a war. “How many people have you shot?”

Since my self esteem is improved by my inciting laughter when ever possible, I have a pocket full of good stories to tell about the cop job. One of my favorite stories is the one about me catching “Big Foot.”

Now, we all know that there may not really be a Big Foot monster, but we had a homeless dude that I nick named “Big Foot”.

Big Foot had been homeless for over 20 years. The rumor was that he had a good job and family and all. Then one day his wife took the kids and left him. Big Foot just started to wonder the streets and talk to himself. Somedays he’d do some really odd things, and some passing citizen who was not from the area would call the police to report this dude walking back and forth in the cross walk talking to himself. He was totally harmless.

When I worked into the late afternoon, I’d always see Big Foot standing outside one of the local Italian restaurants. Everyday like clock work at 5 PM, one of the cooks would walk out and hand Big Foot a pizza. It was good pizza to. He’d sit on a bench outside, because he was too smelly to come inside, and he’d eat his pizza. He never harmed a sole in his life.

Then one day, the county had started a Mental Health Task Force. Cops, shrinks and social workers.  This was a bleeding heart liberal crap thing that was supposed to go around and try to help the really nutty folks. It may have helped in a few cases, but from the cases I saw, it was a bunch of mis-guided folks trying to save the world—on a budget. For some reason, they focused in on Big Foot. They all felt that they could bring him in and get him help. But he didn't want any help.

So they went out with the butterfly net one day. He was an easy guy to approach at the time…and they brought him in to the county nut factory. Big Foot didn’t like that at all. He was out the door within 15 minutes and a county Be On the Lookout (BOL) was broadcast on all channels to all stations.

Big Foot knew if the cops saw him, they’d capture him and bring him into to have his marbles sorted out. So he was like the elusive creature of myth and lore…there were only brief sightings of him. He’d come out of the hills and take clothes off lines in citizen’s back yards, he’d come down to the restaurants and take food out of the trash. But he was fast. A blurrrrr…..sometimes people called in and said that they thought they saw some kind of hairy man or ape run by.  This look was made possible by his hair and beard getting longer and the many layers of clothes he put on. 

So when we sat at our police briefings before going on duty,hearing about his stealing clothes and stuff.  I told the boss “it’s Big Foot.” And the name stuck. He was fast. Nobody could catch him. That is no normal cop could catch him. But if you had a cop who’d had experience in the infantry and stuff like that…it could be done.

Big Foot made the mistake of always coming out of the hills about the same time each morning. He started a routine. So all I had to do was hide in the area, wait for the call…then sneak into the woods where I knew he was going to run back to.

I waited behind some trees…when he ran back from his foraging mission I waited for him to sit down and eat. I quietly walked up behind him…oh what a smell--- months in the woods without a bath or clean clothes (much like Iraqi insurgents I smelled years later).

Big Foot was so surprised, that when I put the handcuffs on him and walked him down the hill to my patrol car, he just kept saying: “How? How? How? How?”

13 September 2010

Computer Geeks UP! Form on line, dress right dress....

From the Soldier side: “Forget the shooters, what I need is a computer geek!”

For years in both the military and police work I worked with folks who I’ll call “shooters.” These were the ones who when things got rough, they could go to guns, hands, or whatever, and get the job done.

Now days in both police work and the Army, it’s the computer geeks we need.

For my last “AT” with the Army National Guard, I was assigned a team of soldiers. I was given 7 young soldiers and a fairly new 2nd LT. The LT was good, but another team was short of folks so he wasn’t with us long. That was too bad, he was a good LT.

I had 7 young GOOD oldiers. The way they set up the teams, was the entire battalion plus our visitors from a few other states who came to play in this exercise, were in a giant room. They called out the team leaders--- having us stand up…then assigned our teams. We had absolutely no input or suggestions in this process, but I was very happy with my team.   I only knew one of the soldiers on my team.  That was not a problem, for in Iraq, I had a mix of Regular Army, Reserves and National Guard on my team...and worked with Marines and Navy folks a few times.  One goal- get it done. 

The first thing I did after brief introductions was not to ask who could shoot and stuff like that, but I asked: “who’s the computer geeks?”

My last team...one had KP this day. 

Two hands slowly went up. Then I explained what we’d need to do to network out teams’ computers with each other, then with a bigger internal network.

This was something I had been trained to do back in 2003, but I would have had to take out a manual and scratch my head a lot to actually do it. Whereas a true computer geek can do shit like this in a few minutes. (One of my sons would have been handy to have).
After we had the computer geeks established, then I asked about experience at doing the stuff we were going to go through an exercise on. I had one soldier who’d actually really done this stuff, so I got to help train the rest and teach the experienced guy a few tricks.

It was good. I know I can retire knowing that there will be good soldiers to carry on our job- Mess Kit Repair.

We have the same sort of problems in police work…they put computers in the patrol cars, we write all our reports on computers…so it’s not the cops who can shoot and stuff that we need around, but the computer geeks who know how to re-boot that computer in the trunk of the car on graveyard.

What’s the world coming to?

09 September 2010

Other Assigned Duties” & getting “Coined”

From the Soldier side: I’m going to ramble on a little about my final “AT” (National Guard Annual Training) as I am retiring. Being a Soldier and being a civilian copper have many things in common. Both get paid to shoot firearms and in both jobs,each day will usually bring something you may have never seen before. I laugh whenever I hear some old copper or soldier claim they’ve “seen it all.” If that is true, it’s time to wake up and start really looking.
Yeah the work might be repeated, but it’s the people who get thrown into the puzzle each day that you really have to watch and enjoy…or not.

One of my “Other Assigned Duties” in both professions was to get people to laugh when they were stressing out. I was the “Combat Comedian.”  (this is a duty that you'll never see in the books.)  In so many cases, some of my best humor was wasted on people who simply lacked the intelligence to fully comprehend the fact that we were often surrounded by some of the funniest shit anybody could ever imagine. Paid comedians couldn’t possibly make up shit this funny.

Of the dozen or so times I was on some little camp of FOB in Iraq and we came under mortar fire, I always tried to get people to calm down by getting them to laugh. In civilian police work, there’s almost nothing that could be as totally –cked up as having people you didn’t even know trying to blow you up….so I find almost no stress in police work these days.

At my last “AT” a few weeks ago…the “General Order #1” was put out: “NO DRINKING” until the end when we would have a EOATP (End of AT Party).
What the National Guard used to be all about!

So one of the things I did each afternoon when our company commander (a truly great person) was in the orderly room…I’d walk over to the company refrigerator and open it and say: “hey, can I have one of these beers?”  There was never actually any beer in there...

He would always look with an expression of great concern. I have a great deal of respect for this man, so I enjoyed getting him to laugh.
The last day of AT, they loaded the fridge' up with lots of beer.... then my joke wasn't funny any more....so I had to change it to: "Sir, you need to get to rehab." 

In the Army there are many old traditions. Sometimes I say: "The US Army, 200 years of tradition unchanged by progress."   One very old tradition is when a brand new officer gets his or her first salute from an Enlisted or NCO soldier, that officer is supposed to give that soldier a silver dollar coin. This is a great honor for both the new officer and the Soldier. In all my years in the Army, I have never had this honor…until this last AT. And it was not just me saluting a new LT, but I was the first to salute a brand new Warrant Officer. This is even more special because all of our Warrant Officers (we call them “Chief”) were former NCOs.

The “Chiefs” went through more crap to become a Chief than any brand new LT.

Not only did this Chief give me a Silver Dollar, but it was a real silver dollar from 1901! This tradition met so much to this Warrant Officer, that he went out of his way to find a real silver dollar. This is one of the most special things I will remember from the Army.
Custom coin, silver dollar, custom coin

I was also “Coined” by our new Battalion Commander, who I had worked with in Bosnia, then later went to Iraq, but didn’t work with her there. A soldier is given a Coin for doing something cool etc.

Honor, Respect and Duty. More on these thoughts to follow at a later date.

03 September 2010

Citizen’s rights to do…

From the Soldier side: As my retirement from the National Guard gets closer, I’ve been going through some old papers and crap I had in a foot locker in my garage. If you know any old vet, I’m sure he or she will have some silly shit that they’ve kept over the years. Little things sometimes…that if you’re not careful, they’ll end up in the trash can.

One of the little scraps I found was from Bosnia. While I was deployed there, one of my sons e-mailed me and told me of an incident that took place at one of the high schools in my home town.

This incident went like this in summary: Little Jonny went to school with an America flag on his jacket…the American flag was attached upside down. A few other bully type male juveniles decided that little Jonny was not a good American, so they kicked little Jonny’s ass. This is what I wrote as a letter to the Editor of the local news paper:

“Editor: I am a California Army National Guard Soldier who has been called up and been deployed to Bosnia. My son just e-mailed me the story about the ---- student who was assaulted by other students because he wore an American Flag upside down.

Well, as a citizen soldier who has many years in the regular Army and the National Guard, I would like to say that even though I wear the American Flag on my shoulder everyday (right side up) I will support everyone’s right to freedom of speech, including wearing the flag anyway they want.

If the people who assaulted this boy want to fight someone, please have them join the military as soon as they grow up. We do not want soldiers who cannot control their emotions. I think to use the flag as an excuse to annoy and assault another is not the American Way.

I might also add that the kid who wore the Flag upside down, seems to lack the survival skills required to be a good soldier.”

This was my way of saying all these kids were useless oxygen bandits.