Saturday, July 26, 2008

Questions Answered: Part 3

There were several questions asked about my job. So since I'm on a roll here I'll get all of those out of the way before I move on to another subject.

Wendy asked "How long have you been a cop?"

A little more than 13 yrs. I started the police academy in Dec '94 and graduated in June '95. I worked in uniform patrol for a little more than 8 yrs. I rode around in a squad car, got dispatched to all kinds of different calls, made traffic stops, etc. It was a roller coaster ride. You never knew what your day would bring. One second you're doing something completely boring and mundane and the next you're in a highly charged, dangerous crazy situation. I loved it. But I'm kind of an adrenaline junky like that.

I became a detective assigned to the Burglary Squad almost 5 years ago. Now I wear business type clothes to work instead of the uniform, have my own desk and phone line, drive an unmarked car, and investigate when someones house or business is broken into. I also work normal work day hours which is great. Because I worked almost the entire time in uniform on the night shifts.

As a detective, I work with a partner who I call my "work husband." Off topic but funny nonetheless...his wife and I have somehow synced our menstrual cycles by some weird fluke. So now the poor guy's life sucks for 1 week every month when he gets to deal with raging PMS both at work and at home. LOL! Sorry, I digress. Moving on....

Ozimum asked "At work, do you drive, or does the bloke drive?"

We both have a car so it just depends on our mood. Sometimes we get in his car, sometimes we get in mine. Sometimes we split up and work on things separately. It was the same when I worked in uniform. The times I doubled up and worked with a partner, we took turns driving on different days. It all kind of depended on who'd had more sleep, too. :P

Ozimum also asked "Have you seen a dead person "on the job"?

The city I work in was lucky enough to earn 19th place last year on "the list of America's most dangerous cities". Woo Hoo! We even beat Newark. I'm so proud. Oh wait... that's not a good thing, is it?

Anyway, the answer is yes. I've seen a lot of death. Death by shooting, stabbing, car accident, drowning, fire, drug overdose, blunt force trauma, decapitation, hanging, jumping from a very tall building, ran over by a train, dismemberment, strangulation, electrocution and natural causes. Hmmm... I may have missed a few but I think that about covers it. LOL!

I've seen freshly dead people and very badly decomposed dead people. The smell of which stays in your pores ...or maybe just your subconscious..... for awhile. I hate those kind. I've seen people die right in front of me. Those last few breaths we call the "death rattle" because of the way it sounds as the air leaves the lungs. It's an eerie feeling to witness life leave a body. I've got images in my head that I'll carry always. But it's just part of the job I chose. In spite of my love for that job, the dead people part is what I probably like the least. It all just creeps me out. But you get used to it.

Julie asked "Have you ever had to wrestle a suspect to the ground? How did it feel?"

I'll point you to our 19th position above and say that the answer is "hundreds of times". It pretty much always feels like "Thank God I survived that one." And then you're high on the adrenaline dump. Until your hands start to shake and your knees feel a little weak because your body doesn't know what to do with that overload of adrenaline now that you don't need it anymore. It's a purely physical response. It goes away after a few minutes.

Julie also asked "What was the arrest you made that made you feel the most proud?"

Hmmmm.... I had to think about that. I guess it'd have to be an investigation my partner and I did a few years ago. He and I noticed a crime trend in a particular neighborhood. They'd been hit with several burglaries. We pulled all the files and saw some similarities. We spent a lot of time researching it all and putting graphs together of stuff like the time of day they were occurring, points of entry, items stolen, etc. Until we realized we had about 30 different burglaries that probably were committed by the same person/people.

Then we looked at some other things and came up with a possible suspect. Someone we'd dealt with in the past. The explanation for how we pulled this person's name out of thin air is a lot more complicated than that. Just trust me on that one. It'd take too long to explain.

I ended up closing the case on my own because it was the week before Christmas and my partner had gone on vacation. Anyway, I tracked down the "person of interest" and after some painstaking interrogation got him to admit to some of the burglaries and implicate two other people. I also got confessions from those 2. We were able to clear up 13 of these burglaries and charged all 3 individuals.

I can't tell you the amount of work we did on this. Tons. And how rare it is to come up with a suspect on your own when you have no witnesses and no fingerprints or nothing else to point you in the right direction. And then to actually get him to confess to the crime with no other evidence to implicate him. I was very, very proud of myself. Those were some of the most difficult and exhausting interrogations I've ever done. Especially because that part, I did alone. So I'd say this was one of the cases I was most proud of. Because we absolutely figured this one out all by ourselves.

Tonguu Momma asked "What is the absolute weirdest "I can't believe people are actually like this" cop moment you ever lived through?"

Oh boy. There's no way to answer this one. Because I've seen a lot of weird stuff. That's part of what makes my job so interesting and so hysterical some days. And there are so many stories.

From the white guy who had a huge tattoo that read "Crackers crumble - Honkeys rumble". To the guy who used to call police to his house because he thought aliens were trying to hijack his thoughts. We told him to put aluminum foil on his ceiling to block their mind controlling rays... and he did. It'd work for about a month then he'd call us again. To the conditions in which some people live (you really have no idea what goes on behind closed doors). To the lady suffering from post partum depression who led us on a 45 min high speed chase with her gospel music blaring the whole time. To the crack whore who admitted to having sex for $1.25 and a bag of potato chips. These are just a few.

Seriously. I could go on and on. I used to tell friends these stories and they'd say I should keep a journal and write a book some day. I wish I had. But I think any cop who works in an active, big city police department could, too. We see some crazy stuff, some tragic stuff and some really funny stuff.

Diana asked "Have you ever yelled "bookem Dan-O" when you were arresting someone?"

Uhhh.... no. LOL!
That's all of the work related answers. Next time I'll move on to some other stuff. You guys had some very interesting questions. They'll keep me busy for awhile. :)


Sandra said...

I love all these answers. Having wanting to be a cop myself, I find these answers fascinating.

wzgirl said...

What a great post, girl. I used to work with the Oakland PD when I was on the Mobile Crisis Team (psych) - and I loved it! LOVED it. Loved working with cops, on the street, carrying radios, learning codes & seeing allll kinds of random stuff.

Thx 4 sharing, you.

Diana said...

I so admire you for what you do..I could NEVER as I am a BIG chicken. The saddest would so get to me..$1.25 and a bag of chips..It is so sad what happens to people and how others take advangate of them.
We lived in Clayton for 2 years..(was not fond of it at all)

Wendy said...

Wow! This is really cool reading about life as a cop! Being a firefighter, we see things a little bit differently but when it comes down to it, we both have to be in some pretty sucky situations! And by the way, dead people freak me out even though I have to see them too.

kris said...

Add to grocery list: tin foil. :O)

I know that death rattle (usually it's from fluid build up in the lungs)- there are few dying who don't get that, and I always have to explain to family members that although it sounds awful to them, their loved one isn't suffering (as this is usually true in my work since we've got them on morphine drips!).

It blows my mind though how much you've seen- you must have an amazing capacity to keep work at work- I know I could never handle what you do. I truly admire you.

kris said...

ps. poison ivy- can you BELIEVE that?

JoAnn in NJ said...

Wow, great insights into your job...but hey, I work in Newark! I found it sad that they were so proud of the fact that this year they went 45 days without a murder. And right now still pacing well below last year (yay!)

sea star said...

Tin foil eh? I'll try that one tonight!

Traci said...

I thought nurses had all the cool stories! Boy was I wrong! I have some really great stories but I couldn't come close to matching anything you have in your pack.

By the way, dead bodies? They don't bother me at all. Sometimes I think I'm incredibly healthy about it and then I listen to other people be "freaked out" and wonder if I'm just weird.


Kayce said...

Classic! My husband and I just sat here cracking up reading this! Tin foil and the buck 25 whore! HA!

My son realllllly wants to be a policeman when he grows up, I'll share some of these last two posts with him. ;)

Jill said...

Your last couple blog posts CRACK ME UP!!! I thought by the way you were talking, that maybe you were a cop here in Columbus!! Dayton the 19th most dangerous...crazy!! Best wishes for your adoption! :)

Chani's Mama said...

Been loving reading all about your job and all that you do.

Shannon said...

Wow. You are seriously cool. But then we all kinda knew that. =)

Debz said...

I've seen this game played many times but I gotta tell ya you had the best questions and awsweres I've seen yet!
Pretty interesting job! Never a dull moment in your profession!
Hope your holding out ok threw this wait.

a Tonggu Momma said...

$1.25 and a bag of chips??? Seriously? What kind of chips were they?