This New Year just kind of rolled in quietly for me. My work schedule gets me up before 5 AM most days and it’s hard to break that ritual on my days off. I had New Years eve and today off this year but last night was sleeping on the couch by 9:30 pm. Amazingly I woke up at about a quarter to midnight and was able to wish my sweetie a Happy New Years and give him a kiss. It didn’t last long though. Listened to a bit of the requisite fireworks in the distance and watched the dropping of the ball in Time Square (the station said live but of course this was not the case). By 12:30 AM I was back in bed.
2009 was an interesting and historic year. Barack Hussein Obama II became the 44th president of the United States. Why, I don’t know and hopefully time and history will figure it out. He has been a total disappointment and I am sure a lot of the people that voted for him are asking themselves what they were thinking. His obsession with the nation crippling health insurance reform seems to have put the important issues like the economy, record high unemployment, the threat of terrorism and our current military activities on the side burner. The amount of money Mr. Obama has spent during his first year in office is uncompromisable. The $787,000,000,000 stimulus bill, which congress didn’t even read and most of which is still to be distributed has not been shown to do any good to our economy. Just lots of big business bail outs, many of which should have just been left to fail. I guess all that campaign money paid off.
We lost a lot of people this year. Some I will miss, some not so much. Walter Cronkite passed at 92, Karl Malden made it to 97. Paul Harvey left us at 90 and Ricardo Montalban at 88 years young. Farra Fawcett at 62 and Michael Jackson at 50 both died on the same day. No one really paid much attention to Farra’s death as Michael took the spotlight. Ed McMahon outlived Jonny Carson by a few years but he never showed up with my check from Publishers Clearing House. Patrick Swazy lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at age 57. Billy Mays died at 50, not from a bump on the head as a lot of people think, but from heart disease. And Ted Kennedy checked out at 77. Enough about him…..
Washington State suffered the loss of six police officers in only eight weeks. On November 1st, Officer Timothy Brenton with Seattle police was killed and his partner wounded as that sat in their patrol vehicles discussing a traffic stop. On November 29th, four Lakewood Police officers, Greg Richards, 42, Tina Griswold, 40, Ronald Owens, 37, and Mark Renninger, 39 were executed while sitting in a coffee shop working on their laptop computers. I was honored to attend the Memorial Service in Tacoma. On December 21st, two Pierce County deputies were shot while responding to a disturbance call. Deputy Kent Mundell died from his injuries on December 28th.
Some interesting sudden fame in 2009 included Susan Boyle’s beautiful singing voice. She amazed the world but the instant fame took it’s toll on her. Captain Chesley Sullenberger’s amazingly landed his jet in the water of the Hudson river saving all on board. Northwest flight 188 overshot Minneapolis airport while pilot Timothy Cheney and co-pilot Richard Cole claim they were discussing company schedules on their laptops and not asleep. And of course there is Bo the First Dog, a Portuguese water dog. I wonder if he could do a better job running the country than Obama.
As for my year, well it was not too bad. I traded in my old 5th wheel for a new Montana which was a very nice upgrade. We had a great boating year, we spending most of it at Detroit Lake and a great trip to Lake Billy Chinook. I purchased a new Dell Studio 16 XPS laptop (Christmas present to self) and i’m still working on getting it set up. My best friend got married in Bend, and I was honored to be his best man. And for the most part my health was good all year.
On the down side, I did lose a bit of my retirement savings due to the bad economy however by the end of the year most of it had rebounded. 2009 will not be the best year to look back on at my work. Our department had some public image problems and in the fall out we lost an officer, our Chief of Police and some officers were disciplined. We have finally hired a new Chief who will start soon so I hope things can get back to normal. On a good side note to all of this, our City Administrator was canned. It was about time for that as he handled this situation very badly.
All in all, 2009 has been an interesting year. A very tough one for the nation but I think there is hope on the horizon.
Part of my job as a sergeant is to review reports submitted by the patrol officers. Most of them are fairly routine, even somewhat boring at times. Fights, drunk drivers, property damage, thefts, fraud and the other usual things you might expect. Some are more serious like sexual assaults, child abuse and domestic violence with serious assaults. These type of reports can be difficult to read and you feel for the victims. Today however I read a fraud report and it again amazed me at how gullible and just dumb some people can be at times. The scam goes like this:
An employee at a restaurant receives a phone call from a guy who identifies himself as a deputy sheriff. He tell the employee that he needed the managers cell phone number because another employee of the restaurant has been arrested for drunk driving and needed to be bailed out of jail. He tell the employee that due to confidentiality laws he can’t tell them the name of the employee was but that she would be the last person they would expect to be arrested. Of course the employee mentions a name and the bad guy says “well yes that’s her”.
Now he has the name of an employee who is not working and is given the managers cell phone number. Immediately he calls the manager and having the employee’s name he tells the manager that the employee needs $680 dollars for bail to get out of jail. He tells the manager not to hang up because it is the only phone call his employee gets and she really needs his help. He instructs him to go to a major store which he actually names, and wire the money to a location which he says is a bail bondsman, of course giving the manager a fake name for the bondsman. He further tell the manager to send the money with “no identification required”. Could this be a big perhaps? I just don’t get it.
At this point it seems a reasonable person would have at least started asking some questions…
(I probably would have laughed at the guy and hung up... but that's just me...) Perhaps getting a call back number, where she was in jail or something like that. Then make some phone calls to verify the story. Also I would be wondering why she was calling an employer for bail and not friends or family or just bailing themselves out. Anyway the manager wires the money and then his brain kicks in and he is starting to think something is not right. Of course by this time the money is gone and there is no trail.
This scam has been successfully pulled of at several businesses in the area, mostly restaurants. Like I said, I just don’t get it…..
We had a big storm in the area this last Thursday night. We lost power and had expected it but we lost in because of a tree from our property falling on the lines. About 300,000 homes lost power in the area so we don’t think the power company will get to us at least until Sunday or Monday.
I can’t complain too much though. I fired up the generator and have been able to run the TV, computers with internet, pellet stove and most importantly the coffee maker. At night i plug in the refrigerator and the fan in the bedroom. The real big pain is that we are on a well so there is no water. I got a couple of water jugs I filled but no showers. I have to go to work tomorrow too… oh well, I guess they will have to deal with it..
At last we have finally started on our retaining wall project we have talked about for a few years. Last year I was able to get a great deal on some rock. I got it from a quarry just down the road. It was suppose to be “pit run” which is just the junk after they blast and take out all of the good stuff. I was getting it just for fill. When the first load arrived there was a lot of very good landscape quality rock included. I was only going to get one load but I had them bring two more. I wish I would have got a couple more but I didn’t have anywhere to store it.
In talking to the dump truck driver he said that they had just blasted and they had so much rock they couldn’t separate out the good from the junk… Our good fortune. I checked recently and to get anywhere near the same type of rock would cost me over $500 a load.
Our intent it to make a larger parking area and a place to turn the 5th wheel around with out driving up into the grass field. I tend to get stuck up there if it is at all wet. Once done I should be able to back the 5th in between the greenhouse and the pole building and then just pull straight out. That is the plan anyway. We also want to make the driveway wider and increase the radius of a very sharp corner which is currently difficult to get around.
So far we have completed about 40 percent of the wall but it is the tallest section. I know we don’t have enough rock to finish it but we should get at least another 20 feet. I’m not sure if we will get much more done this year though as the rains are about here.
Rocky is the real talent behind the construction and has done all the actual building of the wall. I work the tractor and excavate and move the fill dirt and other material. I got most of the dirt from an area we wanted to flatten so we could use it for a volley ball court and for horse shoes. I must say that I am getting good at working the tractor and I did move a lot of dirt.
I don’t get to do a lot of real police work anymore. At some departments the sergeants are front line supervisors and that is about all they do. They are there mostly to supervise street calls. In our department sergeants do much more administrative work. Many days I don’t even get out of the office. We still have to manage the patrol officers and I often do respond to high priority calls but seldom am I directly involved in the call. Usually only when things go to shit.
When I do get out and it is quiet I like to make a few traffic stops. It keeps you alert and up on the statutes. Today I saw a couple of people in a vehicle parked and it just set off that little cop thing inside. I knew something was not just right so after checking the vehicle plate and finding the tags had been expired for four years I just had to stop them. I just thought I would get a warrant or suspended driver.
I ended up getting a big mess of an ID theft operation. Not a super big one mind you but not too bad of one. The funny thing was they were making payroll checks of the company the guy worked for, oh and I stopped him as he was returning to work. His boss saw it and came out and after finding out what was going on, he fired him on the spot.
I admit I enjoy getting to do some real police work again, albeit I must also admit I am a little rusty. Thanks to the great guy that work with me and helped me through it…. The bad part is that now I will be tied up with a long report, logging evidence and doing some follow-up investigating. I will get even more backed up on all the admin stuff.
Still I am very glad that I got them both off the street, at least for a little bit. Both of them are either on probation for ID theft or awaiting a trial for ID theft. ID theft sucks and it can really screw up a persons credit. Well I have to get back to writing my report. Brought it home to work on… a little rusty remember
I grew up in a Oregon City where my parents owned a flower shop and raised azaleas. We owned almost an entire city block which had several greenhouses, the business front and our home on it. It was like living on a large farm in the middle of the city. The house was huge, at least from a child’s perspective and there were many places to play, to hide, and to explore.
It was a three story house not including the huge attic which actually had a stair case that went up to it…. so does that make it a four story house?? I had a bedroom on the upstairs floor. The floor plan was kind of strange as I think back on it. You walked up the stairs which was about in the center of the house and at the top you waked into a large open room. This was made into a bed room but most of the time my mom used it to do her sewing and other projects. Straight ahead was my first bedroom and just to the left was another bedroom which was much larger. My ageing grandmother stayed in it for many years and after she died I moved into it.
There were also three large storage areas which I guess were kind of like attics but were on the same floor. One of them had the stair case in it to the top story attic. That storage was a favorite place for me to play. My father had built a door going into it that was quite interesting. It was kind of shaped like a large bank vault door. It was about ten inches thick and the outside was a book case. You couldn’t tell it was a door unless you happened to see the hinges which were visible on the outside.
As I said inside was the stair case to the top floor attic. I didn’t like to go up there too much and found it kind of creepy. Lots of cob webs and it only had some planks across the rafters to walk on. I was always afraid of falling through the ceiling. What was great about this area was I had found this hidden little room. There was a small crawl space between one of the bedroom walls and the roof. It probably ran about ten feet then opened up into a small little area. I made it into my little retreat and hiding area.
It’s a wonder I never burned the house down as I used candles for light. Later I was able to connect into the back of an electric outlet and had power for a light. My parents both worked in the family business which was on the same property and even though it was just next door to the house, it was like being home alone most of the time.
Well, that’s about enough for now as I want to save some things to bore you with later. Stay tuned for more…..
I had training at work today. It is a yearly event we have done since the terrible incident at Columbine High School in April, 1999. Back then the standard thinking in incidents like that was to contain the area and wait until a special unit like SWAT arrived and took over. Unfortunately it can take quite a long time for them to arrive and during that time many people continue to be injured or killed.
Today our response is much different. In such an event we will not wait and the first three or four officers that arrive will go into the building and search for the assailants and stop the threat by what ever means are needed.
I am glad we do the training but I pray we never need to use it.