Jan 012010

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.

Nov 202009

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 Red Flag 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…..

Sep 252006

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

Aug 142006

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.

Jul 162006

I wanted to post this a few days ago but wasn’t able to get connected to the camp hosts Wi-Fi setup. We just got home so I thought I would get this up. More to come..

RV in Site 21

I didn’t think I was going to be able to post before we got back from camping here in LaPine but one of the hosts has satellite internet on Wi-Fi and said I could use it. We came over on the 4th with three other families from work. For the purposes of this blog I will call them the M’s the C’s and the K’s. Their names have been changed to protect the guilty. C’s father also came over and on Friday the I’s came over. All of these families have kids so in total we had 20 people here: eleven adults and nine children. That’s quite a crew.

By now they have all returned to civility and we are here with just the other quite campers and the Chipmunks, but during the time they were here life was very interesting if not somewhat dramatic. Getting a bunch of cops and a fireman together, especially away from the work environment can be very interesting. Both jobs can be quite stressful as you can imagine and when we get in an environment where we can let loose sometimes things get a little weird.

I have know and worked with most of these people for almost twenty years so we are very comfortable together. I don’t know the guy from the fire department very well as I just met him recently. His future wife work for us and was just recently hired so that’s how they became part of the crew.

All of us from the PD had to work on the 4th and so after our shift we drove over together. We didn’t get in until late in the evening so night one was fairly quiet. It was a good drive over with very little traffic. After everyone got set up we all gathered (except the kids) at our place. We had eight people in our RV which is the largest group we have had here yet. Plenty of room though. I think everyone is envious of us as our rig is by far the nicest and most spacious. Sorry, just a little bragging rights here….

The next day was kind of a supply day. I went into Bend with the M’s to shop for food and other supplies and after we got back to camp I went into Sunriver with the officer C to get my bicycle tire repaired and so he could do some shopping. Later that night after dinner (I made a crab salad) we had a fire as well as the K’s. Everyone just kind of floated back and forth between the two camps.

Thursday the everyone kind of split up to do their own things. The C’s and K’s took off on their ATV’s and motorcycle to do some riding. My partner, *C* his dad went into Bend where C’s dad traded in his old boat and bought a new one. I’m not sure what everyone else did but I suspect they went into Bend I went for a little ride on my Honda Shadow. Earlier I repositioned the 5th wheel with the help of C’s wife so I could get the awning extended. There was a tree in the way so I had to angle the RV.

We all had reservations to eat dinner at this place out in the middle of nowhere called the Cowboy Dinner Tree. It is about fifty miles southeast of here near Silver Lake. Our reservations were for 5pm but *C* and his dad didn’t get back from Bend until almost 4pm. We quickly loaded up into three vehicles and after driving just a little over the posted speed limit, arrived at exactly 5pm.

The Cowboy Dinner Tree

The dinner there was great and the atmosphere very interesting. Dinner consisted of either a whole chicken or a steak which was more like a roast. First they served a salad with choice of ranch or honey mustard dressing. Then these wonderful hot rolls baked in a pie tin. Next they brought out two kinds of what they call soup but was more of a stew. One is a beef stew and the other they call cowboy bean. I had the beef stew but other people said the bean was very good. Finally they brought out the steaks and chicken with a baked potato. By then you are already quit full but I managed to eat a few bites of my steak (the remainder was consumed over the next couple of days). The drive back was much more relaxed and at a reasonable speed.

No camp fire or get togethers after dinner tonight and everyone just kind of went back to their camps and to bed early. We stayed up and watch TV until about midnight. I think everyone was kind of burned out after the drive and large dinner.

** Next the night of drama **

Jun 252006

RV on fire

I was out on the road at work today and I saw very black smoke rising down the road away’s and knew it was a bad fire. I hadn’t heard the fire department so I drove down to find this RV pretty well up in flames. I called it in to dispatch however the FD was already en route.

I talked to the owner and he told me he was pulling into the RV park to see about staying the night. He heard his motor backfire and then it died. He just coasted to a stop then saw some smoke. He just got his wife and he out and it burst into flames and it just went up very fast. The poor guy told me he and his wife were living in the RV and everything they had was in there. Hope they makes out okay.

It’s very hot here today with the temperature hitting over 100 deg in a some areas. They say tomorrow could be hotter.

Jun 152006

This has been a long work week. It always seems that way when I do more administrative work. I didn’t get out on the road much this last week. Meetings, interviews and lots of paperwork kept me in the office.

One of the hats I wear as a sergeant is the equipment, uniforms and kind of the logistics officer. We recently promoted two new sergeants so I had to get them set up in their offices, get phone extensions, cell phones, pagers, uniforms, computers, business cards…. the list seems endless. I think I have a pretty good handle on it now but I am sure something has been overlooked.

It’s my weekend now, three days for myself and I am heading out to fire up my Massey Ferguson tractor and get some work done around the property. I also have to haul it over to our friends house as I promised to cut down some brush for them. I hope the weather holds up and it doesn’t rain too much.

Saturday is the Pride parade in Portland. I plan on getting down to check everyone out and hopefully see some friends. Hopefully I will get some good photos to share. Well better get off my butt and get with it…..

Jun 062006

We promoted two officers to sergeant today. Five people applied. Two were very happy, as for the others, or at least for two of them it was a long, and in the end, very disappointing day. One of the guys was only going through the process for the experience and knew he wouldn’t be selected. The other guys that didn’t make the cut I suspect deep down realized he wasn’t quite ready. As for that third that didn’t make it I know it was an enormous let down.

I talked to most of them through out the day as they were waiting for their turn on the hot seat, the dreaded oral boards. I gave them as much encouragement as I could. I shared what my experience had been during my two times on the interviews. Number three who is one of our detectives was very confident and he had been preparing for the exams and interview very hard. Had he been selected he would have done a very good job. I have to agree with the final selection though and it exactly what I expected.

It is never easy telling someone they didn’t make the grade especially when they are a good employee and your friend. This time it wasn’t my job but I have been there. I saw his face after he came out of the Lt’s office and it told it all. Now we must all help to build him back up, to make him see the good in the experience and help him grow from it. I know he will, he is a good man.

Jun 052006

Actually it’s not Adam’s rib, it’s my rib but I had to have a title. I went to the doctor today after a fun weekend of little rest and pain even when I took a deep breath, and well coughing was just delightful. I found that one of my ribs is separated where it joins to the sternum. I guess that would explain why that Good Pain I wrote about isn’t so good anymore. In fact it is down right a nuisance, what with not being able to sleep at night and worst of all now I have to go on light duty at work. What is the moral of this story…. at fifty years old it is probably best not to go at it so hard with at thirty year old in much better shape than myself.

Light duty is both a bane and a blessing. It’s great that you don’t have to sit at home doing nothing when your injured. It is good for the department too since they are at least getting some work out of you. If the injury is like mine from a work related event it helps cut down on their insurance costs. If you get hurt off duty its great because you don’t have to burn up a bunch of sick time. The down side, at least for me is that I don’t get to work my cherished “four ten” shift. It’s back to working regular business hours, eight hours a day five days a week. That’s just not right but I think that is part of their strategy to get people off light duty and back to work.

The doc says I should be okay to go back to work in a week or so but it will be several weeks before I am mended. I guess the cartilage will never reattach to the rib but he says my body will compensate.

Jun 012006

Ouch… I hurt today. Last night was a four hour (actually only 3 and a half hour) training class on the carry and use of tactical knifes. We meet at the junior high school’s gym for the training and I must say it was some of the best DT training I have been to in all my years with the department. The officer who ran the class was just trained recently as an instructor and he did a great job. I learned a lot and I am re-thinking my use and carry of a knife at work.

The training was very realistic. We were issued exact replicas of a real tactical knife from Benchmade except the blade was blunt tipped and not sharp. We were trained to use the knife with our weak hand which was very strange at first. I have never even considered using or carrying it in that way. By the end of the class it made perfect sense and was becoming fairly easy to do.

The guy I teamed up with for most of the class is a studly tough powerhouse of a man. He is the type of man I wouldn’t want to get into a fight with but I held my own with him very well. Of course we were told not to go 100 percent but I think most of the times we were going at least 95 percent. A couple of time we may have been going all out but it was fun

Later we were told to switch to a new partner and I worked with one of our female officers. That was a little different as she probably only weighs about 120 pounds. She is also coming off an injury to her hand so fighting with her wasn’t very challenging but it was enlightening. Size does matter….. I hope she never has to get into much of a hand to hand fight with some guy. She better just shoot him.

I bet by tomorrow I will show a lot of bruising. My left hand is quite sore and my chest hurts a lot. When I got home and took a shower I had red marks all over my body from the knife strikes. It is kind of a good pain though, the kind that is there to remind you that you made some gains and learned something. I wish we could to training like that more often. Also wrestleing around with the studdly guys isn’t too bad either.