April Showers brings….. recovery?

Howdy Folks,

I hope this finds all of you well.  Not much to report, as I have not been to the Doctor recently.  My next trip is not until a week from today but I’ve had about 4-5 people reach out to me over the last two days asking if I am ok, if anything is wrong, because I haven’t posted anything.  (I think the real reason is not so much concern about my health, you guys just want to hear another story.)

I’ll get to a story in a minute…. first an update.

Not much has changed.  My throat still hurts a little, resulting in the need to take some pain medication.  I have cut back on how much I take, as the Dr wants to start slowly wean me off them.  Mucous is still around.  Wish there was a way to expedite its leaving.  I’m pretty tired of it affecting my appetite and diet.  Speaking of, unofficially, (weigh on home scale not doctors office) I weigh about 155 lbs.  I’m trying my darndest to find something that I can swallow without pain, and that mucous doesn’t affect.  Sometimes I get a little cocky (ME?  I know!) and think I can eat something and it turns out, I can’t.  The other night I cooked some fajitas and they smelled soooo good but I took about two bites and was done.  Had pancakes last night and I was drowning them in butter and syrup but couldn’t taste any of the sweetness.  The search continues.

Oh by the way… this is what I look like at 155 lbs……

Self

 

Major news though… for the first time in over 5 weeks (?), I was able to drink something that I haven’t had in a loonnnggg time….

First Coke

 

Hello old friend.  So nice to see you again.  I can barely get one down but it helps cut through the mucous.

Also received a cool gift from my brother-in-law that has absolutely nothing to do with my recovery… just cool….

Ranger opener

 

Now if I can get to a point where I can drink something and actually use this.

Think thats about it.  As I said, I go to the doctor a week from today (Thursday) and will see where I am.  My CT scan is scheduled for 5/2 and we will see then if all this was worth it.  Guess that only leaves one thing….

 

UNRELATED STORY TIME…..or…. Being a Rookie is Sooooo fun.

The Dallas Police Academy lasts about four months….maybe a little longer now.  But back in my day, it was around four months.  You spend a lot of time in the classroom learning state and local laws, the standard procedures of DPD, etc.  They also teach you how to shoot, drive, search buildings, etc.  By the time you graduate, you feel that you know pretty much all there is to know so when you report to your first station, you are ready to show everyone just how smart you are.  EXCEPT….. while you may have spent four months learning all this.. .. you might know some book things… but not street smart things.  Also, everything is accelerated.  In the academy, while you are taking a test, you can take your time trying to recall a certain law.  On the street, you better have instant recall.  For me, the two hardest things to overcome were the police radio and how everyone lies.

The radio patter comes fast.  After awhile, I’ve seen officers fast asleep, snoring, but if their call number is spoken, they instantly wake up.  But as a rookie, you are trying to concentrate on everything and hearing what you are supposed to hear on the radio is difficult.

I said everyone lies and I know what you are thinking…. “yeah…right.  He doesn’t mean everyone”  Yes I do.  I’ve pulled over little old ladies who have never been to jail a day in their life and they lie.  I’m not sure why, but people lie all the time to police.  It takes a while to get used to that.

So I mentioned before about the speed.  Everything speeds up and it is up to you to catch up.  If you have ever played sports, its the same thing.  You can practice all you want but when you play a real game, the speed is faster.  As a rookie, you are constantly trying to catch up.

My first week out of the academy…. I’m working with my Field Training Officer (FTO) Eddie.  Eddie is great.  At the time he was training me, he had about 5-6 years on…just long enough to know what he is doing and short enough where he isn’t burned out and is aggressive.  As an FTO, he wants to get me involved as much as possible which is great for me.  We worked the evening shift (4-12) which is the busiest shift and after a week out of the academy, I am like a kid in the candy store.

So one night we are working, it is December and cold.  We get a call over the radio which I promptly do not hear.  It’s bad when you are sitting there and your trainer says, “Are you going to get that?”  meaning the radio.  We get a disturbance call at a slimy motel.  We get there and interview the victim and she says her boyfriend hit her but he is gone right now but his car is sitting right there so he can’t have gone far.  We get the necessary information and Eddie tells me to “run” or check the car to see who it is registered to.  Now, officers have access to computers in their car and can do it quite easily but during this time you had to get on the radio on the one radio channel designed for this purpose that the entire department uses so you have to jump in and hope the dispatcher hears you.  We finally check the car and lo and behold it comes back stolen.  This is my first stolen car.  I turn to Eddie and ask…”what do we do now?”  Eddie quickly leaves the parking lot and we pull about a block away so we can see the car and he explains… “we are going to sit up on it”.  This is all new to me so I ask…”what does sit up on it mean”  Eddie explains… “To sit up on a car is to watch it from a concealed location and see if anyone gets in the car… like that guy  is doing right now…. and we get ready to chase him.”

HOLY COW….I start battening down the hatches so to speak … I start throwing our briefcases in the back floorboard so that if we do get in chase, that stuff isn’t flying around.

Even though I am the passenger and the passenger usually handles the radio, I’m still a rookie in my first week so Eddie drives and talks at the same time.  He informs dispatch that the stolen car is now occupied and we are traveling on such and such road and about that time, the guys quickly pulls into a 7-11 parking lot and jumps out.  Eddie and I jump out our doors but stay by our car to use for cover and/or to get back in, in case this guy decides to get back in his car.  The suspect has a Big Gulp and says…”Im just going to get something to drink….” and takes off running.

Now in the academy, they tell us that for a foot chase, the passenger of the police unit is the one responsible for chasing the suspect.  This is it.  The moment of truth.  My first foot chase.  Now I have said it’s December and cold and I’m wearing my heavy police coat… but I’m ready.  I just graduated the Academy and am in great physical shape.  One of my talents is speed.  I am pretty doggone fast.  So our Suspect takes off….I holster my weapon and take off after him.  I can tell that this guy is pretty fast himself so I better bear down and kick it into gear and when I do….. I fall flat on my face.  Not just a little fall but a full face plant.  As I quickly pick myself up (no one saw that did they?) I start chasing him again when a 275 lb Officer passes me.  Oh that is just great.  The suspect is about 30 yards ahead of me and is about to go on the left side of a Jack in the Box.  I’m not going to catch him if he continues straight but if he loops around this Jack in the Box, I can cut him off.  So I peel off to the right and sure enough, the suspect has circled the Jack in the Box and I’m now about 5-10 yards behind him.  I’m just about to grab him when we run across a divided road.  The suspect adroitly clears the raised portion of the road….I do not.  WHAM….down I go again…right on my face.  I quickly pick myself up and now and highly pissed.  I’m chasing this guy to the ends of the earth.  The suspect only gained about 5 additional yards on me so I’m about 10-15 yards behind him when a squad car pulls up right in front of him… he runs into the car… the officers jump out, handcuff him and take off.

I’m standing in the middle of the road… both knees of my uniform pants are torn and both knees are bleeding….. both hands are scratched and bleeding…. my nametag is barely hanging on and I’m standing there all alone.

I walk back to the parking lot where our car and the stolen car are…along with about 5-6 other officers.  I walk up and Eddie looks at me and tries not to laugh.  All the other officers are turning their heads, snickering.  Eddie feels pity and says, “why don’t you go sit down and catch your breath” so I go sit down in our car.  The same car that someone has put our suspect.  As I sit down, the suspect starts laughing and says…”Hey..are you the slow, white #$@#$ that busted his ass?”

In all my college criminal justice classes, and all the police academy classes, when they talk about constitutional rights….and how you really shouldn’t hit a handcuffed prisoner…..I have to admit that right then, right there, I questioned whether or not this was a sound policy.  :-)

BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU SEARCH SOMEONE

A couple of weeks later, still working with Eddie, and we get an injured person call at an apartment complex.  No apartment given, just the complex.  We get there wondering how we are going to find this person when we hear him yelling.  We round the corner and see or “victim”, bleeding from a head wound and hollering at the aliens that are trying to get him.  Great.  The paramedics get there and attempt to treat him but our victim is so drunk, he won’t let them so they get the heck out of there.  So here we are, with a guy bleeding from a head wound, drunker than a skunk and not sure what to do with him.  We can’t leave him there because he is injured.  The paramedics won’t take him because he is drunk.  We can’t arrest him for Public Intoxication and put him in the drunk tank because of his injury…. so Eddie and I are discussing what we can do when we hear a familiar sound…and see our “victim”is peeing on our car.  ALRIGHT…thats it!  We wait until he is done peeing and Eddie says… “Arrest him”.  Great.  So I handcuff our victim, who’s name is “Gil”.  I end up arresting Gil about 6-8 times over a two year period.  Gil gets money from social security and is about 30 years old but has the body of a 80 year old and spends his money drinking.  Well this is my first encounter with Gil so after handcuffing him, I start patting him down, checking for weapons.  I am doing the pat down when I feel something…OH?  WHAT IS THIS?  I pull up his shirt and reach out and grab….his colostomy bag.  Oh this gets better and better.

Finally… complete the search.. get his colostomy bag back where it needs to go… and put him in the car and off to jail we go.

Now a quick word about transporting prisoners.  I’m sure you have seen in your own cities or at least on TV or movies, that some squad cars have “cages” between the back seat and the front seat.  This is designed to protect the officers from the prisoners while transporting them.  In Dallas, however, there are no cages. Every few years, they would ask the patrol officers if they wanted them and by a 90% margin, they always came back, no.  In Dallas, if you are by yourself, you handcuff and seat belt the prisoner in the front passenger seat.  If you are working with a partner, the prisoner always goes in the passenger rear seat with the partner sitting right behind the driver and right beside the prisoner.

So that was the sitting configuration with Gil.  Eddie is driving and I’m behind Eddie and Gil is sitting to my right.  Gil, now that he is handcuffed and seat belted in, is getting ornery and begins cussing us.  Fine,…whatever.  I’ve got my hand resting on Eddies seat when I hear Gil clear his throat and spit…. and his spit lands on my hand.  Now I know what I want to do, but I am a rookie and I have to be on my best behavior.  So I just saying something to Gil and wipe my hand on the seat.  Eddie, however, remember, he is driving… turns around and asks, “Did he just spit on you?”  I say yes and Eddie, while driving down the freeway, reaches back and …… lets just say he lets Gil know that what he did was not appreciated.  It was impressive.

So we get to the county jail and it is a zoo.  There is a large central room where you book in your prisoners.  They get fingerprinted and the basic paperwork filled out and they they are placed in a central holding cell while the police officers continue with the arresting paperwork, get it approved by the Jail Sgt and go their merry way.

So I’m standing in line with Gil and the line is about 4 deep.  Gil wants the handcuffs off and I refuse so I’m holding onto Gil by holding onto the handcuffs.  Gil is getting really mouthy and I’m ignoring him when I hear him clear his throat again… I spin Gil away from me right when he let the loogie fly…. and it lands right on the bare back of a huge black prisoner in line in front of us.  This guy is about 6’5″, 260.  And the spit hits him square in the back and starts to slowly run down.  Everyone in the room gets quite and you see officers getting ready for whats about to happen.  This big black guy slowly turns around and looks at me and then looks at Gil.  Gil is all of 5’7″, 140 lbs.  The black guy looks back at me and asks, “Is he going to the same room I am?”  I smile and say, “yes”  The black guy says “Good” and turns back around.

Eventually the paperwork is done, and all prisoners are escorted to the central holding cell and I go back to the report area to tell Eddie and right when I get back there, the alarm goes off that there is a fight going on in the central holding cell.  Eddie looks at me and asks, “Gil?” I say…. “Yep”  And he says… “Figures”

Sometimes you have to love it when a plan comes together.

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9 thoughts on “April Showers brings….. recovery?

  1. Michael,, I wish you wouldn’t ride in a car in a backseat next to an idiot prisoner!!! However, I am proud of you for not letting loose with what you were probably thinking. Choose your seatmates carefully!!!

  2. Brother Finley,

    Glad to hear you are doing well. Love the stories.

    Stay strong,

    Jeff

  3. Glad to know that you are feeling better! Good to see you sense of humor is still there, too! I wish I could give you a few of my extra LBS! Katherine

  4. glad to see your slowly making your way back to the living. Great stories as always. Hang in there.

    ST

  5. I’m impressed that you know what adroitly means…they taught you that in Mendenhall?

  6. Karma’s a bitch…especially in a holding cell. Glad that you are on the mend but that Coke is bad for your teeth though, LOL. Good luck with your CAT scan.

  7. Love the Eddie story! There are no better officers than Eddie. We had a great group in those days Mike! Great memories!
    I’m glad things continue to progress! You look good at 155lbs! I hope you have some belts or you’ll be sagging!

  8. Great to hear that you are turning a corner. Once you are fully recovered does that mean the stories need to end? The loogie story was the best. I had tears coming down my cheek. Not as good as the loose meat sandwich guy crapping himself, but a close second.

  9. Good to hear you are getting close. You are in my prayers. I love the stories. Several have said it and I agree… I think you should put the stories together in a book.

    Spinney

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