How does everyone go crazy all at once?

It was a busy night, especially for a Monday; an assault, a help the officer, an attempted rape, and an armed robbery all before midnight. While I was writing paper on the sexual assault another officer asked if everyone out tonight seemed more off than usual. The scene we had just come from was at one of the public housing buildings where there was no shortage of weirdoes. The details around the call were sketchy and something big seemed to be missing, most likely the part where they all sat around and smoked crack. The apartment was cluttered with bizarre knick knacks, my favorite of which was a raccoon skin hanging over a desk lamp. I had to step over all sorts of things to get in. Even without everything tossed around from the struggle it was obvious the apartment was always this cluttered. Despite the hoarding collection I saw the cable for the tv running beneath a scrap piece of carpet with a handmade sign taped to the floor asking, “PLEASE STEP OVER”. It was probably the last thing I would have tripped on in the room.
Earlier today at another public housing building for an assault that had occurred outside, some of the tenants sat in the lobby rocking back and forth with a far away look. “Hi Officer how are you doing?” Everyone was really nice, just a little weird. Every time I go into that building, which I got lost in my first time there because the main entrance is on the sixth floor, I wonder if I am fated to end up there following some sort of head injury or brain trauma. As I sit in my subsidized room with million dollar views of the city, completely indifferent to me in my new found mental state I will pause every time the police respond to my building. I will look at them as if there is something familiar about them before getting distracted and returning to my insane post-it note ranting collection that is growing on my wall.
I remember the first time I went to one of the city’s mental housing units. It was a disturbance call where a neighbor had been threatened in the lobby. As we entered the lobby this guy approached us in a friendly manner consistent with someone with the mental capacity of a child. “What’s going on? Is everything alright?” he asked us as we headed to the elevator. He followed us into the elevator and rambled about the cold winter we were having and something about rain. We were on our way to room 702. When we all got into the elevator he pushed the seventh floor button. I wondered for a moment if this guy was somehow involved but he didn’t mention anything more than small talk banter. We got out of the elevator and he walked ahead of us to room 702. I watched him as he unlocked the door and went inside. “Are you the one that called us?” I asked. He walked into his apartment, turned around and stood in the opening of the door like he had just answered it. There was a pause and for a moment. We stood there looking at each other. The guy took a deep breath and sighed as if getting into character and said in a more inflection than before, “Hi thanks for coming out.” He explained the convoluted incident which turned out to be a verbal altercation over the use of the common room type writer. The problem was solved by just listening to his story with a smile and a nod.


The gift that keeps on giving

After spending the summer on bikes I have been back in my patrol car for the past month. I have forgotten the joys entering people’s homes on 911 calls. This month I’ve been to two good bloody suicide attempts. One where we found a girl, with knife in hand, sitting in a bloody bathtub. More recently we responded to another cutter, this time with scissors. We were able to talk the guy out without incident. While one of the officers on scene was securing the apartment and gathering up some of the guys things to take to the hospital, he got stuck by something as he brushed past the bed. A small pick that the guy said he used to clean out his weed pipe punctured my partner’s calf. The needle, that looked like some sort of dental instrument or burglary tool was covered in grime and grit. The apartment was unkept and disgusting, like the majority of places we respond to. With two babies at home to worry about, the officer went to the hospital for an exposure treatment. “The worst thing about getting stuck with one needle” he told us the next day, “is having to get stuck with eight more at the hospital.” Luckily the suicidal guy with coagulated blood dangling from his arm submitted to a blood test and the results were negative for any souvenirs, namely hep c.

My wife gets annoyed when people ask her how she does it, being married to someone who does something so dangerous. Last year was especially dangerous for law enforcement with events like the Lakewood Shooting gaining national attention. On a side note, you can check out an official after action report at Spartan Cops here. The real dangers of the job are often overlooked by the general public who gain their law enforcement expertise from that cable channel playing Law and Order twenty hours a day. We are far more likely to suffer an exposure from a stray needle or other particulate emanating from a suspect in any manner of ways. I’ve been at the hospital enough times with an officer for exposure to know the risk of contracting AIDS or HIV are pretty low and I really don’t stress about getting it. What I worry most about is Hep C and some nasty Staph infection, which are both far more prevelant and easier to bring home.

Lego: The Twin Voyager Spacecraft

Using pieces from my son’s Star Wars lego sets it occured to me that I might be able to create a replica of the Twin Voyager Spacecraft. So I did. It took about thirty minutes.

A Tiger Cub’s Pinewood Derby Car

My son’s Cub Scout Pine Wood Derby race was last weekend. I thought it went very well. I always considered the Pine Wood Derby to be the pinnacle of Cub Scouting. This year my son wanted to build a police car. I showed him how to design and build his first car and he along with all the other boys had a lot of fun on race day. The tracks have come a long way since my first Pinewood Derby race in Aurora Colorado twenty-one years ago. The track instantly displayed the race results including place, time, and speed onto a projection screen. Later that night the results were posted on line among race times from around the region.

My son’s car had an average race time over 4 heats of 3.96 seconds and an average speed of 163.57 scale miles per hour.

At the Rent My Track website there is also an interesting history of the pinewood derby started in Manhattan Beach CA back in 1953.

Link: Rent My Track

Addicted to painful looking X Rays.

I particularly love the Xray images that immediately follow the holidays, whichever they may be.

Check out what can happen to your hand when you fail to release the firecracker.
Have a Safe Fourth


Human beings by nature are social animals. In my previous profession I found myself surrounded by the proclaimed A type personalities. I my self have never identified well with that spectrum. Though I tend to be outgoing and personable, I find the whole macho thing rather disconcerting. Following my separation from military service I found myself embedded in the cubicle office culture of the aerospace industry. Surrounding my three grey walls were the desks of aerospace engineers. Still, I enjoyed the silence, the NPR, and the jazz in the bathrooms I could not get over the extreme lack of social skills. Thus the B type personalities. I always figured that I had become more aggressive, assertive, and more masculine in my twenties due to father hood and war. I always assumed that I would eventually settle back into the more easy going passive self I was before. Apparently I am neither completely A or B, which like many things in life tends to be a bit more pragmatic.

In my new profession I find many similarities between myself and coworkers. There are those too aggressive and some a bit reserved, but all in all there seems to be a great balance. The other day I realized how much I appreciated saying good morning to people and actually have them return they greeting and make solid eye contact, a feat seldom accomplished in an office environment. Surrounded by people with solid social skills is new to me. There are still the few in lacking, and a few overly boisterous, but the ratio is far more acute than anywhere I’ve ever been.

This morning I came across this almost ten minute video that nearly made me late. As I have discussed with a friend of mine reading the news on the internet and sorting through rss feeds can have devastating effects on our work ethic specifically our timeliness that morning. This video made me appreciate all of the people I have ever worked with. The meek, the sheik, the geek, the lazy, the inept, and that douche bag that seems to reside in a portion of everyone’s lives, whether he be in sales your neighbor, or brother in law.

[via] Fist of Blog

The Art of War: Part 2

When your forces are dulled, your edge is blunted, your strength is exhausted, and your supplies are gone, then others will take advantage of your debility and rise up. Then even if you have wise advisers you cannot make things turn out well in the end.

Therefore I have heard of military operations that were clumsy but swift, but I have never seen one that was skillful and lasted a long time. It is never beneficial to a nation to have a military operation continue for a long time.

-Sun Tzu

flickr: soldier’s media center

For us time is a relative term. We live in a world of thirty second commercial bites and hour long mini dramas. Our national attention span rarely exceed the next presidential election. How could we haver possible consider our place in the world objectively? Isn’t easier to assume that if the nightly news doesn’t cover it, that it’s not happening? To the overwhelming majority that now seek resolution if not consummation, have they too been deemed the people who will always object to everything?

My neighborhood was established around the turn of the century. Is this a long time ago when you consider the four to hundred year old buildings on our New England coast? Does even our oldest settlements measure up to the castile walls, provincial parks, and villages in Europe measure in centuries over years? Will we sustain the next five years of these modern wars? We’re still established in places ravaged by a war over a half century old. Can a long time have any meaning in a fickle society such as ours?