With the tragedies in Boston and West Texas, I felt the need to write something on the lighter side and step away from the turmoil overwhelming me. I’m sharing my smiling moment of the week to see if my humor is contagious.
Cop magazines inundate the Small Town Police Department every month. I usually have one or two sitting on my desk and I peruse them while waiting on the phone or eating lunch at my desk.
These journals include American Police Beat, Law Officer, LET (Law Enforcement Technology), and American Cop but there are many more. The majority of the magazines sit around the squad room taking up space, cause a mess, and get in our way. My fellow officers (the guys) ooh and awe over the latest police gear, ultra-cool Taser resistant gloves, the hot new police cruisers with all the bells and whistles that our small agency can’t afford, and every tactical gadget on the market.
Flipping through the pages of one of these magazines this week, I came across an advertisement for a new police flashlight. The pictures are the first thing that caught my attention. I started reading the ad and began laughing until tears slipped down my face.
If you’ve been pulled over at night, and had an officer point a flashlight in your eyes you’ll cringe at the pictures below. Looking for your driver’s license and registration, under these circumstances is almost impossible. But, for officers, these flashlights save our lives and many times during my stint at the police academy, I was on the receiving end of their use during practice scenarios. Hours later, when I went to bed, spots remained in my eyes. I know someone out there is screaming about the damage to eyesight but I can’t imagine pepper spray in the eyes is any less harmful and I suffered that too.
This brings me to the ad—“Lumen Face” the latest and greatest Streamlight rechargeable flashlight. I own two of their older models in two sizes and though I’ve tried other brands, Streamlight is my favorite. I finished laughing, read the remainder of the magazine, and then carried it back to the squad room. An hour later I found myself chuckling again, and retrieved the magazine to cut out the ad for my wall.
Some people may not have my twisted sense of humor and if so I hope you’re absolutely horrified (please). I absolutely must get this new light, the Lumen Face +500 lumens. When I arrest someone and get a Lumen Face booking photo, I will share it with you. Seriously their advertising states, “They’ll still be squinting after they’re booked.” Now I just need $150.00 to purchase it.
At this moment, I’m not my happy, humorous self. I’m angry. You might even say… I’M PISSED OFF!
I’m talking about the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. The one where this past week we’ve been subjected to the two young men who raped the unconscious young woman, and now are breaking down in tears. We’ve seen and heard the media speak about their lives being ruined.
My post is about the victim, the girl who stood up against a town, a media blitz, her school, and many of her classmates.
I’ve sat in court and witnessed what victims go through. I’ve seen the pain and humiliation cast upon them. I’ve held the hands of victims while the pictures of their vagina and anus are shown in an open courtroom. I’ve sat still, controlling my tears while they’ve been up on the stand, looking into the eyes of suspects’ families and friends that hate them, and explained, in minute detail, about their sexual assault.
I’ve read the L.A.Times article. Keep reading… Towards the bottom of the Times deatribe you’ll find information that mentions the victim. You’ll see how she discovered her rape and the uphill battle she faced to prosecute the guilty.
Or better yet, the heartrending dialog on CNN to build sympathy for the rapists.
On the other hand, I appreciated the article by The New Yorker that pointed out the other suspects that have gone unpunished and the many blog posts that fight for this victim and all survivors of sexual assault.
Today, two more juveniles were arrested. After the judge imposed sentencing, two girls sent out Twitter messages including death threats and promised to assault the victim Hmm, still no prosecution for the one’s actually involved but these two are seeing a little juvenile detention time.
I taught my children that everyone present at a crime, can be charged. I wasn’t a police officer then.
Moms and dads, have a very long and serious talk with your children. Send out the RIGHT MESSAGE.
Juvenile witnesses of the rape stated they did nothing because the boys were only having sex and not “hurting” the victim. I cry BULLSHIT! These “witnesses” should be charged.
I know there are good adults and upstanding young men and women that did the right thing in this case. I thank you for your willingness to stand against evil (yes I said EVIL).
My words for the victim: I cry for every minute you’ve suffered and the horrible trial you’ve been subjected to. I cry for the years of pain ahead of you. But, I also have hope that you will fight through this and succeed in life. You will teach your daughters about strength and courage. Who better than you! I have hope that your sons will be different types of men and even as teenagers they will respect everyone regardless of gender but most of all respect themselves.
I pray that you and your family find peace.
Jeff is new to our department and graduated from the academy about six months ago. He did well but had a bit of trouble with academics. He still managed to make it through with a 79 average. I will never hold my 96 over his head unless it’s to say, “That’s why I’m the detective.” I use this line on all the guys when they think they’re too smart for their britches.
Jeff received a call for a possible stolen vehicle at our small, but well stocked grocery store. I was in the office and the only supervisor on duty (no raise for this, no stripes, just more work) I could see his excitement and decided to let him handle it on his own.
Jeff ran out the door like he was heading to an active shooter. I smiled.
He radioed from the scene and put out an ATL (attempt to locate) on the missing car. His voice was excited but professional. The stolen vehicle was a gold, four-door, 2010 Buick Allure, possibly heading east. I decided to take a drive around the outskirts of town just in case. Unfortunately, I had no luck but it felt good to get away from my office and report writing.
Just as I put my signal on to re-enter the police department parking lot, I heard Jeff call over the radio that he was doing a “high risk” stop on the stolen vehicle. I pulled back into traffic, activated my lights, and sped to his location. My “fan” beside his vehicle was training perfect and I let him continue the lead.
With both of us positioned; driver’s doors open, sitting in the “V”, and guns drawn… we were ready. Jeff used his radio’s loudspeaker to give directions.
“Put your hands up where I can see them.”
Small, tentative hands went into the air. I started thinking we had a young juvenile car thief on our hands.
“Using your left hand only, open your car door and push it wide with your foot.”
The door opened and a slender leg with a high heeled foot pushed the door. The driver’s head turned around and Joleen from the sheriff’s office looked back at us. She wasn’t happy.
“Umm Officer Davis, I yelled, That’s Joleen.”
“I don’t know her last name but she works at the sheriff’s office.”
“Well she’s in a stolen car.”
“There might be another explanation.”
“The car’s stolen and she’s driving it.”
“Okay, it’s your call but don’t get trigger happy.” He was a rookie after all and I had to say something.
He continued his instructions, “Using your left hand, turn off the vehicle, and toss your keys out the door.”
I could hear the frustration in her voice, “My vehicle’s already off. What’s going on?” she yelled back.
Jeff didn’t miss a beat, “Take them out of the ignition, and toss them outside the vehicle.”
An angry hand threw the keys quite a distance away. Joleen had a pretty good arm.
Jeff went by the book and eventually Jollen was walking slowly toward us.
I only waited until she was at the halfway point, “Hi Joleen, it’s Suzie, the vehicle you’re driving was reported stolen.”
“It’s my neighbor’s vehicle. Mine broke down and she said I could use it to go to the store for milk.”
“Who’s your neighbor?”
“Michelle Rankin.” I knew Michelle.
“Jeff, who does this vehicle come back to?”
My detective brain gears turned quickly. “What color is the vehicle you borrowed Joleen?”
“Jeff, was there another gold vehicle in the parking lot near where Mr. Barley’s vehicle was parked?”
“Yes, but it was a few spaces away.”
“Did it look like this one?”
“Joleen, are you armed?”
“Then put your arms down.”
She continued walking to us and I got out of my car. I saw Jeff’s gun following her. “Jeff, put your gun away.”
Joleen began shaking and I thought she was going to cry. “Did you leave the keys in the vehicle when you went inside Joleen?”
“You know you took the wrong car.”
“I just figured that out.” I smiled which caused her to finally break down in tears. Jeff wasn’t sure what to do.
We called Mr. Barley and his wife drove him to our location. He drove away in his car after Joleen removed her milk and apologized profusely. Mr. Barley laughed and gave her a hug. I let her ride in my passenger seat and took her back to Michelle’s vehicle which, thank god, was still in the parking lot.
Poor Jeff, this is his rookie mistake and he’ll never live it down. I know it sounds like I live in Mayberry R.F.D. and some days it feels like it. If you didn’t know, R.F.D. stands for Rural Free Delivery or in my wishful thinking, Rookie Free Departments.
The picture above is a 2010 Buick Allure (Mr. Barley’s vehicle) and the one here is a 2004 Chevy Malibu (Michelle’s vehicle) but please, I’m no longer a rookie and would have solved this case in minutes because I would have run the plate of the other gold vehicle. I stopped believing in coincidence after my first year on the job.
I bet Jeff does the same thing but then again, that’s why I’m the detective.
I meet so many incredible people online. I talk about you at work. I tell funny stories from comments on my blog and relay the Twitter conversations that make me smile. I’ve met police officers from around the world and learned about our differences but more than that, I learn what all my brothers and sisters in blue have in common. We are a worldwide family.
I spent this past Tuesday at the shooting range having a great time. For some reason though, it left me with a pinched nerve in my neck and a raging headache. No old age comments please. I don’t usually get headaches so I wasn’t very accommodating for the next few days while it ran its course.
But, I woke up Saturday feeling better and decided to catch up on the social media end of writing. I checked in with friends, read their Tweets, and read new blog posts.
I have a good police friend in Ireland who entertains me constantly with his humorous wit. His wife doesn’t think he’s quite as funny but it’s obvious he’s loved. I first noticed his Twitter avatar picture had changed and then I started reading the Tweets I’ve missed.
For my friend Jason, life has not been good and he’s in a rough place right now.
On Friday, an Irish police officer/detective tragically died. In Ireland they’re called “An Garda Siochana.” Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, a father of two, was gunned down a half mile from his home as he tried to stop fleeing suspects during a robbery at a credit union in Co Louth.
Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe’s wife and two brothers are also An Garda Siochana and share the brother and sisterhood of the badge. From reading the articles about his life, Garda Donohoe and his family have dedicated their lives to protect the people they serve.
Regardless of the thousands of miles and great ocean separating our service, Detective Garda Donohoe wore a badge and I honor his life and sacrifice. My friend Jason’s sadness has no barrier when touching my heart and I grieve with him. For everyone who served with Detective Garda Donohoe, these next months will be incredibly difficult. Please stay safe!
To all Detective Garda Donohoe’s family, friends, and brothers and sisters in blue; may his memory bring you comfort, may his sacrifice make you proud and may you find peace in knowing we never forget those who give their lives to save others. Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe may you Rest in Peace.
The following links give additional information about this tragic story:
“Tis’ the season to beat your wife.”
This has been my before and after holiday slogan since becoming an officer. I don’t mean to be snappy or humorous. Domestic violence effects every economic group, gender, race, and religion. I’m no longer on patrol but I keep my ear to police traffic and backup fellow officers on domestic calls. In the first ten days of the year I’ve dealt with uncontrollable fighting brothers and a homicide/suicide threat with a lethal military knife. The brothers went to the hospital and the knife suspect went to jail, and no he was not a Veteran.
Our report log fills with domestic situations almost daily. I encourage my readers to get involved. Report domestic violence and learn about its impact on our children.
A few wonderful resources are:
Break the Cycle www.breakthecycle.org
Safe Horizon www.safehorizon.org
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence www.NCADV.org
Your gift can be as small as forwarding these links to someone in need and/or donating a used cell phone. Thank you!
Pink Handcuff Tour
I spent this past weekend on my couch with a box of Kleenex, hot herbal tea, and a stubborn head cold. I won’t call it the flu because I got my flu shot. My poor husband took care of the animals, cooked for me, and listened to me moan and groan through his birthday.
Whining like a baby didn’t keep me from being productive though. I managed to write 5,000 words on my next Bad Luck book, YEAH! I’m planning a summer release and also using my creativity to outline a pink handcuff tour. It’s in the early planning stages but here’s my idea.
I want to send my extra pair of pinkies (non-fur lined) to fellow readers and bloggers that think they can come up with fun photos using my pink cuffs. Sorry, no nudity allowed I’ll post the pics on my blog and let readers choose the best one(s). The winner gets to keep the handcuffs and I’ll pony up a gift certificate to someplace like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I’m stealing the idea from the Mr. Bacon tour but I don’t think he’ll mind. I would love to see what my blogging friends and readers come up with.
Put your creativity caps on and start thinking about what you could do with pink handcuffs and yes, I’ll be sending the keys too. Email me at: suzieivy at gmail dot com, if you want in.
Criminal Lines Radio
I’m very excited to announce that I will be the guest on Criminal Lines Radio this Thursday, January 17th, from 7 to 9 p.m. central time with host Marguerite Ashton. Click here and scroll to the bottom right of the page to listen. Who knows what I’ll be discussing but I promise to be fun and informative, or wacky and intense.
Here’s the wonderful video promo (I look like such a baby cop in my academy graduation photo):
To all my friends and LE officers; stay safe, wear your seatbelt, and smile at someone today,
The End of Watch for an officer culminates at the funeral when his or her watch/patrol is turned over to fellow officers. The dispatcher who monitored the officer at their time of death makes the last radio broadcast and officially passes the watch to his or her brothers and sisters in blue.
Just A Little Thanks
By: Katelyn Lord, Wyoming Valley West 8th Grade
(1st place county winner of 2006 S.O.L.E. Cultural Arts Contest)
You are brave, strong, and willing
To do what most would not dare.
I thank you for all the help
And my promise to you is, I will care.
I will obey the law,
I will respect what you do and say,
I will tell my friends to be aware of,
What you Sacrifice for us each day.
Thank you, Katelyn
My dread builds as I turn on my computer to enter the web address for the Officer Down Memorial Page. I go through these feelings every year. I put it off and check my email, cruise Twitter and peek in on Facebook. Finally, my delays are over.
Every picture is a smiling face; showing pride, hope, and joy for life. Each officer has loved ones at home who will never be the same and will mourn their loss forever. My tears make it hard to read their stories and pay homage. But, if they can die in blue, I can wipe my tears and praise their sacrifice.
There were 124 line of duty deaths in 2012. Every officer death is one too many but the number dropped 29% from 2011.
The most dangerous states to work as a police officer are Texas, leading the country with 11 officer deaths, Georgia at 7 followed by Colorado with 6. The deadliest months for line of duty deaths were January at 18, and 14 each in August and September.
There were 18 K9 deaths this year. Having served with a K9 dog I feel they deserve a mention for all they do.
111 male officers died and 13 female officers. 47 of the fallen were shot, 12 physically assaulted and 5 stabbed. Vehicles took their toll again with 40 deaths. Medical issues including heart attack stand at 15 with 5 miscellaneous deaths.
The average age is 41 and the average tour of duty is 11 years and 10 months. Domestic violence and drug search warrants tie for the deadliest events in which officers died.
Remembering…Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, End of Watch January 1st 2012
Park Ranger Anderson was shot and killed while attempting to stop a fleeing suspect near the Longmire Ranger Station in Mount Rainier National Park, in Pierce County, Washington, at approximately 10:30 am.Another park ranger had attempted to stop the suspect at a snow-chain checkpoint near the Paradise Ranger Station, but the suspect fled before being intercepted by Ranger Anderson, who had set up a roadblock. Unbeknownst to Ranger Anderson, the suspect was wanted in connection to a shooting the previous day where four people were wounded.
When the suspect reached Ranger Anderson’s roadblock, he made a U-turn, exited his vehicle, and opened fire. Ranger Anderson was shot before she was able to exit her patrol car.
After being shot, Ranger Anderson radioed for help as the suspect fled on foot. Responding units attempting to reach Ranger Anderson were held at bay for approximately 90 minutes as the suspect continued to fire on them. The suspect’s vehicle was recovered with additional weapons and body armor inside.
The suspect’s body was found the following day about six miles from the initial shooting scene.
Ranger Anderson had served with the National Park Service for 11 years. She is survived by her husband and two young children. Her husband also serves as a park ranger in the park and was on duty at the time.
Remembering…Police Officer Sean Callahan, End of Watch December 18, 2012
Police Officer Callahan succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained the previous day during a foot pursuit in Stockbridge, Georgia.
He and other officers had responded to a domestic disturbance at a motel on Davidson Parkway. As officers attempted to arrest the male subject he began to resist and fled on foot. The officers chased the man around the motel where the subject opened fire, striking Officer Callahan in the head twice. Other officers returned fire, killing the subject. The subject had a long criminal history and had just been released from prison seven months earlier.
Officer Callahan was 24 years old and had served as an officer for only four months.
Remembering…Police Officer Arthur Lopez, End of Watch October 23, 2012
Officer Lopez and his partner observed a vehicle they believed had been involved in the hit-and-run accident near the border of Nassau County and New York City. The officers followed the vehicle into Queens, where they conducted a vehicle stop. The subject opened fire on the officers after they approached and exchanged words. Officer Lopez, who was not wearing a vest, was struck in the chest.
The subject then fled in his vehicle. He abandoned his vehicle and carjacked a citizen, fatally shooting the driver.The subject was arrested several hours later and was suffering two self-inflicted gunshot wounds. He was identified as a former convict who had served four years for attempted murder.
To my brothers and sisters in blue…wear your vest, buckle your seat belt, and stay safe.