The Rookie: A Sneak Peek at Bad Luck Officer
I’ve been working very hard on the edits for Bad Luck Officer due out January 13th 2012, Friday the 13th, the best day for Bad Luck! (I came up with this slogan on my own)
The first half of the book is the day to day struggle of field training. Every officer, upon graduating the academy, goes through months of one on one supervised training before being put on the street by themselves. Rookies make numerous mistakes and our stories become notorious and are told to every new officer entering the department.
I was actually lucky during my field training and didn’t screw up too badly. Though I had many funny moments and some definite wake up calls in my chosen career. My infamous rookie story starts the first day I was officially on my own. I was hot stuff all the way to my first call. Spike, who you meet early in the book, is one of my Field Training Officers and though a great friend now, had little patients with me back then. Please don’t blame him, poor man has been through way to many newbies.
I’ve recounted this story as closely as I can and unfortunately it wasn’t hard. I’ve heard it told by my field training team way too many times and it’s now exaggerated far past what happened. If you ever hear a different version, it’s a lie. I never fired my weapon and I did not kill the dog!
Excerpt from Bad Luck Officer: First day on my own.
I went out to my squad car, started the engine and radioed dispatch that I was 10-8 (ready for duty). The dispatcher said good morning and told me to stand by for traffic (a pending call). This would be my first call with no one looking over my shoulder or checking up on me. I held my breath in anticipation as I waited for the information.
The dispatcher came back on the air and told me there was a large suspicious case in the garbage can at Circle K and they requested an officer immediately.
Several things went through my head upon hearing suspicious case. In my mind, I imagined a plain brown wrapped package concealing a bomb. My second thought was body parts. I’d definitely watched too many serial killer movies and my rookie brain was working overtime. Either scenario would require me to contact a supervisor. I decided to take a look first and then decide my course of action.
To explain what happened next I must explain some ten-codes (radio language), just the few that led to the disastrous domino effect that followed.
961 (vehicle accident no injuries)
962 (vehicle accident injuries)
963 (vehicle accident death)
930 (animal at large)
931 (dead animal)
1510 (My personal radio signature)
So the call went something like this.
I arrived at Circle K and saw three women standing at the large dumpster on the side of the building.
I approached and they all turned and looked at me. The manager told me there was a large suitcase in the dumpster and blond curly hair was sticking out the side. She believed it to be a dog, but wasn’t sure.
I walked up to the dumpster and looked at the suitcase, which was lying on mounds of smelly trash. It was a beat up brown hardshell case, about two feet wide, two and a half feet high and eight inches deep. I could see the tuft of hair in question and it did look like it belonged to a dog.
In my most professional cop voice, as I spread my arms wide I said, “I need you ladies to stand back and let me take a look inside the suitcase.”
They all stood farther back with a few “ewes and awes” cast my way. I was one professional cop.
My radio chirped and Spike asked me what was going on. This is where my professionalism bit the dust.
“What do you have 1510?” came Spike’s sharp deep voice.
“I have a 962 (accident with injuries).” Of course, I meant to say 931(dead dog).
“How bad is it?”
“Well sir, he’s dead.”
“I’ll be right there.”
The next thing I hear over the radio is an ambulance being dispatched. I wasn’t paying close attention because I was opening the suitcase and even over the smelly garbage, the odor of dead dog overwhelmed me.
Dispatch radioed me and asked if I needed more than one ambulance.
It started to sink in and I realized I told Spike it was a 962 (accident with injuries) and then told him my subject was dead (which is a 963). I immediately radioed and said I miss-spoke the code and I actually had a 932 (there is no such code). Dispatch questioned what I said and I not so calmly repeated 932. Why this unknown code came out of my mouth, I do not know. I was on a roll.
As this was going on, I was admiring a forty-pound, dead, very large blond fluffy dog, crammed inside the suitcase. It’s eyes were open and staring at me, poor fellow.
The ambulance pulled into the parking lot and while laughing and smiling the crew walked over to me. They had heard my entire miscommunication. Before I could explain, Spike pulled up, jumped out of his car and began yelling. “What the hell are you doing? If you don’t know a code, use English.”
He was pissed off. I told him I was sorry for the mix up. Everyone was staring and Spike’s face was red. My face was redder.
“What the hell is a 932?” He demanded.
This is where I realized I had blown it once again and very bluntly responded, “A 932 is a dead dog in a suitcase. Didn’t you learn that at the academy?” I’m not known for holding back, even when I’m wrong.
I thought Spike would lose his mind. His red face went purple. I was afraid he might stroke out, but he took a deep breath, turned his back and marched to his patrol car. He spoke into his radio to dispatch, “Please take note that a 932 is a dead dog in a suitcase, and if 1510 ever has another one, you need to know the proper code.” He left the parking lot on squealing tires.
I closed the suitcase, slunk to my vehicle and cleared the scene. I could hear the ambulance personnel laughing as well as the dispatchers over my radio.
Later that day, I had to call dispatch by phone. They started laughing again. I apologized for my mix up. I was told it was okay, they never enjoyed a call so much in their lives and had a sheet of paper posted for any other codes I wanted to add. It was a special sheet just for me.
Their laughter was infectious, and I began to see the humor in my blunder, but doubted that I would ever live it down. Over the years, I’ve added more codes to the list, but out of expediency, not idiocy. It was not the greatest start to my first official day on my own.
If you’ve read my blog from the beginning, you’ve read Bad Luck Cadet but it’s also available as an ebook download for .99 at Amazon.com. If you have a little extra time on your hands and have an Amazon account, please click the “like” button and if you travel further down the Amazon page there are book tags which help place the book in different category search listings. No purchase is necessary and clicking these tags are a huge help and would be greatly appreciated! I also have an Amazon Author Page which you may visit and click the “like” button as well. Now that I’ve given you lots to do during the busiest time of the year, thank you for reading thus far. Your comments and encouragement are what keep me burning the midnight oil. I never knew how much work was involved in this writing gig:-)
Special Agent Bacon will be my blog topic next week.