Thank you for your service!
My husband and I were shopping at Cosco when an older man stopped us and asked him about the Durango, Colorado shirt my husband wore. I took a trip to the lady’s room while the two of them spoke about Durango. When I came back there was a woman, who I thought was the daughter of the older man, standing beside him waiting patiently for the conversation to end. She was around our age.
My husband and the man shook hands and we turned to walk away. The woman said to the older man, “Sir, I would like to thank you for your service.”
I hadn’t taken notice that the man’s hat said Vietnam Vet until she spoke.
When we finished shopping, the two of them were eating together in the small food service area. I take my hat off to this woman. I know she made that man’s day. She also made mine.
The people we take for granted.
Every Tuesday we collect the garbage from our trash bins, empty them and move the large outside bin down to the street. The trash is picked up at around 11am.
I love our front deck and it’s a great place to read a bit and catch the morning sun. It’s high above the street which offers a bit of privacy. I was lost in my book when I noticed the loud rumble of the garbage collection truck turning up our road.
The young boy who lives next door, about five or six years old, ran to the road to watch the truck. He was jumping up and down and waiving at the driver. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, due to the noise, but there was something in his hand. The driver stopped his truck, turned off the engine and jumped down to see what the boy had.
Here is the conversation…
“My dad is teaching me to whittle and this is what I’m making.”
“That looks mighty fine. Remember to be careful with knives and be sure to show it to me when you’re finished.”
“My dad is teaching me to be careful too.”
“He sounds like a great dad. You be a good boy, now.”
He turned and went back to his truck, started the engine, and picked up the garbage.
These small acts of kindness made me smile.
My goal in 2016 is to pass it on and hope that someone somewhere smiles over something I do.
Happy New Year,
The Forever Team is available in paperback ($5.99) and eBook (99 cents).
Six months ago The Forever Team released as part of 10-Code Project to raise money for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund. I don’t have the figures yet but I’m very excited to see how much money we raised. Thank you everyone who purchased a copy.
I worked very hard this past month to make The Forever Team appropriate for age 10+ readers. This means I cleaned up the language and sexual innuendos that made it true to life. The changes don’t effect the story but for the first time, my grandchildren can read a book I’ve written.
As a long-time rottweiler owner, I want you to know this story is very close to my heart. I had just lost my six-year-old Rottie to cancer when I wrote The Forever Team. There were so many tears shed it was hard to see my computer screen at times. I’m hoping there are a few more Detective Jolett books in me because I really want to revisit her world.
Buy link: Amazon Kindle
In a small town, everyone knows where you live, what schedule you work, and when you are home. They don’t care that you worked the night shift and need sleep for your next shift. You are their neighbor, friend, or in some cases the person who put them in jail the night before.
I arrested twenty-four-year-old Raymond Thoms for driving under the influence and open container. He was highly intoxicated and belligerent. His sexual innuendos and continued derogative gestures during the intoxilizer test had the jail detention officers threatening to place him in a restraint chair. Adding to my discomfort, Raymond’s mother was a friend and neighbor. I’d previously known Raymond as polite and helpful whenever I saw him. Now, he was the perfect example of someone who should never drink alcohol.
I understand that liquor can turn ordinary people into Mr. or Mrs. Hyde. But the effects of alcohol on Raymond were more like Dr. Ruth and Howard Stern having a love child who suffered with turrets syndrome.
I managed to control my irritation but admit I was glad to leave Raymond behind to let him sleep it off. I escaped the jail about twenty minutes before the end of my shift and took a final drive through town before going home. A short time later, I fell into bed completely exhausted. At around six in the morning, pounding at my front door had my husband cursing and me grabbing a bathrobe and groggily stumbling to the door.
Raymond stood on my porch.
I know big city cops are cringing at this point but events such as this happen in small towns. I stepped back and invited Raymond inside. I turned on the coffee pot and offered him a seat at my kitchen table. It took all of two seconds before he was balling his eyes out apologizing for what happened. I know he was still intoxicated but at least now I saw signs of the sweet young man I’d known for several years.
Apparently one of the detention officers was Raymond’s second cousin and had no trouble calling Dorothy, Raymond’s mother, and informing her of what he put me through in the jail. Raymond told me he remembered very little but the same officer quite blatantly told him about his behavior. After the judge released Raymond, he called his mother to pick him up only to be informed he was no longer welcome in her home. Raymond walked two and a half miles to my front door and now I had him sitting in my kitchen begging me to intervene.
I’m happy to report that as far as I know, Raymond never drank again. He and his wife just had their second child and Raymond always gives me a big hug when we see each other. And yes, Dorothy allowed him home after a lengthy conversation. I know she gave in more to get him out of my kitchen than to bring him so quickly back into the family fold. As a single mother, she was quite rigid when it came to her son crossing the line and I applaud her for that. I don’t envy Raymond those first weeks after he returned home but he survived.
A few weeks ago, with plenty of laughter, Dorothy and I rehashed the story of Raymond crying in my kitchen afraid he was homeless. Dorothy reminded me of the small things I miss most from the day to day adventures as a cop. No shift was ever boring and the comradery of my fellow officers was like nothing I experienced before or since. And yes, I even miss the Raymonds who made police life interesting. In my thoughts, I continue to identify myself as an officer. I wonder when that will stop and my civilian status will settle in. Maybe, that’s when my retirement will truly hit home.
This is a short post but I’ve been feeling neglectful in my blogging duties and thought I would share something I found this morning. The mugshots you are looking at are typical of today’s county jail booking photos.
These mugshots are a great tool and I’ve used countless prisoner photos for identifying criminals. If I think I know the identity of a suspect, and I know they’ve been arrested in the past, it’s easy to show a grouping of pictures to a witness and ask him or her to identify the guilty party. This is called a six-pack.
Like many other techniques in fighting crime, I’ve trained to use these photos so the identification process cannot be thrown out in court.
I call the jail giving them similar physical characteristics of who I’m looking for and request a booking photo of my suspect along with five to ten others that match my description. I include height, weight, hair color, etc.
I choose five to go with my suspected bad guy, and lay the pictures face down on a table. I bring my victim/witness in and have them pick up the pictures in any order and look at them. By having them choose which picture to look at first, it takes the defense theory of “stacking the deck” out of the equation.
I would love to say this technique always works but in real life, it doesn’t. But when someone is looking at six similar photos and shows you the correct one with no doubt and identifies your bad guy, it’s a great feeling.
This morning I ran across the website below and became fascinated with the pictures of criminal booking photos from the twenties. I don’t know if it’s the black and white, standing photos or just the suits but seriously some of these are a work of art and nothing like we see today.
I loved the guy who wouldn’t open his eyes. Enjoy!
I don’t know if bad luck follows me, I make my own, or that god just knows I have a great sense of humor. Earlier this month, on a book-signing/convention trip to Vegas my journey began with marijuana and ended with marijuana.
Some readers might be saying, “Oh Suzie, what did you do?”
Seriously, I did nothing. This crap just makes for great blog posts!
I stayed in a room at the end of a long hallway. Directly across from me, the occupants of room 1599, smoked MJ the entire time I was there. We were the only two rooms at the end of the hall, and within twenty feet of approaching my door, you could smell it. Luckily, inside my room there was no odor.
It’s hard to stop being a detective and for five days I tried to get a look at my neighbors but never did. The smell was strongest when I came back to my room late at night and I think if I stood outside my room for any length of time, I would have received a second-hand induced high.
I didn’t, I swear!
After I returned from my trip, a friend asked why I didn’t notify people that I was signing books in Vegas. I’ll tell you a secret… I was petrified. It’s very difficult having an a.k.a., much less two and signing those names on books. It’s problematic enough when a reader asks to send their book to my house so I can sign and mail back. I’ve replaced several books, after giving them bad signatures, with my own copies. I now have a stack of unusable books in my closet.
At the signing event, I displayed paperbacks of Bad Luck Cadet & Officer alongside my romantic vampire fiction series, written under D’Elen McClain. My pink handcuffs sat between the two stacks and drew a lot of attention. When someone commented, I picked them up and said, “These pink handcuffs have arrested more child molesters and wife beaters than any pink handcuffs in the state of Arizona.”
True statement and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.
So, at a predominately romance reader book signing, I sold lots of “Bad Luck” books. I’m happy to report that I managed to sign both my pen names without incident.
My closest partner/table mate at the signing was Wendy (W.L. Sexton). We actually met in the coffee shop that morning, started a conversation, and were friends before we walked out. As luck would have it, we were assigned side-by-side seats out of two hundred authors in attendance. Fate!
A few sales people approached and gave their, “Author, I can do this and this and this for you,” speech. Some were interesting and some not so much. One thirtyish dark haired woman, made my ivy sense kick into overdrive. I knew her and it wasn’t in a good way. She stopped giving her spiel to Wendy, turned to me and said, “I know you from somewhere.”
It clicked. I did know her and remembered arresting years ago.
“I recognize you too, I’m a police detective from Small Town, Arizona.”
Her sales pitch flew out the window and she left before Wendy or I could blink. I explained to Wendy that this was the reason my husband never argues when I take my gun everywhere. I was gunless at the signing and felt completely naked.
I woke up at 5am my final morning and decided to enjoy some quiet time, look through email, and drink some coffee at the outdoor café. Within five minutes of sitting down, a 65ish, older man joined me.
“How are you this morning?” he asked.
I’m 52, hadn’t bothered with makeup, and wore Diamondback’s Baseball flannel pajama bottoms and a really large black t-shirt.
This guy was obviously desperate to pick up a woman or considered me desperate enough to have him.
He told me all about his product. It actually cured dementia and Alzheimer’s, opened your mind to endless possibilities, and would help me lose weight.
This great wonderful product goes by the name… you got it, marijuana. If I smoked it only once a month, my entire universe would be cured of all the ills affecting me.
I gave him the look, smiled, and said, “I’m a cop!”
If you’re wondering if he got away with it don’t worry. Just for the “weight” comment alone, I promise his body will never be found.
I’ll be back in Vegas next July and I’ll give everyone plenty of notice in case you’d like to tag along for some bad luck.
A good officer/detective should thoroughly clean their desk/office every few years even if it doesn’t need it. I finally took the plunge and did a top to bottom muck-out (quite painful really). After heavy procrastination… I donned my gloves, mask, and full body suite and got to work.
Where does all this crap come from? Was my first, second, and third question. Plus, the undertaking took longer than expected because I re-read all the notes and letters sent by wonderful people, mostly victims of crimes, who expressed their appreciation in words.
My favorite included the picture of two brothers, who, after years of physical abuse, were removed and placed in foster care and their mother and step-father prosecuted. The card, with yellow sunflowers on the front opens to simply say, “Thank you. We are happy.” The picture shows them hanging upside down from a tree and smiling for the camera.
I found two letters that didn’t fit the victim scenario. One, from the wife of a man I arrested for road rage. She thanked me for treating her husband with respect. I remember that case so well because the suspect was more concerned with his wife of twenty years worrying about him than the consequences of his actions. I asked for his wife’s cell number, and then after leaving the jail, I called her to explain the circumstances of his arrest. I think the knock upside the head he received after returning home was far worse than his night in jail and the hefty monetary fine imposed, my kind of woman!
The other note that made me smile came from a seven-year-old boy, who bit his mother several times, and then proceeded to get the better of two officers because we didn’t want to hurt him. His scrawled apology included the words, “Thank you for not tasing me.” Gosh… why didn’t we think of that?
When my cleaning was said and done, I shredded two large bags of paper, found enough single bullets to fill my gun magazine, dusted, vacuumed, and beautified my surroundings, then gave a sigh of relief that I wouldn’t repeat the painful process again for years.
*Note* The State of Arizona lost 19 heroes in the Yarnell Fire. Please pray for their friends and families. The 100 Club of Arizona sent checks for $15,000 to each family within 48-hours of this tragedy and I want to thank this incredible organization for their never-ending support of law enforcement and fire. We stand taller because of all you do!
Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend and stay safe!
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.