These past years have been difficult when it came to writing non-fiction police books and blog posts. I spent six of my eight years with the Small Town Police Department as lead detective in Sex Crime and Homicide cases. I can easily look back on those first two years in law enforcement and smile.
After the first two, the reasons to smile faded and many of my cases were heartbreaking and tragic. In the bigger picture, I had a fear that if victims knew I wrote non-fiction police stories about my adventures as an officer, they would stop trusting me.
A victim in one of my cases asked me about my writing one day. I managed to keep my author identity fairly quiet but somehow she heard. I gave her the Bad Luck Blog information so she could visit my blog and see the people and stories I wrote about.
Her wonderful response emphasized the need to keep my detective cases private.
Chief Scott Silverii approached me months ago and asked me to join the 10-Code project—ten fictions stories, written by cops, honoring fallen officers. All proceeds will go to the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund. I was extremely honored to take part in Scott’s incredible endeavor.
Today, 10-Code is available at major online retailers. Below you will find the buy links. If you’ve pre-ordered, I hope you are sinking your teeth into this awesome book. If you didn’t pre-order you need to download your copy now. Please, it’s only $2.99 and all proceeds go to NLEOMF!
My story, The Forever Team, is dedicated to my police academy friend Philip Rodriguez. I miss him and his smile so much. Writing each word brought him up front and center in my thoughts. I try not to be sad but his loss had a profound effect on so many. Once a year, I visit the Officer Down Memorial Page and read the newest comments on Philip’s page. I’ve left several of my own but this time I couldn’t. Philip’s dad had the top post and it needed to stay there.
Here is the poem to Philip from his father.
I only have a picture now,
A frozen piece of time,
To remind me of how it was,
When you were here, and mine.
I see your smiling eyes,
Each morning when I wake,
I talk to you, and place a kiss,
Upon your lovely face.
How much I miss you being here,
I really can not say,
The ache is deep inside my heart,
And never goes away.
I hear it mentioned often,
That time will heal the pain,
But if I’m being honest,
I hope it will remain.
I need to feel you constantly,
To get me through the day,
I loved you so very much,
Why did you go away?
The angels came and took you,
That really wasn’t fair,
They took my one and only Son,
My future life. My heir.
If only they had asked me,
If I would take your place,
I would have done so willingly,
Leaving you this world to grace.
You should have had so many years,
To watch your life unfold,
And in the mist of this,
Watch me, your Mum grow old!
I hope you’re watching from above,
At the daily tasks I do,
And let there be no doubt at all,
I really do love you.
May 5, 2014
Each story in 10-Code is dedicated to an officer who changed our lives and lost their own. Thank you Philip for making mine better.
To friends: Merry Christmas and joyous holidays. Thank you for visiting me.
Seeing the worst of humanity becomes second nature and the daily expectation when many officers put on their uniform. It wears on you, causes depression, lack of motivation, and discontent in our jobs. When those down and out times come along and I’m not seeing the sunshine through my patrol vehicle windshield, something always happens to lift my spirits.
During one of my Christmas day shifts, I was trying to shake off a fatality car accident caused by a drunk driver. I wondered if this was really the job for me. I hadn’t slept well the previous three days since the crash and feeling Christmas harmony was far from my mind. Though I enjoyed working the holidays, that particular day I wanted to be home with family to take my mind off the images that wouldn’t go away.
I stopped at the local twenty-four hour convenience store to grab a cup of hot coffee and try to put a buzz in my dragging boot steps. A man dressed in weathered clothes walked up to me and handed a plain black folded wallet over. He said he found it on the ground in the parking lot. I asked for his name and information but he said he didn’t want to give it. He turned and walked away. I thanked him but he never looked back.
I paid for my coffee and headed out to my patrol car. After getting myself situated, I opened the wallet looking for identification. Three very crisp one hundred dollar bills rested inside. The wallet also held an out of town driver’s license, a debit card, and a few business cards. I lay it on the seat beside me and continued my patrol. Approximately thirty minutes later, dispatch notified me there was a man looking for a lost wallet at the convenience store. I couldn’t help my grin as I turned and headed in that direction.
When I pulled up it was easy to identify the man with the missing wallet. His overwhelming dejection was completely evident. I grabbed the wallet and got out of the car. He began speaking before I could say anything.
“I think I left my wallet on the trunk of my car when I filled my gas tank and I know it’s long gone but I had to report it.”
I held up the wallet. “Is this yours, there’s a lot of money inside?”
The look on his face was priceless. “The money’s still there?”
“Yes, as far as I know.”
“I had three one hundred dollar bills for my three grandchildren who I haven’t seen in several years.”
I handed the wallet over, “A man gave it to me about thirty minutes ago. He found it in the parking lot.”
With shaking hands he took the wallet.
“I guess you have your own special Santa this year. Merry Christmas,” I told him.
His glassy eyes spilled over and he kept thanking me while I reminded him I hadn’t found his wallet.
I drove away with a lighter heart and my faith in humanity restored. Really it was such a small thing but it came at just the right time. With all the negative press about police officers, I feel it’s important to remember why we do our jobs. We need to look for those small things that put smiles on our faces and soothe our souls. I don’t think the man who found the wallet was someone else’s Santa, I think he was my guardian angel.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our E.M.T.’s, Firefighters, Military, Police, and Readers. May your guardian angels answer your prayers and lift your spirits high this holiday season.
10-Code: Written by Cops, Honoring the Ultimate Sacrifice is now available for pre-order at Amazon and will be listed at other outlets soon. Here’s the cover, which I love, and a little more about the project.
New York Times Best-Selling Author John Gilstrap is writing the forward. I’ve been a long-time fan of John’s since he burst on the mystery scene with Nathan’s Run. It continues to be one of my favorite books. Pick any one of his books and you’ll be enthralled until the last word. I’m so very excited he’s giving our project a huge boost.
Here’s the blurb for my story:
The Forever Team
After losing her partner to cancer, Detective Lacy Jolett is impossible to work with and has a higher complaint record than her solved case ratio. Her sergeant says enough is enough and sends her away for training with a new partner. Suii is just as stubborn as Detective Jolett but has a cute nub tail and uses it to break through Lacy’s mental brick walls. How does she say no to one-hundred-fifty pounds of K9 Rottweiler who understands heartache?
You can read the first chapter on a previous blog post HERE.
Lacy is such an incredible character! Combine her with a fierce but lovable dog they are a team made in heaven. I am honored to be part of this incredible project. Proceeds for the sale of the book will go to The National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund. Thoughts about another story featuring Lacy and her sidekick are running through my mind and screaming to get out. They will escape, I promise.
Please pre-order your copy today and also like our Facebook Page to boost awareness for our project.
The Thanksgiving Spirit
I love the holidays and always have. During my years on patrol, I worked every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved the cheerful smiles when citizens saw me out on holiday patrol. And, I missed these days after my promotion to detective.
I’ve been invited into people’s homes for dinner, handed gifts, and thanked numerous times for my service. If you know anything about me by now, you know lots of hugs happen on these days too. Maybe that’s why they will always hold special memories.
In 2005, my patrol car was fitted with a back cage for the first time. Why you may ask, wouldn’t a patrol car have a cage? Simple really… budget. I always worried someone I arrested would slip their cuffs and assault me from behind. So, in 2004, I was thankful for a cage.
In 2006, we received our first Tasers. Each morning I uniformed up and popped my Taser. This is a test to make sure it works properly. Every police officer loves the orgasmic sound a Taser makes. I was very thankful that year.
In 2007, due to seniority, I moved up to a new Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. This baby could fly. It had all the bells and whistles including a cage and plastic seats in the back. So nice because when arrestees pee, vomit, or worse you can wash it out with a hose. That was a thankful year.
In 2008, I made detective and was transferred into an older unmarked Crown Vic. It went from zero to thirty in about ten minutes. Don’t feel sorry for me though, I was able to store my non-flattering uniforms away and wear comfortable casual clothes. I exchanged my clunky black boots for ones with a pointier toe and also took my hair out of a bun styling it in a bouncy ponytail. Out of everything that year, I was mostly thankful for weekends off and no more shift work.
In 2009, from September through the end of the year, I worked a missing child case that went from one missing boy to three dead at the hands of the same person. As Thanksgiving loomed closer, the FBI joined us and I learned a lot about teamwork. They also shared all their great toys that a small town detective can only drool over. As sad as this case was, it’s one of the highlights of my career in law enforcement. That year I was thankful that my family was in good health and safe.
From 2010 through 2013, police life was not as eventful as 2009 but my list of thanks was never-ending. I gained a new partner who came with a K9. I gained weight though that didn’t make the thankful category, and I gained an appreciation for the small things in life.
This year my list is filled to the brim. At the very top is a special thanks to my family and friends for supporting and believing in me.
Yep, you read correctly. I’ve been asked to participate in a cop anthology dedicated to officers killed in the line of duty. It’s fiction but taken from my experiences on the street. I just received my story back from editing so I swear this is the real deal. The book “10 Code” releases January 6th, 2015. All proceeds will go to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Foundation. Can you tell that I’m excited?
I’ll give more information and the cover when release day is closer. Just to tease you, here’s the first chapter…
The Forever Team
Detectives work best in teams. It’s that whole right brain, left brain scenario. In a good, well-established team what one person misses the other zeros in on. That’s what I lost when my partner Tony died of cancer. It’s been two years and I still can’t find that someone who complements me, pushes me to be a better detective, and puts up with my moods. Not to mention my outside-the-box speculations of possible events in a crime. Tony was always first to congratulate me when I was dead-on, even after making fun of my leap from evidence to outrageous. He also pointed out when I was wrong and made sure I remembered several times over.
My department has five detectives and I’m odd man out, or in my case, woman out. Of thirty-two certified officers, I’m one of three females, and the only female detective. I work in a man’s world. That’s another reason Tony and I meshed. He didn’t care if I had a vagina and inverted balls. He wanted to solve cases, and the two of us were damned good at it.
For the past two years, I coasted along barely making the motions. I continued solving cases, but not at the same rate as Tony and I had managed to. I also tried working with different detectives looking for that spark I had with Tony. Don’t get me wrong, my relationship with Tony was in no way sexual. He was happily married to Beth, and Beth and I were close. We stayed in touch for a while after Tony died; a drink now and then with happy and sad memories of the man we both loved. Now, after two years, she was remarrying this fall. I knew because I received a “save the date” card. Of all the stupid things to come up with in an already ridiculous event called weddings, they added save the date. A fork lodged in my throat was more appealing. And to make it worse, once Beth hit the dating market again, our friendship dwindled. Her life without Tony moved on. Mine was ending here today at a dog kennel.
Yes, an overdramatic statement, but in my opinion accurate. After years of grievances made against me by fellow officers and detectives, my sergeant, Lou Spence, stopped listening to my excuses. He was partnering me with a dog. A trained K9—the miracle partner. One who never files complaints.
Our first conversation on the subject was brief.
“How do you feel about dogs, Detective Jolett?” he asked as he leafed through a stack of papers.
“I’ve dated a few.” I paused a moment thinking he’d look up, but he didn’t, so I continued.
“They smell and need a tight choker collar with a few kibbles thrown their way every now and then. It doesn’t help much, though, and they generally remain an all-around nuisance.” I was trying to push the sergeant’s buttons, but it didn’t seem to work. He didn’t acknowledge my condescending reply in the slightest.
“Here, take this.” He handed me a small packet. “Your training begins Monday at 0800. You’ll be gone for eight weeks. Don’t worry about your cases; they’re being reassigned. Make arrangements with your current mongrel so he knows you’ll be out of town.” He looked directly into my eyes and the corners of his mouth tipped up slightly. For a second I thought he’d smile. “Don’t call me, Lacy, I’ll call you.” By using my first name he was telling me I was completely SOL.
Six weeks of dual-purpose canine training later, with two more to go, I was receiving my official K9. Jack Mallory, the head of the Arizona Police K9 Reserve Program, was walking me through the kennels so I could check out a few prospects. Jack was around my age and too sexy for his own good. It made the process of finding a dog much harder. During our six weeks of training, Jack’s grumpy, I-prefer-dogs attitude grew on me. This is what loneliness did to a woman, and I had to mentally shake myself so I could focus on the reason I was here. I pulled my eyes away from Jack and looked at the cages. Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and even one Staffordshire Terrier stared back at me with perceived contempt. I’d trained with all three breeds these past weeks and couldn’t care less what the dogs thought of me. One of the Shepherds tried to take off my hand when I laid it flat to the bars of the cage. I didn’t jerk my hand back and managed an evil glare that didn’t intimidate the dog at all.
Speaking over the Shepherd’s barks and growls, Jack surprisingly tried to reassure me,
“Cocamo’s a good dog, but will take some adjustment time.”
Not the dog for me. I wanted as little work as possible. One of the Malinois caught my eye, so Jack brought him out of the cage.
“Sterling has a good disposition and he’s not too high strung. He may not act it now, but he’s fierce when necessary and likes to play during his down time. He’s young and needs lots of attention. You’d make him a good partner.”
I didn’t want a partner. I was here to get my sergeant off my back. Lots of attention was another problem. I barely paid attention to my own appearance. Each workday, I lotioned my face and threw my dirty blonde hair into a ponytail. I exercised regularly, which for my job was necessary. My high cheekbones and small chin had most people thinking I was much younger. I had good genes to thank for that. Like I said, though, I really couldn’t care less what anyone thought of me. And a needy dog was more than I was capable of. I actually pitied the mutt who got stuck with me.
I turned slightly and caught sight of a black lump curled up in the corner of a cage toward the back of the room. He or she refused to give me or Jack the time of day.
“Who’s that?” I pointed at the reticent dog.
Jack looked between me and the Rottweiler a few times before answering. “That’s Suii. He’s lazy and getting up there in age. He has maybe two years left before he’s retired.”
I had eight, but we were sorta equal if you stretched it by comparing human years to dog years. “Bring him out.” That was another thing about Jack; my short, clipped phrases apparently didn’t irritate him. He opened the cage.
Suii lifted his head seemingly uncaring. Jack snapped his fingers. The dog slowly uncurled his massive body while gaining his feet. Big. Damn big. I’d judge Suii pushed one-fifty. The dog walked out of the cage and sat beside Jack’s legs. It was a slouching sit. Lazy. The perfect dog for me.
Jack attached a leash and handed me the end. Suii didn’t budge. Jack just looked at me, waiting to see what I’d do. I gave a firm tug and snapped my fingers. Just as slowly as Suii came out of his cage, he walked the three feet separating us and sat-slouched again. His huge head tipped sideways and back as his big chocolate eyes stared into mine.
I didn’t take it as dominance. The dog appraised me like I appraised him. “I have a large couch, a television, and a small back patio. If you can handle that, I’ll take you,” I said in a no-nonsense tone.
His head cocked a little more and his floppy ears lifted just a bit. I took that as an affirmative and looked at Jack. “When do we go home?”
“We can start the next phase of training right now. Suii’s trained in German. You’ll have two additional weeks to become acquainted and learn his language before you can leave. Do you have questions about him, like why he’s here?”
I really didn’t care, but nodded anyway. Jack obviously had something to say.
He looked down at the dog and his lips compressed. “His handler left him in the car. The call went bad, and Officer Bradly was shot and killed. Suii hasn’t bonded with anyone since, so don’t get your hopes up. He’s unenthusiastic and can be difficult.”
Jack just described me and I was relieved—bonding was something I didn’t need. Suii and I would get along just fine.
To learn more about my romance fiction writing, you can visit me at http://wickedstorytelling.com
For many police officers mandatory overtime is a favorite phrase. Twice a year, even in the toughest economy, it’s the rule. The first is New Year’s Eve and the second is Halloween. I’m a fright night lover so you can probably guess which my favorite is.
I learned early in my career how best to enjoy this fun and crazy night. I always put my name in to work the day patrol shift. The other cops give me strange looks. They want the nightlife because Halloween day is when the ghosts and goblins, better known as teenagers, rest up so they can terrorize the town when the moon’s at its zenith.
This means I have a chance to catch up on reports and prepare for skeletons rattling out of the darkest closets once the sun goes down. I go home at five, eat dinner, and await the early ghouls, better known as sweet young children, before heading back out on the street for overtime at nine.
I have a list of names, reported by the local grocery and convenience stores, for those restless zombies who purchased eggs during the day. The stores actually stock up on embryo supplies just to keep the monsters at bay. A simple phone call, using my evil cackle has the clerks spilling their guts.
With my holy water and stake at hand, inconspicuously appearing as chocolate candy bars and dollar bills, I’m ready to fight evil.
The calls start coming in and my police radio heats up. I can hear excited voices on the car to car channel as officers zero in on the culprits and head that direction only to be thwarted. Not me. I’m older and wiser than the average patrol super hero. I head to the do it yourself carwash.
To keep their brooms from melting, the flying monkeys make mad dashes through the stream of immortality before heading back out. This is where the chocolate and dollar bills come in handy. I pay the heathens for wicked intel and enjoy the candy bars myself.
A few calls to dispatch and my crime fighting brethren are now heading in the direction of the next ambush. I confiscate the blood-filled eggs, or at least that’s what the begging and moaning vampires have me believing they are and wait for my next victims. My voodoo list of names comes in handy when I need to summon demons aka a phone call to their mothers if they refuse to cooperate.
Officers request I give up the secret spell that allows me to pin-point the next phantom egg attack but what fun would that be? And, I’d probably have to share my chocolate stash.
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.