Warning: Policing in America is changing drastically; and fast!
This entire paralyzation movement of American law enforcement has taken root in the left-leaning, socially "progressive" states governed by individuals who want the United States to resemble a much more socialist country. Unfortunately the administrative levels of police forces in these progressive hotbeds either feel powerless to buck the system or in some way feign support for their own self-promotional (or self-preservation) interests. Either way the vast majority of the citizenry suffers when their own security, safety, and sanity erodes, as the police are mandated to do next to nothing.
Admittedly I come from the "old school" where laws were laws, and rules were rules. Not only were they recognizable for what they were; but they're also the same ones that were good enough for my Dad and his father before him. Now, I can hardly recognize what's become of the basic set of social guidelines I had memorized for what used to constitute, "good citizenry." Today you can legally pitch a tent on public sidewalks, tarp over large sections of city blocks, urinate into empty bottles, defecate behind shrubbery, lie down in areas of egress, consume alcohol, and do hard drugs in plain sight. Instead of being compelled to wear the societal dunce-cap of "loser," you are gleefully anointed with the PC title of "homeless" and can proudly flaunt a new (less hurtful) moniker of "urban camper." Instead of being rounded up and relocated to a place where the rest of us don't have to look at the filth, garbage, and excrement you generate; you are allowed to legally infest the base of every expensive building in a given area: all in the name of misplaced compassion. Good lord.
Today I would be offered the choice whether to wear a Kevlar vest. Since the two previous times I did a ride-along (sans vest), the political climate in America had changed from bad to worse. One would have thought that the "first black President" would have done much to improve race relations in this country; but just the reverse had occurred. Just prior to my visit to Southern California there had been a police shooting in Fresno, CA and one just down the street in El Cajon, CA. I decided that not only was it extremely "badass" to be able to experience wearing one of those; but it might make a bit of common sense too. I put one on. It wasn't as heavy as I imagined, but it was going to be bulky and hot under my shirt.
The first call we answered took us to the edge of downtown, just around the corner from a large encampment of street squatters (my words) in what might actually be a nice apartment complex if it hadn't been encircled with human filth. Did I mention that it is estimated that beautiful downtown San Diego, CA has 6000 of these human varmints milling around at any given time? Apartment 124 was where a (just recently hospitalized) 55 year-old black man named "WM" had returned to discover that $ 3,300 in cash and a ring had been stolen from his possessions. WM was "dating" a 21 year-old black female that was (shall we say) a bit of an opportunist and allegedly decided that she could help herself to what she wanted, while he was staying with a friend during recovery. Of course she had a key to the place given to her by WM. Yes the cash was in an envelope in his jacket pocket hanging in the same closet where she had left all her belongings even though she was asked to leave and not come back. Of course the ring had once been a "promise ring" from WM for the young woman that she had given back after a break-up, but apparently felt she deserved. Yes she could not be located presently, but there was an address where she might be. This is where I would have preferred to drive right to the girlfriend's last known residence and attempt to recover the goods, or at least get her side of the story. Unfortunately that's not how it's done in today's modern (union) police force; everyone has a "specialty". Instead, Officer L dutifully took down the information for his colleagues in the Detective section for their future attempt at retrieving WM's property. WM was tearful as we left...and yes, embarrassed by both his poor life choices and by his bad luck.
The second call of the day signaled the unceremonious unveiling of the first penis. This one belonged to a burned-out-surfer-looking dude named "JM." We drove around a bit, back and forth across a few blocks in order to locate him; he wasn't where the call had first indicated he would be. We finally found him standing barefoot on a corner near downtown in the company of a trio of unlucky private security employees; one on a Segway. JM wore nothing but a soiled, thick blue towel that was loosely wrapped around his waist. The private security folks were visibly relieved when we stepped out of the car and walked towards them. Officer L took control of the situation by verbally getting his attention with a series of questions aimed at assessing his mental acuity. He looked as though he had struck his right temple on something that caused him to lose some blood in the recent past. His face was painted with the (now-dried) brownish-red remnants from his eye to his jawline. He staggered, stumbled, steadied himself, and alternatingly repeated the process as I stood nearby listening to the series of questions and slurred answers given by JM. He spun a fragmented and foggy story of being roused from his sleep around 10-ish that morning feeling he was late for his appointment to have his teeth installed at Mercy Hospital. (JM surely did not have any teeth in his head by my observation.) He had rushed out and onto the street with only his towel to "meet his friend at the corner." You see JM was merely standing on the street corner waiting for his ride.
Officer L demonstrated immense patience and concern as he attempted to determine the cerebral stability of JM, with his line of questions. One memorable answer from JM was to a question asked in regard to whether he had a caseworker (as in social services caseworker). JM looked straight at Officer L and replied that he did indeed have a caseworker and when asked which facility he or she came from, JM promptly replied, "a liquor store." In the meantime an EMT vehicle finally arrived at the scene. The crew quickly took a look at JM and determined that the wound was not presently bleeding and with a short discussion between them and Officer L; gladly disengaged themselves from further service. They left, not before surrendering a "yellow" (plastic blanket) to JM, to provide him (and the rest of San Diego County) with greater protection from exposure. Deciding that JM should be considered a prime candidate for a 72 hour-hold (5150 transport) he was able to coax him into the backseat of the cruiser with his "yellow" wrap in tow. JM sat-slumped in the back of the squad as we rode to UCSD; allowing his forehead to bump the divider glass and cage with each press of the brake. Officer L kept conversing with him to ensure his well-being as we drove; ensuring him that he had "done nothing wrong" but that he needed to be cared for at the hospital.
It was a short trek to the emergency room and we parked on the street opposite the ramp that lead to the entrance. JM was roused from a semi-sleeping state and encouraged to walk with us to the door. I assisted through voice commands and by acting as a pinball bumper might to the steel ball; gently nudging him into a straighter pathway to the entrance. The "brrrap" of passing gas made me smile and giggle as JM waddled-shuffled across the street. He was doing his best to keep his privates covered; but not succeeding. Officer L attempted to sidestep the "usual" check-in method by politely asking the UCSD staff we encountered, if JM could be left in the non-public area instead of us guiding JM to the front counter of the emergency room full of coughing, sneezing, and miserable people who were already seated in the waiting room. The staff unfortunately had no sympathy with our plight so off we trundled to plant JM's bare butt in a vinyl chair, in front of a suddenly wide-eyed and slightly horrified intake receptionist named "Maggie." After her sincere attempt to interview JM for her paperwork questions missed the mark; we escorted him around the corner through double doors and down another hallway into a hastily prepared gurney in the hallway. JM crash-landed, face-first on the soft, clean bedding and was snoring in under 30 seconds. We stood "guard" until a nurse was free and could take responsibility for our wayward, dentally challenged, guest. I left thinking that having 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep would do wonders for him; for starters.
We drove back towards downtown and responded to a call at the glorious Golden West Hotel. This one dealt with a senior man who said he was threatened by another senior man's cane after a disputed involving a guitar amplifier. There were already two officers on site talking with one party when we showed up. Apparently these two gentlemen (both in their late 60s) had previously been friendly with each other. One was an Hispanic and the other was black. Something happened that made their friendship disappear involving this amplifier but I'll be damned if I know what it was. The three officers all sorted it out while I looked around the place and marveled at the architecture; taking pictures. The upshot of that call was that the two were basically (highly) encouraged to steer clear of each other in the future; since no charges were being filed.
What was supposed to be our final call of the day was to relieve an officer that had been "standing guard" over a hospitalized man at UCSD since 6:00 AM that morning. This activity would turn out to be our second penis sighting of the day. The name printed on classic wristband on the late 60's black man lying in the hospital bed was "Fourtyone Volunteer." (more on that in a minute). Exactly why there was a large black SDPD officer standing in this particular cramped section of the ICU overlooking the two hospital employees trying to run a camera into Fourtyone's artery, was a mystery; even to him. The story filled itself in a bit after we had officially exchanged places and allowed the officer to finally leave the hospital. The man in the bed was actually "GJ" and he'd been there over 48 hours. The silly name on the wristband was placed there at the initial intake when GJ had come in unable to assist with his real name. Apparently this hospital is known for some of the more creative (temporary) names given to patients in similar situations. GJ was squirming and moaning when the two of us tried to settle in for a few hours of supervision. The needle and camera that was being manually pushed and steered into his arm wasn't cooperating, and it was apparently important for nurse Emily to get some arterial blood for some test she must have needed to run. All that squirming, moaning and repositioning of GJ's body caused there to be unfortunate extended uncoverage of his male member. I looked away as fast as I could; but it was too late...#2 was in the books. (May I please have some eye-bleach Maggie?)
It was about 3:45 PST when we were relieved by another SDPD cop. Officer L filled in this newcomer with the details as described by GJ and made special emphasis that he was not charged. The new cop said he'd make a few calls and hopefully straighten it out. We left the hospital and drove back to Central. This would have been the end of the shift and we were going to join our wife and girlfriend for a long-awaited Mexican meal in Poway when some guy in the "Resource Room" gave us the bad news. Officer L had been "held-over" for another shift! This news was not welcome as it was previously unknown to Officer L and to nearly every other cop we saw in the station. It was particularly distasteful when the reason for the double shift was known. Apparently BLM or some other dipshit offshoot group was to have a "protest march" from Balboa Park to the Hall of Justice downtown and the police were needed to assist this act of free speech. That's Irony with a capital I isn't it? These misguided clowns wanted to march down the streets complaining about the very group of city employees that were there to keep the peace and protect and serve them. We headed out to an area of the city near the Hall of Justice, to blend in with a meeting that was well underway between the SDPD's "mobile command center" and the rest of the officers that were called in to participate.
A small knot of fresh-faced, eager cops who had just begun their first official day of service milled around with their full riot-gear fastened to various clips and rings attached to their belts. Bunches of thick, white max-cuff double disposable restraints festooned each officer's waistline. Batons and face-shielded helmets also had their special place amongst the other gadgets and weapons each one carried. We stood around and waited and waited for someone with rank to finally herd these police-cats into position; wherever that would turn out to be. Police cars came and went. Civilians came and went; some asking what was going on. We waited and waited some more when a short, blondish police woman arrived (who turned out to be a lieutenant) and began to give some directions to the assembled. She anointed Officer L to find a nearby parking lot where her chosen units could "wait out of sight" until the marchers had passed by, "in case" they were needed. Basically we were going to hide out. We all got into our squads and after a few turns of the corner, arrived at a nearly full parking lot around the corner of the main marching route. The officers all left their vehicles and obediently gathered around the lieutenant. I was still by the car taking pictures when she looked in my direction. I saw her summon another veteran officer and then that guy came over to me. He noticed I was an "Observer" (I had on my official "Observer" name tag) and asked me who I was. I explained that I was with Officer L and that Officer Rager was my step-daughter. The officer claimed he didn't know Officer Rager until I pulled out my iPhone and showed him a picture of her in uniform. The guy then turned and walked back to the lieutenant and talked to her. Shortly afterward, the same guy came back to me and told me and Officer L that, "The Chief didn't want any ride-alongs at this event" and that Officer L was to take me "back to the sub."
Two thought occurred to me then. One was that the lieutenant was lying about the "Chief" not wanting any ride-alongs because I had not observed her call or talk to anyone else, before sending me away. The second was how idiotic a decision like that would be in light of the fact that anyone in an Observer position should be made privy to the marching event particularly from a police perspective, so that real story could be told. But just as I began this recounting of my ride-along with my distaste for what policing has become (and is more and more becoming) in America; it all made sense. The liberal progressives had struck another blow in their war on cops. They have them running scared for their very jobs, and no unforced risks can be tolerated. Remember the SDPD was one of the first in the country to pilot these stupid "body cameras" that are all over the place these days on police forces big and small. Unless it's "seen" (and seen clearly) via a police body camera; it didn't happen that way. Eyewitness accounts from trained professionals, bystanders, etc. count for bupkus in America today. Evidence, schmevidence...was there a body camera video? Even audio isn't as convincing to today's liberals; it must be seen. Can you imagine if there wasn't filmed footage of the Apollo moon landings? Oh wait; people think those were faked. Well you get my point; we've totally walked ourselves into this pigeonhole of video-believability or bust. We are sincerely screwed if we don't wake up and revisit what we've done. No one will ever be guilty of breaking any laws and any criminal activity will be fine, as long as no camera caught it.
|Urban Campers along the freeway on-ramp...how convenient!|
PS: GJ...we found out later he was released from police watch as he hadn't been charged with anything within a 36 hour window and told he was free to go when he recovered. Wow...what a hospital bill that'll be for the tax-payers of San Diego County!
|The ever-watchful San Diego Clock Tower|