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J.R. Lonsway

Copyright © 2014 J.R. Lonsway

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ISBN: 9781370343850

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I served with the City of Las Cruces Police Department from 1979-2001, rising through the ranks and retiring as a Deputy Chief of Police. I worked various assignments during those years, including patrol, narcotics, criminal investigations, and internal affairs. I tell the reader this because I feel it is of importance for anyone absorbing these stories to perceive the mindset of a police officer at the various ranks and positions held, versus years of experience.

All of the stories are based on events that occurred in the LCPD, and for certain crimes that a particular story is centered around, I referred to the police reports to reflect how the scenario went down. In other cases, I referred to notes I made regarding specific events that I considered significant, or so outrageously humorous that they had to be documented. A few of the incidents occurred in the years prior to my joining LCPD, and were told to me by officers and supervisors I worked with, but I included them because it reflected the professional standing of the LCPD at the time. In other words, decisions can be made by administrators in a police department that determine, for better or worse, not just the direction of the department for decades to come, but also the organization’s functional capabilities and operational efficiency (for instance, one of the older cops told me that in the 1960’s, they had a police chief who came in for New Year’s Eve briefing, lined them all up in formation, and poured them each a shot of whiskey to drink before hitting the bricks).

The book is entitled Twenty because that is the number of years that a police officer must work to obtain a pension, at least in my department, and in most agencies around the country. It is the magical number that provides the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and for those of us who reach it we hope that we survive long enough to spend far more than what we’ve put into it.

Nothing in this book is unique to policing in Las Cruces. Any officer from any department in the world could read these stories and immediately identify with a situation or scenario, in that they have experienced the same over the course of a career. But, these events were unique to me, and to the officers I served with, as they unfolded and we dealt with them. These are their stories more so than mine. While I wrote them from a first-person perspective, I consider myself nothing more than a narrator for what truly is the greatest show on earth.

J.R. Lonsway

LCPD, (ret.)

Also by J.R. Lonsway

Adultery & Murder

The Immigrant Murders



Also by J.R. Lonsway

1. Nobody

2. To The Core

3. Smokin'

4. The Bad Ass

5. The Lifesaver

6. Eat Your Veggies

7. Flexibility

8. Feel The Love

9. Tolerance

10. Man's Best Friend

11. Civil Matter

12. Hit and Run

13. Pigs

14. Inspection

15. Good Nose

16. Noel

17. The Grinch That Stole Christmas

18. Stoners

19. Compassion

20. The Reality

21. The Crazy Broad

22. SWAT

23. The Golden Years

24. Gumball

25. The Beating Stick

26. Luggage Test

27. Four Letter Words

28. The Perfect Couple

29. Standing Ovation

30. Guilty, Your Honor

31. Spanish Lesson

32. Quick On His Feet

33. The King Of Idiots

34. Walls

35. Marital Bliss

36. Pizza Delivery

37. Police Brutality

38. In-Custody Deaths

39. Bad Approach

40. Which Way The Wind Blows

41. Narcotics

42. Snitches and Dealers

43. Shooting Gravy

44. Tracks

45. The Bitch

46. The Prima Donna

47. Surveillance Kit

48. Cultural Sensitivity

49. Cleavage

50. Check For Welfare

51. Roundup

52. Shotgun Man

53. Be A Good Witness

54. Cop Killers

55. Frat Boys

56. Another Pig Story

57. Freedom Of Speech

58. The Bible Thumper

59. Take The Bull By The Horns

60. Cock-A-Doodle-Do

61. Cop Domestics

62. Witchy Woman

63. More On Domestics

64. Counseling

65. Shameless

66. How We Were

67. Infidelity

68. The Way It Is

69. Ferrets And Weasels

70. Trouble In Paradise

71. Sneaking Out

72. Sneaking In

73. Frequent Fliers

74. Getting Even

75. The Princess

76. When Wives Shoot Cops

77. Payback

78. It's Written All Over Your Face

79. Apathy And Burnout

80. Death Investigations

81. Unrequited Love

82. Sharp As A Basketball

83. Check For Vitals

84. Fifty-Yard-Line Seats

85. The Greek God

86. Bank Robbery

87. Genius

88. Dye Pack

89. Another Dumb Ass

90. The Odd Couple

91. Gratuities

92. The Morale Buster

93. Don't Forget Where You Came From

94. Dickhead

95. El Cheapo

96. Doughnut Shop

97. Drunk And Stupid

98. More On Gratuities

99. Drunk Drivers

100. It Pays To Be Inexperienced

101. A Rose By Any Other Name

102. Fatal

103. Anglos Versus Hispanics

104. Life's A Bitch

105. More On Drunks

106. The Sweetheart

107. The African Drunk

108. Mustang Sally

109. Transvetites

110. The Walker

111. SeaWorld

112. Alternative Lifestyles

113. True Friendship

114. Road Rash

115. Cops And Alcohol

116. Machismo And Alcohol

117. Then And Now

118. Service With A Smile

119. Frosty

120. Inspection Arms

121. Mr. Macho

122. Mr. Slick

123. Not The Brightest Candle On The Cake

124. Indiscretions

125. No Dozing Zone

126. Personalities

127. The Rocket Attack

128. Mr. Promises

129. Free Bread

130. What Goes Around, Comes Around

131. Citations

132. A Mother's Request

133. Domestic Murder

134. One Of The Sadder Cases

135. The Jerkoff

136. True Statement

137. Quality Recruit

138. Used Condoms

139. Drug Rape

140. The Dead Junkie

141. Instant Asshole

142. Waffle Face

143. We're Not Victims

144. You Never Know

145. Buddy Blows

146. The Panty Bandit

147. Coward In Uniform

148. Training And Experience

149. Another Sawed-Off Story

150. Drive-by's

151. Peer Counseling

152. Officer Down

153. A Harsh, Unforgiving Environment

154. The Professor

155. Things Are Not Always As They Appear

156. Common Sense

157. Shot Dead

158. Dogtopsy

159. Demented Cop

160. Masturbating Cop

161. Rape/Homicide

162. A Life Worth A Quarter

163. Roach Coach

164. The Beer

165. Panhandlers

166. Pushups For Freedom

167. Naked Frat Boys

168. He Came And He Went

169. Situational Awareness

170. Hot Chile

171. The Legend

172. Anything To Declare?

173. Trusty Rusty

174. The Duster

175. How To Break A Nightstick

176. Always Look In The Car

177. Rattlers

178. Sure, Go Ahead And Shoot Me

179. Dead Children

180. Ho Chi Mendez

181. Tonks

182. Mr. Quickdraw

183. More Accidental Discharges

184. Send Me A Backup

185. The Element Of The Crime

186. Death Of A Burglar

187. Verbal Harassment

188. How To Not Shoplift A Parrot

189. Linguistics

190. Street Justice

191. The Jumper

192. Lucky Son-Of-A-Bitch

193. The Haunted Office

194. Ghost Patrol

195. The Hanging Grounds

196. Supervision Of Police Personnel

197. How Not To Lead

198. The Suck Ass

199. A Disappointing Scenario

200. Insubordination

201. Court Subpoena

202. Mr. Humor

203. Interpretations

204. Sexual Harassment

205. Professional Standards

206. DWB

207. What It Ain't

208. The Orgasm Investigation

209. Lesbian Dinosaur

210. The Crybaby

211. Hell Hath No Fury…

212. Immature Leadership

213. The Wannabe Training Officer

214. Punks R Us

About The Author

You never really wondered about the imperious call that compelled you to join up. You accepted a truth which you could never translate into words, but whose self-evidence overpowered you.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery Wind, Sand, and Stars


It was an early morning homicide. A male suspect stabbed a male victim to death and, in an alcohol/drug-induced frenzy, hacked the victim’s head off with the knife. Officers were summoned to the suspect’s apartment at four o’clock in the morning, where they found the corpse, and fanned out to look for the head. It was found in a dumpster outside the apartment building.

Hours later, after the sun was up and the scene was being processed, two detectives climbed into the dumpster to recover the head so it could be sent with the body for autopsy. The detectives were in the dumpster about a minute when uniformed officers standing outside of it swore they heard singing. The lyrics increased in volume and all the officers recognized the tune when one of the detective’s inside got into full melody.

“I-I-I-I-I-I ain’t got nobody,” he sang, “no-body, no-body, no-body…”


To The Core

I walked into a convenience store one morning to get a cup of coffee. I was working the day watch in uniform. I was eating an apple, and after I got the cup of joe I was standing at the counter to pay. The coffee is almost always free, but you don’t want to just walk out with it. It’s a courtesy thing: cops know they are going to receive it gratis, so we make some small talk and express our appreciation.

I reached into my pocket for change, just to make sure I had enough money in case I had to pay. In those days patrol wore western cut trousers, which were a pain because the pockets were cut too high, like jeans. It was difficult to reach into a front pocket and retrieve change without using both hands because of the gun belt, which was bulky and stuck out more so than a regular belt. I didn’t want to set the apple down on the dirty counter so I clamped it in my teeth, put the Styrofoam cup of coffee down, and used both hands to dig into my tight pants pocket.

The store had a counter that was U-shaped so customers could line up on both sides to pay for their goods. A woman across the way at the other counter told the clerk, “Oh, look, a pig with an apple in its mouth.”



A cop went into that same convenience store one summer morning to get a pack of cigarettes. The clerk put the smokes on the counter and asked the officer if he needed matches. He said yes and the clerk put a book of matches on the counter. The cop eyed the box that the clerk had taken the matches from, maybe forty books of them in the whole box.

“Can you give me all those?” he asked, pointing at the box.

The clerk gave a quizzical look, as did the other patrons in line. The officer explained his request.

“I like to pass them out for the kids in the projects to play with.”


The Bad Ass

A young, skinny cop was in the station gym one afternoon, espousing his prowess as a martial arts expert. He had a black belt in one of those twelve-syllable Asian disciplines, guaranteed to whip ass no matter how big the opponent. He was crowing about his capabilities to another cop, a seasoned veteran who had never taken a martial arts class in his life, but lifted lots of weights and could handle himself in a street brawl.

The older cop was working out, lifting his weights and minding his own business, letting the youngster mouth off about his badass capabilities. The weight lifting cop had wrists the size of the young cop’s biceps. For some reason known only to God and the idiot asking, the young cop approached the seasoned veteran and invited him to kick him in the testicles. The older cop looked at him in disbelief.

“You want me to what?” the older cop asked.

The young cop was standing cockily in front of him, with his feet spread shoulder width.

“Go ahead, try to kick me in the balls,” the young hotdog said. “I’ll block it.”

“I don’t wanna do that,” the veteran said. “I might hurt you.”

“I’m too quick,” the younger cop retorted, hands on his hips. “I’ll show you how fast I can move my hands to block the kick.”

The older cop shrugged and brought his foot up in a swift kick, planting his shoe right smack in the testicles of the younger officer. The kid’s face went white and he collapsed, doubled over painfully on the mat he had been standing on. He curled up in a ball, gasping for air and holding himself.

The older cop dropped down next to him.

“Are you okay?” he asked. He was really worried that he had hurt the kid.

The kid shook his head no.

“I’m sorry, I was just doing what you asked,” the older officer said. “I thought you were gonna block it.”

The young officer looked up with eyes full of pain.

“You kicked me wrong,” he gasped.


The Lifesaver

An officer on the graveyard shift related this story to me. He was patrolling at about three in the morning when he came across an unoccupied car stopped in the middle of the roadway, lights on and driver’s door open. As he approached on foot from the rear of the vehicle, he saw a man several feet in front of the stopped car, lit up by the headlamps. He was slouched over…an object. As the officer got closer he saw that the “object” was a Doberman Pinscher. Then he realized the man was…no, he couldn’t be…yes, he was: giving the canine mouth-to-mouth.

“Mouth to snout,” the officer said. “Slobber all over the place.”

The patrolman asked the motorist what he was doing. The guy looked up, tears streaming down his face.

“It ran out in front of me,” he cried drunkenly. “I couldn’t stop. I swear, I couldn’t. I tried, I really did.”

Drunk on his ass and haunted by a memory of something, he was determined to save that mutt’s life.

“The dog died,” the cop told me. “It was dead before the guy put his mouth on it. I called ACO (Animal Control Officer) to pick up the dog, and had to sit with this guy for forty-five minutes and console him. He was crying like a baby. I didn’t have the heart to bust him for DWI. I parked his car and gave him a ride home.”


Eat Your Veggies

An officer responded to an accident with injuries on Highway 70, a major traffic artery that turns into Main Street as it comes into the city. The accident was late at night and outside of a nightclub that was in operation back in the disco era. The parking lot was adjacent to the highway, and we had some good crashes there because the drunks pulling on to the roadway were not accurately gauging, or paying attention to, the speed of the highway traffic as it came barreling westbound towards town.

In this particular accident, the driver of the vehicle at fault was leaving the club drunk. He pulled out of the parking lot into the path of an oncoming car. He was hurt, with a possible broken leg, and curiously enough, despite the painful injury, was combative with the responding officer and emergency medical personnel.

The Emergency Medical Technicians were trying to cut his trouser leg off to see the extent of his injury. He was putting up a good fight despite the broken leg, and the officer that had responded was assisting by holding him down. He thought maybe the guy had just bought the pants and paid good money for them.

“Until the trousers came off,” he said with a grin. “The guy had a cucumber taped to his upper thigh, on the inside of his leg. When he realized we had seen it, he quit fighting and started crying. He was ashamed, I guess.”

I’ve always wondered about the women he took home from the bar. They had to be disappointed, slow dancing with the guy and deciding to go home with him, thinking they were getting a Porterhouse steak and ending up with a Vienna sausage.



Officers were dispatched to a call one afternoon at an apartment complex regarding a domestic. When they arrived, they found the scene not by apartment or building number, but by the sheer volume of the domestic and the number of neighbors who were standing outside listening to the show. They entered the apartment to investigate.

The officers discovered that the husband had come home for lunch and found his wife in bed with her lover. The wife’s lover was still in the apartment when the officers arrived, cornered in the bedroom.

This was an extraordinary situation. Cops get called to domestics of all nature and circumstance, but a husband walking in to find his wife in the sack with her lover was an infrequent occurrence. What made this incident even more unusual were two other reasons. One, the lover in bed with his wife was an off-duty cop; two, the off-duty cop was a woman.

The officer telling me the story that day was also one of the responding officers, and he was all grins. There was a certain amount of pride in his voice as he related the event, a happiness in knowing that his fellow officer/lesbian, who had backed him up on many calls, had the ability to go out and knock off a piece of ass on her day off “just like a guy cop.”

As he finished telling me about the incident, the officer confided in me with a knowing wink.

“I don’t know what the husband was all upset about,” he told me. “If that was me, I’d a just jumped in the sack with em.”


Feel The Love

A fellow cop was busting at the seams to tell me this story one night after work. We were drinking beer and he related this call that he and his partner went on. The call had come in as a man with a knife chasing a naked man around a residential backyard. They got there and it was bedlam.

The guy with the knife had come home from work early and caught his wife in bed with his best friend. He grabbed a butcher knife and started chasing the guy, hell-bent on killing him. The husband chased the guy through the house, then into the backyard while the wife dialed 911, hysterically afraid that her old man was going to kill the guy. The officers arrived and took the knife from the husband, let his now ex-best friend get dressed and go, then told the wife to leave, too, because the domestic wasn’t getting any better with her around.

After they got the situation calmed down, the cops stood in the kitchen with the husband, making sure he wasn’t going to go out and do something stupid. The man was seated at the table, slumped over, dejected, talking to the officers.

“All these years,” he lamented, “I’d come home and every day the guy would be here at my house with a twelve-pack of beer. I used to think, ‘What a great friend.’ We’d sit around and drink beers and talk all night. I had no idea what was really going on.”

The guy was holding his head in his hands, shaking his noggin back and forth. Then he suddenly sat erect, as if he’d been electrocuted. He stared up at both cops with a panicked look in his eyes.

“And come to think of it,” he blurted, “my Dad’s been over here a lot lately, too!”



I was working the evening watch and got dispatched to a prowler call in one of the city’s projects (our municipality had five different projects, all of them in different districts. It was a point of consternation for the officers. They’d say, “You know, if they’d just build one big project we’d know right where to go when we’re looking for a suspect. Now we gotta drive all over the goddamn city just to find some asshole”).

The officer backing me up that night was Mexican-American. An elderly white lady who lived alone came to the door. She said some young kid was looking in her kitchen window and scared the hell out of her. She said she yelled at him and the kid ran off. I asked her for a description, thinking we could patrol the neighborhood and maybe spot the culprit.

“What was he wearing?” I asked.

“I couldn’t see,” she responded.

“How tall was he?”

“I couldn’t tell.”

“How old was he?”

“He was young, maybe fifteen.”

“Was he Hispanic?” the Hispanic officer asked.

“Well, of course,” she snapped. “What else lives in this goddamn neighborhood?”


Man's Best Friend

A married couple left town to go on vacation and hired a teenage boy who lived in the neighborhood to look after their dog. They went on their trip, but decided to come home a couple of days early. The wife walked into the kitchen and looked out the window into the backyard.

“Oh, my God!” she cried out.

Her husband came running in to see what she was excited about. He saw the boy hired to watch the dog kneeling on the ground with his pants down around his ankles, holding their dog by the hindquarters and humping it to beat the band. They ran out and broke it up, then took the kid home to his parents and told them what had happened.

As a parent, I don’t know what my reaction would have been had my neighbor arrived at my door with my son and related a story like that. What do you do? Give him a dog biscuit? Scratch him behind the ears? Send him to a remote island with lots of goats so he can live out his days in peace?

The couple took their dog to the vet to have it checked out. The pooch was okay, at least from a physical standpoint. No telling what was going on between its little doggy ears.

After the vet visit, the couple decided to stop by the station to report the matter to the police. They figured, most reasonably, that a report on bestiality should be made so that the kid could be forced into some type of treatment. They walked into the station and related the story to the officer on duty in the Fishbowl.

The Fishbowl was a nickname given to the reception area in the police department’s lobby, an office enclosed with large, bulletproof windows manned by an officer around the clock. The floor of the Fishbowl was built above the level of the lobby floor, so that an officer sitting down in a chair could be eye to eye with a complainant and they could converse through a speaking vent. It was called The Fishbowl because the officers felt like fish in a bowl, with no place to hide from public view (except for one enterprising graveyard officer who developed a habit of lying down on the floor and going to sleep, which worked well until a captain came in early one morning and found him snoozing. He went from the Fishbowl carpet to the captain’s carpet, which led to a suspension without pay).

Between the floor of the lobby and the countertop in the Fishbowl was three feet of painted drywall nailed to two-by-fours, which supported the bulletproof glass, but was not bulletproof. The officers were safe from gun-wielding assailants provided that the shooter only shot at the bulletproof glass and not lower. If someone came in shooting, the worst thing to do, which was the most natural reflex, was to dive to the floor. The safest thing to do, which was an unnatural reflex, was to jump on to the countertop that supported the computers and phones. This exposed the entire body, but as long as it wasn’t rifle fire it was the safest position to assume. Firing back with one’s service weapon made no sense because the window was, well, bulletproof.

The cop on duty when the couple came in to make the bestiality report wasn’t the most highly motivated individual who ever wore an LCPD uniform, and had a reputation among his peers for gaffing off reports if he could get out of taking one.

The officer listened patiently to their story, nodded with wisdom, and then told them what they needed to do.

“This is not a police matter,” he said. “Because it involves an animal, you’ll have to go next door and report this to Animal Control.”

“Next door” was the old police department, a building that was split between a fire station on one side, and ACO and Codes Enforcement on the other. The couple went to ACO and talked to the supervisor.

“I don’t know why the officer sent you here,” the supervisor told them. “Bestiality is a felony.

A report would have to be made at the police department, a detective would have to be assigned, a juvenile referral would need to be done on the kid, an investigation would be conducted, and if he got charged he’d have to make an appearance in district court and probably undergo a mandatory psychological examination. I’m not trying to give you people the run around, it’s just not a crime we investigate. Tell you what, let me call PD and talk to that officer’s supervisor and see what’s going on.”

The patrol supervisor hit the roof. He was well acquainted with the lazy antics of the officer who blew off the report, a guy who had multiple suspensions without pay in his personnel file for similar misconduct. An internal affairs investigation was initiated on the officer and he ended up getting a suspension without pay for that one.

What was most entertaining about the entire K-9 Love Story, however, were the observations made by officers who heard the tale (pun intended).

“Gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘doggy style,’” one cop remarked.

“Really,” said another officer. “And I can just see the kid swaggering through the neighborhood with a group of friends, pointing at the neighbor’s dog and bragging, ‘Yeah, I fucked the bitch.’”

“And the poor pooch,” another cop added. “It’s saying, ‘Gee, he promised me a bone. I had no idea it was THAT kind of a bone.’”

“They took the mutt to the vet,” another cop joked, “and it was okay except for one thing: it had this uncontrollable desire for a cigarette.”

That last remark has stayed in mind and conjured up an image I cannot shake: a pooch lying back in bed, head propped up on a pillow, floppy ears splayed as a woman does with her hair, tongue lolling, satiated, a cigarette in paw.


Civil Matter

The call came in as a neighborhood dispute. It was a pleasant spring evening, right around sunset. Two parties had been going at it in this small apartment complex, I forget over what, something trivial. I talked to one half of the matter, the people who had called, got their story, then went over to the other guy’s apartment. Everything was cool and I broke off my backup unit. It was one of those unimportant civil matters which cops end up refereeing, those petty calls that take up a significant portion of every officer’s work day.

I knocked on the other guy’s door. I had no sooner dropped my hand to my side than the door flew open and a six-inch thirty-eight revolver was pointed at my eyeballs, held by a black man about fifty years old who looked pissed off. He had me.

All I could think to say was, “Put that goddamn thing down.”

He immediately put the gun down to his side and apologized.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I thought you was them people I was arguing with.”

It happens that fast.


Hit and Run

Early evening, spring again. I’d been a cop maybe a year or two. I heard a loud crash behind a department store and saw a car drive out from behind it at a pretty good clip. I pulled it over to investigate.

The car had slight body damage that looked very fresh, and I correctly figured the driver had probably nailed something behind the business. I got his driver’s license and registration and asked him what had happened. He played dumb and shrugged. He looked a little excited, but I figured what the hell, he just got caught in a hit and run and he’s nervous. He and his passenger were standing outside the car and I told them to hang loose.

I returned to my car to call for another officer to check what they had struck. I sat down in the front seat, radioed in to dispatch for another unit, and looked up to see that the passenger was gone. I mean, vanished. And I’m puzzled because it’s fifty yards of open view in any direction. I got back out of my unit and approached the driver.

“Where’s your friend?” I asked.

“He ran,” the kid said.

“Where?” I asked, gesturing with my hand.

The driver pointed off towards a fast food place, more than fifty yards away and across a busy four-lane road. I was thinking, that’s fast. The other officer got there a few minutes later, and sure enough it turned out to be a hit and run. They had struck the building in the back.

I cited the driver and asked him who his passenger was. Of course, he had instant amnesia and did a pitiful job of lying about the guy just being somebody who had asked for a ride, that he didn’t even know his name.

Two weeks later a detective contacted me and asked if I remembered the stop. I told him yes. He showed me a mug shot of a teenager and asked me if I recognized him. I said I did, it was the boy who had shagged ass from the hit and run traffic stop.

The detective told me they had popped both boys the day before on a residential burglary and they had confessed to dozens of them. One of those housebreaks had occurred moments before I had pulled them over for the hit and run. They had just pulled a job and were fleeing in a big hurry. The kid that ran on me had stolen a .45 semiautomatic handgun. It had been in his waistband in the small of his back, hidden by his T-shirt.

“When we busted him on that residential yesterday,” the detective told me, “and he started confessing, he told us about your traffic stop. He said he ran when you turned your back on him. He said if you had tried to pat him down, he would’ve blown you away.”

“Talk is cheap,” I replied, thinking that was pretty tough talk for a little punk, two weeks after the fact.

A few years later that kid was killed in a gun battle with police officers in another jurisdiction. He got caught doing a burglary and came out shooting. The gun in his hand was a stolen pistol.



An older cop told me this story. He was home one afternoon when his daughter came in from grade school. She was upset and crying. He asked her what was wrong.

“The other kids were calling me names,” she sobbed.

“What were they calling you?” her daddy asked.

“They told me,” she wailed, “that since you’re a policeman then you are a pig. And, because I’m your daughter, they said that makes me a piglet!”



A traffic cop who worked motors had to go to the hospital one night to assist another motor officer with a drunk driver. The DWI offender, obnoxious and argumentative, had gone over the limit on the breath test administered at the police station and insisted that the intoxilyzer was giving false readouts. He demanded a blood test. A blood test had to be administered at the hospital by a nurse or medical technician, so the arresting officer loaded the drunk back up into his car and drove him to the emergency room of a hospital.

The arresting officer was supposed to be riding his motorcycle, but his reputation among his peers was that he was somewhat of a pussy. He was a steroid user who liked lifting weights and strutting his stuff, and he loved the macho motor cop image, complete with riding boots and helmet, but deep down inside he was afraid of the scooter. The minute his supervisor went home for the evening, he would park his motor at the station and get in a car. He was a whiner and a crybaby, too, so naturally his fellow officers screwed with him every chance they got.

Some complications developed on the ride to the ER that evening and Officer Steroid radioed for assistance. The “complications” turned out to be that the DWI offender was homosexual, had become upset over the arrest, and claimed that Officer Steroid raped him on the way to the hospital. The officer who was assisting learned this when he arrived at the medical facility.

The gay suspect had been wearing a T-shirt and sweat pants, no underwear, and while lying down in the back seat of the unit with his hands handcuffed behind him, repeatedly penetrated his anus with his thumb. The attending physician examined the DWI offender and concluded that he did have trauma to his anal orifice. Officer Steroid, a heterosexual, was panicked when he told the other cop the story.

“What do we do?” he asked. “I saw him jamming his thumb up his ass and told him to stop. He told me, ‘Fuck you, I’m gonna say you raped me.’”

“Let me call the Lieutenant at home,” the other cop responded.

The Lieutenant worked day shift and was off at night.

He placed the call and informed the Lieutenant of the circumstances. The Lieutenant told him to make sure the arresting officer documented the incident in his report, and said to transport the suspect to jail after the blood test. The officer acknowledged the instructions and the Lieutenant said good-bye and hung up. The assisting officer, however, stayed on the line, pretending he was still talking to their supervisor.

“I need to what?” he asked, adding an octave to his voice to lure in the unsuspecting Officer Steroid.

“Are you serious?” he asked. “Oh, Lieutenant, come on, I really have to?”

He paused for dramatic effect.

“Yes, sir, I understand,” he said.

By now Officer Steroid was pacing and wondering what the hell was going on. He kept eyeing his fellow motor cop, who continued having the mock conversation, laying it on thick. Finally, assisting cop hung up the phone and turned to face his coworker, a look of disbelief on his face.

“Oh, my God,” my friend said.

“What?” Officer Steroid asked, his curiosity killing him.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “I can’t believe the Lieutenant is making me do this.”

“What? What?” Officer Steroid asked.

The officer dropped his head, face ashen.

“The Lieutenant says I gotta check it out,” he replied.

“Check what out?” the arresting officer asked.

“Your dick,” the assisting officer responded. “The Lieutenant told me to check it and see if it looks like it’s been used.”

“Get the fuck outta here!”

“I’m serious,” he said. “I’m sorry, but he told me to.”

Officer Steroid covered the crotch of his uniform pants with both hands.

“I ain’t showing you my dick!” he cried out in panic.

Then his fellow officer couldn’t hold it in any longer and busted up laughing.


Good Nose

An officer on the graveyard shift walked into a restaurant at three in the morning on his lunch break. It was a weekend and the drunks were still out and about, getting something to eat before heading home. As he walked towards a table to sit down, an intoxicated woman in her twenties, sitting at a table with several friends, decided to impress them with her wit.

As the officer walked by their table, she sniffed the air and loudly remarked, “I smell pork.” The implication being that, since derogatory slang for cop is the word pig, there was an odor in the air about him. The patrons in the restaurant went dead quiet.

The officer didn’t bat an eye. He stopped, turned, sniffed the air, looked directly at her, and said, “I smell semen. Did you burp?”



My first Christmas on the police department I reported for duty at 10:45 p.m. for the graveyard shift on Christmas Eve, full of anticipation and excitement over working the holiday.

In the first few hours I handled two residential burglaries, both families victims of burglaries that had occurred when they had gone to midnight mass. They had returned home to find their houses broken into and their Christmas presents stolen from under the tree.

Later, about 4:00 a.m., I was dispatched to a pecan orchard on the west side of the city. Some people who lived in a house in the orchard had been awoken by the screams of a woman. When I arrived I found a badly beaten woman clad only in a bra, slumped down on the ground. Her face was a bloody pulp. She couldn’t talk, all she could do was wail. I wrapped her in a blanket and had to literally pick her up and carry her to the patrol car because she couldn’t walk.

It turned out to be in the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department. I was told later by a sheriff’s deputy that she had been beaten and raped by an ex-boyfriend. He left her in that orchard on that bitter cold Christmas morning without clothes or shoes.


The Grinch That Stole Christmas

I handled a Yuletide burglary when I was in Detective Division. It occurred at a mobile home park in a poor part of the city, one of those areas where the trailers are all thirty or forty years old, rusted out, faded and beat to hell, cardboard replaces glass in the windows, dirt lots, dirt streets, no trees, weeds galore, broken glass and garbage strewn about, homeless cats and dogs with visible ribs sniffing around and fighting over the same scraps. The primary tenants were losers, dopers, thieves, and scumbags.

Three days before Christmas I got assigned a case at that trailer park. Unknown suspect(s) had entered a mobile home by forcing entry through the front door with a prying tool, which left markings consistent in size and shape with that of the common screwdriver. After gaining entry, unknown suspect(s) had taken all Christmas presents from under the Christmas tree, and also stolen other presents that had not yet been wrapped and were hidden under the tenant’s bed. The reporting officer wrote that there was no physical evidence other than the markings on the cheap door lock. The report then went on to list the stolen property, things like cheap plastic dolls, costume jewelry, little plastic cars, knickknacks of one sort or another, all presents being the inexpensive type of articles a person without much money would buy for their children.

I reviewed the summary of the stolen property value amount and it listed at less than twenty dollars. I thought it was a typo. Then I looked again and noted that not one gift that had been ripped off had a value any higher than a dollar. Most of them were in the twenty-five to fifty cents range.

After reviewing all of this, I did what every seasoned detective does: I looked at the suspect block. There was none listed. I thought maybe somebody was playing a joke on me. Normally, in the absence of a suspect or physical evidence that could lead to the solving of the burglary, victims were told to notify the police department if any further information developed in their cases. In other words, there were enough housebreaks with leads and suspects within the city limits to keep detectives on system overload, we didn’t need to add unsolvable crimes to the case file.

I turned the report back to the first page. Our Sergeant always wrote the name of the investigator he was assigning to the case in the upper left hand portion of the face sheet, so he would know whose mailbox to stuff the report in when he distributed them. My name was in the corner, and it was my Sergeant’s handwriting.

I started wondering then why the case had been assigned. I went down the hallway to find my Sergeant and ask him, but he was out of the office.

I looked at the report again to see who the victim was. Sometimes, especially in the politically motivated world of police work, a case got assigned because of who the victim was, not because of the probability of solving it. I didn’t recognize the victim’s name, nor was there a phone number. The victim, a female in her twenties, had no phone. I said the heck with it and went out to contact her at the address. Perhaps it was divine intervention.

I got to the trailer park about fifteen minutes later and just happened to catch the victim at home on her lunch break. She showed me where the presents had been under the “tree”, this pathetic plastic rig eighteen inches in height sitting upright on a table, with dimly twinkling lights. I’d seen more glow in the cheeks of a drunk.

She showed me some wrapping paper that came from some of the presents she had bought for her children. The suspect(s) had opened all the gifts and left a few behind, which the lady had wrapped again and put back under the tree.

The woman told me she had shown the torn wrappings to the patrol officer who took the report, but he told her nothing could be done about it.

“I’ll take those,” I told her. “We might be able to get latent prints off the paper.”

I knew the reporting officer well. He was a lazy sack of shit. Contrary to popular perception, police departments are not one big happy family. Cops get to know each other, just as people who work in the same business for years come to discover each other’s strong points and shortcomings. The only strong point this particular officer had was that each day he worked put his worthless fat ass a day closer to retirement.

“I don’t know why anyone would want to steal such inexpensive stuff,” she said. “I mean, if I could afford it, I would buy my kids nicer things, but I don’t have very much money. Maybe it’s God’s way of taking care of someone who needs it more than me and my children.”

“You Catholic?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she replied.

Yeah, like I hadn’t already figured that out, I thought to myself. I didn’t tell her I was Catholic, too.

“Well,” she said, “I just hope they don’t come back and steal these.” She gestured towards the gifts she had wrapped again and put under that sorry looking tree. “They don’t cost very much but I can’t afford to buy anything else.”

“What do you do?” I asked. Patrol Officer Sack-of-Shit, who had taken the report, had not filled in the occupation block. People who lived in this neighborhood generally were unemployed and on welfare, and he probably assumed this lady was, too.

“I’m a secretary,” she said.

“How many kids you got?”

“Three,” she said.

“Where they at?” I asked.

“At a friend’s house,” she said. “This lady I know watches them during the day, which is great because I can’t afford day care. I pay her back by doing laundry and ironing for her on my days off.”

“You got a husband?”

“He left us,” she said.

I could tell that was a tough question for her to answer, because she looked away and bit her lip when she responded.

“Well, you know,” I said, “he’s supposed to pay you child support.”

“He’s from Mexico,” she said. “I’m pretty sure that’s where he went back to.”

I mentioned welfare to the lady and she zinged an immediate response.

“My kids are not going to be raised on welfare,” she snapped.

“Well, I’ll see what I can do for you,” I told her, as I headed out the door.

“I’ll pray to our Lord Jesus,” she promised me.

I walked down those rickety wooden steps which led from the trailer home to the ground, eyeing her piece of shit car which went perfectly with her piece of shit living quarters in this piece of shit, thieving neighborhood.

“I’ll pray to our Lord Jesus,” I mimicked sardonically.

I was getting in one of my moods, my typical pissed-off-at-the-world episodes. These normally occurred once a month, or once a week, depending on my caseload and the nature of the crime I was investigating. The tirades were profane, sarcastic, sacrilegious, cynical outbursts directed at humanity in general and God in particular, a God that was supposed to be all-loving and nurturing, just like they taught me in church and catechism, but Who, in reality, allowed untold mayhem and grief to flourish in a world He created. My whining lasted about two or three minutes, on average.

I wasn’t angry with the victim. On the contrary, I was sympathetic and wanted very badly to get her Christmas gifts back for her and knew very well the odds were tremendously against me.

I started goddamning everything that came to mind. Goddamn thieves who steal from children, goddamn lazy ass police officers who don’t do their goddamn jobs, goddamn husbands who run out on their kids and don’t pay any goddamn child support, goddamn doper loser motherfuckers who live in goddamn trashy trailer parks and don’t do anything but goddamn steal and shoot goddamn dope.

Then I started thinking maybe it’s not such a good idea to be taking the Lord’s name in vain, especially three days before Christmas, but what the goddamn hell difference does it make? I’m goddamn divorced, the goddamn Church threatened to excommunicate my goddamn ass because I wouldn’t fill out their goddamn annulment form when my goddamn ex-wife filed for it. I didn’t fill out the goddamn thing because the goddamn perverts wanted to know, among other things, what kind of sex my goddamn ex-wife and I used to have and in what goddamn positions. I thought that was goddamn bullshit and I wrote them back and told them so, the goddamn child molesting butt-plugging pedophiles, clean up your own goddamn yard before you look into mine. I’m going straight to goddamn hell anyway, what goddamn difference does it make if I use the Lord’s name in vain, except maybe I can convince Him that I only used it in lower case, not upper case, so it’s not like I was really using Your name God, and maybe then He won’t dispatch my goddamn ass to Hell, maybe I’ll just do my goddamn time in Purgatory with the rest of the goddamn divorced Catholics who spent their miserable goddamn lives boozing, swearing and fornicating and going to goddamn confession on Saturday and goddamn church on Sunday just so they could start the whole goddamn sinful process over again on Monday.

Okay, so now I was in the mood to do police work. I needed to go out and find a thief who stole Christmas presents from a poor family and I had less than seventy-two hours to do it. God was on my side, of that I was sure.

The first thing I did was canvass the neighborhood. I started banging on doors and talking to people, which is what Officer Sack-of-Shit should have done in the first place.

The first few trailers didn’t have anyone home, or at least no one home who wanted to answer the door for a police detective. At the next trailer I came to, I discovered several individuals sitting outside in a circle, a couple of them on a dilapidated couch, another on the faded, warped steps leading up to the front door of the trailer, and a fourth on the hood of a rusted out car which had not run in years and was up on cinder blocks. I had not been able to see them because they were on the opposite side of the direction I was advancing. It was beer-thirty for them, and probably had been since they had arisen that morning. They were passing around a quart bottle and looked surprised when I came around the corner.

One of them spoke English and I explained to him why I was there and what I was doing. He translated to the others that I was investigating a break-in and that someone had stolen Christmas presents from children. The group started chattering in Spanish, all the men shaking their heads and making disapproving faces.

Mal,” they said, “muy mal.” Bad, they were saying, very bad. The guy holding the bottle started to raise it to take a drink, then thought better of it and uttered something to the translator. The translator nodded and spoke to me.

“He wants to know if it’s okay to take a drink,” the man told me, “or if you’ll bust him for drinking in public. He said he drank in front of a cop once and the cop arrested him.”

I smiled.

“Tell him it’s okay,” I said. “Everybody likes to drink some Christmas cheer, don’t they?”

The translator told his friend what I had said and the guy took a swig from the bottle, then extended it and said something else in Spanish.

“He wants to know,” the translator said grinning, “if you’d like a drink.”

Yeah, right, I thought. Like I’d take a drink out of that bottle after you fucking maggots have had your pus infested heroin injecting HIV-positive hepatitis lips on it, you fucking loser scumbag pukes, what do you think, fuckface? But, I didn’t respond that way.

“Tell him thanks,” I said with a smile, “but it’s a little early in the day for me.”

Normally, I would have called Border Patrol, checked them all for warrants, and locked somebody up just to make my presence known and show them I wasn’t fucking around. But, I needed help on this one and handcuffing people was not going to get the job done.

They told me they’d let me know who the culprit was, which may or may not have been true. They seemed sincere, even for scumbags. There are certain crimes that even a legitimate loser considers too reprehensible to commit. Generally, people like the trailer trash I was talking to would not phone in if they discovered who the culprit was; rather, they would beat the snot out of the suspect and convince him to turn himself in, thus taking heat off the neighborhood.

I had moved a good distance from my unmarked car on foot, so I went back and retrieved it before some good citizen relieved it of the hubcaps. I drove to the opposite end of the park, got out, and started knocking on doors again.

The next trailer was occupied by a middle-aged woman. I told her why I was there and she clicked immediately on who the suspect was. She gave me a first name, physical description, and pointed out the trailer the guy lived in, plus told me she had seen the suspect taking wrapped presents three days before (which was the day of the burglary) to a dumpster which was situated several yards away. She said he had the presents in a plastic garbage bag, and he unwrapped each one. The ones he apparently liked he stashed back in the bag, and the ones he did not like he threw in the dumpster, along with the wrapping paper he had torn off of them. Which is exactly where any patrol officer worth his salt would have gone to look. The woman also told me that the suspect lived with a girl who was very nice and had a job, but that he, the crook, did not work.

After I got her basic information for my report, I strode to the dumpster and lifted the heavy metal lid. Sure enough, there were some of the presents and the torn wrapping paper, too. I went back to my car, got some evidence bags, and took the evidence into custody. I made a mental note to contact Officer Sack-of-Shit and compliment him on his fine police work. Then I went to the suspect’s trailer and knocked.

The girl who answered was very pretty and in her early twenties. She was out of place in this nest of thieves and losers. I told her who I was and why I was there, and who and what I was looking for. She was initially embarrassed but very cooperative, and I could tell her temper was simmering with the knowledge of what occurred as the interview progressed.

She said she was a student during the day and worked as a waitress in the evening, and that I had caught her getting ready to go in to work. She said her boyfriend did not work and he was supposed to be out looking for a job. Then her lower lip started quivering and she began crying, the humiliation, anger and disbelief overwhelming her. She told me how she supported her boyfriend by giving him a place to live, feeding him, doing his laundry, taking care of him and working full-time, and all she asked was that he find a job to help out with expenses, but he hadn’t worked in months and she didn’t think he was even looking. And now this, she said.

I put a hand on her shoulder and told her it wasn’t her fault, that it was a situation she had no control over.

“But that poor woman and her kids,” she cried. “I’m so ashamed. I’ve talked to that woman and her kids, she’s such a nice lady, and they’re so poor, they don’t have anything. I’m rich compared to them!”

“When do you expect your boyfriend home?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said. “He usually comes home in the afternoon or evening. I don’t see him until I get home at night.”

“Do you think you could have him call me?” I asked.

“Oh, he’ll call you,” she assured me, the fury and wrath in her voice leaving no doubt that the suspect would contact me.

The suspect telephoned me the next morning, two days before Christmas. He wanted to turn himself in and confess to the crime. I asked him about the missing gifts and he said he had them.

“Can you bring them in with you?” I asked.

“Well, sir, she threw me out last night,” he replied. “I don’t know if she’ll let me back in to get them.”

“So the property is at her place?” I asked.

I had asked his girlfriend the day before to look around the trailer if she got a chance and see if the gifts were there. She was late for work when I was speaking with her and I had not wanted to delay her. She had told me she would look.

“Yes, sir,” he responded.

“Well, you know,” I told him, “if she doesn’t let you back in to get those gifts I’ll have to do a search warrant on her trailer.”

“No no no no no!” the guy blurted. “Don’t do that, I’ll get the stuff, I swear, Jesus, don’t serve a warrant on her, she’ll kill me!”

The suspect came in that afternoon with all the property, gave a full confession, and told me repeatedly how he deserved to go to jail and stay there, that what he did was horrible and he should be locked up (which he was).

I got the victim and her children their gifts back in time for Christmas, I got credit for clearance on a burglary, and my coworkers got to hear me at the bar that night telling the story of how I solved the case of the Grinch That Stole Christmas.



There was this petty thief named Bill that I used to run into from time to time on patrol. I had met him when I was bartending before I joined the police department. He was the type of person who would slink around nervously, perpetually waiting for someone to accuse him of wrongdoing. He was basically harmless, however, and my dealings with him were not adverse.

I spotted him one day walking down the street, middle of summer, ninety-eight degrees, carrying a pair of skis over his shoulder. I pulled up next to the curb to chat.

“Whatcha got there, Bill?” I asked from the driver’s seat.

He stuttered and did his usual gaze skyward, concocting some story in his head that would sound believable. I figured he had probably ripped them off out of someone’s garage and was on his way to a pawnshop to get cash.

“Uh, uh,” he replied, “I’m going water skiing. A buddy of mine loaned me these and I’m going up to the lake later today. In fact, some friends are supposed to pick me up at my apartment in just a little bit.”

He had been walking south and his apartment was north.

“But you live three blocks that way,” I said, pointing behind him.

“Uh, uh,” his eyes were really darting now, “uh, yeah, uh, but, uh, uh, I forgot something at my buddy’s house who loaned me these, so I need to go back and get it.”

“What did you forget?” I asked.

“Uh, uh, uh,” he was really struggling, “uh, I forgot my uh, uh…my key! I forgot my key to my apartment and I can’t get in.”

He got a triumphant grin on his face, which I immediately dispersed.

“You want a ride to your buddy’s place?” I asked politely.

“No! That’s okay! I’ll walk, I need the exercise,” he said.

I decided to quit making him suffer, and I dropped the car into gear to drive off and give him some peace.

“Well have fun at the lake,” I said, dropping the squad car into gear.

“Thanks,” he replied.

“And, Bill, by the way,” I said.


“Those are snow skis.”



This man in his sixties was found dead one afternoon in his front yard. His son found him face up in the grass of a small yard with a chain link fence. I don’t remember if the victim were widowed or divorced, I believe the latter, but his son and other siblings came by on occasion to check on him. It appeared to be natural causes and no need for great alarm. He had a history of heart problems and was on medication.

I knew the son, though not well. I had gone to junior high and high school with him. He was a regular guy, nothing unusual about him, just a working man like the rest of us who grew up, perhaps joined the military for a few years, and came home to start a family and labor at life.

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