This week, Detective Mark Hussey shares those special "ways with words" in the world of law enforcement. Let's listen in.
This chapter is dedicated to all those sayings that cops everywhere have made famous. You know, those cop witticisms, those clever, albeit sarcastic, little sayings that all policeman find it necessary to employ, whenever some low-life, scumbag, I.Q. of room temperature, asshole does something really stupid or dangerous or both.
I've found that each year I spend as a cop I get a little more cynical and a little less tolerant of stupidity. Don't get me wrong, I've done some dumb things in my time, but that's me, and for some reason, cops consider themselves after a number of years to be a little better than anybody else. It's not a dig, it's just that we are required to keep our personal and professional lives free of problems. We deal daily with those people who get arrested on a regular basis. A couple of nights in the drunk tank is no big deal to some people.
If I were to get arrested and have to spend even one hour behind bars, it would be the most devastating experience of my life. The personal embarrassment would be more than I could bear. So after years of handling other people's problems it gets difficult to be objective and becomes more and more necessary to belittle the common man and sometimes add to an already bad situation.
Some of my best improvisations have been made when I was under extreme pressure. For instance once I stopped a guy for a traffic violation. As I looked through the window and he opened his glove compartment to retrieve his registration, I saw a gun. As his hand closed around the pistol grip, I Cleared leather and jammed the bull barrel of my Smith and Wesson model 64 against the back of his neck so hard it left a red mark.
"I hope that's a sandwich in that glove compartment," I quipped, "Cause' whatever it is you're gonna eat it". Where did that come from? I wondered.
The gun turned out to be a Browning 9mm with the safety removed, and the driver turned out to be a wanted felon.
On another traffic stop, as I walked to the driver's door, I shined my flashlight inside. It was then that I noticed the driver had his hand concealed from view by a small white pillow on the seat. I whipped out my service revolver, cocking it next to his ear, "If your hand comes out from under that pillow, you'll never know it." The man was wanted and had a .38 Derringer in his right hand. On yet another stop I heard a cop say, "Move your hand and I'll make your birth certificate a worthless document."
Another time two Lakeland cops became the first canine officers, when they responded to a burglary in progress at a local convenience store. The two drove up and took up a position at each side of the front door, which had been broken out. Kenny Wnuk yelled, "You better come outa' there mother- fucker, or I'll send this big, nasty dog in after your ass."
Officer Mike Butler began barking and growling furiously as he crouched near the door. Several seconds later, a young black male yelled from inside, "I'm comin out' and please don't send that dog in here." A second later his partner followed. The pair was arrested without incident.
On another occasion, my partner Tom Brown and I responded to a peeper down off West Memorial Boulevard. The female victim was about sixteen years old with the body of a twenty-five-year-old. Her father had no sense of humor and was ready to kill this guy who always showed up at the daughter's bedtime and stood outside the window while she undressed. We handled several calls at the address and the voyeur was coming pretty regularly. Tom and I parked several blocks away and sneaked down through the woods near the house. I took up a position at the northwest corner of the house and Tom stood near the southwest, near the victim's bedroom. Several minutes later I heard Tom yelling "Freeze asshole, police."
As I rounded the back of the house, I saw Tom on top of the young lad with his service revolver screwed into the guys ear saying, "Son, if you fart, your heads gonna' land out on the Boulevard." Trust me there's no way that guy was going to fart for a long time as tight as his ass was just then.
Sometimes an irate motorist would ask, "Did I help you get your quota?" And we would say, "No sir, my chief lets me write as many tickets as I want." Of course this would really piss the guy off.
Or they might say, "Why are you bothering me, don't you have robbers or rapists to arrest?" To this you might say, "Well actually I already arrested 14 robbers and seven rapists this morning, not to mention a couple of murderers, now I'm just looking for idiots." This would certainly generate more dialogue.
Some cops have signs and bumper stickers made to reflect their attitudes toward the citizenry. One guy I knew had a bumper sticker on his dashboard which read, "Get in, sit down, shut up, hang on." Another had a placard made which he affixed to the back of the "cage" in his patrol car. The small blue plastic plate read, " No, you can't smoke, no I won't loosen the handcuffs, and yes you're really going to jail." I've got a bumper sticker on my desk that says, "My child was inmate of the month at the county jail." Many people just don't find those things humorous.
Nicknames used to be popular with cops; not so much anymore. We have to call everybody "Sir" and "Ma'am," even if they're cussing us out. We used to have names for people though like, Hotrod, Sport, Bubba, Boy, Hero, Darlin' Pal, and Ace, to name a few of the nice ones. Dickhead, Asshole and Scumbag are a few of the not so nice ones, and are still used today in police circles, privately, to describe the citizenry we "Protect and Serve."
Every once in a while, you'll hear something on the radio that was not meant to be broadcast over the airwaves. In 1983 Billy Hyatt responded to a burglary in progress. As he announced his arrival at the scene, his voice raised an octave and he was heard to say, "Lakeland, I got a black male comin' out the back door...he's got something in his hands...freeze mother-fucker or I'll kill you."
I was taking a prisoner to Bartow. The arrestee heard the radio transmission and said, "Damn, you guys are pretty serious."
Of course the report read, "As I confronted the suspect, I identified myself as a police officer and asked the suspect to put down the items in his hands and place his hands into the air. Suspect complied without incident." Guess it loses a little something in the translation.