The double-line drunk
Getting a call of a body lying in the middle of a four-lane street at 2:15 a.m. would make any cop cringe, especially this one. I hate working traffic, collisions and particularly fatalities. I was somewhat relieved to find a guy in a puddle of his own vomit, and sure enough, right in the middle of the double yellow lines. I correctly guessed that he was just drunk and the middle of the street was where he ran out of sobriety. I conducted a sternum rub and an eye flick. Nothing. Nada. This guy was out.
A few minutes later, the ambulance, fire department and another unit arrived. The other officer was a young guy who I was proudly mentoring. He was sharp, gregarious and one of those guys who could say or do most anything and not catch a complaint from a citizen. People would just laugh even when he was making fun of them. I tended to have the opposite effect. In fact, I could catch beef like a champion calf roper. I once got complained on for a call I wasn’t even on. True story.
Back to Cooter Brown, the passed-out drunk. Officer Gregarious and I were standing in the middle of the road while the medics were checking him out. Mind you, it was raining. There were several fire guys and two medics between us and Brown loudly talking about his treatment. My loveable protégé leaned over to me and whispered, “That’s one pathetic sack …” You can probably guess the rest. Brown picked that exact moment to regain acute consciousness. He sat straight up, pushing one of the ambo drivers out of the way, looked directly at me and yelled, “You can’t talk about me like that [glancing down at my name tag], Cavin!” Officer Gregarious found that quite amusing; he doubled over and broke out in raucous laughter. I was less amused as I had just promised the night shift sergeant that I would go a whole week without getting into trouble.
I wasn’t too thrilled with my young friend at that point. I was less thrilled with the ambulance dude who let Brown use his cellphone to call the station and make the complaint on the way to the hospital. When the sergeant called my number via radio, I had to laugh a little at my luck. Officer Gregarious keyed up with a conspicuous chuckle that the sergeant was actually looking for him and he would be right in to see him. He would soon be standing in the supervisor’s office getting chewed out, his face reddened and tears streaming down … laughing uncontrollably. I always envied him. He never let the job control his happiness. Looking back, he was probably the one doing it right.
— A police department in Oklahoma
As if working undercover wasn’t exciting enough, for some reason we U/C narcs sometimes liked to play a kind of Russian roulette with crooks. We’d actually give subtle clues that we were cops.
I came back from a California Narcotic Officers’ Association (CNOA) conference with a great-looking ball cap that had the organization’s initials big and bold out front. I was working this street dealer who claimed Hells Angels ties, and I was trying to find his source. He was a big talker and tried to come off as a one-man cartel. Other narcs ribbed me for putting up with him, but any time I even had the hope of taking down the H.A., I was all in. So I told the guys that on my next buy with him, I’d wear my CNOA baseball cap. If he made me, we’d bust him, but if not, I’d keep working him just in case there was an H.A. connection.
On my next buy with him I wore the cap. Mr. Cartel Guy could not have cared less. I even kept tugging it down several times, eventually so much that I looked goofy and could barely see him. But still, nothing. I bought meth from this guy three more times with that same ball cap on, and he never clued in. I couldn’t make the H.A. connection, so we finally busted him for multiple counts of sales — and multiple counts of felony stupid.
— Dave Albritton
Santa Rosa (California) P.D., ret.
As seen in the April 2021 issue of American Police Beat magazine.
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