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:~: Friday, October 12, 2007 :~:

Cops: Stranger than Fiction

Monday, Elisabeth blogged on writing about cops. One of the reasons I'm so drawn to writing about the law enforcement field is the fact I spent the first half of my marriage immersed in it, via being married to a dedicated police officer. (I'm still married to him, but he left the career shortly before our first child was born. He's a miner now. Big swap!)

Yesterday, a classroom discussion sparked memories of the years my DH spent working in Florida. He was a K-9 officer trained in drug interdiction and later served a year as interim chief for a smaller department. His road time coupled with his desk job gave me insight as a writer into the layers and complexities of LE life as well as the impact it can have on an officer's home.

But that's not what I'm writing about today. Today, I thought I'd share with you some of those "I could never get away with that in a book" scenarios that actually happened during the DH's LE days.

1) Naked Guys Want Coffee, Too: DH gets a call about a disturbance at a local Holiday Inn. When he arrives, a man is standing in the foyer, a bed spread thrown over his head. DH looks at the night auditor, whom he knows well. Sam looks back at him and shrugs.

"He wants me to make him a pot of coffee."

DH is exasperated, rolls his eyes. "Make him one."

"But he's naked."

DH turns to naked guy wearing a bed spread over his head. Naked guy says, "You can't see me. I'm invisible."

Obviously, even invisible naked people go to jail for indecent exposure.

2) Alligators, alligators and more alligators, oh, my!

A wetland area backs up to the section of I-75 where we lived in Florida. Many times, traffic would have to be stopped on the highway while everyone waited for the department of natural resources officers to come remove huge gators from the highway.

One night the DH and his partner are checking the parking lot of a local motel. They see a young man furtively trying to stuff something into his car trunk. They stop.

The guy is trying to put a four-foot alligator in the trunk of a Honda Civic. He was planning to take it home to New Jersey with him after finding it in the parking lot. He changed his mind after DH informed him this was a felony.

Another night, DH and his partner chased a pair of would-be robbers on foot from a gas station. The men ran into the wetland area. DH and his partner stopped at the edge of the swamp. DH yells, "Keep running! Maybe we'll find all the pieces after the gators get you. Maybe not."

The men emerged, chagrined and pale, a few minutes later.

3) Rookies really do stupid things sometimes.

The poor kid in this story shall remain nameless to protect his identity (although I understand once he had some experience on him, he became a pretty good cop later). My husband was training him and kept lamenting that he wasn't the brightest bulb in the socket in terms of common sense.

The rookie was married and his wife insisted he unload his gun every night when he came home. (We won't discuss the night he left the bullets ON THE STOVE and they exploded . . .)

So a traffic stop involving a stolen car evolves into a tense situation in which guns are drawn (btw, if you write LE, please, please, please understand that drawing a gun is a BIG deal -- it isn't done lightly because if one fires a weapon, the investigation is huge and stressful, even if no one is shot -- there are entry situations where the gun is automatically out and in hand, but if your hero/heroine is drawing on a suspect and preparing to shoot -- they don't just fire indiscriminately).

Anyway . . . shots end up being fired at this traffic shot. Then DH realizes he's hearing click-click-click from the other side of the car.

Someone had forgotten to reload his gun before the beginning of the shift.

If I had unlimited space, I could tell you about . . .

a) Local women speeding on purpose so the good-looking deputies would pull them over.
b) The deputy who tried to cross the median during a high speed chase who got stuck in the mud and his car was inundated by hundreds of frogs.
c) What happened when one deputy was the first to reach the suspect in a high speed chase . . . after the deputy's brother (also a cop) had been injured in the same chase. (It's true that sometimes cops react like real people, instead of the trained professionals they are)
d) The time the drug helicopter crashed. Guess who's afraid of heights and who was on said helicopter when it crash-landed?!
e) Multiple trips to the emergency room, including one memorable incident in which the DH, a tad high on painkillers, kept asking for his gun so he could shoot the PA in the kneecap if he hurt him again while putting in thirty stitches (They were old friends. The PA laughed and asked if he was going to have to strap him down to finish.).
f) The crazy things cops do on a slow night when they're bored.
g) The fabulous ways they look out for each other when things go bad (i.e., the night DH chased a suspect on foot and lost his handheld on the way. When no one could reach him, half the officers from two departments showed up as backup.)

Yeah, I write about cops a lot. Like Joan, I worry sometimes that it gets old. But I think it's all in the execution -- it's the writing and the story and hopefully the realism that keeps it fresh.

And real.



Blogger Joan Swan said...

Great stories, Lin. I love to hear what happens behind the scenes so to speak. Thanks for sharing.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Love these stories, Lin. So fun to read. Thanks for sharing!

6:37 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Glad y'all liked them. :-)

6:57 PM  
Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL, thanks Linda. Good stories and just the giggle I needed this morning. Stupid criminal stories always get me, but the rookie without the bullets??? That's nuts.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Thanks, B.E., glad you liked them.

Oh, that poor rookie! I felt really bad for him, because he ended up being ragged for days -- not by my DH who was supposed to build him up as a cop, not tear him down -- but every other LE guy in the county who knew about it gave him a fit.

The guy can laugh about it now. We ran into him the last time we were visiting Florida and he begins by saying, "Do you remember that time my gun was unloaded?"

He's REALLY lucky he wasn't alone that night -- he'd have ended up dead.

I guess I should share WHY his wife made him unload his gun nightly. He had this bad habit of sleeping with it under his pillow (this, btw, is not a good idea!). He woke up one morning and his two year old was sitting next to him, with the gun pointed at him. Fully loaded.

Like I said, he kinda lacked common sense early on.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Kendra said...

Oh, these are wonderful stories. Just what I needed this morning.

More, please.

8:56 AM  

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