Tag: Police

There’s (Not) An App For That

“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”
Erin Bury

Dear World At Large,

Hey!  We haven’t talked in a while, but you seem well and up to your old tricks, hence this little note of clarification.

Social Media - end of society? Not exactly. Misued and annoying? Definitely.

As we’ve discussed previously, technology is not always your friend.  Your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are actually public information and can be used to bring your deeds (criminal or just criminally silly) to light.  However, we need to have an honest conversation about another side effect of your media habits.

This is a conversation I had yesterday:
“Hello, my backpack was stolen.”
“Alright, ma’am, you’ll need to come into our department to make a report to one of our -”
“No I don’t.”
“…Pardon?”
“I’m talking to you, aren’t I?  This is making a police report.”
“No, ma’am, to make a police report you must – except in very unique circumstances – speak to a police officer in person.  I’m not an officer, I’m a secretary.  I can give you limited advice and assistance, but that’s it.”
“Fine, put a police officer on the phone.”
“I can if you’d like, ma’am, but they will tell you the same thing: you’ll have to come into our office.”
“Seriously?!  [choice language censored]”

And surprisingly, not one of these adequately allow you to report a crime.

Last week I spoke to a gentleman on the phone, the conversation went thus:
“Hello, I’m looking at your website and I don’t see where I can report a crime.”
“Well, we have the option of reporting anonymous tips or voicing concerns online -”
“No, you don’t understand.  I’m being stalked by my ex-fiancee and I want to report it.”
“You’ll have to come into our office to do that, sir.”
“What?!  I can’t just send you an email and you take care of it?”
“No, sir.  Typically an officer will need to ask you many questions to adequately understand your situation, verify your identity, and work with you specifically to assist you.”
” [Expletive], can’t you guys just have an app or something?”

The truth is, dear World at Large, there are in fact some things that you still need to do face to face.  We may be moving towards that point, but there isn’t an app for everything.  You are still required to appear in person from time to time.  Give your thumbs a break and come and talk to me in real life, I’m charming!

Yours with love,
C.

Physics and Philosophy

“Lawless are they that make their wills their law.”
– William Shakespeare

 

It would be an absolute falsehood to say that I find working with law enforcement to be my ideal job or that it answers the immortal career longings of my soul, but working where I do has given me an appreciation for job that law enforcement officers do.  And trust me, it’s not always a pleasant one.

We had another police officer hit by a car last night while directing traffic because the driver did not want to do what he was being told to and purposely struck him.  Nearly every one of our police officers and student employees were threatened or cussed out at the last sporting event.  This boggles me.  Everyone acknowledges that we need police officers, that the work they do is vital to the running of society for the keeping of law and order, but everyone seems to hate them.  Resent them, even.

My theory about this is that nobody likes to be told that they cannot do what they want to all of the time.  Of course people want to drive as fast as they’d like, they don’t want restrictions on where they can park, and they don’t want to be caught when they steal something…but most of all, people seem to hate having to acknowledge (when they get caught doing any of these things) that what they have done is wrong – even when they have hit another human being with a car.  On purpose.

They are constantly stunned when there are repercussions to their actions, and even after two and a half years of working here, this attitude aggravates me.  Every two year old can throw a temper tantrum when they don’t get their way, but shouldn’t adults be able to acknowledge that having to wait in lines is part of life, and that screaming obscenities and threatening bodily harm may not be the way to deal with it?

When dealing with police, everyone wants to be the exception – can’t you just not report this, can’t you please just let me cut off those 300 people ahead of me, can’t you just let me get away with this once – and the answer is, “no.”  We can’t make you the exception because you are the 47th person to make that very request in the last hour and if we didn’t say yes to them we can’t say yes to you.  And if we do say yes to you, we can’t say no to the next 47 people who ask.

But people hate being told no.  They hate being told that cannot act in they way they want.  And often they refuse to examine the reasoning behind that negative answer; i.e., if I allow you to drive your car through a barricade and in front of a oncoming mass of vehicles you may get injured, and you may injure many other people.  Your actions affect other people, and police exist because so many of those actions or their ripple effects are harmful.

We’ve all had a bad experience with a the fuzz, but take a minute to honestly imagine a society without them.

(Sorry, kittens, but as you can see we’re dealing with some pretty wretched stuff at the department today.  Humor will shortly return.  Hopefully.  In the meantime, let’s all strive to be a little nicer and conscientious today, eh?  There are already plenty of jerks in the world, let’s not them win.)

The F Word

“When the military man approaches, the world locks up its spoons and packs off its womankind.”
– George Bernard Shaw

By which I mean “Free Association Test.”  Why?  Where did you mind go?

Like most law enforcement agencies, we use the NATO phonetic alphabet to communicate over radios and such, but our student employees who work security for us and enforce parking are also trained on it.  Occasionally this can be a source of amusement (as we all know that things on the phone or radios can come off garbled).

Yesterday while patrolling a parking lot, one of our newer students apparently completely spaced on the alphabet and, panicking a little, starting making new phonetic codes up as he radioed in license plate numbers.  “V,” which is supposed to be rendered “victor,” became “Virginia,” etc.  But what really took the cake was his impromptu offering replacement for an “F,” which is supposed to be “foxtrot.”  What was the first “F” word that sprung to this kid’s mind?

 

Monsieur I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Or That You Still Read Those Novels With My Chisled Jaw and Windswept Mane On the Cover PS - Do You Remember When I Was Hit In the Face By a Duck, himself!

We are all positively dying to unravel his thought process on this one!

Admirable

“I’ve ridden the tiger ragged.  That tiger, it’s rolled over on its blazing back and put up its paws and just asked me to stop.”
– Glenn Duncan, I Lucifer

I really was expecting a slow day today, kittens.  It’s below freezing so no one’s about, my phone has rung exactly twice, and until 11 this morning I was staring at my empty inbox wondering how I would fill the time.  Woof, was I misled!

Hennessy and I are wrangling dozens of student uniforms that have gone “missing” over the past few months since we have nothing to give to the handfuls of new students we keep hiring.  Shockingly, all these “missing” uniforms have turned up in the very locker rooms students and supervisors have sworn blind they’ve not been in for months.

I’m up to my elbows in paperwork finding arrest records, dating from before I was born, on microfiche, running background checks, and logging hours of training for our officers.  Goodness knows whether or not I’ll get lunch before 3 at this point!

However, that quiet time was semi-productive.  After a period of Wiki-surfing, it is now a driving ambition of my life to achieve this honor!

Can I manage this without moving to Nebraska?  Somehow I feel as though I mingle well with the august company.  Admiral C. Small Dog of the good ship HMS Guppy!

How To Get A Girl Pregnant (The Telephone Theory)

“Let it be a lesson to you to be less busy in the future!”
– Georgette Heyer, The Grand Sophy

Calm down, minions, I’m not talking about me.  Today we bring you a morality tale of A) staying out of other people’s business and B) not exaggerating.

We have an EMT internship program on campus and all of our kids are highly trained to assist in medical emergencies, often they are our first responders.  But they, like us, are often dispatched to non-emergencies because of faulty (not to say completely false) information.

Yesterday we received a call that there was a pregnant woman with vaginal bleeding on the floor of a restroom and non-responsive.

Our valiant EMTs burst into the bathroom, surprising the poor girl (who was not unconscious but bent over the counter and probably wishing she was dead from both pain and embarrassment).
“You’ve had some vaginal bleeding?” an EMT asked professionally.
“Well, yes,” she answered, confused.
“How many months pregnant are you?”

No, the other kind of hysterical pregnancy.

There was a terrible pause.  She paled and clutched at the sink.
“I’m pregnant?!”

It turns out she had been brought low by menstrual cramps, excused herself from her companions and went to the restroom.  A concerned friend relayed this information in a rather garbled way to a another friend, who in turn relayed yet a more garbled version to another friend, who in turn called 911.  Thankfully all was sorted out with some profuse apologies, pain killers, and a vigorous telling off for the person who called us without having a clue what was going on. And so, my likely-red-faced darlings, let that be a lesson to you: get your facts straight.  Otherwise people end up hurt.  Or pregnant.

“You Keep Using That Word-“

“-I do not think it means what you think it means.”
– The Princess Bride, 1987

The word of the day, class, is “profiling.”

A member of the media came to the office the other day in a rage because his daughter had been given a parking ticket.  Apparently she was using his press/media pass to park wherever she wanted, which is all sorts of against the rules.  We tend to frown upon people claiming privileges that don’t belong to them, see yesterday’s post on decency.  But he came in all aflame with righteous indignation…and spoiled it all by lying and saying he was the one who had received the ticket and how dare we ticket him, and he would go to the administration with this –

Red cut him off by telling him that his daughter had already come in and admitted to misusing the pass, which took him aback, but he recovered swiftly and threw out an accusation.
“So, you’re ticketing my daughter for using my pass?  That’s profiling!”

Dear, dear. We seemed to have missed the point, haven't we?

Cut to yesterday in J.’s class, scene: a discussion of hiring and management.  A young man for some reason failed to grasp the problem in a case study of a manager refusing to hire a qualified applicant because he didn’t feel that “a timid Asian woman” would be able to handle the rigors of the job.  (Ah, shades of the Annual Anti-Harassment Seminar…)  J. pulled his jaw off the floor and tried to explain the many, many errors of this man’s thinking but to no avail.  His classmate came back with, “So a woman should automatically be hired even if she can’t do the job?  That’s profiling!”

Acquaint yourself with a dictionary.

People. Problems.

“As a connoisseur of human folly, I would have thought you impatient to be savoring these delights.”
“Of some delights, sir, I believe a little goes a long way.”
– Pride and Prejudice, 1995

You may not believe it, ducklings, from all of my snarkiness and eyebrow lifting, but I really do like people.  I enjoy meeting people and making friends.  And I’m often deeply impressed at the heights human nature can climb to.  Alternatively, I’m often deeply annoyed by how low some people can sink.

My trouble is (as per usual) that I work at a police department, the nature of which means that at least 50% of the people coming through our doors are in some sort of trouble.  The other 50% have caused some sort of trouble, and so don’t help my attitude.

Believe it or not, this sort of excellence isn't required. Although laudable.

Here’s my beef.  I have discovered, through 2+ years of observation of this sort of thing, that it is extremely easy to be a fairly good person.  No, really.  It’s a piece of cake!  Don’t take what’s yours, don’t say what isn’t true, don’t go out of your way to be obnoxious, and have some sort of basic theoretical understanding that your actions affect others.  It really is that simple.  You may still get a little moody, you may still tell the occasional exaggerated story, you may still have a no-good-very-bad-day when the universe conspires against you and you lash out, but to all intents and purposes you will be a Decent Human Being.

And yet, in spite of the simplicity of this solution, there seems to be whole hordes of people incapable of being Decent Human Beings.  They are determined to be jerks.

Take for instance the late incident of a man whose daughter got into a minor car accident with a foreigner.  The daughter gave false/faulty insurance information and when the foreigner, who assumed the error was his, asked politely for the correct information, Daddy told him a series of lies about insurance in America, and ordered him not to contact his daughter again.  All to keep from reporting his daughter at fault in the accident, apparently.

Or the various attempts to hit others with their cars recently.

Or the Lothario-like attempts of seduction by married coworkers.

All entirely avoidable!  See?  Jerks.

Really? No, Really?

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect.
– W. Clement Stone

Dear Salesperson Who Thinks You Are Clever,

You’re not.  You are approximately the four hundred twenty-seventh person this week to try to get access to an administrator by claiming to be a close personal friend.  I am not quite an idiot, thank you, and I have heard every single one of the techniques you will try to get around me.

“He’ll see me, he asked me to come in,” you say.
I doubt that, since he’s been on vacation most of this week and plans on being out of the office for a good chunk of the next as well.

“He’s a very old friend of mine, but I don’t know how to get in touch with him,” you try next.
That’s funny.  I’ve got phone numbers, email, blogs, Facebook, googling, and any number of ways to get in touch with my “very old friends.”

“Don’t you know who I am?!” you cry in desperation.
No.  And since it’s my job to most relevant people, that ought to tell you something.

See, Small Dog may be a minor secretary way down on the totem pole, but she’s good at her job.  And it would take a far cleverer salesman than you to get past the gates.  You may leave your card and contact information like everybody else.

Have a nice day.

– C.

Annnnd They’re Back

“The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.”
~Dudley Moore

I really should know better…It’s like the “Q Word,” no sooner do I relate the dullness of the season to you, then a report scuttles across my desk.

At our last home football game, we had police officers from four departments, the county sheriff’s department, and all of our student employees to direct traffic, conduct security checks, etc.  This is pretty much standard operating procedure, and certainly nothing new.  All of our kids are highly trained to do all of these jobs and have been doing so for some years now.

However on this day one gentleman, deciding he was going to drive against traffic and in the opposite direction a student officer was directing him, squealed out of a lot.  He endangered dozens of pedestrians, made a dangerous nuisance of himself, and when the student got in front of him to stop him, he hesitated, and then hit him with his car.  One of our full time police officers saw this happen and dashed over to help, ordering the driver out of the car.  At which point he purposefully hit her with the car, severely damaging her knees!

Luckily for us, the entire incident was caught on the camera of a highway patrolman.  As I understand it, there are both surgeries and charges pending.  The icing on the cake, his reasoning!

Lt. Rhoades, “He said our kid wasn’t a police officer and therefore couldn’t tell him what to do and was in his way.”
Me with a slow blink, “So hit him.  With a car.”
Lt. Rhoades, “Apparently.”
“Me, “And what, exactly, then was his reason for hitting an actual police officer?”
Lt. Rhoades, “That doesn’t seem to have been worked out yet.”

Be ye therefore comforted, minions, people are back to behaving like themselves again!

Stress and Other Fractures

“The pain of the mind is worse than the pain of the body.”
– Publius Syrus (a chap who clearly didn’t know me)

You may have noticed, my gingerbread darlings, that I’ve not shared any good work stories with you of late.  There is a reason for that.

At this festive time of year on a university campus, the population is so collectively panicked about exams, projects, end of term presentations, and juggling the upcoming holiday that they are too harried to commit crimes.  Ergo, life at the police department is fairly mundane.  Wait until the week of Christmas itself when Hennessy and I will likely be the only ones here…you may be hearing from me hourly to alleviate boredom.

However, you will be happy to know that even though the human race is letting you down by not acting like its usual silly self, your faithful Small Dog still plugging away for your entertainment.  While work is full of  disappointingly well behaved people, I am as klutzy as ever.

J. has been staying up until 3 every morning finishing those crisis inducing assignments we just discussed and I haven’t been feeling well so last night we grabbed some takeaway dinner.  Charged with guarding this precious bundle I stooped to swing myself into the car…and promptly saw stars as my head collided with doorway.

McQueen shoes: made to cause C. to drool. And die. Horribly.

In my defense, high heels throw me off; I always wear very high ones to counteract my, ah, non-height, and I don’t always calculate things like car doors (or stairs, or how much further I have to fall after tripping, etc.) very well.  Yes, even after nearly a decade wearing them, shut up.  All told, I have a dirty great whacking lump on my head this morning and a bit of a headache.

I do it for you, my loves.