I used to spend a lot of time in doctor’s offices as I grew up, especially in my teen years. I was sickly and had a lot of stuff going on medically at times. I used to enjoy reading Reader’s Digest,
but specifically the columns, Life’s Like That and All in a Day’s Work. These were very short funny anecdotes sent in by readers who received a small fee for their stories. It was those sections of Reader’s Digest that gave me the idea for this column, SNIPPETS, which I intend to run every couple of months. It will be full of the things that strike me as funny, or make me go “Hummm,” or otherwise tickle my fancy. In any case, it is those things that are too small to write an entire post about. These words of wisdom and hilarity I gather from all streams of my life; work, home, friends and even while out shopping. Hope you enjoy this addition.
I have learned that at work, you have to have a sense of humour and view the world a little skewed, or as I like to think, through many lenses, especially the tilt shift lens. These are some of the situations I’ve found amusing along the way.
Break &Enter (B&E), What a Mess
As a SOCO (Scenes of Crimes Officer) I attend scenes to document and collect evidence and to look for the less obvious evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA. SOCOs are used almost extensively to process B&E scenes. The telltale signs of a B&E, beyond the broken window or door and screeching alarm, are the ransacked rooms. It is usually the Master bedroom which is targeted and if there is still time, then possibly the other bedrooms and sometimes an office in the home. It is amazing how quickly they get in and out and how much damage they can cause in such a short amount of time. I once used the sensor connections on the doors and windows of a home to figure out a suspect had been in a house for 4 minutes only. It was amazing how much rummaging can be done in four minutes. They usually dump all the dresser and night stand drawers, and open all boxes and purses in closets. They are looking for cash and quick and easy things they can pawn – usually jewelry and expensive purses. Electronics, passports and such, are normally left behind.
When I attend a scene as the SOCO officer, I have the officers who have investigated walk me through the scene telling me where the perpetrator entered, exited and entertained themselves within the house. I start with photos of the outside of the house, working my way to the point of entry. Inside, I document with photos, the path taken by the perpetrator through the house and out to the point of exit. On more than one occasion, I have stood on the threshold of a room, looking inward at the mess and trying to figure out how to get into the room without stepping on and damaging property. Usually all drawer and closet contents are strewn around a room, mostly on the floor, and I must enter and take photos from different angles. It is always an awkward moment and slightly embarrassing when I say “Wow that room was really ransacked. They made a big mess.” and am met with a reply of “Oh no. They didn’t touch that room. It’s my sons room,” or “Nothing was disturbed in there. It always looks like that.” Opps! Sorry. And the strange thing is they are usually not even embarrassed! Go figure.
So as an aside, a lesson here – if you want to keep it safe, I always tell people to get it out of the bedroom and into the kitchen.Your mama was right when she told you to hide valuables in the freezer. And for goodness sake, keep the home organized and clothes picked up off the floor. You never know when you might have an officer in your home taking photographs and you don’t want to confuse them!
Reverse Training. Who does that except cops?
Pepper spray, a baton, and a gun, are all tools I was introduced to for the first time while at the police college. As well, all new recruits are given instructions on the taser and defensive tactics moves. Part of the philosophy of training was that we all needed to experience what all these use of force options felt like. They also taught us how to fight through them, ignoring what they were doing to us physically and psychologically, in order to continue to defend ourselves in what would be perceived at that point as a fight for our lives. The theory was we needed to learn to survive, should a weapon of our own be used against us. So, yes, I was pepper sprayed. I was one in a gazillion that has a bad allergic reaction and while for others, the effect wears off in about four hours, usually eight to twelve at most – I was in extreme burning pain for five days. Yes five, count them! My eyes both burned and watered and I could not handle any light. I attended all my classes in dark sunglasses with a baseball cap to hide from the florescent lights and still, it hurt. So today, I am so hand shy of using the pepper spray, I usually don’t. The idea of accidentally getting sprayed again is a real deterrent.
Then of course is the taser. There was a lot of peer and instructor pressure to participate in being zapped. They did it a bit different. They strung us together, holding hands while sitting on sofas and chairs and they zapped the person on the end. It wasn’t that bad. Really. Only two people actually cried and not just shedding a tear or two. They bawled! I would still take being tasered over being pepper sprayed any day if I had to choose! And yes, I have bee zapped again since. I forget I can’t apply the cuffs while the suspect is still being zapped. Ouch!
Then of course was the knock out. They believe we must be ready and know what it feels like to be knocked out, or at least had our brain tossed around a little inside of our heads as to cause a slight concussion, and more importantly, the confusion that comes with it. So a big guy dressed in the Michelin suit comes at you and starts swinging. Your job is to hold him off as long a possible, protecting your head.Well, I saved off the first couple of swings before I dropped my arms and felt the slug that had me seeing stars. So I listened to the instructors, and kept fighting through the confusion choosing use of force options until I was safe. I must tell you, as a 40 something recruit at this college, I wasn’t really pleased with their training methods. I did not relish the experience of being pepper sprayed, tasered and knocked to my knees! Who does that? So, I had to make a stand and voice out my opinion and ensure I did not endure any more of this psychotic type training. Very clearly I stood up and said I draw the line at being shot and told them I do not need to experience it in order to use my gun. I will just pass on this, thank you!
Tennis Ball Training
While in College, they try to teach us how to drive “smoothly.” It is very different than ‘Hollywood” style, like that of big films, full of sharp turns, screeching tires and skids. They show us how Hollywood is actually less efficient and takes more time to get to our destination compared to driving smoothly. When needing to go lights and sirens, half a minute can mean the difference between life and death for someone. So to teach us how to drive smoothly we drive a car with essentially a shallow large salad bowl attached to the hood and a tennis ball in it. The object here is to drive without loosing the ball. Accelerate, stop, turn left, turn right and even reverse, all while keeping the ball in the bowl. If it comes out, you must put the car in park and go retrieve your ball. So needless to say, there’s lots of incentive to get ‘smooth.’ Try it sometime, it’s not that easy to accomplish! So, we have a ritual on our platoon. When someone gets in an accident, we send them back to training camp. We tape a steel salad bowl to their hood with a tennis ball. This ‘prize,’ is a flag for all the other officers to know the officer has recently been in an accident and is back in driver education again. So, if you happen to see a scout car with the bowl attached, you will know what it is for. Take a look and see if the officer still has the ball. If not, ask him or her where they lost it. Guaranteed they knew exactly the acceleration, stop , left or right turn that caused them to loose that ball and at what intersection!
That’s it for this edition of Snippets!