I was watching “Chicago P.D. this week, the story line seemed awfully familiar. Here’s why.
Probably the worst thing a cop can do is arrest or testify against another cop. Or make a case against another cop, or a favorite ex or retired cop. That story has already been told, but not the repercussions.
After something like this breaks, you start to understand how well liked you were or weren’t.
I know of guys that were not that well liked and after they were arrested, nobody cared who made the case.
But after I was instrumental in another, and much better liked and connected, officer’s arrest, I found out how ugly the Blue Line can be.
This arrest was the beginning. I suddenly wasn’t real welcomed at the after shift bar sessions, card games that I used to be invited to every week and even the bowling league was stand offish.
When I made traffic stops at night, there was no back-up.
Basically I was an officer alone.
But nothing brought that more to home than that Thanksgiving.
I was sharing an apartment with my best friend Paul’s sister-in-law, yes, sometimes it did get a bit complicated and stressful, but it was worth it. She had a 14 year old son that also lived with us and I tried not to be a Dad, but rather an older uncle.
It was one of those weekends, right after the arrest, the boy was with his father, and she and I were having a romantic evening together.
When I get a call at about 10:30 pm on my night off to order me to the station “immediately” I know it can’t be good. Since I was in the middle of a date it was inconvenient to say the least. The news was even more inconvenient.
The FBI had notified the department that they had intercepted a phone call of “a known criminal character” soliciting another known character to have me killed. So, at 10:30 on my night off, the department calls me into the station to tell me someone has taken out a contract on my life.
And the individuals involved, including the cop I had just “set up”, were known and fully capable of completing this assignment.
Upon my returning to my apartment, after being told to watch myself, I had to explain to her what the call was about, it didn’t set well. It did end the “romance” of the evening.
Later that month was Thanksgiving and my Paul, and my girlfriend, wanted to invite me to the family holiday dinner but were told;
“What if something happened and there’s shooting or something?”
In other words, he’d be a danger to the family. Don’t bring him.
I spent that and many other evening dinners, with Mrs. Swanson. And the Lady and I broke up. Paul remained my best friend.
A short time later I became involved in an incident less than 1 mile from the police station and found myself with a handcuffed prisoner and surrounded by several members of his family talking about taking him “away”. I had requested back-up and suddenly everyone was busy giving parking tickets or something like that.
I was just trying to not to lose my weapon and not get my ass handed to me.
Finally another officer showed up. If you had asked me to name the one guy that would back me up, he would probably not have been on my list.
George, thank you.You may have actually saved my life.
At this point it becomes very clear that you have no friends in the department, the word gets around the entire department very quickly, and that’s when Internal Affairs comes down to be “your friend.” They have a valid sales point; nobody likes you anyway, so you might as well get a little payback by working with IA.
If you have any hope to being welcomed back to the streets, you do not join the “rat squad”, the cops that “rat out” their beat partners for real or imagined crimes. Many cops have gone down that road and it just never works out. I did not feel like I had been a “rat”. He’d contacted me, he set himself up.
So I didn’t buy what they were selling and tried to tough it out. History is history, you can’t change it. I didn’t make it alone, and I finally gave them enough rope to hang me out to dry.
But, that’s another story isn’t it?