Saturday Story

 

Most of my problems, with Internal Affairs anyway, started in 71-72 with a real good arrest.

There was an armed robbery call from Liberty House, Ala Moana. Dispatch broadcast a really good description of the suspect, and his sawed off shotgun.

I was patrolling inside Ala Moana Park when it happened. Being the cop I was (am?) I started scanning the park.

And there he was. The right male description, the right clothes, and that blue Pam Am bag. Even though every other person in the park carried one of those damn bags; I was betting it was him.

The first thing I did was call for back-up, but everyone was at the shopping center. Everyone but an adjoining sector sergeant.

I will not use his name, mostly because I don’t want to.

He radio’s that he will “cover” me. Let me set something straight here, to “cover” means he’s got my back. He will be there to back-me up, to protect me, to be my second pair of eyes, or hands if everything turns to shit. He’s supposed to make sure we both go home tonight. When someone says they’ll cover, you trust them.

So I went forward knowing, should I need it, help was on the way. Somehow I snuck up on my suspect; he was so focused on someone coming from the shopping center, that he never saw me coming from ahead of him in the park.

I was there in front of him, car stopped, gun drawn and he was centered in the sights before he actually was aware everything was over.

Of course, I was yelling for him to drop the bag, don’t move, put up his hands, don’t move; you know all the contradicting orders cops give when they’re scared, amped up, and 25 years old hoping to make 26.

He dropped the bag raised his hands, and didn’t say anything. He’d been thru this before.

I cuffed him, put him in the back seat, and sat down to take some deep breaths. Inside the Pan Am bag, a loaded sawed-off double barrel shotgun.

When I started looking around I realized, my back-up was nowhere around. I finally spot him, across the park, in a lot, watching with binoculars.

BINOCULARS!

By then, other units, detectives, Sergeants, all start showing up. The bag and its contents were “recovered” into evidence. I transported the Suspect back to the Beretania Station for booking, and I went to the squad room to start the report.

By now it was afternoon and the 3rd watch was getting ready to start. It was either a Wednesday or a Friday as the on-coming watch was getting ready for inspection. So everyone was in the squad room. I sat down at one of the typewriters.

So, everyone was there when my back up sergeant shows up, slaps me on the back and tells me what a good arrest “we” made.

I lost it. I called him every kind of coward I could think of. I maybe made a few new ones. In front of God, Buddha and the on-coming watch, and at the top of my voice, I loudly proclaimed him a coward for his long distance back-up.

Finally a couple of the on-coming Sergeants got between us, moved him away from me, and got me calmed down. But I never forgot, and neither did he.

A short time later he was transferred to Internal Affairs, and I became one of, if not his only, favorite targets. He took minor complaints, made them major violations and basically made me his career.

He finally put in his time, retired and got his pension.

Me, I got fired eventually.

Update Mote

Wow, things happen on the fly don’t they?
Here in Hilo it’s been rough. We got caught by a Pacific storm. Rain so bad my garage was flooding, and the kennels were under water. I spent hours “pushing” water out the side doorway to keep it out of the house proper. Then I have to dry everything out, again.
The .gov has set some new inter-island protocols so not sure how it wil;l effect my travel, and the care of my wife. I just have to find someone who can explain it all to me. Someone.
Not sure when regular bloging will restart, just keep checking. It will start again, I promise.
Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, stay strong.
Storyteller

Tuesday Storytime Motes

BIRD OF PARADISE

As a “Rookie”, you got stuck with some not so glamorous or police-like assignments.

Hawaii is known for its lush landscapes, incredibly beautiful flowers and the “South Pacific” experience. For a time, there was a park that catered to the tourist looking for that experience, named Paradise Park. It was filled with plants from all over, but its main attraction was the incredible birds.

A visitor would walk the marked trails and stop by the numerous cages and aviaries to see parrots, cockatoos and toucans, chickens (some very beautiful), and the “duck show”.

Actually it was often billed as an exotic trained bird show, but seldom was.

My assignment was to be the uniformed escort for the Police Wives Club, and small children for a special mid-week tour, show and luncheon. Regulations being what they were, the wives had to be escorted by a uniformed officer. I was the lucky guy.

Most of the children, since it was “mid-week” were 6 years and under and like all wives they were all shapes, sizes and ages but the ladies were dressed up and so were the kids.

Because so many of the birds were “trained” they were allowed to basically be free in specific areas of the “trail”.

There was a warning sign at the entrance telling you the birds would be attracted to shinny objects like necklaces, bracelets, earrings and visitors should take those things off. So everybody did. Well, almost everyone.

The walk itself was mostly down-hill, surrounded on both sides by cages with multi-colored, brightly feathered birds from around the world.

Along the pathway there were assistants and volunteers that would try to answer questions about the birds, where they came from, what was their natural setting stuff like that.

Sometimes the “guide” would let the visitor hold a bird, let the bird sit on their shoulder, or have the bird do a trick. That’s how a bird ended up sitting on the shoulder of a Captain’s 4 year old daughter.

Remember when I said almost everyone took off their jewelry. The daughter was the exception. Everybody in the beginning was so concerned with their jewelry they forgot the little girl was wearing small gold-ball earrings.

The guide gently placed a medium sized cockatoo on the girl’s shoulder, everyone began ohing and awing, taking pictures, and she was giggling with joy.

Then giggles of laughter quickly turned to screams of pain and fear as the bird latched onto the earring with a beak strong enough to crack hazelnuts.

Of course, the louder she screamed the more afraid the bird became and the harder it clamped down on its prize, the earring. By now everyone was yelling, the women kept yelling at the guide, and me, to do something.

The guide was trying to calm everyone down. She kept telling them to quiet down and stop scaring the bird. I will not repeat what she was told to do, by the police officer’s wives.

Not being able to use a blackjack, mace, or a gun I just grabbed the damn bird by the neck and squeezed what I hoped was its jaw, hoping it would cause the beak to open.

The one thing nobody ever tells you, those birds have really fragile necks. Oh, and how do I know this? Okay, the damn bird let go of the earring because it was dead.

There, I said it, I killed the bird!

It wasn’t until later, after all the huhu and shouting died down that anyone, but me, bothered to check on the other victim, the little girl.

It was her I was worried about, so I was hugging her with one hand and holding that damn dead bird with the other. Then the wives and park personnel moved in and I was left holding the bird.

That’s pretty much the story. I’ll skip the report work, the fact not one wife bothered to ask how I was doing or say thank-you, and I’ll pass over the $3,000.00 bill the park sent me, and as far as I know, nobody ever paid.

I’ll just wrap this up by saying, that’s the story of how I killed,“The Bird of Paradise”.

Sunday

Okay, I’m back in Hilo taking care of me and mine. I plan to emulate my dogs; sleep and/or nap a lot, eat whenever I’m hungry, and sit on my arse unless something bothers me. Not sure how much posting I’ll get to do with that intense schedule, but I’ll try. It may be just a story now and then, but know I care and hope you all stay safe.
Storyteller

Saturday Story

HAPPY SAM’S

Captain Revenge always figured he’d give me enough rope to really hang myself. It never worked, but he kept trying. I guess he figured the other times were just flukes.

He calls me into his office and explains how much faith and confidence he has in me, because now he’s got a really “special” assignment, just for me.

We had just started the 6 week “mids” cycle, 10:30pm to 7:15am. For the rest of the cycle I would do nothing but cruise late night areas, except Hotel Street and Waikiki areas. I was to stay out of those areas.

I was to check bars, restaurants, parking lots, and other late night open establishments. If I was in the “immediate” area of an “in progress” call I could respond, but otherwise I was to observe, make “on view” arrests, and he wanted a full “To-From” report at the end of every shift detailing where I was at all times, who I spoke to, and what information I had gathered.

He would be the sole judge of my performance. Again, enough rope to hang myself.

So night after night that’s what I did. I patrolled the strip club parking lots. I talked to bar owners and late night restaurant managers. I did not go into Waikiki or Hotel Street areas. I did not go to the big restaurants and bars. And every morning I put a typed report on the Captain’s desk.

The 1st one was something like 16 pages. They got bigger almost every night. In two weeks, 20 pages were the usual.

I also got extra wanted vehicle and warrant lists from records and dispatch. That was my idea.

Now my nightly reports also included stolen vehicle operator arrests, outstanding warrant arrests, and a load of usable information for the detectives. Let’s face it; sleazy bars need love and protection too.

One of those little sleazy bars was “Happy Sam’s” on Kapahulu. Sam’s had been through a number of evolutions over the years but at this time was just a small hostess bar on the outskirts of Waikiki, outskirts being the optimum word.

The owner, a middle aged Korean lady who called herself, well Sam, was nice enough. She didn’t encourage her girls to rip off customers or try to sell way over priced “champagne”.

The clientele was mostly neighborhood men, sometimes couples, and the hostess’ were mostly girls trying to pick up a little extra money with a couple of Sam’s relatives called in on Friday and Saturday or whenever the club got really busy during sports nights.

A nice clean neighborhood hostess bar, sometimes strangers would wonder in, stay or not. Sam’s had a pretty regular group. Good drinkers that could walk home or would use a cab. No problems. Sam, and her bartenders and hostess’ always seemed glad to see me and always treated me with courtesy and respect.

No trouble at Sam’s.

Which made it even more surprising when dispatch called me to report the manager of Happy Sam’s had called requesting my assistance with a customer.

I wasn’t too far away, told dispatch I’d respond, and another area officer, Bobby L. says he’ll back me up.

Bobby and I got there about the same time. As I got out of my vehicle, a customer walks out the front door, and starts across the street.

I look into the club and Sam is pointing at the customer walking away. Pointing furiously and speaking Korean, of course.
I told Bobby to talk to the guy walking away. Get some ID or something to hold him till I talk to Sam.

Bobby walked across the street toward the departing male. I walked to the front door and there met Sam and one of her girls.

The hostess was jabbering away. Of course, in Korean and Sam was trying to tell me in English. Finally I heard one word clearly “gun”. And the hostess is rubbing her hand around the back of her hip like someone was hugging her, and patting her right hip. But I heard “gun” loud and clear.

I looked across the street and the former customer had been stopped by Bobby. The customer had his back to me and Bobby was still talking so I started across the street as fast as I could without actually running.

As I approached, I heard Bobby demand some ID. It appeared it wasn’t the first time Bobby had asked for it. The customer reached his right hand behind his hip as if reaching for a wallet. But from my vantage point I could see the outline of a wallet, in his left rear pocket. As his right hand reached under his shirt I could see a small holster, hidden by his shirt, at the back of his hip.

As he pulled the gun, a small semi-auto pistol, I was right behind him.

I yelled “Gun” to Bobby, grabbed the guy’s right hand, and pulled it hard, against my chest, and bullet proof vest.

Bobby was a serious weight lifter and had big biceps. At my yell, Bobby didn’t even hesitate; he just threw a right hand punch. The sound of his fist impacting the guy’s head was almost louder than the “click” of the guns hammer falling. Almost.

As I had grabbed the gun, his grip had pulled back the trigger. The gun was later identified as a Colt Junior, a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol with an external hammer, and it had a round in the chamber. Because the “junior” didn’t have a grip safety, it didn’t require a complete grip to fire. But it hadn’t fired. It just went click. The round didn’t fire.

Bobby’s punch had knocked the guy unconscious and as his body collapsed on the ground. I stood there holding his hand and the gun tightly to me chest.

When he saw what I was holding Bobby’s knees sagged just a little but he was right back and pulled out cuffs. We cuffed the guy I put the gun in my pocket, and we had to almost drag him to Bobby’s vehicle.

Once we got him secured in the vehicle cage Bobby called for a sector supervisor, a detective, and ambulance for our “customer”. I cleared and locked up the gun and we started the investigation fun.

Sorting out what Sam and the hostess had to say was as I guessed, confusing. The hostess had sat down next to the customer, he bought her a drink, and when she slid her arm around his waist she felt the holstered gun.

She tried not to alert the guy, so she kept smiling and told Sam in Korean, what was up. The customer may have spoken some Korean or may have just spooked, but he walked out without finishing his beer. That’s when we got there.

The customer turned out to be a Marine stationed in Kaneohe. A search of his vehicle turned up a K-bar knife, a smoke grenade, and an explosive grenade simulator which is basically a very large fire cracker.

Basically the detectives took over from there. Bobby and I went back to type out reports.

At the end of that watch, 6 weeks, the next shift Commander also assigned units to check the bars, parking lots and restaurants. To do what I had done for those long weeks. Two men units were assigned after that. They were assigned to succeed, not hang themselves.

Shortly after the Happy Sam’s incident, Bobby was picked to transfer to a plain clothes unit from which he eventually became an investigator for the City and County Prosecutors Office under Charles Marsland.

I don’t know what happened to the “customer”. I tried to follow up with the detectives and was told the case had been “passed upward” whatever the hell that meant.

At the end of that 6 weeks the Captain, put me back into the patrol pool and I spent the next 2 cycles patrolling the area around Hawaii Kai, Sandy Beach, and Hanauma Bay. Basically, the ass end of District 1. But at least I was away from the Captain.

But I’ve heard that “click” in my nightmares ever since, sometimes it goes off. Well, it is just a nightmare.

Friday Guest Motes

From :”The Adventures Of Roberta X”

Hard Lessons: Triage
You’ve seen the headline or tagline: in Italy, patients above a certain age aren’t getting respiratory support.

I’d like to tell you it’s a huge lie, but while the details may be a little askew or oversimplified, the gist of it is true.

There are a lot of people sick with coronavirus in Italy. The number of them who need respirators exceeds the number of respirators available. There’s no way to save everyone.

Let that sink in: There is no way to save everyone.

Pretty horrible, isn’t it? That’s the position doctors found themselves in World War One, the biggest if not the first collision of 20th-Century military technology with 19th-Century tactics. Men were falling in vast numbers and many of them were not quite dead. There were only a limited number of doctors and medics; field hospitals were minimal, medical supplies were inadequate. Men were dying of easily-treated injuries while doctors labored to save those who were unlikely to live. Something had to be done!

There is no morally-satisfying answer to such a dilemma. All that can be done is to mitigate harm; all that can be done is to try to do the greatest good with the resources available. It’s called triage: doctors began sorting patients into three groups:
Those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
Those who are unlikely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome.
The last group was the only one that received full-on medical care. Any leftover time or materials was spent on the first group.

It is cold, harsh and heartbreaking. The only worse things are all the other available options. You’re hearing stories of doctors breaking down in tears in Italian hospitals? This is why. They’re not military doctors. They learned about triage but they have never had to practice so harsh a version; even landslides and floods rarely put so much stress on medical resources.

And this is why you’re social distancing. This is why you’re being asked to stay home. Overload the health system and you get a sorting-out that leaves the weakest dying, that leaves the strongest gasping for breath to get through the worst of the illness, and focuses resources where they will do the greatest good.

It can happen here.

Let’s do everything we can to keep things from getting that bad.

Motes For A Thursday Party

Interesting but not worth my time: Well, everyone has jumped on the “I’m a star so I should be telling you what to do” bandwagon. They are all cutting PSA’s about the Covid-19. I’d probably listen if it weren’t for the fact that the people making the PSA’s, people like Ben Stiller, Robert DeNiro, Danny DeVito, and Alec Baldwin, weren’t such giant jackass’s. People who make rude, vulgar, and just plain obscene comments about the President and First Lady make them, in my opinion, not worth listening to. About anything.

Just asking: Why aren’t the homeless dying off in bunches? They’re crammed together in “camps”, don’t practice “social distancing”, and have little to no medical attention. They should be dying in droves but aren’t. Why not?

The gift keeps on giving: At the height of his reign, Pablo Escobar controlled millions of dollars, and tens of thousands of people. He spared no expense if he wanted something, like exotic animals. Before he was killed by para-military police forces in 1993, he had purchased 4 Hippos for his private zoo. After his death they were somehow released into the wilds of Columbia where they now number between 80 and 100 and have taken to the country’s waterways. At first considered an “invasive” species, they are now being praised as being responsible for re-balancing the ecosystem by replacing animals that have been extinct for some time. See, even bad guy’s do something good once in awhile.

I like this headline: “Fatal Idiocy Is Not Trumps Fault.”

How bad is the bill?: Check “PJ Media” article “Despicable: 9 liberal pet projects smuggled into Pelosi’s Coronavirus bill”. Read it and if it doesn’t make you want to puke, I’ll buy the first beer. When the bars open. If they open. And I’m still around.

Why yes, I do have a thing about Dragons. Why do you ask?

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