I was in Baltimore for a sociology conference. Sure, I ate 5 crab cakes at four locations in three days. (Let's just settle this debate once and for all -- ha! -- Faidley's is still the best, if you don't let the army of junkies outside Lexington Market get you down. Plus what other place sells crabcakes, oysters, and frozen friggin' Muskrat?! -- but only in season from Jan 1 to March 15...)
Thursday night I hiked down Eastern Ave from Dundalk Ave to 500 W Pratt (about 65 blocks). I passed my old apartment (now above a barber shop on the 4900 block of Eastern Ave). Saw good ol' Xenophone and ate his delicious food at Ikarus. Saw a lot of Spanish on the street. Had two cocktails at Bad Decisions (what could possible go wrong?) The city was looking good. This time was probably the longest I've been away from Baltimore since I worked there, and it was the first time I left thinking the city was better than the last time I'd seen it.
But that was Thursday. Now it was Friday night, and I had nothing to do and was feeling lonely.
Nothing to do on a Friday night in Baltimore? Text a cop, get picked up at 11:30pm at your hotel, and then have a fabulous night out in the Eastern District. Hey, at least I'm a cheap date.
I was thrilled to still see a few good people I worked with. It's hard to believe it's been 13 years since I policed those streets.
It was a quiet Friday night. Just a few calls. One big party broken up. But there was not a single gunshot to be heard. I spent the night shooting the shit with a friend. Good times. Almost makes me wish I was still on the job...
But speaking of shooting, I was there just a few hours after one of my academy-mates shot some dumb-ass who pulled a [BB] gun out on him. It was a good shooting. [update]
He (the cop I know) is doing OK. As to the dumb-ass, I would like to ask him, as he recovers in his tax-payer funded Hopkins hospital room with police guard, "so what exactly were you hoping for as you pulled out a gun from your waistband? Please describe the ideal situation, as you hoped to see it at the time, where drawing down on a cop with a BB gun was going to end favorably for you."
The day before, a city Sargent and a couple of other-county cops were arrested for soliciting prostitutes in Baltimore County. Here's a good Baltimore-area rule: if she has all her teeth, she ain't a ho. (Also, if the doesn't jump in your car, she's probably a cop).
My friend whom I rode with, I had forgotten, was involved in a police-involved shooting the previous year (and has been shot at a few times, too). My friend also mentioned how two women in his academy class have killed themselves. And talking to another guy in my academy class, we figured that after 14 years there are probably about half of the original 50 of our class left (history will probably not look back on our class as, well, on of Baltimore finest).
By our very rough and incomplete account: one was killed on duty (car crash). Another was shot and forced to quit. Two were fired. At least one quit before getting fired. One can't testify in court. Two or three transferred to other departments (at least one of whom was subsequently fired). Perhaps eight out of the 50 total are out on permanent medical (most of which were very legit). And a few (including me) just quit. And these were the ones we knew about.
On the plus side we do have a couple sergeants, a lieutenant, and a homicide detective. Still, all in all, I don't think history will look back at our class of 99-5 as, well, one of Baltimore Police's finest.
It was great to go down memory lane with old friends. The memories from 14 years ago are surprisingly vivid. I remember the good times (funny who the bad times fade over time) from just 20 months on the job more than in the 14 years in academia since then...
At 6am I was getting tried. Take me home, I said. And then back in my overpriced hotel I drifted off to sleep as dawn lit up the (rehabbed) Bromo Seltzer tower.
Lookin' good Baltimore, looking good.