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by Peter Moskos

October 26, 2015

"Nothing is uglier than a crab cake sandwich under tungsten lighting"

The third of three little remembrances of my policing days.

There's been a lot of talk recently about a so-called "Ferguson Effect." I don't know. It's certainly possible. Even probably, I would say. There's always been disincentives in the police world to actually doing any work, especially from those who see police as a force for bad. But you can't do the job without people complaining. And you can't get in trouble if you don't work.

Baltimore. December 10, 2000:
[T] and [L] are talking about [T's] loser brother in law who was trying to bum money from [T]. [L]: “It’s not like I can afford to eat at the Olive Grove, or Olive Garden, whatever that place is called.”

[L]: “Yeah, me and my wife went to Red Lobster and I looked at the menu and said, ‘let’s go honey.’”

J.W. pips up, [jokingly] “I say that in McDonalds!”

There was a B+E at the Market, a carjacking on 24 post, and a domestic assault. So sector two went down. And the major is driving around trying to get some of Sector Two 10-8 [in service]. Some damn initiative unit gets a DWI on our post and tries to pass it off. It’s not like we were humping out or anything. But the major wants people 10-8. God forbid we’re actually working.

The pressure is to have us driving around doing nothing. Gotta love that.

Nothing is uglier than a crab cake sandwich under tungsten lighting.

[L] sez: “Sarge says some people are just coming in here to get a paycheck. But is that wrong? I don’t want to lose my job and my retirement because some idiot doesn’t pull over and kills a pedestrian.” The department doesn’t want you to chase them, just let the go.

“Yeah, but what if I turn on my lights and he makes a right on Washington and slams into someone on the other side of the street. Who’s to say I wasn’t chasing them? Me!? [incredulously]. What’s wrong with wanting to avoid lawsuits? IID numbers? It’s not worth it. I want to retire.”

[L] told me how much worse things were in the old days: CC# for every call (some months in the 60,000s). Radios that didn’t work well. Long waits on 4 to 12 on citywide for traffic stops and 10-29s. Radio batteries that would just die with warning. When picking up a battery (no lights on the chargers), you would go for a hot one. People still say, “is the battery ‘hot’?” Cars with bench seats that you would slide around with and had to be propped up with milkcrates and 2X4s after being broken by fat people. And [L] has (only) 13 years on.

It’s too bad there are no stats for calls prevented. I like being around when clubs on 25 Post let out. But what does it get you?

Why have I heard nothing more about the guy shot by (non-city) police at the toll-plaza?

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