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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Failure to Communicate II... When To Call The Cops

So my day had already started out with a wingdinger (See Blog Failure to Communicate). I was on my way to another call when I was called by dispatch. The call was for two 803's, meaning loose aggressive dogs. The only information that was given to dispatch and relayed to me was there were 2 aggressive pitbulls and that these same dogs had killed a cat about a month ago in the same location. The person calling didn't leave a name so I wasn't about to call them back.

(Let me jump in here and say, when your calling in a complaint LEAVE A NAME AND/OR PHONE NUMBER! We know you want to remain anonymous and we will keep it that way, but if we need further information or even details we need to be able to talk to you.)

I get tho the location and there is this black and white pitbull mix standing in the middle of the street, I also notice a brown pitbull laying on a nearby driveway. I pulled over and as soon as I did the black and white dog began sharking around my truck. I pulled out my catchpole and opened the door. I wasn't sure where the dog had gone at this point, he was on the other side of my truck now. When I cautiously walked around my truck the black and white dog charged at me, posturing really. I pushed him back and he backed down. Then he and the brown dog took off running. I jumped back in my truck and followed them down the street.

I asked several neighbors who where out doing yard work or on their garages if they knew who the dogs belonged to. No one did, but they did say the dogs are always running loose in the neighborhood. This gave me a clue that they must live nearby. I continued to follow them.

The street became a dead-end at a field. I watched as the dogs went into the field. The Black dog was went wide and climbed a short chain link section of fence and jumped into the backyard. The brown dog went over a low section of wire fence into the same backyard. I took a quick note of the house color, and the location. I drove around to the street that the the house was on.

As I pulled up the driveway a young guy came out the front door. I told him that a couple of pitbulls just jumped into his backyard. He responded by saying "Those are ours." I told him that I needed to see his ID and talk to him about the dogs being loose. He tells me he has no ID and that he isn't the dog owner. Ok. So I need to talk to the dog owner. Oh she's not here right now. Ok. Well then I need to talk to the dog owner or I'm going to need to impound the dogs since the owner isn't here. The guy disappears back in the house.

I get out of my truck and walk towards the house. As soon as I get to the porch a young woman throws open the door. She steps out and immediately demands to know why the F- I was there. I told her that I had followed 2 pitbulls and watched them jump over the fence into the backyard of this house. Well I don't have pitbulls. Ok, well then maybe these aren't your dogs, I'll go get them. Oh hell no your not going in my backyard. Then she wants to know what the dogs look like. I tell her one is all black male with a little bit of white and the other is brown male. Well there are dogs like that all over the neighborhood, how do I know they are hers. Well, They jumped the fence into your backyard. Well MY dogs don't get out.

At this point the guy who had come out the door and went back in side comes back out along with 4 other guys, and another redheaded guy is leaning out of a window. The girl is still yammering on about how do I know they are her dogs, the the redheaded starts chiming in that I am a liar and that I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know how to do my job, prove that the dogs are theirs, prove that they were out. On and on over and over. This is getting the girl worked up and she is mimicking the red head guy's yelling.

So I have had enough. I'm just going to issue a citation and be done with this. I get my cite book out and start writing. The two of them keep on with "Your a liar. You need to get the F- on." You don't even know how to do your job." You can't write a ticket for s--t."I ain't telling you who I am get the F- out of here before I kick your ass. Your trespassing, get the F-on your Trespassing you need to leave now Bye bye Liar. Get the F-out of here. You can't do s--t to us."

I kept writing and basically ignoring them but keeping an eye on them. The girl went in the house after calling me a dog hater, and that I should die. A few moments later she came back out yelling that her dogs weren't even there. That I must have done something to them. And she starts going off on me again. While she was screaming at me, along with the non-stop redheaded window hanger still going on and on like a broken record.

I called dispatch at this point to request sheriff to my location. Threats to kick my ass, what did I do with her dogs, her dogs are gone. She yelled at me that her dogs weren't in the backyard, I could go look. Then redhead told her that I could do s--t. She then went back to accusing me of having her dogs and that the dogs were gone.

I was starting to move towards my truck, then a car pulled right behind me. The driveway was huge, they had plenty of places to park. Turns out to be mom. Redhead is hollering at her to move the car as I am leaving. She moves the car and then comes at me. She immediately yells"What the F- is going on!" The girl and the guys become even more agitated and I called dispatch again to get an ETA on sheriff. Dispatch can hear all the yelling and is sending SSD code3.

I tried to talk to mom, but the girl was screaming and yelling while I was trying to talk to her as well as the redheaded guy still hanging out the window still making his noise. I did reach a point where the mom and I were getting somewhere, I actually got her name and she even told me that the dogs were constantly getting out. She told me that just about every morning she had to go find them. She also told me that they had another female that they had taken away because she kept getting out and killing cats. But these dogs just get out, they don't hurt anything.

Thenthe girl went off again say that the dogs were gone and I had taken them. The yelling started back up and even mom reached her breaking point and with her daughter she demanded to know what I did with the dogs, did I have them in my truck? Then she went off on the Get the F off my property tangent. She was demanded to know what I did with her dogs. And she was going to report me.

If I had the dogs do you REALLY think That I would still be here?

I got in my truck and backed out of the driveway, as I was flipped off by mom and the girl.

I didn't go far. Just out on the street in front of the neighbors house. SSD pulled up right then and I explained the situation. Three SSD units responded and after they were given the info. the pulled into the driveway.

I couldn't see the from where I was but I could hear the loud mouths going off on the deputies. Swearing, screeching and yelling. The neighbors had come out while I had been on the property and now they were confident enough to talk to me. The woman said she was afraid of the people over there, they're drug users and where always like this. She also said that she had photos and video of the dogs getting out. She was afraid of the dogs as they had trapped her in her house and driveway several times.

One of the other neighbors also said the dogs got out a lot and that they had killed numerous animals, cats, and even a dog down the street. But no one reported it. Everyone is apparently too afraid to report these people. I told them that by not reporting these incidents ties our hands to be able to do anything. I gave them business cards and told them that these dogs needed to be reported any time that they left their property.

I could still hear all the noise from next door. And pretty soon the SSD Lieutenant showed up. I briefed her on my end and told her I just needed to issue a citation. She pulled in behind her deputies. Pretty soon it quieted down a little and a deputy waved me to come back over. I noticed that the "guys" were all hovering near the house, loud mouth redhead was in the back of a deputy's car. The Lt. called mom over and I gave her the citation. The girl, her daughter started whining that he mom shouldn't have to get a citation, that the dogs were hers and she should get the citation. What ever.

The mom apologized to me for her daughter's behavior. Her excuse was that she doesn't wake up well. It was afternoon. She said that if I had been nice that her daughter wouldn't have gotten so upset. Huh?

I had accomplished what I needed to, issuing the citation for the dogs. I also gave the mom my business card with my supervisor's name and phone number on it. I told her that if she still felt it necessary to make a complaint I was providing her with my name and supervisor's name and number. (She still hasn't called to "report" me.)

And the dogs? Ya, they had been in the house the whole time.

Was this all necessary? No.

Had the girl simply acknowledged that her dogs had gotten out and told me that she was going to do something to keep them in, I probably would have given her a simple warning and advised her to license the dogs. At worse she would have gotten a "fix-it" ticket to license the dogs. But nooooooo....she had to be an uncooperative psycho with her big dumber that dirt redheaded boyfriend that doesn't know when to shut up. And what did that get him? Stuffed in the back of a cop car.

And Mom? Way to raise your kids. These "kids" are all late teen early twenties. But obviously have no social skills. And mom's defense of bad behaviour because I wasn't "nice". Ok, just wondering when did I have the chance to be nice?

Communication: Fail.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Failure to Communicate

I should have had a clue that it would be one of those days when I woke up late. My furry four legged alarm clock was still snoozing! But I'm not really blaming the dog who normally is jumping on me howling and pulling at the covers before I can hit the snooze on the REAL alarm clock. My carpool buddy and fellow officer 450 and I were 5 minutes late today. Maybe that is what set the whole world off kilter. Naw.

I know what it was. And I had warned 460 about it a few weeks ago. Never volunteer for a Beat. Just take what is assigned and work your calls. But did I follow my own advice this morning? Nope. I jumped at the chance to switch Beats and my day went to hell in a handbasket. Ok. Maybe not that bad. But it was one of those days that really tests my composure and professionalism. One of those days that makes me wonder how I keep from punching people in the head.

The first call I went to I thought would be easy. Patrol for a loose dog that we have been getting reports on for a couple weeks and have yet to see. I had this same call last week. No dog seen. Today I get to the address where the dog was last reported and as I am just getting ready to turn around and leave, I spot him. He was laying on the walkway of a house right next to the reported address. He looked pretty relaxed so I got out and walked up to him. He growled, barked and ran up to the front porch and continued to bark.

I could hear the TV and children inside the house so I rang the bell. It took a few minutes but eventually the door opened. Mr.Ghetto was a rather large man covered in tattoos, I knew this because he wasn't wearing a shirt. I also, from observational experience and watching too many cop shows and documentaries on gangs recognized prison and gang tattoos. Three smallish children peered out the window and one with a bottle squeezed out the door. I asked him if the dog was his. He looked at me and simply stated, "We don't want him no more, you can take him."

So he's your dog? "No, he's my wife's dog." Well does your wife live here? "Ya but she don't want his either. He gets out of the fence." Then you need to fix the fence so he stays in.

Mr. Ghetto just gives me a blank stare.

Well, you can't let him just wander the neighborhood. We been calling you guys to come get him but no one comes." Well we don't come out to pick up owned dogs. You have to surrender him to the shelter. "Well your here now. You take him with you." Ok, well in order for me to take him, I have to have you fill out a surrender form and there is a surrender fee. "Oh hell no! I ain't paying you s--t. You can just take the f-ing dog and get the F- off my property." And it just went down from there. I wasn't going to just take the dog. Especially not after seeing that they have a new pitbull puppy inside the house.

So poor old dog's cuteness or novelty wore off, or maybe he wasn't "TUFF" enough for Mr. Ghetto. I asked for Mr.Ghetto's name and he refused to give me any information. He told me I could just speak to his wife. Alright, so what's her number? And her name? He gives me both and then I think he realized his bonehead move so he told me to get the F- off his porch, went in the house and slammed the door.

I could hear him tell his small children several derogatory things about cops as he walked into the house. And we wonder what is wrong with kids today?

So I called the wife. Who was a much a pleasure to speak with as Mr.Ghetto. Only difference was that she was at work and so she left out the cuss words. I told her that in order for me to take their OWNED dog, I must collect a $$ surrender fee. Nope, she wasn't going to pay it. Ok, so I explained that if that was the case I would have to issue a citation for unlicensed, unaltered, unvaccinated and at-large dog. The fines for this would be $$$. She just said do what you gotta do and hung up on me.

So I wrote her the Citation. I had her name, thank you Mr.Ghetto. I felt bad for the dog. Really. But I was pissed that people think animals are so throw away, and at that point I wanted to issue the citation. I finished writing it up and posted it to the front door. I couldn't just take the dog. I needed the owners to sign a surrender form. But I knew we would be back, not only for the dog on the porch but eventually for the Pitbull puppy.

I had made it around the corner and down the street when I was flagged down by a woman walking her two dogs. She asked if I had been looking for the little brown dog. I gave her an abbreviated and cleaner version of my results. She said that she and a couple of other concerned neighbors had called before. She asked what more could she do to help the little dog. I told her that should the little dog somehow follow her home when she is out walking her own dogs she could put it in her backyard for safekeeping and call us about the stray dog.

I received the dispatch half and hour later.

So the owner's have been issued a citation, and regardless of if they have the dog or not, they are responsible for clearing or paying the citation. They can redeem their dog, I doubt they will. And the dog is safe at the shelter.

Now see here is the thing. Had Mr. Ghetto not come off as a uncaring hardass to begin with, I might have cut him some slack. Ask most officers and they will agree that when someone treats them with a little respect or courtesy or even slight humbleness, we will more often that not be lenient. But come off as a jerk, billy-bad-attitude or just plain jackass and no, we will not leave you with just a warning. And depending on your level of attitude will gauge the level of what we will do.

Be nice to me, I'll be nice to you. It's kind of hard to be nice to someone when they are spitting cuss words into your face.

This day wasn't over yet, not by a LONG SHOT! This was just my first call.

Stay tuned for the next installment of "Failure to Communicate" or "Failure to Communcate II When to call the Cops"....It only gets worse....

(in other words I have Stand-by tonight and better get some sleep before I get called out at the ass crack of midnight to drive around in the dark looking for dog knows what while everyone else is sleeping. Hummm....think I'll have to include a couple Standby Blogs soon.)