Friday, June 11, 2010


The other night when I come into work, I am informed during briefing that we were currently housing a 78 year old man with Alzheimer's. He is being held on a misdemeanor charge of Harassment - Domestic Violence, and has a $2000.00 bond. Beings as this is a weekend evening, he will have to sit in jail until he can see a judge Monday morning.

We contact the family, who in no un-certain terms state they will not be bonding him out and will not bring the myriad of medications he requires.

My facility has a nursing staff - no doctors on site. We have an on call doctor at all times, but the Nursing staff is responsible for all medical issues. If a medical issue arises that cannot be monitored or dealt with by the Nursing staff then that inmate is transported to the local hospital. We are a jail, we are not equipped to handle severe and/or ongoing medical issues. Considering that the inmates are with us three days or less, there is not a lot we can do for major medical issues. As such, there is no way we can properly care for and treat someone with Alzheimer's or Dementia. We are all trained in First Aid for acute injuries but not for a condition such as that. If some one's heart stops beating, I will do CPR until the Paramedics arrive. If someone is bleeding from an artery, I can apply pressure and a tourniquet until the Paramedics arrive. If someone is choking to death, I can clear the airway and stabilize them until the Paramedics arrive. If someone gets a head injury, I can ensure they are breathing and keep their neck and back straight until the Paramedics arrive. If someone has a seizure, I can keep them safe from hurting themselves and choking until the Paramedics arrive. Does anyone see a pattern there? I am trained in pretty basic First Aid - enough to stabilize someone until the medical professionals arrive. I can do the best I can with the training I have received, but I'm not able to treat a long term condition.

Without going into too much detail, the reason this man was arrested was, in my opinion, bullshit. I don't know much about Alzheimer's, but I do know that in some cases it can cause the patient to act out physically. This man did not cause anyone injury and he did not damage anything, yet he was brought to jail. I'm pretty sure that having a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's means he is not mentally competent enough to understand the nature of his actions. Plus, if I woke up everyday not being able to know where I was or who the people I was around were, I would probably be pretty irritated too. Just saying.

I really try to not get personally involved in the lives on the inmates that come into my facility, but every time I looked at this man I saw my grandfather, and it absolutely broke my heart. He had to be told repeatedly where he was and why he was there, and he couldn't understand it. About every two hours he would fold up his blanket, pack up his books, and let us know he was ready to go home. And every time I would have to explain it to him it just broke his and my heart. This man's memory span was about 90 minutes. Can you imagine not being able to have a short term memory of more than 90 minutes?

Since it was a weekend, we had to keep this gentleman in our facility until he could have what we call a mental health eval ordered by the court on Monday morning. There are no mental health resources available to us on the weekends or after hours (which is another post for another time), so we had to keep him until that could be done. Since his medical problem was not considered emergent, we couldn't take him to a local hospital. And his family, his wife and children, adamantly refused to post his bond or even bring in his medications. We were really stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know every officer in my facility, even the ones with the most hardened hearts, was affected by this man. We all went far above and beyond to make sure this man was taken care of extremely well and was as comfortable as we could make him, which unfortunately is not much. For two days we all dealt with this man, and I can't think of one officer who was ok with the situation.

So Monday morning rolls around and we take this gentleman over to court. Naturally the judge orders a mental health evaluation, which shockingly decides he isn't competent. Well no shit, Sherlock! The judge issues a Personal Recognizance bond, which means that he can be released from jail with no bond, and will have to follow up with the court at a later time to take care of the charges. The mental health people put an "M1" hold, which is a mental health hold, so we make arrangements to transport this guy over to the local hospital.

We contact the family to let them know what is going on, and THEY DON'T CARE. Apparently they had been dealing with this disease for several years and, verbatim quote, "They just couldn't take it anymore". They are basically washing their hands of the situation. So now once this guy gets over to the hospital, our local version of Social Services will have to find a placement home for him that can provide the care he desperately needs. He obviously can't take care of himself and now his family has abandoned him. Can you imagine what this poor guy had to be going through? He had been taken away from everything he has ever known; his wife, his home, his family - thrown into a small cold jail cell, now he is going to the hospital and will end up in a Nursing Home with a bunch of people he has never known. He will end up dying in that Nursing Home alone.

I am not a hateful person, perhaps I am a little too idyllic. I really do try to see the good in people and understand that they have loved ones and lives. But how could someone do this to their own husband or father? I don't like to wish ill will on anybody but damn do I hope these people get the Karma they deserve. How could you just ship your father off to a nursing home alone and not care? I understand the frustration and issues that they must have been through in dealing with this, and I get how they could get burned out. But I could never send my father away and just *hope* that the state deals with him right. I would never make my father a ward of the state! If needed, I would get my father into a Nursing Home where he could get the care that I couldn't provide, but I would NEVER abandon him! These people, who I have admittedly never met, are hateful, heartless individuals. I don't care what other redeeming qualities they might have; actions speak louder than words. How could you throw your own father away and not give a shit?!

I wish the state would charge his family with neglect, but I know it would never happen. I hope that this gentleman does get placed in a Nursing Home where he will get the care he needs. I know this post sounds angry, and that is because this situation makes me mad as hell. It breaks my heart. I hope that this man's family gets exactly what they deserve.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I wouldn't do that if I were you.....

I'm taking in a female one night. This female is drunk, aggressive, and wants to fight me. Not a good combination. I will not pick a fight, but if you choose to come after me, I will win the fight. I have a pretty extensive training in this, you don't. I will not street fight, I will use every traning mechanism that I have to get control and maintain it. And no where does it say that I have to fight fair. If you choose to fight me, it will most likely not be a one on one fight. My team is my family, and when a fight starts we will all jump in to help. There is one basic rule - You may not be going home tonight, but I am. I will not intentionally hurt you, I will not cause pain to punish you. I will do what I need to do within my training to subdue you and stop the fight.

This female is still handcuffed and wanting to fight with me. Probably not the brightest move, because I already have an advantage on you. It is very hard to fight without your hands, trust me I've trained for such a situation.

I am attempting to pat this female down, and she keeps wanting to turn and face me head on. Not going to happen. Not only are you handcuffed, but I am going to stay behind you where you can't reach me. Advantage #2. I am able to complete my pat down, and this female tells me "I'm gonna kick your ass". My reply? "Trust me - you're not going to do that."

So I'm standing with my leg locked behind this woman's left knee, and I am attempting to pull the ponytail holder out of her hair. I have to be concerned that this woman is going to try and pull away from me or headbutt me, so I am very concious of this. Then this woman says "I'm going to spit on you".

Oh hell no you aren't! I can handle someone who wants to fight - kick at me, swing at me, that's fine. The fight is on. But DON'T spit on me and DON'T bite me. That is disgusting, and it absolutely repulses me. I don't know if and what disgusting diseases you have, and I am sure as hell not taking any of that shit home with me. If I get hit or kicked, it heals. If I am exposed to an infectious disease, it can take YEARS to manifest, with montly testing, and sometimes there is no cure. So no, you are NOT going to spit on me, and I am going to guarantee that you aren't. If need be, I will put a spit hood on you, and you can spit on yourself to your hearts content. But that shit sure as hell ain't hitting me.

So I tell her, "I wouldn't do that if I were you". She says "Fuck you" and makes that sound in her throat like she is hawking up a loogie. Now remember, I'm still locked in on her side and my hand is on her pony tail. So as she purses her lips to spit at me, I grab her pony tail and yank her head straight back, so she is now looking straight up at the ceiling. As I do this, the spit comes flying out, and my favorite law of gravity proves itself once again - What goes up, must come down.

So this big loogie goes flying up in the air, and comes straight back down and hits her square in the face. She starts screaming, the calvary comes running, and the spit hood goes on.

Oh and that bench warrant for that stupid traffic charge you had? That's going to look like nothing now that you have a new felony charge of "Attempted Second Degree Assault on a Peace Officer". There is no plea deal offered, by law they can't plead it down, and probation is not offered for that charge. You will do time for this. You could have been out in two days, now you will have an assaultive felony on your record. The little tape recording detailing what you said, and the video recording showing you trying to spit on me will looking great on the court's new HDTV when the DA presents his case to the jury. Hope it was worth it to ya!

I tried to tell you that you didn't want to do that, but what do I know?

Broken Heart

To the 47 year old man that came into my facility last night -

You sir, and I use that term in the loosest way possible, are a piece of shit.

Your responsibility to your 8 year old daughter is to love her and protect her. Expressing your "fatherly love" by sexually abusing her makes you a complete waste of human life.

You sir, are the poster child for Capital Punishment. Although even that may be too good for you. After reading what you did to this child, I am in full support of much worse forms of torture. And I am not a vindictive or evil person. I am a staunch defender of Innocent until proven guilty. But you provided a full, detailed, admission of your crimes. You no longer have the benefit of Innocent until proven guilty. You should not be afforded a tax-payer paid trial with a jury of your peers. You will be provided the lowest Public Defender on the totem pole, because no other Defense Attorney will touch your case. He or She will give your defense their best shot, because that is what they are sworn to do, but you will lose. And I hope you receive a swift, brutal punishment. Although the fact that you will now spend the rest of your natural life on the tax-payers dime in a Correctional Facility irks me a little bit. But at least you won't be out free, victimizing other children.

Telling my nursing staff you were feeling suicidal was the last straw for me. Now it is my responsibility to place you in a rubber room, take all of your clothing and put you in a safety suit, and monitor you every minute you are in my facility, all because you felt you might want to kill yourself. I now have to baby sit you, and no matter my personal feelings towards you, it is my responsibility to protect you and make sure you make it out my facility upright and breathing. On the personal side I could care less what you do to yourself, but on the professional side I have to dedicate myself to making sure you do not hurt yourself. And if you do happen to find a way to hurt yourself, it is then my responsibility to provide medical care to you to get your heart beating again until the paramedics get there. I would do these things without thinking twice, because that is what my agency entrusts me to do, but I would not be happy to do it on a waste of a person such as you.

Let's talk about your eight year old daughter, the one you repeatedly and brutally victimized. This baby, and that is what she is, loved you as her father. She trusted you, and you not only physically abused her, but caused unknown amounts of mental and emotional turmoil that she had no way to deal with. That is why your baby took her shoe strings, tied them together, tied them around her neck, and hung herself using her closet rod. How does an eight year old know how to do that? And when you rushed her to the hospital, claiming to not know how this could happen, I'm sure you put on quite a show. But then, then the doctors and nurses did a trauma exam, which is required by state law. And they found your dirty little secret. When the cops questioned you about it, you spilled your guts and told them everything. Now your daughter is on life-support with no hope of recovery. The only good that will come out of this is some child somewhere will receive a very much needed organ so that they may live.

So you sir, you are the one who killed your daughter. Your actions caused this, and may you forever rot in hell for it.

I can usually leave work at work and not bring it home. This, I couldn't. I cried for the life lost of this little girl, I cried for the suffering she must have endured, and I cried for how everyone and everything failed this baby, until she did the only thing she could to make it stop. I am crying as I write this now. This will stay with me forever.

Hug your kids. Tell them that you love them.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Remove the Avocado

There are just some things in this world one should never have to say.

Part of my job entails completing a strip search on female inmates. This is NOT the highlight of my job. I can't ever remember thinking I wanted to get into this profession so I could look at nasty cooch all day. While an unpleasant aspect of the job, I do understand it is a necessary evil.

I happen to like my body the way it is. I prefer to not have knives or other sharp objects sticking in or out of it. So the main thing I am looking for is weapons that can be used to harm me, fellow officers, other inmates, or themselves. And in my years of doing this I have found knives, box cutters, razor blades, broken glass, and in one case a loaded gun in a bra. Any one of these items could have been used to seriously injure me or kill me, and I'm damn glad I found them. The worst was a 4" sheathed knife in a woman's cooch that she kept for "protection". Far more courageous woman than I will ever be!

I'm also looking for drugs - crack, powder cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and in recent years, prescription drugs. These are smuggled in for either personal use during incarceration or for trade for other items. It should be pretty obvious why we don't allow things like this in - I don't want to have to do CPR on you while my Lieutenant explains to your family that you over dosed on smuggled drugs. I would rather not hold your scalp onto your head so your brain fluid doesn't leak out when your room mate beat the hell out of you to get to your drugs. It is not just an illegal thing, but it is a safety thing. These things happen, and I take it very seriously to ensure I do everything I can to prevent it.

I also search for other types of contraband - cell phones, jewelery, etc. Anything that can either be used as a make shift weapon, or used against you. Again, I would rather not explain to your grieving family why you have a closed head injury over a diamond ring you smuggled into the jail in your cooch. I get it, jewelery has sentimental value. I guarantee I will log your property and it will be locked in a vault until you are released and pick it up. While you may only be there on a traffic warrant, the girl next to you in the holding cell may have an extensive criminal history and have no qualms about jacking you up to get that ring. Hell she could probably get $50 at the pawn shop and pay for her next three days fix when she gets out. It's not worth it.

So when I do a strip search, I am looking for ANYTHING that doesn't belong. I have found pretty much anything you would think someone has smuggled in. I ALWAYS give the female the opportunity to tell me if she has anything illicit on them before I do the strip search. If you are honest and tell me, then the item is removed and no harm and no foul. If you lie to me and I find it, now you have a new felony charge of Introduction of Contraband into a Secure Facility. I am always fair, and if you are straight up with me I won't jam you up.

But I have one strip search that I will never be able to top. If and when I ever write a book, I'm thinking the title is going to be, "Remove The Avocado". I will detail the conversation between this inmate and me, so ya'll can get a clear picture of what I experienced. For this conversation, I will denote ME as "M" and the Inmate as "I" so there is no confusion. As a protection measure, I digitally tape record all strip searches so there is a measure of safety if a complaint is filed or if I am assaulted (which has happened). This is a verbatim transcript of my interaction with this inmate, and *warning* does contain strong and graphic language.

M: Ok Ms. XXXXX, I am going to be completing a strip search on you to ensure you have no weapons or contraband. If you have something you are not supposed to, this is your one and only chance to be honest and not be charged. If you lie and I find something, you will be receiving a new Felony charge.

I: Why you gotta be like that? Is it because I'm black?!

M: Ma'am, your race has absolutely nothing to do with me not wanting a weapon coming into my facility. Everyone with the same type of charges you have is subjected to a strip search, and I deal with people of all races on a daily basis. Are you stalling because you have a weapon or drugs?

I: I don't got shit! Don't accuse me of that bull shit! I don't want to do this strip search.

M: Well ma'am, your cooperation with this process is greatly appreciated but is not necessary. Because of your unwillingness to cooperate and your behavior I have reason to believe that you are concealing something and would appreciate if you would be honest so we can move on with the process.

I: What happens if I refuse to submit to the strip?

M: Well if you refuse, several officers are going to come in here and we are going to put you into a four point restraint chair, which will not allow you to move at all to prevent you from accessing or discarding any items you might have. Then we are going to contact the on duty Judge and have an emergency court order signed that mandates you to submit to the strip search, for every one's safety. If you still refuse, you will be charged with Contempt of Court and Failure to Comply on top of your other charges. From there you will be taken to the local hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital with you and our court order, you will be subjected to a complete medical exam, to include a physical exam and x-rays. This will all be billed to you personally, whether you have insurance or not, and you will be responsible for paying the bill, which I understand runs about $1500.00. IF something is found, it will be removed by medical professionals and you will be charged with a couple new felonies. If nothing is found, you will still be charged with contempt and fail to comply. It really is up to you, but it is much easier to just complete the strip here, and there are consequences for not complying.

I: Fine, I'll do your damn strip search. This is bull shit.

M: Ma'am I understand that this is uncomfortable. Just follow my directions and it will be over quickly. Do you have anything on you that I need to know about?

I: I ain't got nothin'! Just do what you need to do and get over it.

******We go through the strip process, where the female removes one piece of clothing at a time and hands it to me. I physically search each item and set it aside before moving along to the next item. Once the female has removed all of her clothing, I instruct her to turn and face away from me towards the wall, bend over at the waist, and spread her butt cheeks*******

I: This is so humiliating, are we done yet? Would you treat your mother like this?

M: Ma'am I understand that this is uncomfortable, we are almost done. I need you to spread your legs, and spread your butt cheeks.

*****This is done to check to see if they have anything hidden in their ass. While not a common method for women, it does happen******

M: Ok ma'am, I need you to squat down, as if in a catchers position, and take your hands and spread your butt cheeks. When you do this I want you to cough three times really hard, like you had a bad cold.

*****As the woman does this, I notice something in the cooch that just doesn't belong. My mind is going through it's mental Kodak file and mentally eliminating what it might be; Not a weapon, not drugs, not jewelery.... what the hell is that?!*******

M: Put your hands on the back of your head and don't move. I see you have something in your vagina that you are trying to hide. If you try to move to remove it, I will take that as a threat to my safety and will restrain you, do you understand?

I: Yeah, I understand. I ain't gonna hurt you, it's an avocado.

M: ................... a what?

I: An avocado, you know like you eat?

M: O...k.... why do you have an avocado in your cooch?!

I: 'Cause I've been to jail before and I didn't want to go hungry. I know ya'll have served dinner and I didn't want to go hungry before breakfast.

M: Just to clarify, you were afraid we weren't going to feed you, so you shoved an avocado in your cooch so you would have something to eat?

I: Yeah, that's right. I don't wanna go hungry while I'm in here, it's just food.

************Now I'm a complete smart ass. Usually I control it and am professional around inmates and only share my well honed wit with my co-workers. This time I couldn't help myself, it came out before I could catch it*******

M: So did you bring tortilla chips too? Were you gonna eat the avocado whole or make some guac for us?

I: (Laughing) That's fucked up!

M: I'm sorry, but this is the first time I've had to deal with an avocado. Do you have anything else on you?

I: No, just that, I swear. I ain't gonna fuck you you or nothin', you're cool.

M: *sigh* Ok, I can't believe I am going to say this, but reach in and remove the avocado out and hand it to me.

Now the sad part is, we had to get her some KY Jelly from the nurse to get that puppy out. This wasn't some small baby avocado, it was maybe slightly smaller than average size - It had to take some work to get that up in there. She got that baby out though, and I finished my strip search. She was much more cooperative after that, but I will NEVER live this down. I got avocados and guacamole in my box for weeks afterwards. I must have some sort of Avocado PTSD because I can't even look at guac anymore.

And being the nice officer I am, I even got her a sack lunch so she didn't go hungry. I've been doing this job for several years, and by far this is my top "You found what?!" strip search story. I just should never have to tell a woman to remove an avocado from her cooch. Seriously!!

Sometimes They Make Me Laugh

In my facility, we use a certain code system to denote certain things.

Code 9 is Mental Health Issues
Code S is Suicidal
Code Z is Violent Tendencies/Previous Assaults against officers
Code E is Escape Risk
Code G is Gang activity
Code PG is Pregnant

These are very easy to use, all officers know what they are, and we can use them without
divulging a lot of information to other prisoners. The most common we use is a Code 9, and sometimes we get people in we would like to refer to as a Code 18 or a Code 27 if we could. Sometimes Code 9 just doesn't quite cover the extent of Mental Health issues some people have.

So the other night I went to go process a guy who was brought in on some pretty serious drug charges. He was being charged with Intent To Distribute and Racketeering, and if convicted could face upwards of 40 years in prison. This guy had attracted the attention of the U.S. Marshals and knew he was going to end up doing some heavy time. This was obviously weighing heavily on his mind as he was waiting in the holding area.

From where this guy was sitting, he had a view at an angle at one of our Special Housing holding cells. These cells are single cells with no bench, no toilet (just a drain in the floor), and rubber from ceiling to across the floor. They are more commonly known as "rubber rooms" and are used for a variety of reasons. In this case the guy in the rubber room was in there for displaying extremely erratic behavior, attempting to flood his previous cell, damaging the camera in the cell, and banging his head on the wall. In a case like that there is little we can do but put them somewhere they cannot hurt themselves until they calm down.

Well the gentleman in the rubber room had decided he was going to defecate and then paint it on the windows. All the while he is doing this, he is yelling that he is the son of Jesus Christ and he is here to start the apocalypse and save us from Nuclear Warfare. Obviously this guy is suffering from some severe delusions, it is apparent to anyone in the vicinity. Working on the grave yard shift, we have no Mental Health staff available until after 8am, so all we can is keep him from hurting himself or others until an evaluation is done.

So I pull the drug guy out to process him, and I'm chatting with him about what is going to happen to him next. He sits and watches the rubber room guy for awhile and then turns to me and says -

"You know, I was really bummed about my charges, and I know I'm looking at some serious time, possibly even doing Federal time. But I realized tonight that it could be a lot worse."

Out of curiosity, I asked him why he thought that. He then points to the guy in the rubber room and says -

"I could be him. Life doesn't seem so bad now".

I couldn't help but laugh, and I couldn't argue with the guy. I told him that it was a good attitude to have, and that while he might not like the outcome of his case, at least he would get through it.

So just remember folks - no matter how bad life seems, not matter how down you get, just remember - You can be finger panting with feces and think you are the son of Jesus Christ. Just remember the words of that inmate, "Life doesn't seem so bad".

Bare Bones Job Description

Let me give you a little background on what my job entails -

I work in a high crime rate city. We take everything in from Noise Ordinance violations to Murder and everything in between. Because we are a Municipal facility, anything that is classified as a felony charge is transported out to their respective County (we are split between two seperate counties) and tried in District Court. We also take out of jurisdiction warrants and arrange extradition.

When an inmate is brought into the facility, it is my responsibility to pat them down, inventory their property, change them into proper attire (ie jumpsuit) if necessary, complete a strip search if they are being charged with something drug related, complete an intake medical with the nursing staff, put them into the holding area, and classify them for housing. This is just the intake process.

From that point they sit in the holding area until they can be "processed". Processing is getting a set of fingerprints, their mugshots, and giving them a phone call if desired. Depending on work load and their level of cooperation, this process can take anywhere from 1 hour to 12 hours. The priority is intake, getting the prisoners signed out from the patrol officers so they can get back out on the streets. Processing is a low priority - once they are booked in and in holding, they can and will sit there for awhile if we are busy. My main focus is to get intakes done so the patrol officers can be out on the street serving their communities. Yes an officer's job is to arrest people, but he can't do that very well if he spends six hours at the jail with one prisoner. We strive to get them in and get them out.

Now once a prisoner is processed they are taken to the housing unit. My facility is a complete 24 hour a day lock down. We are a short term pre-trial holding facility, and thus we have no rec yard, library, etc. The inmates are only being held until they go to court, which we must present them to a judge within 72 hours if it is a new charge within our jurisdictions. So since we are a complete lock down facility, our inmates our housed one or two to a cell, dependant on their classifications. Once they arrive in the housing unit, they are issued a blanket, a cup, and a mattress. You would be amazed at how many people are shocked there are no pillows or sheets. I find it funny that a lot of inmates believe they have come to stay at a four star hilton and not a jail. I always tell them - "It is jail; it is meant to be unpleasant and uncomfortable to deter you from coming back." There are very few things I am required by law to provide - shelter, food, and medical care. By law that is the bare minimum I have to provide. We do provide more than that, but people don't seem to realize that it could be a lot worse, and we would be legally justified in doing so.

Once they are in the Housing unit, they are held until they go to Municipal court (next day), are transported to their respective County, or are transferred to a different jurisdiction. Again, this all has to be done within 72 hours, so we have a high turn over rate. The only variation is if someone posts a bond - then they are released with a future court date, and if they fail to appear a bench warrant is issued and they end up right back in the same place.

Now in a lot of bigger agencies, there are a LOT more staffing and an officer is assigned to a specific section - booking, transport, medical, etc. Where I am at, we do it all - from step A to step Z. A lot of officers are surprised to hear this and can't believe it. It is not unusual for me to book someone in, process them, and then transport them to court the next day. Because of that, we are able to build a short time rapport with the inmates, but again they are gone within three days. I actually prefer it that way, as I prefer not to get involved in the inmates' lives. I have a job to do and that does not include getting personal with the inmates. Don't get wrong, I will be polite and professional, but there is a solid "Do Not Cross" line there, and I firmly obey that. I know what my job is, I do it very well, and I will never do anything to jeopardize that.

So that is a pretty basic overview of what my job is. As I post more I am sure it will begin to make more sense. If you all have any questions, please feel free to ask. It is hard to fully express the ins and outs of my job duties in one little post, but hopefully this will give a general idea.


Welcome to my little sliver of the web! I have no idea where this blog will take me, but hopefully others will enjoy the ride. Some of the things I post will make you laugh, some will make you cry, and others will just leave you shaking your head. The stories I will post are hand-picked from the things I deal with on a daily basis, so hopefully some people out there will read and appreciate them. I will be posting several stories to get this blog rolling, hopefully someone will find me and let me know what ya'll think!