Today, I had an experience that has reaffirmed my desire to never be a detective. It reminded me of the second post I ever wrote for this blog, lovingly titled “Mon Raison D’etre”. For those of you that haven’t read that particular post or are new to my little corner of the interwebs…well, you’ll just have to buy the forthcoming book.
Oh yeah, I just pimped the book.
At any rate, the gist is this: I love Traffic. It’s quick. It’s clean. There’s typically only two people involved…the hapless violator and me. Investigations? Not so much.
Earlier this week, I arrested Otis (our Town Drunk) for going after a working stiff with a busted wine bottle. That’s a felony. I also violated his probation (for which he is on for committing a different felony). I had the opportunity to walk the case through to the District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s idea? Scrap the whole thing and revoke probation.
Otis has been arrested well over 200 times. True, the majority of those arrests are for being drunk in public and general pain-in-the-assery. Floating around in there are a handful of felonies. Otis has never been to prison. Otis has never spent longer than a year in county jail at any one stretch. Otis is a menace.
The system is failing the citizenry in this particular case. The system failed me and every other cop that has ever arrested Otis. We have spent hours upon hours writing reports, dealing with abuse, smelling some of the rankest stenches on the planet. For what? Pretty much nothing.
I wish I could convey the level of frustration I have. The DA didn’t ask me any questions other than to inquire about a supplemental report that doesn’t exist (and didn’t need to be written). The DA knows nothing of Otis. I’m a motor. I have no idea if I am supposed to sit quietly while the big lawyer makes with the law-talk or if I can say, “Um…are you high? Some day, one of two things is going to happen to Otis. Either he’ll pull this shit on the wrong person and get shot or he’ll pull this shit on some poor soccer mom and in her fright, she’ll stumble over her sweet baby’s stroller, fall, crack her head and die. If that second option ever happens, I hope her family sues the ever-loving beejeezus out of this place.”
Or, you know…something in between those two reactions. As it turns out, apparently, we can say something. A helpful little tidbit that I learned about 45 minutes too late. It ain’t like Otis is never gonna be arrested again.
I know our detectives work hard. Truly, I do. For me, though, investigations can pretty much suck it. I am where I was meant to be. How do I know? Five minutes after I went back on the street after the mind-numbing trip to the DA, I had two cites and an arrest. Later that day, I arrested a nanny. For DUI. On her way to pick up the three children she watches.
At the end of the day, I had eight cites and two arrests. Reaffirming? Ab. So. Lutely.
Enjoy that cold paper, detectives…