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Cop Stories 2

Not a glamorous job

One of the best part time jobs I ever held was for a large outdoor shopping center. Long before the advent of indoor Malls this center was the crown jewel of shopping centers and very busy. The local police were forever having to leave their assigned patrol zones to run up there to deal with problem. So the owners of the shopping center decided to form its own mini-police department and a sit down with the police chief was planned.

One of the rules that came out of that summit was etched in stone, employment was limited to police officers only, either active or retired. The association then leased vehicles and had them outfitted then with all necessary emergency equipment, and the local police department donated the mobile and hand held radios. The units were all given their own call number.

Well the plan worked. The center police were called for any and all problems occurring within the shopping center and the roads around it, if the problem escalated then the locals were called. Once the local police learned that those working the center (and not employed by their department) were competent, we were often called to assist them when city calls got backed up. The years passed and management had changed hands a few times, and the current manager was not happy when her security left the property to assist the local PD. She refused to hear that the more the trouble makers saw us assisting the local police the more it would drive home the fact that we were police officers and not security guards.

There were many arguments between her, the department supervisors and line officers on this topic. She once threatened to disband the center police and hire security guards, she was told that was her prerogative, but that meant no more red and blue lights, sirens and markings that said POLICE and department radios. They also added if they ever saw one of her rent-a-cops on the street heading anywhere but the gas station the driver would be give a ticket. She accused them of blackmail, they assured her it was not blackmail, but a warning.

Well one Evening I heard a call about a problem at the apartment complex behind the center. I was then called by road supervisor asking me if I could check out as most of their units were on the far side of town. I arrived and advised dispatch I was out and spoke to the male that had placed the call. According to him he was upstairs in a friends apartment just chillin when his girlfriend showed up and demanded he return to their apartment. They had a verbal disagreement that ended with his girlfriend running downstairs to their apartment, she had locked herself in the bathroom and now she wasn't answering him. They gave me the apartment number and I requested they stay outside while I investigated.

The apartment was filthy beyond belief. Dirty clothes, plates, glasses and fast food bags littered the living room furniture and end tables. Yet amid all this filth was a brand new 60" plasma TV and matching surround sound system in pristine condition. A top of the line stereo system graced the opposite wall and a brand new Bow-Flex machine heaped with dirty clothes sat against the third wall. The carpet was caked with crumbs and and God knows what that it crunched with my every step.

The kitchen sink was piled high with dishes, pots, pans and glasses, and the stove was no better. The smell emanating from overflowing trashcans was nauseating, it was an effort not to gag. I finally came to the bathroom door and I knocked several times while announcing myself. I then slipped on my rubber gloves and attempted to open the door, the handle turned but I could not push it open more than half an inch.

Through the small opening I saw the legs of the female splayed at an odd angles and understood. I called dispatch and requested that EMS respond along with a detective. Now comes the paperwork, something you don't really see on COPS. I have to document all my actions from the time I was called until the time I requested additional units. Identification for the male that called and his friends is recorded and it must be legible as it will be passed on to the detective that responds.

EMS arrives and I directed them in. The detective arrives about two minutes later and I gave him my notebook to copy the names of the parties involved and my narration. One of the EMS crew exited the building and headed for his squad, he caught my eye and pantomimed being hung and made a croak sound. Apparently the female had tied the ligature around her neck and the doorknob and sat down hard.

No glamour here.

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