Archive for April, 2011

PostHeaderIcon The Road To Southern Paradise

The world is in turmoil. War, politics, soaring gas and food prices, and devastating weather continue to consume the headlines and our minds. So I invite you to take a moment to relax. Daydream a bit. Visit places where the only hustle-bustle you’ll see are the thousands of fiddler crabs darting across the marsh mud. Or go to the beach and watch the pelicans glide gracefully overhead. Listen to the waves hit the sand, leaving behind sizzling sea foam and the occasional piece of odd-shaped driftwood.

But where can you go to see both the marsh and the beach? Well, hop in the car. Let’s take a drive out to Tybee Island, Ga. It’s one of the closest places to paradise this side of…well, paradise.



PostHeaderIcon Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of these brave officers.

Officer J. Christopher Kilcullen

Eugene Oregon Police Department

April 22, 2011 – After a high-speed pursuit, Officer Kilcullen was shot and killed by the female driver as he approached her car. The woman originally fled because Officer Kilcullen had attempted to stop her for running a red light. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Deputy Sheriff Clifton Taylor, 31

Johnson County Texas Sheriff’s Office

April 23, 2011 – Deputy Clifton Taylor was shot and killed after responding to a domestic disturbance. Upon arrival, police began a search of the property, attempting to locate the male suspect. Deputy Taylor was shot when he opened the door to a storage shed. He is survived by his fiancee, parents, and siblings.

Officer Daryl Hall, 34

St. Louis Missouri Police Department

April 24, 2011 – Officer Daryl Hall was shot three times during an exchange of gunfire with two men outside a nightclub. He was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. One of the suspects also died from gunshot wounds.


PostHeaderIcon Ten Excuses That Make Cops Say, “Hmm….”

Any cop will tell you that just when they think they’ve heard it all, well, along comes another excuse that tops all the rest. Here are ten reasons why people say they did what they did. All I can say is, “Hmm…

1.”Why am I driving naked, Officer? Well…all my clothes are dirty so I was going to my friend’s house to borrow something to wear to work. And I was speeding because it’s cold and the heat’s not working. Oh, yeah, no seat belt? You noticed that, huh? You see, the material causes my skin to break out… Why do I have a gun on the seat? Isn’t that obvious, sir? I don’t have any pockets available at the moment. Duh…I thought you guys were supposed to be trained observers.”

2. Please don’t give me a ticket. I didn’t slow down for the red light because I just got new brakes on my car—they were expensive, too—and I didn’t want to wear them out already. Geez, you being a cop and all, I thought you’d understand that sort of thing. Don’t they teach you about this stuff in the police academy? Common sense. That’s all I’m asking for here.”

3. “I had to steal that stuff, Officer. How else was I going to get enough money to pay my court fees and child support? I certainly didn’t want to go to jail.”

4. “Because I had to go to the bathroom. That’s why I was driving 95 in a 55. You don’t believe me, then look.” The wet spot on her jeans didn’t stop her from getting a ticket, but it did prevent the officer from asking her to have a seat in his car while he wrote it.

5. “I threw a football and it landed on the roof of that store, Officer. Honest. And when I climbed up there to get it I fell through that hole you see. The bag of burglary tools and that saw? I guess they were already up there. Must’ve fallen through when I did.”

6. “It’s not my car. That’s why I was driving so fast. The pedals are different, or something.”

7. “What? No way! I didn’t think you could give me a speeding ticket because I don’t have a driver’s license.”

8. “I must’ve fallen asleep inside the store just before they closed. The safe? No, I wasn’t trying to steal it. The door was locked and I couldn’t leave, so I used it to break out. See, I’m claustrophobic. No way I could stay in that place all night. The money. That’s mine. I had it when I went in the store. Yep, all $2,000. Every penny of it. No, I’m between jobs right now.  No, I don’t have an address. Well, not exactly. Yeah, the Union Mission over on 123rd. But only until I get a place of my own.”

9. “Yes, I have a doctor’s note, just not with me. Right, it authorizes me to NOT wear a seat belt because it pinches the skin around my nipple rings.” No, he didn’t have the doctor’s note and yes, he got the ticket.

10. “I was driving that fast, Officer, because I’d had WAY too much to drink and I wanted to get home before I got sick. You wouldn’t want to puke in your car, right?”

And that’s only ten…

PostHeaderIcon The Morgue: A Pictorial Journey

Jodi found the body lying beside the path, her favorite jogging trail. She stopped for a closer look, thinking that maybe her mind was up to its usual nighttime tricks—another boogeyman or zombie that turned out to be a bush, or a trash bag filled with leaves left by the park’s “mow, blow, and go” guys. After all, there was no moon, and the closest streetlight was awfully far away. And the shadows, well, they were long, and pretty dark. But this bush had…yes, those are arms and legs and…a head! It was a man. A dead man. Blood. There was so much of it. A knife on the ground. Don’t touch it. Run! Run and then call 911. Yes, 911.

She stood there talking to the detective, but her mind was now focusing on the coroner and his investigators as they loaded the body into the back of the van, shoving it inside as if it were no more than a roll of new carpet. They closed the rear doors, and the one who looked like a stump with arms and legs climbed into the driver’s seat. The brake lights flashed for a second, painting the pavement behind the van a faint red. Then it was gone, leaving a trail of wispy steam in its wake. She wondered what would happen next. I mean, what do they do with murder victims? Where do they take the bodies?

*Warning. Images below are graphic and may not be suitable for some readers and/or children. Please exit if images of death upset or offend you. We’ve posted this this particular piece solely to assist writers with their research.

The body is weighed, sometimes by rolling the gurney onto a set of digital floor scales.

Bodies are placed inside a cold room, or cooler until autopsy.

The body is brought into the autopsy room.

The gurney carrying the body is positioned in front of a station such as this one.

Side view of same station.

Scales for weighing organs.

A pathologist’s tool kit.

Bone saw.

Suturing the rear scalp after examining the brain.

The “Y” incision is closed post autopsy, and the body is released to a funeral home. (Top left is the neck, presenting a ligature mark. Bottom left of photo is the victim’s right, upper chest area).





PostHeaderIcon Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have You Any…Body Armor?

Body armor is a life-saver. No doubt about it. But let’s face it, many cops complain about having to wear it. It’s uncomfortable. It’s bulky. It’s confining. And it’s HOT! Imagine wrapping a few layers of thick, dense clay around your body while sitting in the hot sunshine for several hours. That’s sort of what it’s like to wear a vest, especially for a newcomer. Sure, you get used to it after a while, but getting used to wearing a vest doesn’t make it any cooler inside those little Kevlar ovens. I know, I know. It’s worth a little discomfort in order to be safe and go home at night. But that doesn’t stop the bellyaching.

Another problem with body armor is that the material deteriorates and becomes less effective when exposed to water. Kevlar, for example, has been found to be approximately 20% less effective when wet. Actually, it’s recommended that body armor be replaced after five years of use due to constant exposure to moisture – sweat and humidity. But with the lack of even the day-to-day funds to operate police departments, replacing every $600 – $800 vest at the five year mark just isn’t going to happen. In fact, most departments NEVER replace their vests. And I’m willing to bet that there are still some police officers out there who’ve never worn one as part of their regular uniform.

So what’s being done to help with the heat, the moisture, the costs, and the comfort? One word…Sheep. After all, those walking army blankets don’t seem to mind water, so what if…

That’s right, researchers from RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles have discovered that by blending 20-25% wool with 70-75% Kevlar, the material actually works even better when it’s wet. And it’s cheaper to make than a vest made of all Kevlar (Kevlar cost about $70 per kilogram compared to $12 for wool). And, by replacing a portion of the Kevlar with wool, the vest also weighs less.

So help is on the way, folks. And not just for the little boy who lives down the lane…


*     *     *

And, just an FYI. Here’s an image of a bullet fired by the Taliban that struck a soldier’s body armor.

And this is the result of that same bullet being deflected by the soldier’s body armor.  The soldier was knocked to the ground by the hit, but he’s alive.


PostHeaderIcon Cop Details: Sweat, Hats, And Fruit-Of-The-Looms

The mercury is bumping the top of the tube. A walk in the park is like a stroll through a potter’s kiln. Shade is just a darker place to be hot. No relief anywhere, and it’s only April!

A drop of sweat slowly works its way down the backbone, wiggling and squirming to avoid contacting the t-shirt. Finally, it’s dips below the waistband, beneath the belt and gun belt. Success! Target achieved. Another drop forms between the shoulder blades and then starts its downward journey, followed by another, and another, and another.

Outside the clothing, cousins of the slaloming sweat drops line up at the hairline, preparing for a march down the face. Their task is easy. Find the eyes and dive in. While there, cause as much burning and itching as possible before a hand swipes them away. Those that fail to meet the objective, of course, meet their end, falling to their demise off the nose and chin. And so it goes beneath the clothing of an officer who’s required to wear thick, long sleeve winter shirts after cold weather has packed up and gone for the year.

You see, many police departments have policies regarding when uniformed officers may switch from heavier, long sleeve shirts to short sleeves, and from short to long. Some departments even specify a date for the change, with a brief grace period to allow for an extra long winter, or fall. But what happens when winter and summer fail to read the department guidelines? Well, I can tell you, it’s no fun wearing one of those hot, long sleeve shirts over a Kevlar vest during the middle of the day, in the south, where the heat can grow to near cake-baking temperatures. And let’s not forget the relentless humidity that’s thick enough to eat with a spoon.

Neckties are also part of the winter uniform.

Ties are not worn with short sleeve shirts.

I guess I should also mention the effect all that sweating has on those heavy, dense, vests.  Let’s just say that Kevlar cannot be submerged in water. No machine washing. No taking them to the river for pounding with rocks. So…you do the math.

Sweat (lots of it) + heat =

And, with the seasonal uniform change (pants are normally all-season material) comes the switching of hats, especially for sheriff’s deputies and many state troopers who wear campaign hats.

Winter campaign hats are made from a thick, dense felt.


Summer hats are made from straw, and are much lighter and cooler.

Plastic rain covers are available for all hat styles.

So, the next time you pass an intersection in early spring, on an exceptionally hot day, and see an officer directing traffic while wearing long sleeves…well, just know that the slaloming sweat drops are quickly making their way toward the Fruit-Of-The-Looms…

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