Friday’s Heroes: Remembering the Fallen

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Deputy Sheriff David Wade, 40

Logan County Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office

April 18, 2017 – Deputy Sheriff David Wade was shot and killed when confronted by three men while serving an eviction notice. While checking the mens’ identification, one drew a weapon and began firing, striking Deputy Wade multiple times. The shooter then stole Wade’s patrol vehicle and fled. He later carjacked another vehicle.

Deputy Wade is survived by his wife and three children.

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Agent Benjamín De los Santos-Barbosa, 32

Puerto Rico Police Department

April 19, 2017 – Earlier in the week, Agent Benjamín De los Santos-Barbosa attempted to stop a vehicle for illegally-tinted windows. The driver, a parolee in violation of his parole conditions, refused to stop, leading officers on a pursuit. The suspect eventually stopped and opened fire as he got out of his vehicle, striking Agent Benjamín De los Santos-Barbosa in the head. He was transported to an area hospital where he remained on life support until he succumbed to his wounds four days later.

Agent De los Santos-Barbosa is survived by his nephew, who he obtained custody of after his mother, Agent De los Santos-Barbosa’s sister, was tragically murdered. She, too, served as a police officer with the Puerto Rico Police Department.

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4/20 Day: Are You Celebrating?

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Today is 4/20, the unofficial national holiday for pot smokers. It’s their birthday, Christmas, anniversary, Hanukkah, and kindergarten recess all “rolled” into one smoke-filled day.

The precise history of how April 20 became widely known as “National Weed Day” is not totally clear (surprising … not really). But the most popular notion is that in the early 1970’s a group of Marin County, Ca. students, known as the Waldos, met every year on 4-20 at 4:20. Next thing you know, 420 was the code word for smoking weed. High Times magazine picked it up and, well, the rest is a bit haaazzzyyyy.

So …

It’s Saturday night, Dark Side of the Moon is on the turntable, and bags of M&M’s and Doritos stand ready for … Wait a minute. Before we go any further, to help set the proper mood you absolutely must click on the video and crank up the volume.

Okay, that’s better.

Now, if the previous mention of Pink Floyd and delicious snack foods took you back to the days of black light posters, Janis and Jimi, 8-track tape players, and spilled bong water, well, you already have some understanding of the mechanics of pot smoking. However, it’s a whole new world out there today and, as you know, in some states marijuana is approved to treat certain medical conditions, such as glaucoma, depression, and even cancer.

In other states recreational use of marijuana is absolutely legal. Well, it’s legal with the tiny exception that the federal government still classifies pot as having no medicinal value, which makes it a Schedule I drug—the worst of the worst along with heroin and LSD. Cocaine, interestingly, is a classification lower, a Schedule II drug. To be clear, this translates into the federal government saying that marijuana is, without a doubt, illegal.

Therefore at any time anyone is caught with marijuana in their possession, even when a state’s law says it is legal to do, federal agents could swoop down from one of those spiffy black helicopters and cart the evil pot smoker off to a secret federal prison where they’d spend the next 100 years working in a prison factory making Kevlar helmets or office furniture.

You, as writers and researchers, should know there are two main types of cannabis (marijuana)—Indica and Sativa.

Sativa plants are tall and loosely branched, with narrow leaves (leaf pictured above). Indica plants are short, densely branched, with wide leaves (the appearance is similar to the above photo, but the leaflets are much broader).

By the way, a marijuana leaf is a compound leaf, a leaf composed of individual leaflets. The top photo of the marijuana leaf shows a single leaf with seven individual leaflets (cannabis leaves will have between 5-9 leaflets with serrated edges).

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main ingredients in the marijuana plant.

THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It’s the component that makes you high. CBD is non-psychoactive (CBD does not make you high) and is the ingredient that’s most attractive as a medicine. Both, however, are used in medical marijuana.

Uses of Medical Cannabis

Sativa is said to be uplifting, therefore it’s used to treat mild depression, social anxiety, ADD, fatigue, and migraines. It’s also thought by some that Sativa helps increase creativity. Sativa is best used during daytime hours.

Indica promises to be relaxing and calming and is used to treat conditions such as, anxiety and panic attacks, pain, glaucoma, muscle cramps, asthma, complications associated with AIDS, epilepsy, gastric disorders, MS, cerebral palsy, Crohn’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, and insomnia. Experts say Indica is best used at night.

There are numerous methods of consuming medical cannabis. For example, smoking, vaporizers, tinctures or tonics, topicals applied directly to the skin as a salve (for joint pain, etc.), and edibles, to name a few.

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Since most of you are probably familiar with pot smoking (you’ve at least heard about it…yeah, right), we’ll address edible cannibas and its many forms and products. Remember, cannibas edibles are not the meek and mild pot brownies of days long ago. Edibles today are much more potent.

Sure, it’s said that edibles do a great job of reducing anxiety and helping to induce deep, restful sleep without the medicated feeling that one experiences after consuming pharmaceutical medications. However, dosing of edible cannibas can be a hit or miss situation. The perfect amount for one person may not be right for another. Therefore, a bit of trial and error can come into play before a user/patient finds the correct size “bite/dose” that best suits their needs.

Of course, should you prefer to not purchase your 420 supplies readymade …

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… you could always prepare your own.

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420 has actually turned into a rather large deal, with big businesses capitalizing on the “holiday.” Companies such as General Mills (Totinos Pizza Rolls) erected huge billboards in Denver where marijuana use is legal (per state law, not federal) that read, “420 is Better on Pizza Rolls.” And another touting the pizza bites— “Stock Up B4/20.”

And let’s not forget Ben and Jerry’s “Half-Baked” ice cream.

Other popular 420 snack favorites include:

  • Funyuns
  • Andy Capps Hot Fries
  • Bacon Fried Oreos
  • Salt & Vinegar chips
  • In-N-Out’s Monkey Style Burger

But the award for totally weird goes to …

  • Spaghetti-Os Cupcakes with Velveeta Frosting and Goldfish Sprinkles

Finally, I certainly hope that last night, on 420 Eve, you left out a plate of pot brownies and a glass of milk for jolly old “you know who.”

WillieNelson

*Please know that I am not condoning or condemning anything. This article was meant to be both informative as well as a tongue-in-cheek attempt at humor. But, to be totally serious for a moment, if you do celebrate at anytime by consuming any intoxicating substance, please be responsible and DO NOT drive.

For help with substance abuse of any type –  www.samhsa.gov/find-help.

 

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Cecil And Wilbur: After The Shooting

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Cecil spends most of his time thinking about that day, wondering what he and Wilbur could’ve done differently. He doesn’t remember pulling the trigger. Nor does he understand why time seemed to slow down when the bullets started flying.

He can’t sleep and sometimes he even cries for no reason. He’s losing weight—no appetite—and he doesn’t enjoy spending time with his family. Actually, he doesn’t care all that much about seeing them or knowing what they’re doing. His headaches are getting worse, and now he’s started vomiting several times a day. At first, he thought about the dead guy all day every day.

Now, though, the dead guy lives inside his head, clawing at the inside of his skull. He wants out but Cecil doesn’t know how to help him.

When Cecil closes his eyes he smells the dead guy’s sweat and blood. And the guilt …  Self-condemnation is eating at Cecil’s nerves, one at a time. Plucking them like banjo strings. Why must it be like this, he wonders? After all, the kid fired his gun first.

But the worst thing—the worst of all—is that his fellow officers are avoiding him, talking about him behind his back. And he sees the way the brass looks at him. He’s expecting to be fired at any time. And there’s the possibility of a criminal trial. They say the shoot was justified, but now Cecil’s not so sure. In fact, he’s not sure about anything. Well, except that he’d like to be dead.

He feels helpless, and alone …

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It’s been over two weeks since Cecil and Wilbur were in the shootout with the kid who robbed the liquor store over on 37th Street. And Cecil’s not handling the situation very well. Wilbur, on the other hand, seems to be coping quite nicely. So he goes to visit will Cecil, hoping to cheer him up.

The two veteran cops sit at Cecil’s chipped Formica-topped kitchen table, the one with the rusted chrome legs. Cecil absent-mindedly uses a spoon to swirl his coffee around in an over-sized ceramic mug. He looks like hell—bloodshot eyes, cheeks sagging, and the corners of his mouth fixed in an upside-down smile. His hair even looks dull, and grayer by two shades.

“How do you do it, Wilbur? Doesn’t it bother you?” said Cecil without making eye contact.

Wilbur leaned back, balancing his chair on its two rear legs. “Sure, it does. It’s definitely not a good feeling knowing we killed someone. But, honestly, I’m just happier’n a pig eatin’ slop that I’m alive. And I’m glad that I practiced shooting all those years. We could shoot and he couldn’t. It is what it is and I’d do it again tomorrow if I had to.”

Cecil sighed, still stirring his coffee. The spoon made tinkling noises as it touched the sides of the mug. “Something must be wrong with me, then. “Cause I’m wishing it’d been me instead of him.”

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“You can’t think like that, partner. We had a job to do and we did it. Nothing more, nothing less. One less worthless mouth to feed in prison, you ask me.”

Cecil looks up. Tears are streaming down his face. He feels like he’s going to throw up, so he covers his mouth with one hand, the one he’d been using to stir the coffee. The other hand is resting in his lap, beneath the table, clutching his service weapon. The skin on his knuckles is taut. His index finger is easing toward the trigger. Sweat droplets dot the space on his forehead between his bushy eyebrows and hairline.

There’s no other way.

The monster inside his head … well, Cecil has lost the fight.

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Like Cecil and Wilbur, no two officers experience identical post-shooting reactions. But what are some of the more common reactions? Well, lets start with the shooting itself. During the gunfire, many officers experience sensory distortions, such as slow or fast motion and muted or distorted sounds.

After a shooting, like Cecil, many officers experience trouble sleeping, nightmares, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, crying spells, loss of appetite, nausea, sadness, fear, feelings of worthlessness, reliving the incident on a non-stop loop, or they cannot remember parts of the incident. Some officers have actually fired at a suspect and never realized they’d pulled the trigger until their weapons were checked by authorities (all weapons and rounds should be checked and accounted for following any officer-involved shooting).

It is extremely important for police agencies to train their officers about what to expect during and after a shooting. Teaching survival is important, but good mental health is equally important.

Finally, it’s sometimes a good idea to employ a third-party counselor to assist with the debriefing sessions, because officers may feel that a department counselor would not be impartial and side with the agency in court or during a departmental disciplinary hearing.

BUT … no matter what, officers should ALWAYS seek some sort of counseling following a shooting event. Sure, you may feel fine today, but you never know when the dead guy may show up for a visit.

Please, don’t be a “Cecil.”

 

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A Police K-9 Offers Tips To Handlers

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I’m currently working an extremely dangerous undercover assignment in a massive dog-fighting ring, but I’ve blown my cover to speak with you today about a very important subject—K-9 handlers. Still can’t display my scars, marks, and tattoos … you know, the things that could easily identify me when I get back work. For the purpose of this meeting, please call me “Dawg.” Not my real name, of course.

I’ve risked exposing my true ID because, well, sometimes you guys, dog handlers and owners, don’t use your heads. I’m not saying you’re stupid. It’s just that you don’t think before you act. Seriously, it’s okay to leave us in the car while you’re outside standing in the shade yucking it up with your buddies? We enjoy a good joke too. Besides, the grass feels wonderful on our feet. And don’t think I can’t smell the burgers and fries on your breath when you get back inside the bucket of bolts you so proudly call a police car. Nearly an hour inside Mickie D’s …. puhleeze …

And, remember that traffic stop last week? Yeah, you know the one. I know you only issued her a warning. But I’m not stupid. I get it. She batted her eyelashes at you and smelled like jasmine. What I don’t understand, though, is why you didn’t you introduce me to the poodle riding shotgun. You know I’m a sucker for curly hair. Life is not all about you and your shiny badge and big gun, you know.

Anyway, our union, Police Dogs 101, sort of elected me as spokesperson, so I’m here today in advance of the upcoming contract renewal to address a few of our concerns. It wouldn’t hurt private citizens to pull up a chair and listen as well. So here goes, and I suggest you take notes.

1. We notice that you wear shoes to work every single day of your life. And we know why. Oh, boy, do we know why! Snow and ice are COLD. Concrete and asphalt are HOT. And, for goodness sake, would you walk barefoot over broken glass? Well, no one, including dogs, should be forced to walk on those surfaces. So take your narrow hips to the store and buy us some booties! They make and sell them every day. We don’t mind looking goofy if it means no frostbite, blisters, or cuts. Use your head, Sherlock.

2. We enjoy biting a bad guy as much as any dog, but our internal temperatures can skyrocket while tracking and searching on really hot days. That’s right, Ace, you try wearing a thick fur coat in the August sunshine. So keep one of those thermometer things in your pocket. No, we don’t enjoy it when you poke them into the place where the sun doesn’t shine, but it’s better than keeling over from heat exhaustion. We’d do it ourselves, but … no fingers, you know.

3. Another good idea, and goodness knows you’d never think of it, is to wet us down before a search on hot days. It helps keep us cool. But, please, not when the humidity is really high, because the water in those instances would only serve to keep the heat in.

4. Bring some water with you if the search is going to be a long one. We don’t like drinking from mud puddles and creeks. Do you know what’s been there? Well, we do, and it’s not exactly the most sanitary thing to do. Would you drink from something that turtles and frogs use as a toilet? I didn’t think so. And let’s not even think about all the mosquito larvae swimming around in those places. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Do us both a favor and bring some water, okay!

Speaking of water … how about changing the water in my bowl a few times during the day (the one in my kennel). You know me, I drool in it, and even sometimes step in it to cool my hot feet (and you know where my feet have been). Besides, I don’t like tasting the green stuff that can build up in the bowl if the water sits for a long time.

5. If you do insist upon leaving me in the car while you’re off doing who knows what (probably biting someone behind my back), then please have the decency to leave the car and air conditioning running. And for goodness sake, have someone install an alarm that notifies you if either of the two malfunctions or shuts off. Remember, I don’t have fingers to operate the power locks and those window roller-downer-things.

6. Shade. I can’t stress this enough. We want our kennels placed in the shade. If your yard is treeless (heaven forbid) then march your butt down to the hardware store and purchase a roll or two of shade cloth to place over the top of our kennels. It”s an easy project. We’ll even help, if you want. If so, merely place the roll near us and I promise we’ll have it unrolled and divided into bite-size pieces in no time flat. Now that’s what we call fun.

Speaking of fun … we demand a few hours of play time each day. You cannot expect us to work every minute. Throw something for us to retrieve. Hide something and let us find it. Let us roll around in the dirt, etc. Anything like that will suffice.

And whatever you do, please don’t forget to tell us what a great job we’re doing. We absolutely adore praise for a job well done. Also, a little loving goes a long way. Now don’t go getting all mushy on me. A pat on the head and back and an occasional hug is all we’re asking. You can save the kisses for your spouses.

Okay, that’s it for now. We look forward to your response in advance of our next meeting.

By the way, if you happen to see that poodle again, tell her to give me a call.

 

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Search Warrants: The World “Behind The Door”

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Ah, the search warrant.

Many officers can’t wait to go on their first door-kicking, battering-ram-bashing, and flash-bang-tossing raid. Beats writing traffic tickets, right? After all, what good is that training and equipment if you can’t use it?

Sure, the excitement is there. The adrenaline rush is over the top. And the danger level…WHOOSH! It’s through the roof.

But there’s another side to executing a search warrant, an unpleasant side that most people don’t see. Yes, after the door is breached officers often encounter a host of unpleasantness, such as:

1. While pawing through the kitchen drawers you (the officer) notice an abundance of tiny, black pellets. There are more on the counter tops, and on the stove top, especially near a large container of used, congealed bacon grease. A closer look reveals hundreds of teeny-tiny footprints in the thin layer of grease that’s coating the top of the range. The top of the dried bacon fat, too, along with obvious chew-marks and tooth prints in the grease and around the edges of the cardboard container. A frying pan with remnants of the morning’s scrambled eggs sits on a rear burner. And that’s not freshly-ground pepper dotting the top of the eggs. Listen closely and you can hear faint squeals coming from inside the walls of the range. You don’t want to, but you do it anyway. You lean down. Yes, there are baby mice living inside the stove, and they’re crying for their mother.

And this is only the first room …

2. A favorite place to hide drugs is in or behind a toilet’s water storage tank. But there’s no bathroom in this house. Odd. So you continue the search by moving to the bedroom, if that’s what you want to call it. Four walls, a tattered mattress (no bed frame), and lots and lots of filth and dirty clothes on the floor. Chicken bones, beer cans and bottles, yellow-gray sheets that were probably white a few years ago, a clock radio with its guts hanging out of the broken plastic casing, and ROACHES EVERYWHERE. Thousands of them. All sizes, too. On the floor, the bed, the walls, a wooden chair in the corner, the ceiling, in the closet, under your feet, and on YOUR PANTS LEGS!

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But the search must go on…

3. What’s in the white five-gallon bucket in the corner? There’s a dishtowel draped over it, as if they’re hiding something there. So you pull back the cloth and WHAM! You now know the location of the bathroom, and it hasn’t been emptied for days.

4. In the darkened corner of the room, a malnourished skin-and-bones mixed-breed dog sits on its scrawny haunches. Most of the fur is missing from its back and around the head. Its lips are pulled back to expose a mouthful of plaque-coated teeth the are presently aimed in your direction. A low rumble comes from the animal’s throat. There’s no time to call for animal control so you pull out the pepperspray. Never mind that it rarely works on dogs, but you feel better with the can in your hand. You back out and close the door.

5. The next bedroom is better. Five little kids there, playing with two or three broken plastic toys—a dump truck and, ironically, a battered three-wheeled police car. The oldest child, a cute little round-faced boy of about four, or so. The tiniest spattering of freckles peppered his smooth but grimy cheeks and nose.

“Where’s your mommy?”

Five sets of shoulders inch upward.

No shoes. Dirty pants. No shirts. Faces crusted with food and sleep. Lint in their hair.

A rat, the size of a squirrel, walks nonchalantly across the floor near the baseboard. It disappears into a large hole in the sheetrock.

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Roaches crawl across the boys’ feet and legs.

A microwave on the nightstand. Overflowing ashtray. Drinking glass half full of room-temperature tea. Aluminum foil. Plastic wrap. A glass cookie sheet covered in wax paper. A plastic bag. White powder. Baking soda. Crack cocaine.

Kind of takes the edge off the adrenaline rush, huh?

And that, my friends, is what cops often see “behind the door.”

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Officer Brittney Roy: The True Definition of a Hero

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Her father, a New York Police Department officer, was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Yesterday, Brittney Roy was sworn in as a police officer in her father’s beloved NYPD.

Brittney, the moment you pinned the NYPD badge to your chest you showed more courage than most of us could know in a lifetime.

Congratulations, Officer Roy.

Your dad would be very proud,

Of his precious daughter.

Stay safe.

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