Have you ever had one of those bosses who knew everything about everything? You know the type, no matter what you say or do, they know best.
Well, as bad as it is for you guys to work for one of these know-it-all’s, imagine doing so while working as a police officer where split-second decisions could mean the difference between someone living or dying. And the boss decides he wants to make those split-second decisions for you…over the course of an hour or so.
Well, I once had one of those bosses, and…
The bust promised to be a good one—cocaine, heroin, and a boat load (just an expression) of shrooms and pills. I’d worked on the case for a couple of months, spending lots of undercover time hanging out with this group of doofuses, and I’d reached the point where I was ready to get warrants for everyone, including search warrants for two properties.
One property was the single-story modest home of a guy, Carey D. Weight, who held most of the group’s dope. He also did most of the packaging and transporting. The other search warrant was for the home of the top dog in the operation. In this case, the top dog was a female—a young, somewhat attractive female, Betty Bigbutt, who lived with her elderly grandmother and her grandmother’s full-time healthcare worker. Oh, and I should mention that the female’s family was very much a high-profile family. Quite well-to-do with a very famous relative.
So, the plan was for one team to search the packager’s home, which was basically a dump, while the other team was set to paw through some extremely expensive items inside an elegant and ornate southern mansion. However, just before executing the warrants, an emergency developed and members of one of the search teams were forced to respond to assist the patrol officers. Therefore, left with only one entry team, I had to change my plans, deciding to go for the top dog first, sending one officer over to guard Weight’s home in case he decided to suddenly depart. I had no idea that the chief of police and one of his captains were out, together, snooping around.
Our team was in position, ready to knock and announce at the front door when a faint voice crackled in my earpiece. I held up my hand, indicating I wanted everyone to stand down. Thinking something had gone wrong I backed away from the front steps. I heard the voice again, but couldn’t make out what the person had said. So I turned up the volume.
The barely-above-a-whisper voice of our chief of police came through, and he said, “The groceries have landed.”
I turned toward the officer standing next to me to make sure I’d heard what I thought I’d heard. He shrugged. He didn’t know what our fearless leader’s words meant, either.
So I keyed my mic and softly said, “Repeat your traffic.”
And again, “The groceries have landed.”
Remember, an entire entry team, all dressed in black and armed to the max, were hanging out, attempting to hide, in a yard in a prestigious neighborhood. Our vehicles were parked a couple of streets over. And here we were, trying to figure out what message our chief was trying to convey, on a radio frequency monitored by everyone in the country who owned a police scanner.
Finally, the colonel says, in a loud bass tone of voice, “Capt. Ding Dong and I are parked across the street from Carey D. Weight’s house, watching it for you until you finish serving the search warrant at Betty Bigbutt’s place.”
So much for the element of surprise. And, it would only be a few minutes before every media truck in town would be parked in front of Weight’s house, hoping for an action-packed “film at 11:00.”
Well, since the entire city, county, and state had just learned of our location and plans, I told the team to back off and keep the house under surveillance until I got back. Then I made a beeline for the chief. My hands had already formed a tight circle, one I’m sure would have fit nicely around my bosses neck.
When I turned onto the street where Weight lived, the first thing I saw was the chief’s white car backed into a large group of head-high hedges, standing out like a sore thumb. It was as out of place as the underwater police car in the top photo. The nose of the unmarked car was a mere six or seven feet from the sidewalk, almost close enough that passersby could slap its hood with the palm of a hand. And the blue lights in the grill and on the rear-view mirror glowed hotly, reflecting the light from the streetlamp they’d parked under. Yep, Barney and Gomer were incognito, big time.
Needless to say, the bust didn’t take place that night. And I learned that “the groceries have landed” meant that our suspect had arrived home. I also learned to never, ever, tell the chief of my plans. He could learn about them like everyone else…by watching the films at 11:00.