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By now everyone is or should be familiar with the term “leaking.” After all, we see it in the news nearly every day. It’s as if not a single soul in this country can manage to keep a secret no matter how vital it is to not let certain information reach the ears of well, anyone who shouldn’t hear it. But, it’s not a new thing, nor is it limited to the politician-media pipeline.

For example, Edward Snowden and Bradley/Chelsea Manning.

Then there are the law enforcement officers who leak information, for whatever motivation that floats their personal boats. Such as Deep throat, the alias of Mark Felt, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent and Associate Director who provided information to reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post. The information Felt passed along to the reporters led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Over the years, Felt was a constant, non-corkable dripper of inside information.

And, there are those officers who leak information to the bad guys, and they usually do so for cash or other types of rewards. These thugs in uniform have little regard for the safety of their fellow officers. Here’s a perfect example. One from my own files.

I was in charge of a narcotics operation that involved a longterm surveillance op team, a boatload of specialized spying equipment, a couple of really good undercover officers, and a gaggle of confidential informants. We’d “wired” a couple of officers who’d gone “inside” to purchase cocaine and guns. Then, after months of hard, tedious work, I wrote and had a magistrate sign the search warrant. I was a cautious detective who trusted no one, outside of my immediate circle, with secret information. I was not fond of leakers. So, not wanting any details to find their way out, I waited until the last minute to assemble the raid team.

Once the team was in the briefing room I handed out layouts of the building and surrounding grounds. The positions of lookouts were also noted. I explained the situation, the dangers associated (these guys were heavily armed), and then doled out assignments, including the address on the search warrant.

Next, to make certain that all was still okay, I called the informant who was in the house at the time. He acknowledged that the drugs were inside the residence as well as the key players named on the warrant. Not wanting him there when we arrived (I didn’t want him to get hurt) I told him to excuse himself and leave. He was an excellent informant who knew how to play the game, so I wasn’t worried that he’d blow the deal..

At the briefing, I gave specific instructions—time to hit the doors, who would travel with whom and in which vehicles, and, since this was a nighttime “no-knock” warrant, I wanted absolute silence until the man on the door yelled, “Police. Search Warrant!”

Due to the danger level and area to be covered, the assembled team was fairly large. We needed to secure a perimeter to catch anyone fleeing the scene should they somehow make it past the entry team. There were also lookouts, runners (the guys on the street who sold the cocaine to “customers”) and, well, anyone else who decided to rabbit.

We were all ready to go and someone said one of the perimeter guys slipped out to use the restroom but hadn’t returned. One officer short on the perimeter was no big deal so we left him. There was no time to waste once the plan was in motion.

We left the department and met at a staging area to allow all the vehicles to catch up. We didn’t want a twenty-police-vehicle parade traveling in one direction because that’s a sure sign that’s something’s going down.

Once everyone was in place we headed to the target’s neighborhood. It was dark, late, and quiet. We approached the home, surrounded it, and the “GO” signal was given. The next sounds heard where that of the entry team’s explosive breach of the front door and the raking and braking of windows.

Then nothing.

The place was as empty as a California creek in the summertime. No people and no drugs.

The occupants had left in a hurry, though. An old monster movie was playing on the living room TV, tall cans of cold beer inside individual paper bags sat on a cigarette-burned coffee table, and a pot of red beans and rice was in full-on scorch mode on a hot electric stove eye.

They’d cleared out within a matter of twenty minutes or so. From a house full of drug dealers and a couple of women, to zero.

Tipped off.

The officer who left the briefing room to use the restroom.

Couldn’t have been anyone else.

After a bit of questioning he finally admitted to alerting the drug dealers. He also told me he’d been an informant for a couple of major players in the city. They’d paid him well, he said. Needed the money to pay bills. Spent his paychecks on liquor, women, and gambling and didn’t want his wife to know.

He was fired but not prosecuted.

He died a few months later after suffering a massive heart attack.

We’re lucky that the dealers hadn’t decided to ambush us or you may have seen my name on someone’s Friday’s Heroes page.

 

Police officers face many difficult challenges during the course of their careers, challenges most people would avoid at all costs. For example, exchanging a few rounds of live ammunition with a doped-up bad guy. Or how about working really long, odd hours, or the fear of losing everything you own, including your freedom, family, and possibly your life, should you make a bad decision in that fraction of a split second you have to make it.

And there’s this—the joy of being slapped, hit, punched, scratched, spit on, stabbed, cut, cursed at, having urine or feces thrown on you, puked on, bled on, wearing goofy clothing and heavy gear, and seeing people hurt, sick, and even die right front of you knowing there’s not a darn thing you can do about it.

The danger level of the job is extremely high and getting worse every day. All it takes is a couple visits to this blog on any given Friday to know how dangerous the job really is.

And then there’s the ever popular low pay, little time off, missing holiday time with your family (if you still have one), high suicide rate, alcoholism, drug abuse, fear of serious injury or death, and divorce.

Still, through all the pain and agony and odd baggage that’s attached to every police officer, there’s always someone out there who’ll agree to enter into relationships with the poor saps. And that’s a good thing, right? Well, not always, and there’s a secret I’d like to share with you, the writer. First we must address the fact that you guys don’t always get cop romances right.

Here’s why.

The Three “Romance” Categories of Fictional Cops

  1. The ones in relationships, the Hallmark movie/Nicholas Sparks-happy-ending kind of cop. Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware and  Robin Castagna come to mind, even though the partners sometimes experience and on-again-off-again sort of relationship. And there’s Faye Kellerman’s crime-solving duo Peter Decker, a lieutenant in the LAPD, and his Orthodox Jewish wife Rina Lazarus.
  2. The sad sacks who couldn’t hang on to a steady love interest if he/she were a conjoined twin. Little black dress-wearing Kinsey Millhone, bless her heart, well, the closest thing she had to a longterm relationship is with her dear landlord, 80-something Henry Pitts, a baker who spends his free time creating crossword puzzles.
  3. Then there’s the cop who’s so screwed up emotionally even mental hospitals lock their doors when they see him coming. The latter never finds true love, obviously, and remains a loner, stumbling through book after book after book. I’ll leave this one to your imaginations and personal favorites.

But there’s another kind of relationship, one that’s not really talked about in the world of fiction, and it’s definitely kept under wraps in the real world. But I’m spilling the beans, right here and right now. But you must swear to secrecy because, well … it’s a taboo topic!

We Tried to Warn Them!

Part of the exit speech we presented to new recruits leaving the police academy consisted of a few basic warnings about the potential career-ending temptations cops are sometimes faced with, like access to tons and tons of cash, drugs, alcohol, the fast life, prostitutes, abuse of power … and Badge Bunnies.

Badge bunnies? What the heck are badge bunnies? That was my reaction, too, when I first heard about them during the police academy superintendent’s “Welcome to the police officer family” speech during my last day at the police academy.

* Please don’t shoot the messenger. I’m not being sexist, just relaying some very real information. Of course this does work both ways. There are indeed male badge bunnies.

The term badge bunny is often defined as (from Urban Dictionary):

Badge Bunny: A female that goes out with only cops and firemen.

Badge Bunny: A female who enjoys “boinking” and actively pursuing sexual relationships with cops.

Badge Bunny: A female, usually of barely legal age, who spends her time chasing police officers, offering her “services” in hopes of gaining status among her badge bunny friends. (Yes, there are many cop groupies out there).

Badge Bunny Synonyms – holster sniffers, holster honeys, seat warmers, fender lizards, pig pals, beat babes. Cop wives refer to them by other names, such as whores, sluts, cause for divorce, and alimony bait.

New cops, the ones fresh out of the academy, are the officers who are most vulnerable to an attack from the vicious badge bunnies. They can’t help it, though. Recruits are young, good looking, and freshly toned from weeks and weeks of exercise and other training. They have shiny new equipment, sharply creased uniforms, tight haircuts, but more importantly, they have guns and badges! And they’re extremely naive.

Graduation day at the academy is like sending a pack of Roadrunners out into a world of Wile E. Coyotes. Badge Bunnies know the rookie’s weaknesses because they’ve studied the uniformed species for a very long time and they know how to cull the weak from the herd.

How does a badge bunny attack? They’re successful in various ways. For the sake of time and space I’ll list a few their deadly methods of operation.

  • The fake car breakdown, needing an officer’s assistance.
  • The fake prowler call, answering the door in a sexy outfit, or nothing at all.
  • The grocery store maneuver. You couldn’t reach the Special K even though you’re a good foot taller and eighty pounds heavier than the cop. Yeah, right.
  • Tapping the brake pedal repeatedly when they pass a target police car. The rookie officer sees the flashing brake lights each time the car passes his patrol car. Hmm, she must be signaling him. Is she in trouble? Or is she trouble …
  • Speeding, knowing she has all the ammo she needs to get out of the ticket.
  • Hanging out in cop bars.
  • Hanging out in restaurants, coffee shops, etc., frequented by graveyard shift cops.
  • Hanging out at sporting events, especially softball games played by cop teams.
  • Wearing tee shirts with logos that read, I Love Cops.
  • Establishing friendships with police dispatchers for the purpose of meeting their gun-toting coworkers.

Relationships with badge bunnies rarely last. In fact most of them rarely make it into the light of day. These are secret relationships—brief meetings, encounters, and … well, I’ll leave it at that. I know, your next question is, “Since part of the attraction is the uniform and the cool cop equipment, where do they meet for the clandestine ‘encounters?'” How about  …

  • patrol cars – inside and out (lots of things to hold onto – light bars, spotlights, handcuffs…)
  • surveillance vans
  • police station warehouses and property rooms
  • department offices
  • hotels
  • small airport runways (for the deputies working the rural areas)
  • wooded areas
  • industrial parks
  • SWAT vehicles

Well, you get the idea.

Some badge bunnies keep a scorecard and move on quickly to the next guy with a gun. Sometimes, but not often, the encounters turn into lasting relationships, with kids, nice homes, cute puppies, picket fences, and everything else that comes with a solid marriage.

I offered a brief statement to the recruits I trained when I was a field training officer. It went something like this, “Keep your gun in your holster and you won’t have to worry about shooting the wrong person.” Now, there were two messages there, right? However, rookies rarely listened to the hidden meaning.

I could practically read their thoughts the second I said those words, and I knew they wanted to say to me, “Be vewy, vewy quiet. I’m hunting wabbits.”

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Okay, so you’re a bit concerned that you may be experiencing a bit of badge-bunnyitis? Well, if you have any two of these symptoms, you should  steer clear of all police stations until the feelings pass.

  1. Like moths to a flame, you are attracted to bright and shiny things, especially badges and guns.
  2. You prefer handcuffs and leg irons over diamond bracelets and anklets.
  3. You often speed past police cars, pull over, and “assume the position” before the officer catches up to you … even if it’s the day of your wedding … to someone else.

 

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4.  In anticipation of a pat-down, you attach your apartment key to a weapon you’ve hidden beneath your clothing.

5.   911 to you is free access to phone sex.

6.  You often initiate high speed pursuits. However, it is you who’s doing the chasing.

7  The scent of gun oil is your preferred aphrodisiac.

8.  The sounds of leather creaking and keys jingling sends your heart into pitter-patter overdrive.

9.  Blue lights and sirens = foreplay.

10.  The phrase that makes your knees turn to jelly. “Turn around and place your hands behind your back.”

* Obviously, this piece is intended as a tongue-in-cheek look at a situation that’s very real. In this article, though, I’m only referring to the bad bunnies—the scorekeepers. However, please know there are plenty of folks who are simply attracted to a certain kind of person, especially the men and women whose career choice includes wearing a uniform as part of their means to earn a living, and they are wonderful people who have wonderful, loving, meaningful and lasting relationships. The others, well …