Police work: Sometimes it's a crappy job, but somebody has to do it
The cable guy, plumber, electrician and heating and cooling guys all do it, but cops will not. There is usually no time and it would not be safe for a patrol officer. Those other professionals who come in your home may put surgical booties on when they walk on your fine carpet, but the first responders that come in will not. They do not have the time, and usually when they are there it is an emergency, and at that point you will not care.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com file photo
Seinfeld’s question revolves around who the alien observer would deduce is the leader of the planet—the furry one on four legs or the one being dragged carrying the furry leader’s waste products in a little plastic bag .
Being the proud owner of two dogs rescued from the shelter — they are actually number three and four who have escaped the pound and weaseled their way into Semper Cop’s sometimes hard heart — I know the lengths we will take to please our pets.
My pound mutts, Tracy and Savannah, have a fenced in backyard to make their deposits. On those occasions however when they insist on widening their horizons, as a responsible pet owner I, too, must take the humbling and subservient walk behind them with a plastic poop bag.
In Ann Arbor, as in most every community, you must pick up your dog’s deposits and dispose of them properly. Properly in the City of Ann Arbor being double bagged and placed in your garbage cart. Not all pet owners are responsible.
In the course of doing business as a police officer, there will be times when your spit-shined shoe or tactical boot will land in a squishy pile of smelly organic solids deposited by a canine whose owner failed to follow city ordinance. Invariably it comes at a time when, as an officer, you are trying to be stealthy while responding to a potential crime in progress.
I remember the first time my oxford found its way into such a pile of depleted and digested Kibbles N’ Bits. I was interning from the Michigan State University Criminal Justice program—lighten up there Wolverines my first two years were in Pharmacy School at the University of Michigan before I decided to disappoint my parents and follow my dreams—and riding with an officer I would come to work with nicknamed “Buster.”
Buster and I had been dispatched to a barking dog complaint late one night. We got out of the car and walked along the sidewalk. I being on the passenger side got out onto a lawn extension. Buster came up on the sidewalk near where I was standing and whispered, “I don’t hear anything, do you?”
“Nope, but I know they have a dog here,” I deadpanned.
“How can you tell?”
I shone my flashlight down on the bottom of my right shoe, which contained roughly a half-pound of Fido’s feces. Buster began a belly laugh through his great gap-toothed grin. He could barely catch his breath while telling me to clean it up before getting back in the cruiser. Buster had a ball retelling the story throughout the night to other officers we met.
Sometimes you have no idea you have stepped one of Rover’s land mines until you get back in the patrol car and you or your partner take a sniff. What the then the flashlight search of the shoe bottoms confirm what the olfactory senses have reported. Who is the lucky winner in tonight’s Rover Roulette? Both officers then laugh, but the unscathed officer laughs louder.
I am scarred by an incident that happened one nasty rainy spring night. A woman in a well-to-do neighborhood had been plagued by neighborhood kids harassing her and her husband, who was away. While she was home alone with her two large dogs, they started barking and then her burglar alarm went off. The poor woman was terrorized and called 9-1-1.
My partner and I were backing up another officer. He checked the front with my partner while I checked the backyard. The woman and her dogs were locked in the master bedroom on the main floor. After we had checked the exterior, police dispatch called the woman back and she let the primary officer and my partner in the front door. The woman was still scared and wanted the interior of the house checked.
The two other officers had the woman go back in the bedroom and stay with her dogs. I was on the rear deck tapping on the doorwall to get let in by the other cops. Did I mention it was raining and blowing outside? I gave the other cops a "hey you, gonna let me in or what?" look. The other cops being cops shrugged and mugged, maybe we will and maybe we won’t, chuckled and let me in the sliding glass door.
Back to business, I told the primary that my partner and I would check the upstairs and he could check the main level. I remember thinking, "Wow this is some really nice white carpeting on the stairs and our raincoats are dripping wet," but we had to get upstairs and check for intruders.
We checked upstairs and were coming back downstairs when I looked down the stairway and was mortified. Every other step had remnants of her dogs’ backyard landmines I must have stepped in. I looked at my partner in terror, “Oh no... follow my lead.”
The primary officer was now taking the report, chatting and generally playing the role of knight in shining armor for the attractive homeowner. “We’ll check the basement,” I yelled to Officer Community Relations. We went down the basement, cleared it, came back upstairs and made a beeline for the front door. “It’s clear we got another alarm to handle.”
“Okay fellas, thanks.”
My partner said, “Hey shouldn’t we tell .”
“Yeah we shoulda,” I said with a mischievous grin, “but I didn’t want to interrupt the Blue Knight there. He can explain it since he has such good rapport with the damsel in distress.”
OK I'm scarred, but not that scarred since the Blue Knight had to explain it. Sorry lady.
Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.
Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for AnnArbor.com.