Sunday, November 3, 2013

Woes of an F.T.O. part 1

In 1980 the police department brought a new training program in along with a new training center.  This training center used to be a building used by the welfare department and before then it was a satellite fire station.  The training center was on the outskirts of the City Cemetery.
The new Field Training Officer Program was to have trainers that were senior officers that were exceptional in their investigative abilities, knowledge of the traffic codes, penal code (criminal laws of Texas) and had exceptional knowledge of department policies and procedures.  With this criteria officers applied for the position and were quizzed by a board to fill positions available.
I was one of the applicants and was appointed a Field Training Officer.  To distinguish an F.T.O. from the other officers we worn blue and yellow epaulets on our shoulders.
We began our new responsibility by completing background checks of new applicants.  We'd actually go out and interview references on all those that wanted to be police officers.  It was an amazing experience and I found it quite rewarding. Some would make it to the interview board.  There were high hopes for those that made it to the Field Training Officer Program.
There were 5 training phases.  By the end of the third phase if a probationary officer was having a particular problem with any task their training officer could request they be sent for a week of 'remedial training'.  One of the alternate trainers would have the responsibility to re-train the probationary officer for 1 week.  Upon the return to his/her assigned F.T.O. they would determine if he/she was proficient enough to continue in the training program.  If the probationary officer was unable to perform the re-trained tasks the F.T.O. would document all observations and present them to a board of all the trainers for further training or termination.
During the final phase of training the F.T.O. would wear plainclothes.This way the public would address the uniformed officer who should be able to handle the issues presented. The F.T.O. would only get involved if it was a life or death situation. This phase lasted for 2 weeks and the officer would be released to be on his/her own. This training program was much more extensive than what I had experienced 3 years earlier.
The police department was mandated to hire minorities. I was the only female so having me as a training officer for others was a benefit for the program. 
As luck would have it my first trainee was a female.  I will call her Officer MW.  I was assigned Officer MW during her Phase 3 training.  This would be a 6 week period for us as a team.  During our patrol time we learned about each other.  She was a local girl that had grown up in town.  Her parents owned a home in the southwest section. During this phase of training I drove during the first week to acclimate my trainee to what was expected of them when they were given the responsibility to drive.  As the driver that officer would be in charge of the team.  This first week went well.  We weren't real busy and so we were able to cover a lot of area in town and meet some citizens in our area.  It was important that she be exposed to who belonged in the area so she'd recognize someone who was out of ordinary.
The following week was Officer M.W.'s turn to drive.  She was given the keys and she was to prepare the patrol unit for our shift while I prepared forms I would need to complete while observing her during our shift.
She would pick me up at the backdoor when she was ready to go.  This preparation usually took no more than 15 minutes, but after 30 minutes she still had not driven to the back door so I walked up to the east lot, where the patrol cars are parked, and found her standing outside our assigned vehicle.  She had locked the ignition keys in the trunk of the vehicle when she put her briefcase inside and she didn't know what to do.  She never thought to get a hold of her Sergeant or me for help so she just stood in the parking lot.  I attributed this to nerves and encouraged her to shake it off.   All our units operated with universal keys so we always had access to a spare. We finally made our way to our area of town that I was assigned to work.  This area was specific to her residence area so I felt this may be too easy for her to navigate.  We were at the city limits on the very southwest corner of town.  Officer MW received a call from the dispatcher to respond to a major accident on a major road known as Jasper Drive.  She acknowledged the call.  She then was to proceed to this traffic accident Code 3 which was as an emergency vehicle.  Instead she simply took her time.I was very surprised at her response or lack of it.  After a minute I asked her where we were going?  She told me the right location but she did not seem to understand that it was an emergency response.  I directed her to turn on the siren and the overhead lights so people would get out of our way.  She did this BUT she still drove the speed limit.  We eventually got to the scene. Our backup unit had been there for 5 minutes before we arrived so he was in charge of the scene.  He had to tell her where to go and what specifically to do.  She was able to complete these tasks. They were menial tasks as I assisted the injured and the damaged vehicle towing from the scene.
After the scene was cleared we moved our unit to a nearby parking lot to complete our portion of the report.
Officer MW would complete the report.  She did not ask any questions and actually completed the report as was expected.
At the halfway point in this training phase Officer MW was found to have great report writing ability.  She failed to make any traffic stops for citation or warning purposes.  So I thought perhaps it was due to the area we were patrolling.  Maybe it was too close to home, so I requested we be assigned to another area on the northeast side of town.  Hopefully, she'd respond differently.
Upon our reassignment I explained that she needed to be more assertive in her daily tasks.  She verbalized that she understood.
When prompted for questions she never had any.  This was very unusual.  In the middle of the week I drove and had Officer MW put on a blindfold.  I drove the unit out to a back road and I parked the car with the headlights off.  I then had Officer MW remove her blindfold.  I told her to figure out where she was then relate to me that information as if I were the dispatcher.  She looked around, got out of the car and walked around.  She then got back in to the car and sat down in the driver's seat.  "What did you see outside?", I asked.  She was unable to answer because she was crying so hard. This reaction startled me.  So I told her she needed to start the car and drive until she realized where she was.  Then I wanted her to stop and tell me where she'd been.  After driving out of the area to the main roadway she finally stopped at a local mall.  By then she was physically ill and unable to complete our shift of duty.  I drove us back to the police department and talked with the Sergeant.  I requested he allow her to go home.  He agreed and she was relieved to go home for the night.
This was a turning point in Officer MW's training.  I went over all the incidents with her I had observed and documented.  It was then very clear to me that she was just plain scared to do her job.   After an in-depth conversation with the Sergeant and Lieutenant on my shift it was determined that Officer MW would ride with them for the next 2 days for further evaluation.  I was given those 2 days off so they could see if it was different with me not there.  I agreed.
At the beginning of the fourth week's training I was brought in for a conference about Officer MW's performance the previous week with the Supervisors.  According to them she has no sense of direction and she cannot read a city map.  She could not tell east from west or north from south.  She knows the area of her residence ONLY.  She is afraid of the dark.  The one thing they found out truly frightened me!
Officer MW carried the bullets to her duty weapon in her shirt pocket.  Her gun was never loaded.  She hasn't loaded it since she started her training period.  Oh, my goodness!
Now, I am concerned.  Instead of continuing her training I immediately petitioned for a review and I requested for her to be terminated from the program.  This was very difficult for me as I felt it was a reflection on my training ability.  The review board agreed with my findings and subsequently Officer MW was terminated as a probationary officer.
I would later find that it was my training tactics as a female officer that was truly appropriate.  I knew what was needed to be a patrol unit alone. She felt protected by her male trainers and they were able to pass her through the first two phases.  It wasn't until she realized that I represented where she would eventually be, which was basically alone.
Her falling apart in the dark police unit was a form of salvation for not only her but myself and all the other officers in the police department.  She may have made it through the training program and eventually hurt herself or one of us.  Now, I see that the Lord does work in mysterious ways.
Thank You, Jesus.    



Sunday, September 1, 2013

Good Guys vs Bad Guys...

While I never thought much about notoriety as an officer of the law there were always reporters and or camera crews following any major event that happened in Killeen.  Being seen on the evening news was not new but the events of October 16, 1991 brought worldwide attention to this small military town.

Wednesday, October 16, 1991, was 'BOSSES DAY'. 
It was a sunny crisp and cool morning.  It was a day for my regular bowling league at 9:00 a.m. at the Hallmark Lanes on the southeast side of town.  After we finished bowling we all usually go to the Luby's Cafeteria for lunch. We'd be done by 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. and the business would just be opening about then.
The league finished that day quite early so those of us that usually went to lunch decided that this day we wouldn't go as it was going to be crowded with professionals from the Killeen School District for the bosses day celebration.  And it was not going to open for at least another hour.  So we talked over coffee about our scores and upcoming tournaments.  I drove by Luby's on my way home and noticed the parking lot was beginning to fill up with customers.  I no sooner got home and changed my clothes when I began to hear sirens.  There were lots of them!  Something was wrong as this was highly unusual for this time of day.  My home phone began to ring and it was the police department calling in for all available personnel to report immediately. Something major was happening.
The following is a brief synopsis of what we were told;
'At 12:39 p.m. GEORGE JO HENNARD, 35 years old, drove his pickup truck through the front window of Luby's Cafeteria.  As he exited his truck he started firing two semi-automatic pistols at the occupants.  Members of the Killeen Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety arrived less than five minutes later and a gun battle commenced.  At approximately 12:51 p.m., Hennard shot himself after being wounded by police.'
After this chain of events recovery of the wounded during a medical evacuation, we found thirty three people wounded. This was deemed the worst mass-shooting in the United States history as of that date.
Within 3 heartbeats, of the initial crash, everyone knew the unexpected, unbelievable, terrifying truth.  The driver had two semi-automatic pistols and the pops were the methodical discharge of their combined thirty-four cartridges.  From surviving witnesses the shooter was calm and would occasionally smirk as he fired point blank shots to the heads of his targets.  He would shout, 'This is for what Bell County did to me and my family! This is payback!  Was it worth it!' His face was a steel mask of insane determination.  He was a killing machine without logic, remorse, or tangible motive.  
 The crime scene would take nearly 12 hours to process and the bodies of those who were already deceased stayed in the building during the entire processing.  It became apparent that the shooter zeroed in on young blonde females.  The lady that was a local beautician, another lady and her friend, also blondes, were found hugging each other in their death pose.  It was heartbreaking and a war zone that a lot of officers and myself had never been fully prepared for.  The victims worked for the school district, local car dealership, utility company or WalMart and were known to officers.
Removing the wounded from the scene became even more heartbreaking.  As we loaded mortally wounded men and women on medi-vac helicopters, some were begging us to 'not let me die'!  To comfort them we would tell them we were not going to let them die.  Little did we know that as soon as we let go of their hands they died. The chopper would lift off and head for the trauma center only to discover that saving these lives was futile and that GOD had already taken them home.  A moment of reassurance for these victims was all we could give as our Heavenly Father was in charge at this crime scene.    
The shooter was known to me as was his sister and his father.  His father was an Army doctor on Ft. Hood.  The family was very dysfunctional but no one saw this coming.
This is a true tale of good and evil.
Outside the Community Center off of W.S. Young Drive in Killeen now stands a bench with a monument listing the date and the names of the 23 victims of the Luby's Masssacre.  The defining events of October 16, 1991, will not slip from time for everyone within the emotional radius of Luby's four minutes of murder.  This has created a life's mission for all who participated in the event or suffered because of it.  The mission is-HOPE FROM DESPAIR.

A book was written documenting the entire episode of the day.  The authors, Jason and Elinor Karpf, entitled it ANATOMY OF A MASSACRE.  The book is dedicated to all the victims, the rescuers, law enforcement officers, healers, and everyone caught in the shock wave from this devastating act of evil.
 Looking back my memory is as clear now as it was in 1991.  Now, I have reassurance that Jesus Christ was with all of us that day.  He was there to bring home all of the innocent victims and one day they will be reunited with their loved ones.  He brought me to it, he took me through it, and today, I am who I am because of his unwavering love and support he provided during the tough days following it.  Jesus Christ is my Salvation.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

I have the right to........

The town where I worked is only in existence because of a large military installation at its borders.
So a large part of the population are either military personnel or dependents.  Typical military is that this population isn't stagnant by any means.  Nearly all of the soldiers move in for 2 years and then they move on to another location.  Usually, if I'd come in contact with them I would not see them again unless it was a felony case where they were detained in the County jail.

At one time there seemed to be an influx of military moving to town with wives from Korea or Cambodia.  These women were subservient to their husbands as is the custom in their homeland.  The husband would attempt to keep them out of the American society as much as possible out of fear that they would become 'Americanized". 

Soldiers spent several days and nights in the field at Ft. Hood, Texas and they were not allowed to go home until the maneuvers were completed.  This left a lot time for the wives to get lonesome and seek friendship from other wives.  There were bars and clubs galore in nearby towns, bingo was very prevalent as were churches.  But, churches were not open late at night so other entertainment was pursued.  All these things cost money that these families did not have a lot of.  When the spouses would come home from the fields and either didn't find their wives at home or they discovered all the money in the bank gone this caused trouble.  Domestic disturbances can be deadly for police officers as spouses who argue and fight with each is one thing but when an officer gets involved he or she has to respond according to the laws and not according to emotions. 

One night my partner and I responded to a domestic disturbance called in by neighbors.  Upon our arrival we heard the fight in the parking lot.  The lady was screaming loudly and we were able to hear her being slapped by someone.  A male voice was yelling at her, "I am going to send you back to your parents! You spent all our money and now you will be deported!"  As we walked into the residence through an open door we found them in a bedroom.  We separated the husband from his wife.  She was a very small Korean girl probably no more than 20 years old.  Her face was bruised and red and she was visibly upset and crying.  When I calmed her down she related to me that her husband had left her some money when he went to the field and she had to use it to get a ride to go to the doctor in his absence.  She had to use it all and he was angry about it.  She begged me not to let him send her back to her parents as she'd be disgraced.
I contacted my partner to find out what the husband's story was.  He had related nearly the same story.  He was upset that she'd spent the cash he'd given her.  I asked if he was aware of what she'd spent it on and I was told it didn't matter why.  It was his money and she was to have saved it for him. 
As we calmed down both parties in this dispute we eventually brought them together in the same room.  The husband told us that it was 'his right' to strike his wife if she disobeyed him.  He brought her to the United States and he could have her deported whenever he wanted.  I was taken aback at his cockiness and total disregard for his wife as another person.  So I politely told him that he was dead WRONG!  As long as she has an alien visa she would not be deported on his word alone.  As for the money it was as much hers as it is his.  She is his spouse and Texas is a community property state which means that 50% of what he owns she owns. I recognize that law and so does the military. 

I further explained to him that I as an officer of the law have rights to protect both he and his wife from harm.  The harm may be from either of them or another.  By the look of the bruises on his wife's face it is doubtful in my mind that she received them from herself so in order for me to fully protect her you are leaving the residence at least for the night or maybe more.  Of course this made him more angry and I told him if he continued to be abusive he'd be going to jail but because of his financial issues I would be dropping him off at the east gate of Ft Hood where the military police will deal with him. This is my right!   After a few phone calls the arrangements were made and my partner took the husband to Ft. Hood.
After they'd left I made sure the wife was going to be alright and I even called a friend to come stay with her.  As we were waiting for the arrival of her friend we visited.  I reassured her that she would NOT BE DEPORTED.  She was relieved.  Out of curiosity I asked her how much money did he leave you while he was in the field for 2 weeks?  She told me it was only twenty dollars!  She further related that she was sick everyday and had to get a taxi to take her to the doctor where she found out that she is pregnant.  This child is having a child and her husband needs to grow up! 
I truly hope they make it.
As was usual the wife did not want to file any assault charges against her husband.  We had the ability to either arrest or turn the issue over to the military at that time.  I hoped that I made the right choice as I brought the young family some salvation from harm.

For a short time I was an investigator with the detective division and I was able to work all different types of criminal cases.  This is truly a learning experience that has stayed with me even to this day.
The following case was very difficult to investigate but the outcome is true justice.

A young girl, 16 years old, had told a school counselor that she had been sexually assaulted.  She refused to tell the counselor who had committed the assault.  The school called the police department and reported what the young girl had related to them. This is a heinous crime and we respond quickly to them.  Myself and another investigator went to the school.  We asked the principal to contact the girls mother and to have her come to the school right away.  We also requested that she not be told the issue over the phone and to reassure her that her daughter was alright. 
While awaiting the arrival of the girl's mother I gathered as much information about the child's full name and address and parents name as I could.  I found that her father was a military officer and her mother a business professional. 
When the mother arrived at the school she panicked when she realized that we were the police even though we were not in uniform but plainclothes.  As we sat in an office with the girl and her mother the girl told us all that she had been raped.  She was visibly shaking and crying.  She even seemed to be in a catatonic state as she stared straight ahead as she spoke. Her mother immediately asked," Who did this to you?"  Her daughter did not respond, except to cry.  
My partner explained to the mother that we would be transporting her daughter to a local hospital for medical attention and to obtain evidence via a 'rape kit'.  She would be taken in an unmarked police
vehicle and she was welcome to ride along, if she desired.  The mother stated that she would go but she needed to call her husband first.  The young girl then started begging her mother not to tell her father what had happened.  Over and over again she'd beg, "please don't tell him!"  The surprised mother relinquished and told the girl that she wouldn't tell him.
Upon our arrival at the hospital the young girl was taken to a solitary exam room by my partner as I stayed with the mother.  After the proper paperwork was completed for the hospital record I began to interview the mother.  I asked questions about her daughter's social life and home life.  The mother spoke with a lot of pride when she related that her daughter was an honor roll student, had lots of friends, and went to church faithfully each week.  She is a 'good' girl and mom can't understand how this could happen.  I learned that there is a brother in the family but he is older and away at college. 
When I asked about the outburst over the father being told of the situation the mother said it was probably because her daughter is a 'daddy's ' girl. 
Upon the completion of the evidence processing we brought the mother and the girl to the offices of the detective unit where written statements were completed.  The young girl asked her mother if she could go stay with her grandmother for the night and weekend?  She had no school on Friday (the next day) she didn't want to be alone.  Her mother granted her request and gave me the address and phone number where her daughter would be staying.  Due to the time of night that it was I dropped the mother off at the school to get her car and I then took her daughter to her grandmother's home.
Finally, this day was over!  I went home but the events of the day played over and over in my mind.

Our day starts early as we clock in at 8 a.m.  We discuss the reports from the night before of the 16 year old victim. Crisis intervention  and counseling for her is very much needed. We decide that we need to contact her father and ask him to come to the station so we can talk to him.
I call the civil liaison office at Ft. Hood and ask that they escort this officer to us.  The Sergeant on duty tells me that he is not an officer that he is only a Warrant Officer which is actually a civilian contractor that works with the Army because he specializes in a field that the military needs. He is working through a contract (of sorts) for the Army.  I guess this might mean something to the military but it really means nothing to me other than he has a job and I have to ask for his presence in my office through a liaison.

After about 2 hours of making arrangements for his daughter to receive counseling her father arrives at our offices. He is questioning us as why is he here?  We are somewhat confused and ask him if he had spoken to his wife last night?  He looks at us and tell us that he was already asleep when she came in so they didn't speak. So my partner takes it upon herself to tell him exactly what had happened to his daughter.  He sits quietly and listens to everything she says.  His expressions never change and he doesn't say a word or ask any questions.  This is highly unusual.  When she is finished we tell him that we are leaving the room but will return shortly.  He nods his head.  We leave and go to the next room to watch him react, if he is going to. We watch him through a one way mirror that resembles a window on his side.  This man doesn't even move. 
Because of his lack of emotion we decide that only one of us is going to return to the room and speak with him.  The other is going to simply listen and watch.  We toss a coin and I lost so I get to go back and talk to him. 
I apologize to him for taking so long and tell him that I will be the only investigator talking with him today.  This time he smiles!  I begin by asking him when was the last time he saw his daughter?  He tells me it was Wednesday evening. They were all at home out in the swimming pool.  They'd cooked outside then they swam and lounge until after dark. His wife works at a business where she has to travel a lot so she goes to bed rather early which she did that night.  But he and his daughter stayed out at the pool until well after 10 p.m.  I them asked him to tell me some things about his daughter.  'Like what?', he asked.  Tell me about her social activities.  "Well, she has a lot of friends.  No boyfriends yet, though as I won't allow it", he says.  I say, 'she is a pretty girl and no boyfriend?'
This time when he responds he is cocky and self righteous in his tone and he proceeds to tell me in no uncertain terms, the follow: "I am her father!  I brought her in to this world and I have raised and provided for her for 16 years.  I have the right to be the first man she ever has.  She was a virgin until Wednesday and this I know for a fact because she wasn't raped.  I had the right as her father to have intercourse with her and I did!"  I know I was totally surprised by his outburst.  I had the good sense though to read him his Miranda warnings before I said another word or he did.  After I read his rights to him he said he understood them.  I next asked him why was it not rape?  Did she consent?  (She is a juvenile and can't give consent but he didn't know that) He told me it was not rape because he is her father and it was his 'right'. She fought him the entire time until he overpowered her and he told her it was going to happen so she had better stop fighting him.  He laughed as he proudly told me of his conquest of his virgin daughter.  I was sick to my stomach when he was done.  I wanted to wring his neck but I took out a statement form and a pen and asked him to write a statement of everything he just told me.  
He looked at the paper then he said, "Listen, sister.  I am Warrant Officer*Smith which means I am no dummy.  Once I write down what I just told you I am in jail.  I won't write one word.  What I said in here is simply between you and me.  My word against your word.  There is nothing you can do about it." 
I calmly responded, "Mr. Smith, my name is Investigator T and you will refer to me by that name only.  Warrant Officer means nothing to me as I am a civilian and you are too when you are off the military reservation as you are this minute.  You are correct you do not have to give me a written statement because verbal confessions are biding in the State of Texas.  Mr. Smith please stand up." He stood up. As he did I walked behind him and told him he was under arrest for the rape of his daughter, C Smith."  I clamped those handcuffs on him so fast!
Of course he demanded an attorney and began calling me names which always happens when the guilty are caught. 
I this case I have the right to see to it that he is sent away for a long time.
I made a difference to the little girl he raised as I watched her grow to be a beautiful and successful counselor for victims of violent crimes. She is now their salvation.

Thank You, Jesus, for giving me the strength to be there for her when she needed me.
* (Smith is not the real last name )

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Criminal Activity....too close to home.

Long before I became a police officer I drove a school bus for the local school district.  While employed there I met a mother and daughter.  The mother also drove a school bus and like me she'd bring her child along when she worked.  It was through this mother that I met her husband that was a police officer with the City of Killeen.  Once I began working for the City he and I became great friends.  As people change and things happen in life he and his wife were divorced.  Being away from his daughter was very tough on him.  He was always talking about his little girl and he was such a proud father.  His little girl grew up, graduated from high school and got married.  Her father was so proud of her that she married a God fearing young man and together they were missionaries for their church.  Shortly after her marriage she came to town to see her father for Father's Day.  She and her husband were at a mall on the northeast side of town when they were carjacked.  The young male that wanted their car was armed with a gun and he had jumped in to the backseat of their car and threatened them if they didn't just drive him where he wanted to go.  This did not bring attention of any bystanders as one might think it would.
So they drove him where he directed them to go and he stopped and picked up another young male.  When there were 2 males they decided that the young couple should not be driving any longer so they ordered them to get in to the trunk of the car.  The couple complied and entered the trunk.
The armed suspects drove around town committing offenses and firing gun shots sporadically.
As evening approached the car was getting low on fuel.  The suspects drove out to a deserted roadway that paralleled the boundaries of the Ft. Hood military reservation.  When they arrived at a spot in the road that was away from civilization they stopped the car and opened the trunk.  The young couple was hot and dehydrating fast from the heat.  The suspects demanded money for gas.  The young woman told them they had no cash.  Both she and her husband began to quote scriptures from the Bible as they plead for them to be let go. The young woman told the suspects that God loved them and they would be forgiven for their sins. The suspects became agitated with the pleadings and when they would not stop the recitation of scriptures they shot and killed them both.  The young couple was left in the trunk of the car and the suspects ran off leaving them.
Although the car was in an isolated location the sound of the shots resonated in the area and it brought others to investigate the reason for them.
The discovery of these two young people in the trunk of this car was horrendous to those of us that recognized the female as the daughter of a fellow officer.  His pain was our pain.
Diligently we worked this case and we did make the arrests of the two killers.  It was through the confession of one of them that we discovered why they were killed and how they had begged for their lives.  The killer was sentenced to death and the accomplice is serving life in prison.
Knowing the strong faith of these two missionaries, I am confident that they are in the arms of Jesus awaiting the day they welcome the rest of us home. 

In the neighborhood on the south side of town where my son and I lived there were mostly homeowners but there was one house that was a rental.  This house was directly across the street from our house.  Most of our neighbors were retirees so there were not many kids for my son to play with.  As renters moved in and out of this house there were none that had youngsters my son's age. 
Just before the start of a new school year a young single mother and her son moved in to the house.  He was the same age as my son and they would become fast friends.  They'd walk to school together and they became almost inseparable.  We even knew the parents of the mother so it was like an extended family.  After about a year the mother's boyfriend came to live there too.
The young boy had related to my son that this man scared him.  He didn't really think this guy liked him very well and he couldn't understand why.  Within 30 days of the boyfriend being in the home we began to hear loud arguments between the adults.  We could hear crying and screaming from the mother and see her as she'd leave the house and drive away.  I started to be concerned about her son.  My son wanted desperately to go over and get his friend but it was just not safe at this time.  A few short minutes later the police showed up at the house with the mom.
The adult male came outside and they all stood in the yard talking.  The mother went in to the house to get her son and within a minute of her entering the house she let out a bloodcurdling scream.  One officer ran in to the home and he found her in her son's room.  The child was dead and his throat had been cut from ear to ear.  He had bled to death.  The boyfriend had killed the young boy because he was jealous of him.
Stunned is not quite the word to describe the loss of this young boy.  This was a senseless killing and the man that did it showed absolutley no remorse for his actions. Both my son and I mourned for the loss of his young friend but we also know that he is in the arms of Christ.  Knowing this is our salavation that one day we shall meet again.   


Friday, July 12, 2013

Part 2 Serving Warrants

For a short time I worked for a bail bond company recovering bond jumpers.  This is a job usually reserved for bounty hunters.  Television shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter make this job appear glamorous and easy.  Let me tell you it is neither.  The bounty hunter usually ends up spending more than the reward.  Finding and arresting the jumper insures job security and the adrenalin rush becomes habit forming.

My partner and I started chasing a fugitive who failed to go to court and he failed to stay in touch with the company that posted his bail.  This is grounds for the company to surrender the bond if the person could be located and arrested.  When the individual fails to appear in court the judge will order a warrant for his/her arrest.  The court notifies the bail bond company that they owe the full amount of the bond and they are given 30-45 days to pay the money or return the suspect to jail.
It is at this time that the hunt is on!
The individual that we were hunting knew we'd be looking for him as his bond was very large.  He had previous experience with bonds and failing to appear in court.  If found guilty this time he was going to lose his freedom for a very long time.  So we'd have to be creative to find him and get him in custody.
After nearly a week of checking his regular hang-outs we finally located him in an apartment under an alias name.  Because there were children in this large complex we didn't want to endanger them or anyone else so we waited hoping he'd leave the apartment.  But he stayed in his apartment all day.  We witnessed him standing in the doorway of his apartment talking to friends but he just wouldn't come outside.  As the evening fell upon us
and it began to get dark, I had an idea.  I told my partner to stay and watch his door until I returned.   After approximately 30 minutes I returned with a bouquet of helium balloons.I had all sizes of them and they pretty much hid me behind them.  I had one huge one that said, 'Happy Birthday' on it.   My partner was looking at me with the most questioning face.  I told him that I had remembered that this date was his birthday and he is going to have to step outside his apartment to take ownership of them.  I told my partner to stand around the corner and be ready to grab him.  He shook his head and told me this was a dumb idea.
We will see I told him.  As I walked up to his door and knocked I stepped out from under his porch light and on to the grass which was outside a small overhanging roof.  From inside the apartment he yelled out, 'Who is it?'
I responded that it is a delivery for Mr. Jackson (his alias).  He actually opened the door and when he saw the balloons he was giddy with excitement. From behind the balloons I asked him if he was Mr. Patrick Jackson and he answered that he was.  I then told him he'd have to step out to take the balloons from me.  Without hesitation he took 2 steps out to the grassy area and as he reached for the strings on the balloons my partner grabbed him and placed him under arrest putting handcuffs on his wrists.  I also let go of the balloons and they floated away.
Mr. Jackson was totally oblivious that we were bounty hunters as he was upset that he wasn't getting the balloon bouquet!  He was deflated.
As we took him to the closest jail for booking he told the jailer that no one had ever given him anything for his birthday and he loved balloons.  We got our man, but I felt bad about the way we did it until we got paid for the bounty.  Deducting the $12.00 for the balloons left me with a sizable paycheck and a very happy client. 

Shortly, after this incident I was working the area south of town and the dispatcher called me to serve a warrant for Felony Theft.  The residence was a small neighborhood with only about 10 houses on a dead end street.
So I went to the neighborhood and parked my patrol car in front of the house.  At first I wasn't sure there was anybody at home but I knocked on the door anyway.  A lady answered the door and I identified myself telling her I wanted to talk to Robert Farris.  This was her husband and he was in the kitchen so she called for him.  As Mr. Farris came around the corner he was a white male about 6' 3" showing both arms completely tattooed with motorcycle insignias and gang symbols.  I explained to Mr. Farris that  I had a warrant for his arrest and I showed it to him.  As we were discussing my arresting him I heard a very loud noise of several large motorcycles
outside surrounding the house.  The next thing I heard and saw was at least 20 BANDIDOS inside the house.  Mr. Farris told me they were his attorneys and he didn't think I could arrest him right then.  I knew these guys were part of the roughest motorcycle group in Texas so I backed out of the house and back to my car where I drove off.
I summoned the SWAT team to assist me in this warrant arrest and shortly after dark we all went back to this house and we didn't knock at the door this time we just took it off the hinges.  Out of the 25 bandidos that were in the residence we ended up arresting 15 of them for felony warrants for drug charges to murder charges.  Oh, and I did arrest Mr. Farris after all.
This one warrant pretty much took the fun out of serving warrants for me.  It actually scared the hell out of me.  I didn't know it then but divine intervention was on my side.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Serving Warrants

Serving arrest warrants can be one of the most dangerous jobs for police officers, constables, and bounty hunters.  Warrants can be issued for anything from searches of homes, cars or people.  There must be a lot of information before a judge issues a warrant and the wording must be specific as to what exactly the executing agent is looking for.  When that specific thing is found the warrant is concluded and considered served.  Most warrants are served by a minimum of two officers for their protection as well as the person being arrested or property owners if it is a search warrant.

While working with a narcotics task force of officers from several agencies we served warrants on meth labs, marijuana growers, and dealers  in various locations covering 3 counties in Central Texas.  Being one of only two female officers on this task force we always got to go in after the guys announced our presence and knocked the door in with a ramming bar or they got to kick the door in so we could run inside and stop the destruction of any drugs inside.  We also caught the bad guys off guard and at a disadvantage (we hoped) so the only ones with guns would be us.
After numerous search warrants served successfully I finally convinced the leader of the team to let me be the one to kick the door in on the next raid.  I was so pumped for this and I had something to prove.  As per the plan we were going to be entering the door at the back of the house.  It was early in the morning and as the sun was rising I heard the word, 'GO'!  So as I ran towards the door I raised my right foot and smashed it through the door.  The door swung open with me still hanging in it.  All the rest of my team ran passed me into the house yelling, 'Search warrant, task force.'  As they started the search I am still struggling to get out of the door.  I decided it would be easier to go through the door rather than trying to get out the way I came in.  That was a smart move.  I finally got my turn and boy did I show 'em.
In the debriefing it was a comedy show at my expense.  They all swore they didn't know it was a hollow core door but the more I thought about it the boss said yes to me too quick upon my request.
The next time we planned a search warrant we decided to hit a house that I was real familiar with and I didn't volunteer to kick the door in on this trip.  The informant that had been in the residence just hours before we were to raid it didn't have a chance to tell us that the door was blocked on the inside by a large refrigerator.  The occupants of the home had been evicted the day before and the home owner had moved the refrigerator to clean.  As was normal for radio silence prior to the announcement of the raid I also was unable to tell the team about the new development.  They hit the door with a battering ram, once, twice, and they were about to hit it again when I opened a front window and told them it would be easier if they came in the back door.  The team was completely dumbfounded.  It was my turn to have the laugh. The boss figured this was my way to get back at them for the hollow core door.  It wasn't of course but I wished I had thought of it!
Laughing at each other really was our salvation in difficult situations.

As I began a swing shift at 3pm I was given a warrant for an individual for arrest on the charge of rape.  I contacted another officer and showed him the warrant and asked him to back me up. 
As we approached the residence of the suspect we noticed someone was home.  A male came to the door after we knocked.  I asked him if he was the name on the warrant and he told me he was.  I then requested a driver's license or ID card to verify his claim.  He presented his license which did in fact identify him as the person we were looking for.  I then explained to him that we had an arrest warrant for him for the charge and I showed him the warrant.  He wanted to discuss the charges right there and he was told this was not the time or the place to do that.  He was advised to cooperate and after his bond was set he could obtain an attorney and work it all out. This individual became very indignant and reluctant to follow my directions as I placed him under arrest.  I walked him out side to my patrol car and I opened the back door for him to get in and sit.  At this point the backup officer left.  The suspect sat in the backseat with his legs and feet outside the car.  He refused to put his feet inside so the door could be closed.  I stood there with him refusing to cooperate for about 15 minutes.  Finally, I bent over and picked up his feet to place them in the car.  It was at this point that he lifted his right foot and kicked me very hard on my left arm above the elbow.  My reaction was to immediately pop him in the nose with the back of my right hand.  He yelled and immediately put his feet in the car and I slammed the door shut!
I took him to the city jail and he was booked.  Afterwards he was given medical care for his bloodied nose.  I went to my Sergeant and told him what had happened.  I wrote another report about the assault on me by this individual and we took several photos.  The photos showed a very clear imprint of the shoe this guy was wearing in a bruise.
About 9 months later an agent with the FBI came to the police department and spoke with our legal adviser about a civil rights violation charge that had been filed on me.  The FBI agent was brought to the patrol division and I was called in to meet with him.  When I walked in to the office this agent was surprised to see that Officer T was a female.  This was not stated in his report from the complaining party.  So he read me my rights and proceeded to tell me about the complaint.  When he told me the complainant's name I knew then it was the guy I had arrested on the Rape warrant.  I brought the photographs to the agent of the bruise I received from him on my arm.  I told him that when I hit him it was simply a reactive movement after he kicked me.  This agent was totally appalled at these pictures and he told me that his broken nose was justified as far as he was concerned.  The agent closed the complaint as UNFOUNDED.
Thank You, Jesus.

to be continued......

Saturday, July 6, 2013

You did what?????

During the tenure of my police career I found myself in the darnedest predicaments.  Looking back now I can only shake my head and have a great laugh at myself.

In order to maintain our employment we had to qualify quarterly with our firearms.  This included shotguns and all side arms we may carry during our off duty hours.  The firing range owned by the City was about 6 miles south of the city limits at that time and it was on the outskirts of our landfill area.  So to arrive at the range you had to traverse the landfill and enter a gate to then proceed to a gulley area where the targets and the actually shooting area was located.
Since there was not a female officer on the force when this area was built there were no facilities for me to use the restroom.  I was expected to go out into the bushes.  Even though we were scheduled as when we had to appear at the range sometimes it would take hours to finish the qualifications.  I always tried to be first to get in and get it done BUT it didn't always happen that way. As my luck would have it one particular day I had to go to the bathroom and many of the guys were busy talking about their scores or their weapons so I went in to the bushy wooded area and squatted to relieve myself.  I had to use leaves of nearby bushes in place of toilet paper.  I did not think twice about it UNTIL later that evening when I discovered large red welts along the inside of my thighs and my pubic area.  Oh My Goodness how it itched and was so inflamed that I could not even wear my polyester uniform pants.  I had to call my Sergeant and try to explain to him why I was unable to come to work.  That was quite an interesting conversation, let  me tell you.  Before the night was over I ended up going to the Emergency Room and found out that I had used POISON IVY as toilet paper.  I was off work for a few days  so treatment could be done.  Everybody thought it was funny except me!   Soon after we installed portable potties.
In this case, training in the field of botany would have been a great salvation to me!

Whenever we were dispatched to residences for calls we were taught to not display personal disgust or angst over the living conditions of the complainants.  This was really tough in some cases.  One particular call was for a Burglary of a Habitation.  Someone had broken in to a house and left some items inside the home that did not belong to the homeowner.  So while there I was retrieving some items from under a table and I had to get down on the carpeted floor to reach it.
I spent a great deal of time at this house......dusting for fingerprints and taking photographs.
The house was not the cleanest and my investigation sure didn't help any.  The homeowner was happy though that I took the time to gather information.  I couldn't tell them that I couldn't find the burglars with the prints I'd lifted unless they had already been arrested at some time and their prints were in the system.  Sometimes it didn't pay to be so specific, most people don't understand the process anyway.
While in the residence I began to experience itching.  Not just my arms but my legs as well.  I couldn't figure out why.  I had a partner with me that night and he seemed to be okay.  The itching became worse as the shift wore on.  By the end of my watch I couldn't wait to get my uniform off.  At home I took my clothes off and found them to be completely covered with FLEAS!
The carpet in the home where the burglary had taken place was infested with fleas.  I came to discover that the polyester uniform completely absorbed them so they nibbled on me all night long.
The local Emergency Room was getting to know me fairly well and never knew what to expect when I came in.  Unfortunately, I was allergic to fleas and I began to have a real bad reaction to the bites.  My tongue swelled and so did my fingers and legs.  A night in the hospital and lots of medication finally got me back to life size as opposed to the size of a blimp.  Another valuable lesson learned.
After about 5 years on patrol by myself the Chief decided that Ft. Hood military police officers would be pairing up with some of us to help develop a rapport with members of the military that we dealt with off post.  These guys couldn't enforce the State laws but they could enforce military laws with any member of the Army.  So sometimes they came in quite handy.  They also could respond as directed by any officer they were riding with.  This was also true with any civilians we 'deputized' in an emergency incident.  One graveyard shift I worked, I was assigned to the downtown area where all the businesses were located.  We didn't have big malls at this time but they were coming.  The MP I had with me had been working with me on several ocasions  so I knew what to expect from him.  We were dispatched to a block of buildings that ran alongside the police department for a report of a burglary in progress.  Being that it was downtown we did not use the audible siren or lights and we parked in an alley and exited the car and walked to the backside of the building.  We could hear the voices of the burglars as they were attempting to gain entry via a back door.  As we approached their location quietly they did not hear us.  Other units were responding as well to the front of the building.  Once I knew they were on site I yelled real loud, 'POLICE.  COME OUT OF THE BUILDING WITH YOUR HANDS UP!'  Of course being a female voice they began to laugh out loud as they thought I was alone.  They told me to come in and get them.  So I walked to the backdoor and knew that I was in an area that echoed any movement loudly and I had a shotgun so I racked a live round in to the chamber.  There was no doubt that I was coming and I had a big GUN.  As the echo stopped one of the burglars yelled out that he was on his way out the door...please do not shoot!  As he stepped out the door he was grabbed by the MP and thrown up against the wall and handcuffed.  The suspect was screaming his fool head off.  I guess the second guy figured he'd rather give up than get buckshot in his behind and he too shouted he was coming out.  The MP had stepped away from the building as he exited and saw his com-padre bleeding and all tied up.  He began to cry begging me not to hurt him!  He figured I had done this all by myself and I let him think it.  He did everything I told him to as a strict troop should do when given orders.  All I had to do was handcuff him.  They both later told me it was the shotgun that scared them and they decided to give it up.  It worked for me!  The shotgun became my salvation on more than one incident after that.

All my life I had a fear of heights.  So having to get up on rooftops was not a favorite thing to do.
It was however required on numerous business because access to the inside could be gained from various locations on the roof.  When alarms sounded on the library the roof was the first place we'd usually check.  Climbing up usually wasn't too bad but getting down was always tough for me.  I had to look down to get down!  One night we were on the top and it was pitch black up there.  I had a flashlight but it was small and I couldn't really see where I was going.  I was talking to one of the guys on the opposite side of the roof one minute and the next I was falling off the roof.  I had simply walked off the roof and fell on the bushes that were along the side of the building.  That was one rude awakening!
I really dreaded those calls after that and one time the city fire department felt sorry for my fears and sent a ladder truck to assist me in my descent.  There was no salvation from the laughter after those events.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

continue...Unknown Nature calls #2

On another Saturday morning I had just started my shift at 7 a.m. and had just arrived within the boundaries of the 305 area, which was where I usually worked after we were assigned specific areas of the city to patrol.  This way we became aware of who belonged in a neighborhood and who didn't.  We also got to know the citizens better and formed a bond with them.  At about 7:30 a.m. the dispatcher sent me to a residence for an unknown nature.  She further advised that there would be a language barrier as the calling party was of Asian decent.  I hurriedly arrived at the residence which was partially hidden from the roadway by several trees and bushes.   There was no one outside to meet me so I figured whatever was wrong was inside the house.  As I knocked on the front door I waited for my complainant to open it.  I was about to knock again when the door opened and a male voice invited me in.  This was highly unusual until I walked cautiously inside.  I was met by a man in a wheelchair.  He identified himself as Mr. Floyd and directed me to where his wife was which was in a back bedroom.  When I inquired as to what was wrong all he'd say was that his wife would explain.  So I walked down a short hall then turned right and observed a small asian female sitting on a bed with her back to me.  I spoke to her as I entered the room by identifying myself.  As she turned around I saw the body of a small child lying in front of her on the bed.  The lady was weeping and she told me the child would not wake up.  I immediately asked her to leave the room so I could check the child.  She refused at which time I insisted she go to the living room and stay with her husband.  As she left (reluctantly) I felt the child's neck for a pulse.  I really didn't expect to find one as she already had a waxen look to her face which is normal for deceased people of oriental decent.  Not only did she not have a pulse but she was cold as ice.  This child had been dead for several hours.  I immediately called for an ambulance, supervisor, and detective to come to my location.  As we were waiting for these people to show up I made notes of things that seemed out of place.  The little girl was fully dressed in clean clothes that she obviously had not slept in.  Very strange.
When the paramedics arrived they confirmed what I already knew.  They also told me that the Justice of the Peace had just pronounced the child deceased and the funeral home would be coming to get her body.  It was at this time that I went to Mrs Floyd and told her, "Ma'am I am sorry to have to tell you but your daughter is dead.'  She turned around and looked me straight in the eye and VERY calmly said, 'She not my daughter.'  Shocked, I then asked her who the little girl was to her?  She tells me in very broken english that she is babysitting the girl while her mama is in Houston having a second child.  Mrs. Floyd is so calm that I immediately began to be angry at her for her lack of concern that the child is dead.  I remain cool until I find out what happened.  My supervisors were speaking with Mr. Floyd at the same time as I was talking to his wife.
Mrs Thu Floyd  began to tell me the following events;  The night before when the child first arrived she sat her in a bar stool at the bar and she began reading the book, 'The Little Train that Could'.  After Mrs Floyd finished reading a page in the book she'd give the book to the 5 year old child and tell her to read it back to her.  This little girl had never been to school and was unable to read.  When she couldn't read back the page as Mrs Floyd did she would slap the girl so hard that she'd fall out of the stool on to the floor.  She'd pick her up and put her back in the chair and they'd do this over and over again.  The bar stool was a minimum of 2-3 foot off the floor.  The last time the little girl was slapped it was so hard that both she and the stool were knocked over onto the floor and this time she was bleeding from a split lip.  Mrs Floyd became upset and told the child to go to bed.  The child went straight to the room she was sleeping in and went to bed still crying.
Mrs. Floyd related that she heard the girl get up about midnight and get sick in the bathroom.  She was vomiting and she told Mrs Floyd she had a headache.  Non-sympathetic Mrs Floyd sent her back to bed.  About 4 hours later she heard the girl in the bathroom again so she went to see about her and the child told her she was not able to stand up.  Mrs. Floyd insisted she stand up and when she did the girl fell in her arms and she stopped breathing.  Mrs. Floyd panicked and so she remove the bloody nightgown from the dead child, bathed her and re-dressed her.  She then made the bed and laid her on it.  When Mr. Floyd woke up he instructed her call the police. 
By the end of her story I was ready to strangle this woman.  She showed no compassion or remorse for what had happened.  It seemed that in her native culture in Vietnam this was how they taught their children to read.  Their son was taught this same way according to Mr. Floyd and he survived to be normal.  Well, their son was not present to attest to this.  My supervisors knew me so well that they ordered me to go outside and wait for the funeral home to arrive to give me time to calm down so I wouldn't do something stupid to Mrs. Floyd.
After the child's body was removed from the house and Mrs. Floyd was arrested and taken to the police department jail I re-entered the house and began searching for the nightgown the child wore the night before.  We searched the entire house and could not find it until a small voice prompted me to check in the washer. Lo and behold there it was and it was the bloody gown we needed to support the claim of the bloody lip from her falling off the chair.  I swore that I'd make sure this case was open and shut and this woman would go to prison.
I finally had the chance to talk to Mr. Floyd and find out where he was during the entire reading lesson.  He told me he was in the living room listening to it.  He is confined to the wheelchair as a quadriplegic and  he was no help. He tried to encourage his wife to stop but his voice fell on deaf ears.  
The hard part was yet to come which was to tell the child's mother that her oldest daughter was dead.  I needed divine intervention to aid me and give me strength to have the correct words to tell this mother what a mom never wants to hear.  The Lord alleviated my part in this as we contacted Houston Police to make contact with her.
I worked this case with a passion and testified in the court case against Thu Floyd.  This innocent child deserved justice.  Thu Floyd was found guilty of aggravated murder  and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The justice system in its infinite wisdom of blind justice served as my salvation in this case.  I became an advocate for justice on earth and accountability after death. 
The autopsy showed the child received a hard slam of her head on the floor which cause a sub dermal hematoma better known as a blood clot at the base of her skull.  As her brain swelled during the night she became sick and probably dizzy.  The swelling eventually went to the area at the top of her spinal cord and the base of her brain and it cut off her ability to breathe or move and she died.
Learning to read should not be deadly.  


Monday, June 24, 2013

Unknown Nature calls...

Responding to calls of 'unknown nature' were the worst kind of calls.  The dispatcher had very sketchy details for us as she'd send us to a specific address.  The callers were usually panic stricken, crying, making demands that the police be at their location right away.  Little did they know how far away we usually were but they could at least hear our responding units sirens as we approached the neighborhoods. 
Then there were those calls from third party callers that weren't close by and knew even less.
One Saturday morning as the day was beginning to show activity with shoppers, baseball fields filling with players and parents, dogs walking their owners in the park.  It was about 11 a.m. when I was dispatched to an address on the northeast corner of town.  This was a brand new housing area that was just beginning to populate with families.  The call came from a young teenage girl.  She related to the dispatcher that she was talking to her boyfriend on the telephone and he was playing 'their song' really loud.  She stated that he and she had recently broken off a dating relationship and he was begging her to come back to him.  She tried to tell him that she could not as her father insisted that they both were too young to be so serious.  She knew this upset him as she could hear it in his voice.  The music was so loud that a lot of what he had said to her she could not hear or understand.  The parents of this young male was not at home according to him as they had taken his sister shopping, so he was home alone.  After a few moments of no conversation the caller heard a very loud noise.  She kept calling the young man's name to get a response.  When he failed to answer she panicked and call the police department.

As I was working the area of the residence I was the first officer on scene.  My back up was still quite far away.  I went to the front door and found it locked so I walked around to the backyard and found a sliding glass door that was unlocked.  Not knowing exactly what I was about to enter in to I notified the dispatcher that I was entering the house. As I entered the dining room area I was yelling, 'Killeen Police, any one here?'  There was an eery quiet within this house.  As I walked into the living room I yelled again the same thing and asked if anyone was here to please respond.  Again.....nothing.  There was a long hallway leading away from the living room and all the doors were closed.  Apprehensive but knowing I had to open them all I began opening doors.  Bedrooms, bathroom, and closets produced no one.  One door to go at the very end of the hallway where I heard a faint sound of music so I again announced myself, knocked on the door and heard no movement inside.  Fearing the worst that someone was hurt inside I began to open the door.  As the door opened slightly I saw 2 legs in jeans over the side of the bed directly in front of a stereo so I pushed the door open all the way.  I could not believe what I was seeing.
On the bed on his back was the body of a 15 year old male child, he had shot himself with a shotgun under the chin and literally blew his brains out all over the wall behind him and the ceiling.  The gun was still lying on his chest.  He was obviously dead.  I could literally smell 'death' in the air.  I left everything as it was and called for an ambulance, my supervisor, and a detective to come to the scene.  Shortly thereafter, my backup showed up and I met him outside.  I explained to him what I had found and he went inside to check what I told him.  When the paramedics arrived they went in and confirmed what I knew.  The Justice of the Peace was also called to pronounce the boy deceased.
In Texas where there is an unattended death there is always an autopsy done to confirm the cause of a death.
The hard part now was trying to find this boy's parents to notify them.  Of course there was no cell phone number as these weren't available as they are today.  We eventually found a family member that knew where they were shopping and they would find them and get them home right away.
After about 30 minutes the family returned home and of course were questioning us as why we were there.  This was the hardest notification I ever had to do.  This family was of Asian decent and they were simply devastated.  They wanted to see their son but I could not allow that.  Eventually, our police chaplain arrived and he removed the family from the home so we could complete our job and remove the boy's body.
As I finished and drove to the station the shock was beginning to wear off and as a I pulled into the parking lot and parked I began to cry.  My cry was in agony over the loss of a 15 year old child.  I wondered what could be so bad in the life of a 15 year old to cause him to use a shotgun to end his life.
Here I was a police officer showing human emotions.  My badge and my gun did not stop me from mourning and showing outward emotions for this boy and his family.
 I prayed for strength to get through the complete investigation and be strong for the family.  My salvation was Lieutenant Stephens who emphasized that being human and having human feelings was okay in this particular situation.  He encouraged me to vent by whatever means  I needed to. To this day this scene is clear in my mind's eye.  I will never forget it.

Now, that I look back I see this was the prelude for works of Satan, yet to come.  


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Brotherhood behind the badge....

As I proved myself working the streets to the citizens I also proved to the male officers that there was a place and a purpose for me as an officer.  The acceptance finally came after about 2 years.  As I slowly became 'one of the guys' the acceptance grew not only from the men of the Killeen Police Department but from the Sheriffs Department and the Texas Highway Patrol.  Neighboring cities were also keeping an eye on me from afar for their future hiring of women.  I learned about making arrests for Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant so well that  I only lost 1 case in 17 years.  Our County Attorney loved receiving my cases as they hardly ever went to court and if they did the County won every time.  The State of Texas incorporated a field sobriety test after arrest and prior to the breath test.  It was done inside the police department in perfect conditions.  The officer conducting the test had to perform the tests prior to giving the alleged intoxicated person the opportunity to do them.  The majority of the guys had problems with standing with their eyes closed, arms stretched out to their sides and touching their noses with designated fingers so usually I'd volunteer to complete them with the arrested person.  There was one incident where the arrested person just couldn't seem to walk a straight line without holding on to the wall or stand on one foot.
He was aware enough though to tell me that he could recite the alphabet backwards!  I stopped and looked at him and told him to go ahead and do it.  He staggered over to the front of the camera and began with ABC...and he abruptly made an about face as he continued to the letter Z.  I was dumbfounded.  He thought he'd be able to go home after that and I hated to tell him that he still had to give a breath test before that decision could be made!  Unfortunately, he stayed in the 4-bar hotel for the night.  The officer that arrested him laughed and said he hoped we got to go to court on this one.  But we didn't.
Before long all the outside agencies were bringing their DUI arrests to our department for processing.

   While I was in the police academy I became real good friends with a co-worker by the name of Carl Levin.  He worked for Killeen about 1 year after the academy before he moved to a neighboring city to work.  Carl was my backup on numerous calls when we first started working the road.  I was happy for him if he was happy but I really missed him.  He had been in Harker Heights for only a few months in 1978 working a graveyard shift when he received a call to investigate an arson at one of the local nightclubs in the city.  Carl was a good officer but there were times that he trusted too easily.  A crook or a con is just that, they make their life conning people.  Carl stopped a suspect named Thomas Andrew Barefoot that had been seen running from the burning club.  He exited his driver's door telling Barefoot he wanted to talk to him.  Barefoot was standing to the immediate left of Carl as he reached inside his car to get something.  As he came out of the car Barefoot shot him in the left temple at point blank range.  Barefoot then ran off.  Carl was killed instantly.  He never knew what hit him.  Thankfully. As is in most officer deaths (on duty) Carl contributed to his own demise.  He failed to pat-down Barefoot or he may have found the .25 cal gun hidden behind his big belt buckle.  Being too trusting can be deadly if you are wearing a badge.
There was the biggest manhunt ever in Central Texas for this cop killer.  I was on vacation in Alabama when this happened.  The department called me and told me to get back to Texas ASAP.  Highway Patrol officers provided escort from Alabama to Texas at lightning speed to insure I was there to participate in the manhunt and the services for Carl.  August 7, 1978 is a date I will never forget as I lost a true brother.
This loss was felt so close to home.  Police funerals are the toughest services to participate in.  With the support of the brotherhood we all got through it with a profound respect for those that made the ultimate sacrifice.
I truly believe the Lord must have a special place in Heaven for fallen peace officers, at least I hope He does so  I can see Carl again one day.  
Barefoot was executed by lethal injection on October 30, 1984 in Huntsville, Texas.

In the early 80's Killeen police worked single officer units.  For the majority of calls the dispatcher would only send 1 car.  If there were weapons involved then a supervisor would also respond or another closer unit.  The shift I worked on soon realized that there weren't too many calls that I needed help with.  As domestic disturbances became more violent it became policy to send 2 units just for our protection.  If both parties were present I usually responded with the guys to assist with the woman.  If only one party was there I would go alone.  There was a time though that while I was counseling a wife that her husband came home and he was so very irate.  He resented me being there as he did not allow me to be there.  He ordered me to leave but his wife begged me to stay as she was afraid that he was going to hurt her.  He went to the phone and picked it up to call his 'buddies' to help get me out of his house.  As he picked up the receiver I went to him and disconnected his call with my finger.  He went off and needless to say the 'fight was on'.  We fought to gain control of my flashlight that he was going to use on me.  At some point I was able to call for help on my radio.  After a second I heard sirens coming from everywhere.....
The backup units had to kick the door down to get in the apartment as I could not release the hold I had on the husband.  I was banged up a little but he was too and he went to jail.  His wife went to a Crisis Center and she was uninjured.  Several others also went to jail that were friends of the husband as they tried to stop my comrades from getting up the stairs.
This was the most excitement we had all night.  Whenever I called for help everyone comes with lights on and sirens blaring.
These guys were always willing to be my salvation because they got to get in on the action!!  I was just glad they were there.  


Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Still Small Voice...

While working a swing shift one afternoon and patrolling a field area on the northeast side of town I heard a small voice tell me to stop the car along a ridge area.  For reasons unknown I did stop the car and I got out.  Not really understanding why I was doing this I did it anyway and I walked to the top of the berm and looked over the edge.  To my utter surprise I found a stash of motorcycles.  I stumbled down to them and began checking the license plate numbers or the vehicle identification numbers, if there was no plate.  The majority of these were reported stolen.  This had to be the dump site for the people who took them to come back and recover them at a later time.  When my Sergeant got to my location he was astonished and he asked me how I knew to look there?  All I could say was that I just had a 'feeling'.  How could I tell him that a still small voice told me to stop and look.

While working a graveyard shift I started at 11 pm and I was assigned the area of town in the northwest corner.  My first call was a Burglary of a Habitation.  The complainant was a meek young lady that had 2 small children about 2 & 3 yrs old and a newborn baby.  She and her husband had just moved to this part of town from the south side where they had lived in a trailer park that was always flooding when it rained hard, which it does once in a while.  They were in a duplex that had been converted to a big house.  The main door led to the bedroom where the children slept and it was from this room that the only television they owned had been taken.  The door was forced open by unknown means but it really wasn't all that secure to start with and she was worried about the safety of herself and her babies. 
I stayed there with her for quite a while trying to reassure her that I would be driving by periodically during the night to make sure there was no one prowling around.  This lady's husband also worked deep nights and would not be home.  She seemed to accept this as I left to respond to another call.  I tried to get by the house again during the night as much as I could and I noticed that the lights were on throughout the night.  This was not unusual as I knew she was pretty shaken by the events.
At approximately 5 am another patrol unit found a car stopped on the railroad tracks on the northeast side of town.  There was no one in the car and the keys were missing.  Unfortunately, this was right about the time that the daily train would be passing through town.  The officer ran a registration check on the license plates and found that the owner was listed as the lady that lived in the house where the television was stolen from.  Finding this odd I went to the house and knocked but no one answered.  So I figured she must have been in the car with her kids and it broke down or something.  After about 45 minutes of searching it was determined that we needed to just have the car towed or the train would be striking it real soon.
This incident didn't seem quite right to me so about 10 minutes before the end of my shift I again went back to the house.  As I was walking up the stairs to the door I noticed a large pair of black shoes on the porch that were not there the previous time.  On the shoes I observed specks of red that could have been paint or blood.  I noticed the door was slightly ajar..not opened but not closed all the way.  I knocked on the door and it appeared that there were lights on inside but due to the sun also coming up and shining brightly I could not be sure.  I was sure that I had probable cause to enter but a still small voice told me 'do not go in'.  This voice was very adamant that I not enter the residence so I decided to write a note on my business card and leave it on the door.  This I did and I left.
I went straight to the police department and after unloading my car and walking in to the back of the station, the desk officer began calling for me to come to the front of the station for a distraught person.
My Sergeant and I both responded and found a male with my business card in his hand.  He was nearly hysterical as he related to us that he found my card on the door of his house and as he entered his home his kids were sleeping and he found his wife in the living room lying in a pool of blood and she was dead!  Needless to say, myself, the sergeant and other officers went back to the house immediately.  Upon our arrival I noted that the pair of shoes that had been on the porch were gone.
My heart dropped.  This investigation of the death of Libby Rhymes would encompass several months.
The following year a couple of guys were arrested in Georgetown, Texas, south of Killeen for the murder of a girl named 'orange socks' along I-35.
During the interrogation of these two they related to investigators of another homicide they'd committed in Killeen the previous year.  One of our investigators went to the Williamson County Jail to question them about the Libby Rhymes case.  They told Captain Coats that they had killed her with an ice pick to the jugular and watched her die as she bled out.  One of them killed her because he was jealous of the attention she gave his partner.  He relayed also that shortly after they drove her car to the railroad tracks and left it they came back to the house to clean up and it was then that a female police officer came to the door.  They were on the other side of the door waiting for me to come in and they were going to kill me too.
When Captain Coats relayed this to me I began to have nightmares and needed to be hypnotized to fully recall everything then to be able to fully let it all go.  This team of killers are better known as HENRY LEE LUCAS  and OTIS TOOLE.  Lucas died in prison and Toole died awaiting execution on death row.  Otis Toole also killed the son of John Walsh, Adam Walsh, in 1981.  In this murder he kidnapped the 6 year child and decapitated him.  Authorities found the boy's head but they never found his body.
I never really knew where that still small voice came from until now.
Now I know that it is that of the HOLY GHOST and it served as my salvation in a very poignant way.

Monday, May 27, 2013


When working the graveyard shift it sometimes got real boring.  So the patrol units began to look for things to do after 4 hours and in the deep nights.  A couple of units would have a signal via the radio that would tell us where to go when it was dragging.  One night we decided to do a stakeout.  So we loaded up our trunks with fishing poles and bait.  There was a new school being built on the edge of town that used to have a fish pond on it and it hadn't been covered up yet.  So 3 of us met at this location and drowned a worm or two.  We laughed and we had one of the best shifts for a long time.  We answered the dispatcher when she'd call if we missed a time check.  The only thing we really caught these nights was bites from mosquitoes that also liked to hang around the pond. It was disheartening when the pond was drained and the concrete slab was placed over it. Things change when progress moves forward, however it was fun while it lasted.

On the northeast side of town was a huge public park named Long branch. There were several sections of it with many pavilions, tennis courts, picnic tables, and a playground for kids. This park was DARK in the middle of the night.  There was a curfew but I don't recall what time it was.  The park also border a large cemetery so normally there wasn't a lot of people around the upper portion of the park.  One cold night a Sergeant called me to meet him close by as he needed a back up unit for a car he spotted down near the creek bed and he was so sure it was kids parking down there.  So he told me to walk towards the tail lights that were reflecting back at us when we turned our flashlights toward the creek.  OF COURSE  I had to go first from the east side as I had the furthest to go.  Well, after about 10 minutes I found the 'tail light' and I let the Sergeant know I was on location and it was safe for him to come down as it wasn't going anywhere.  So he comes flying in, running down to see what I had found.  I was laughing so hard because this 'tail light' that he saw was a reflector nailed to a tree!!  He was so disappointed. Lesson was that some things are just not what they seem to be!

Our badges were issued to us by the city and they were as important as our duty weapons.  We always had to know where they were.  If we lost either one it resulted in a disciplinary action, usually a suspension.
After working the uniformed patrol division for 4 years I was ready for an investigator job.  So I started in the burglary and theft division of the detective unit.   My partner was a seasoned detective named Jim Schultz.  Jim was a mild mannered guy that never let his feelings show.  He was always precise and calm.  It seemed that I was the only one that could make him laugh to tears!  One night we had to do surveillance on a building near the high school.  We had parked so far away that neither of us could see the back door of the building because of darkness.  So we had to get out of the car and prowl closer and try to stay quiet and hidden.  It was about 3 a.m. and we'd been there for about 4 hours and there was nothing suspicious, but us.  It was cool and off course I had to go to the bathroom.  I am doing everything I can to keep from wetting myself, when Jim finally looked at me and said, 'I'll race you to the car.' and off he goes.  I tried to run but my kidneys just said WHOA!  He beat me and he thought that was just great fun.
The next morning as I am getting ready for work I can't find my badge.  I am panic stricken.  I go to the office and ask Jim if he has it and his answer is NO.  I check the car and it's not there either.  So I go back to the office and tell Jim I can't find it.  He says we have to go back to where we were last night and look.
Of course he is giving me the devil for losing it and scaring  me about what the Chief is gonna do if it is gone.
When we get to our destination he sends me out to the wooded area to search.  He goes into the building we'd been watching and after about 30 minutes he comes out with a cup of coffee and shows me my badge. 
I just look at it and him and ask what the ????
He said the owners of the building call the PD this morning and told him they found your badge when they were sweeping the parking lot.  He just wanted to watch me worry a bit!!  He laughed and laughed until he wore his cup of coffee then it was my turn to laugh.

In all 3 of these situations, laughter became a form of salvation for our peace of mind and sanity.  There would be days when laughter was not an option and crying would show weakness.        

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Steps toward salvation...

Tonight I experienced so much JOY and LOVE in one place that I have no words to express how I am feeling. All the love is unconditional and I am accepted because I have a strong belief in Jesus Christ. You see I was baptized. Tomorrow, I will be confirmed as a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
We are all parts of one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. For us there is only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.
I believe that I receive blessings because GOD is a giver. I have faith for new adventures because GOD is an encourager. I know I am fulfilled because GOD is in my life and I follow him.
A few weeks ago I attended a Relief Society luncheon with the theme of 'How to Find your Joy'.  A question was asked of all those that were there.  What brings you JOY?  My answer was the first sprout of a newly planted seed.  With my baptism today, I feel that I am the sprout from the seed which is the Word of Christ in the Book of Mormon.
For years I have been searching for the continuation of the gospel.  There just had to be more!  I had so many questions and no source for the answers.  The L D S missionaries came to my door and they had the answers I was seeking.  They gave me the book of Mormon.  As I read the book one chapter after another I wanted to know in my heart that it was true.  I found that truth in the Book of Jacob Chapter 3 verse 2.  The verse reads as; Oh ye all that are pure of heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of GOD, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.   
I believe that today is my first step on the path that leads me to eternal life with Jesus Christ.  As I stand before you, I am proof that dreams and possibilities are endless when you believe that Jesus Christ is the one true Savior.  In my heart I know this is just the first of many good things to come.  This is my testimony that I submit in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.


Friday, May 10, 2013


I have had several first things in my life; first born, first to be a sibling, first to graduate, first to go to college and graduate, first female police officer in Killeen, Texas, was the first to marry and move away from home.
The part of being first isn't all that much fun as there are no examples before me to learn how to not make mistakes from.  I guess it is to be compared to being the 'guinea pig'.  Sometimes there was a lot of fun having the new clothes first.  The #1 spot was not my favorite when it came to getting a spanking though, that was painful when I knew I didn't deserve it but no one would confess so we all got one!!  Share and share alike I guess.

After returning from my son's wedding in March I was really ready to move back there.  The weather was warm and sunny, all my friends were there, my son's new family was there.  And I was here.  I prayed that the Lord would lead me to my purpose for being here as He is the one that sent me here to begin with.  I felt I had failed in my mission to bring my family close together again.  None of them are willing to forgive each other and move on as a family unit.  I want and need to belong to a 'family'.  As I continued looking for the answer to my question from God one day after work there was a knock on my door.  I opened the door and there stood 2 young men that identified themselves as missionaries.  For some reason we began to discuss my relationship with the Lord.  They inquired if I had ever read the Book of Mormon and I replied that no, I had not ever had the opportunity to do that.  One of them handed me this book and asked me if I would read it.  I told him that yes, I would.  He requested a phone number so he could call me to see if I had any questions about the contents of the book.  I gave it to him without even thinking.
After closing the door I sat down and said a prayer asking God to give me a sign that this Book of Mormon that I was about to start reading was true and that this was something He wanted me to read.  As I began to read the book it struck me that I found it so enlightening that I could not and did not want to stop.  I felt a strong warmth of the Holy Spirit present as I read the words of the prophets.  I had the feeling of total peace and a strong desire to follow this written word.  I am still reading the book at a minimum of twice a day.  I could not wait for the missionaries to come back so we could talk.  When they came they invited me to church where I was introduced to several members.  I truly feel that I belong there.  Everyone treats me like a member of a large family.  They still do and the overwhelming feeling of complete and unconditional love is so great.  For the last several weeks for 3 days a week and on Sunday I have been in lessons so that I can be baptized.  Being baptized is the beginning of cleansing my body, mind, and spirit to be Saved so that I can live an everlasting life with Jesus Christ.  I will then be a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints and I am so excited.  The Holy Spirit is in my home and I can feel His presence everyday.  I am a very blessed person!
I have already encouraged others to at least read the Book of Mormon to experience the joy in the words written by the prophets that received the gospel from God.  It is a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and like the Bible it contains the everlasting gospel.  I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World and that I will be with Him forever when He returns for the second resurrection.

This feeling of immense faith is another first for me.  So now I know that when there is a knock on the door it may be SALVATION looking for me!           

Monday, May 6, 2013


As you can well imagine this new world was quite a challenge to me.  One of my first assignments was as a downtown walking patrol.  This meant that I was on my feet all day and there was no carrying anything but a ticket book. And I also had to wear one of those saucer hats whenever I was not in the car.  My hair was long and thick so it was a challenge to keep that hat on and still look presentable.  The ticket book was not in a metal holder it was just placed in the back pocket of my pants.  Besides carrying the leather belt, gun, handcuffs, radio and holder, flashlight and case and baton and holder around my waist I had to carry the ticket book. One particular cold morning I went to the ladies room and took off the leather belt and went in to the stall and forgot about the ticket book.  As I started to sit down I heard a 'PLOP' in the toilet.  I turned around and OMG it was my ticket book!  I fished it out and it was sopping wet through and through.  Since we were accountable for all the tickets we signed out I placed this book in my locker and hung it up in hopes that it would dry and I could use the remaining tickets.  After all it was only water.  After a couple of days the book was dry enough to use.  My training officer asked me why they were so wrinkled?  I told him what had happened in a short and sweet statement.  After he stopped laughing and with tears in his eyes he said I was the first officer ever to issue Scratch and Sniff tickets!

I never spent a lot of time around guns growing up.  Handguns nor rifles nor shotguns as I was raised in the city. 
Although I was a decent shot with the handgun I was afraid of the shotgun.  To load and unload it was not something I enjoyed.  One early morning as I was finishing up a graveyard shift at 6am I had parked my patrol unit and was unloading the shotgun by ejecting them one at a time.  I had the barrel of the gun pointing at the driver's side window.  Once all the rounds are ejected you were supposed to pull the trigger to release the tension on it before storing it.  Usually we kept 4 rounds in the gun and as I looked in my lap I thought I counted 4.  Unfortunately, there was only 3 which meant there was one in the chamber.  So as I pulled the trigger it went off and I watched every single piece of glass fall out of the driver's window in slow motion.  I also blew buckshot onto the patrol unit parked next to me and damaged the overhead light bar.  I calmly radioed for the dispatcher to send my Sergeant outside to my location.  I didn't know whether to cry or just what to do.  I could not hear anything and I was scared.
Most days one of my fellow officers would stand beside the door and chat with me before we finished our shift.  This morning thankfully he did not do it.
I was suspended a day without pay and I went for extensive training with the shotgun.  Then it became a friend and would one day be the catalyst behind keeping me safe as I encountered two burglars in the middle of the night.

It doesn't rain much in Texas but when it does there is usually puddles everywhere as it is mostly rock and it doesn't absorb water very well if at all.  One night myself and another officer were chasing a suspect through an apartment complex.  The other officer was behind the suspect a few feet and I was coming at them from the left side hoping to distract him.  As I was running across the courtyard my feet slipped on the wet grass and I fell face first in to a huge mud puddle.  The suspect stopped running to watch me fall and the other officer was able to arrest him.  They both were laughing so hard at my expense.  It was a collar for the both of us even though I never touched the suspect or came close to him!

Quarterly the entire department had to qualify at a firing range with our duty weapons.  This particular time they decided we would run an obstacle course.  Climbing a small fence was the first obstacle.  I got up one side of the fence but as I went over it my leg of my jeans hung up on the top of the fence.  Needless to say, I was left hanging there for several minutes while all the guys had a good laugh at my expense.  When I did it again I got right to the fence and simply ran around it.  As long as I got to the other side was all that mattered.

When ever the dispatcher sent us to a major call we normally responded with overhead lights and sirens.
 I was sent to a major accident in the rain one afternoon on the main road through town.  As I got to the scene and exited my car the lights and the siren was still on.  Much to my chagrin I locked the doors of the car when I exited.  I had to humble myself and call for another officer with the same model patrol car to come and unlock my unit.  So my car sat in the middle of the road with the siren going and the overhead lights revolving for about 15-20 minutes.  Traffic was backed up so it took the responding help a little longer to get to me.  Talk about embarrassing!  

These are just a small sample of some of dumb things I did over my career.  If these stories brought a smile or a chuckle to you then I have brightened your day.  In another segment I will reveal more to show that being a street officer has to have some comedy to offset some of the horror you see everyday.