Thursday, March 2, 2017

You Know What They Say About Karma

A few months back I wrote a ticket on the beach to a guy who was a total asshole. He had nothing but vile things to say, and was completely uncooperative. I ended up having the cops come out and he was nearly arrested. Unfortunately, this happens more often than you would think. I had completely forgotten about it until the other day. A man who had witnessed the event was asking questions about it, including "How do you deal with that?" Truth is, I believe in karma. And karma hasn't failed me yet. Here are just a few of many examples: (BTW, I work for the police department, so I have the luxuries of police dispatchers and officer support. Many ACOs don't.)

Last month I stopped a guy on the beach. His dog was running amok while off leash. I told him I was giving him a written warning and asked for his information. He didn't have a driver's license on him, so I ran him through dispatch. He said his name was David Fletcher and gave me his birthday. It came back empty. I asked him to verify the info in case I misheard. Still nothing. We tried running his social security number and that didn't work either. I called for an officer to assist (standard procedure). Before the officer arrived he said "OK, try Scott Johnson" and gave me a different DOB and SSN too. That information came back with a driver's license. When I handed Mr. Johnson the citation he said "Hey, you said you were giving me a warning!" I smiled and answered "And you said you were David Fletcher." I guess we both lied!

Years ago I had a woman run from me on the beach. She ran over the dunes in a place that I couldn't take my truck, and then ran the wrong way on a one-way street. I called it in over the radio and asked if an officer was nearby. She had a funny looking dog and a loud shirt, so she was easily spotted. The officer got her information and I wrote her a $30 civil citation for having her dog off leash on the beach. Then the officer wrote her a criminal notice to appear running from me (official lingo: hindering or interfering with the duties of a code enforcement officer.) When we appeared in court the judge laughed, fined her $100 and ordered her to send a letter of apology the department. She sent the apology, but we all knew she didn't mean it.

Back in 2007 I wrote a couple tickets to a guy. He ran from me and hid in the dunes. I found him hiding behind a kayak, his dogs wandering the beach unaccompanied. He was kind of weird and he had an odd, multi-ethnic name -- Carlos Lipschitz. He contested the tickets, but didn't show up to court. I was granted judgment by default and didn't think of Mr. Lipschitz again. Seven years later I got a call from the FBI. Apparently Mr. Lipschitz applied for a job with the agency, and during the vetting process the FBI saw that he had a judgment for $100 in animal control tickets. FBI Guy wanted to know if the tickets had been paid. I told him "No, but I wrote them. I remember the guy." FBI Guy was more than happy to hear the story. We chatted and I asked what happened next for Mr. Lipschitz. FBI Guy said "Well, I bet your tickets will get paid. But we're not going to hire him. He has a couple outstanding parking tickets too. The way I see it, if someone can't take care of the little things, we can't trust him with the big things." Several days later I got a call from Mr. Lipschitz, saying that he "remembered having outstanding citations" and wanted to know how to pay them. Poor schmuck didn't know yet.

One of the drawbacks to a small town is that everybody knows the mayor. And no matter how polite you are, some people get offended when you tell them they're breaking the rules. It's not unusual for people to call and complain. (This is why we have audio and video in our trucks.) My sergeant always backs me up but he hates being blindsided, so I try to give him a heads up whenever possible. This is the text I sent him yesterday:
FYI: I just wrote a ticket to James Grad on the beach. He was pretty agitated. But I watched his dog walk from the ocean to the dunes off leash at low tide. Also, I gave him a written warning back in December, so he knows better. It's a solid ticket. However, he's really going to be mad when he gets home and discovers that I wrote his wife, Nancy Grad, a no-leash ticket on the beach this morning. He will probably call. Sorry. OK, not sorry.
And that my friends is the small town drama that I deal with on a regular basis. Like always, the stories are true but I changed names and other identifying information to protect the innocent my ass! It's an odd job, but I'd like to keep it. -- K

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