It was a cool autumn evening. My university policing job was proving to be hectic at times but for the moment all was quiet. Suddenly, the stillness was broken by the voice of a friend and fellow officer calling out over the radio, “I need backup now!” Oh well, so much for quiet.
Apparently he had been on foot patrol when he smelled marijuana smoke. The officer traced the source to a particular dorm room, and decided to do a “knock and talk.” In retrospect this proved to be ill advised. What he got was a large male bursting through the door and bowling him to the ground. The subject then fled the area without a trace.
We arrived and found our fellow officer somewhat bruised and shaken from the experience. The subject’s girlfriend was being cryptic and thought that it was all a great joke how the officer had been knocked over by her boyfriend. Whoops, wrong answer, sister! Never tell a cop how funny it was when “your man” knocked another cop down.
Good cop became bad cop, and with a vengeance. I looked this young female thug in the eye and informed her about the Federal Laws against drugs on university campuses. The zero-tolerance portion of the lecture really piqued her interest and greased the wheels of cooperation. Our corporal found a rather large bag of weed in her dresser drawer and the cuffs went on. She started bawling about how those drugs belonged to her boyfriend “Boo,” as she called him. Boo? “You’re joking, right?” I asked incredulously. She continued sobbing and completely ruined her makeup.
She was just entering round three of the “poor little me” routine when the cell phone on the bar rang. It would have probably been ignored had it not been for her slamming on the emotional brakes. Cocking my head to one side, I glanced in her direction. Her look betrayed her. “It can’t be this easy, can it?” I thought inwardly. The caller ID said “Dabness.” Deciding to let it sit for now, I wanted to see if Dabness was, in fact, Boo, and would he call back.
Just then my corporal came out of the room sweaty and happy at the very successful flip. He declared with his Tom Cruise-ish smile and a twang, “T’aint no more drugs in that there room.” I almost lost it but needed to keep up the bad-cop routine. Just then the other phone rang. The other phone, you ask?
That’s right, boys, little “Miss Mascara” had two phones! I picked it up and said “Well looky here, it’s Dabness!” She really started squirming then. This suddenly turned into a fishing expedition of sorts. She wasn’t the innocent little girlfriend left holding the bag anymore (no pun intended). She was now potentially a dealer or distributor; probably not, but one could hope. A quick glance at the corporal gave me the green light to switch roles into “social worker with a gun” a.k.a. “hug a thug.”
Caution was now the name of the game. “Young lady, why exactly do you have two cell phones?” She paused before timidly saying that the black one was new and that she hadn’t canceled the old one yet. Not! A: No one has that kind of money and B: The “new” cell phone looked like it had been dropped into a blender and frapped. There was no way this was legit. The next question was asked dryly. “Are you hooking or dealing?” She tried to get offended, but was ignored. The question was asked again, and just as if it were on cue, the “new” phone rang again. Without looking, I said, “Dabness, for you dear.” She was informed that if she told him that we were there, she would take the heat for the drugs. We made it known that we wanted him, not her. The phone was put on speaker; “I’m braiding my hair” would be the excuse given for not picking it up.
She answered in a soft feminine voice, “Hey Boo, where you been?” “Hey Baby, the Police done gone yet?” He asked in a deep masculine voice. “Yeah Baby, they gone.” The conversation was prosaic at best, but it held potential in getting him to return for his drugs. “Did they get my drugs?” Man, where is a digital recorder when you need one?
“No, Boo, I hid them good.”
“You sure, Baby?”
“Yeah Boo, come get your drugs!” At last we were getting somewhere. She was prompted to end the conversation, she nodded, and the phone was closed. She was still in handcuffs and would remain that way until Boo was under my thumb.
When he called back (like I knew he would) they ran through the same stupid conversation again. My corporal gestured to “mute” my radio and he passed the info to backup units outside the apartment complex. Things were moving now.
As all cops try to come across as “Tubbs and Sonny” it’s funny how often we come across as “Andy and Barney.” As Boo was walking right into our trap we felt charged with anticipation…our quarry was drawing near. Bring it on! The chill of excitement was suddenly halted when the phone rang again and it was Boo…oh no! “I thought the Police done gone, Baby?” “They did, come get your drugs!” “Then why is there a Police car in front of your dorm?” Whoops! The corporal stabbed a finger at my radio. “Mute.” His “speech” was still audible from down the hallway. “Move it now!” he said in controlled anger. Amazingly, Boo was not the brightest bulb in the pack and actually fell for Baby’s cover story about it being a large dorm and “the Police could be here for any number of reasons…come get your drugs!” She really was quite the little actress.
Word came in from one of our spotters that Boo had entered the building. Amazingly, he decided to call Baby one more time. They covered the same droning conversation again while I jokingly commented to the corporal that this was the prime reason why cousins shouldn’t marry but he looked confused. Boo and Baby’s conversation ended with the usual “Come get your drugs!” So, he did. Upon hearing him coming up the steps she was uncuffed. “Don’t you burn us, girl,” she was admonished. I took my place under the bar. My corporal was down the hall by the bathroom. Baby was seated on the couch 15 feet from the front door. All Boo had to do now was open the door.
He knocked. “It’s open,” she called back. He opened the door, my corporal already had his radio keyed up. “All units go,” he whispered, then locked eyes with mine and gave me the “go” nod.
With GLOCKs in hand, we rushed Boo while screaming verbal commands “Down on the ground, do it now!” “A deer in the headlights” should just about cover it. Boo had a fleeting moment of stupidity or lucidity, whichever you prefer. He took two steps back into the hall with a “cheetah” look in his eyes. However, it was quickly erased by the sight of cops coming down the hall in both directions. He got a smug “yeah, whatever” smirk on his face and halfway put his hands up. A double arm bar maneuver applied with severe force erased his “smugness” as we pulled him toward the floor. He landed with a bone-jarring crunch, and let out a streak of blue. He was most surprised to find himself cuffed before he could even get started with the lame threats that most “bad guys” spit in our direction. My corporal later told me that he had never seen anyone cuff a suspect more efficiently. “Thank you, academy instructors!”
After reading him his rights he was asked how it felt to know that he had been given up by his girl. She, of course, was quite apologetic and tearful. It was sad how drugs had wrecked the lives of these two young people. He kept telling us that he wanted to be a man and take the heat for the drugs. He was genuine when he said that he loved his girlfriend very much and wanted to protect her; this made her cry more. His words were marginally touching but it was too late for contrition. He wanted to “be a man” and yet he’d bailed on her in the first place…go figure. Apparently, freedom overcame gentlemanly honor. It’s funny how drugs will do that to you, huh? Ah, amore!
It was a cool autumn evening. My university policing job was proving to be hectic…
by Rich Grassi / Jan 1, 2008