Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Am Now A Neighborhood Threat

I have a nightly ritual. Every night before going to bed, I make a phone call to Red. While on the phone, I take a walk around the neighborhood. The conversation may last anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes as I wander the streets. This occurrence is fascinating to many of my friends who know how much I usually despise talking on the phone.

Sunday night, we were reaching the end of our call and I was making my way back home. As I turned the last corner, I stepped to the side of the street to allow a slow moving police car to pass. The car slowed to a crawl as the officer looked me up and down. He stopped directly behind me and the officer got out of the car. I told Red, "I think I need to let you go. The cops are here." The officer was calling for my attention just as I was getting off the phone. Having worked with cops and knowing I hadn't done anything, I was not worried. However, I was suddenly aware of the large black hoodie that I was wearing.

Ever since Ted Kaczynski, hooded sweatshirts
bring this image to everyone's mind.

(removing my hood) "Yes, sir."

OFFICER: "Can you tell me where you were coming from?"

"Sure. I was coming from that end of the street headed to my house. It's right there."  

I pointed it out. I was about four houses away from mine.

OFFICER: "Were you over by the nursing home at any time tonight?"

"Yeah, about twenty minutes ago."

OFFICER: "One of the nurses said you were loitering in the parking lot looking in people's cars."

I started laughing as I shook my head and denied looking in cars. Although, I must admit that with my attire, I must look foreboding.

I spent a couple of years working dispatch at the sheriff's office and was familiar with these types of calls. Police get dozens of calls a night to check out suspicious persons that typically turn out to be nothing. This was one of those times.

I told him that for the last few months, I did this every night as I made my phone call. I talked on the phone and wandered around the neighborhood. At the end of my street is a dead end. It comes to an open field about the size of a city block. On the other side, is my church which shares a parking lot with a nursing home.

That night, the same as many other nights, I had walked across the field and paced in the parking lot while on the phone. Being a large open space, I walked the length of the lot back and forth several times as I talked. I guess it could be said that I had loitered there, but I was not looking in vehicles.

About the time I finished with my explanation, another officer pulled up and got out. Before I could stop myself, I blurted out, "I get two officers! COOL!" At this point, the first officer had already decided that I was not a threat, but the look the new one shot me abruptly reminded me that he did not know that yet.

Both officers were very professional and did a proper follow up by asking my name. I identified myself and followed it with mentioning that I worked at the sheriff's office for two years and even worked at the city police department (where these officers worked) for a month. At that point the first officer recognized me. I was free to go.

As I made my way back to the house, I was able to answer Red's text messages.

"Are you in trouble?"

"Why do the cops want to talk to you?"

I wasn't paying attention and missed the opportunity to have fun with that. Maybe next time.

14 comments:

  1. It's a good thing you weren't arrested. That would make for some interesting blogging but it might affect your ability to keep up with your posting goal.

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    1. I hadn't thought of that. Convicts get access to cable, but I don't believe they have free wifi.

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  2. What with this, and those kids that keep walking into your house, I wouldn't be surprised if your neighbours all got together and decided to run you out of town with torches and pitchforks.

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    1. It's starting to get bad. Now I just need police tape around my house to make it complete.

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  3. I've been pulled over for looking suspicious. I was dropping my friend of at her campsite and the cop asked me, "Do you know why I pulled you over?" When I shrugged he responded, "Because you looked suspicious." 'Twas quite funny.

    Also, I love how people get frightened over people in hoods. What are hoods made for if not for wearing? Also, I, too, walk around the neighborhood when I talk on the phone. I can't sit and talk. It's too awkward.

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    1. Did he tell what was suspicious. I get it with mine. I was hanging around parked cars, but what made you suspicious?

      The hoodie thing makes no sense to me either. They can be used to hide your face, but they can be bought in any clothing store and are quite popular.

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    2. He never said. I drive a Nissan Versa hatchback. I feel like that's the least threatening car. What's worse is the road only lead to the campsite and no where else. If I was going to rob some place, I'm sure I'd go for somewhere with offering a little more value than a campsite. You can only sell a pawn shop so many portable charcoal grills before they stop accepting them.

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  4. At the very least it would seem that you have a polite and responsive police department. How fortunate.

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    1. Definitely. I am not going to complain that I was being harassed or anything like that. They were just doing their jobs.

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  5. But what I wanna know is . . . didja get anything good out of those parked cars? Anything worth sharing? Huh, huh?

    Must be pretty boring working at a nursing home at night. Guess the nurses were looking for any type of nefarious type activity to spark some excitement. They probably discussed the "hooded menace" amongst their colleagues for DAYS.

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    1. The thing is, it really wasn't that late. Several of the residents were sitting out front like they are every night. They just don't seem to like me. I really don't think I look menacing.

      A few weeks ago, a nurse getting off work approached me to see what I was up to. She even asked for my name in case anything happened after she left.

      People are so paranoid.

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  6. (Somehow I missed this post)
    They are responsible for elderly/infirm individuals. After watching Cocoon and Cocoon The Return recently, it's good to know they were alert and weren't going to let you run off with 30 of their charges and take off for outer space!

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    Replies
    1. I was not offended by them calling. We took calls like that all the time at the Sheriff's office. However, I did not appreciate them telling the police that I was looking in cars.

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