I was a training officer for over 18 years and I had 75 trainees during that time. I had several good trainees and a couple poor ones. The rest were in the middle.

I do not believe in yelling at trainees, it shows that you are not in control. I did yell at one trainee, once. We were working “c” squad in downtown San Diego. I saw a homeless guy stop in front of a small tree and pull out his penis and start to pee on it. We stopped him for urinating a public and he was going to get a ticket for that offense. My trainee was writing the ticket as a spoke with the guy. He started to get upset and wave his arms in the air. He then started yelling about getting the ticket. I grabbed him and started to handcuff him. I looked at my trainee and he was still writing the ticket. I yelled: ” What the fuck at you going?” He dropped the ticket book and helped me cuff him. I asked why he didn’t help and he said that he saw me “choke out ” a guy a couple days before and he knew I could handle him myself. I told him that we fight people together. After the guy calmed down I released him after he signed the ticket.

I had a trainee in southeast on 2nd watch. He was a former army MP with 4 years of service. He was so good that I was able to teach him things that most officers did not know. He caught on quickly and It was a pleasure training him.

I got a trainee that failed 5th phase and he was sent to me to do his phase 5 again. He was a retired marine master sgt and set in his ways. There wasn’t much I could do with him. But in the end he was safe, could hear and answer the radio and write a report. You can’t ask much more from someone in training.

Finding guns on traffic stops.

The first time you find a gun on a traffic stop can be a little intense. But when you learn that people are armed to protect themselves and not to attack you, that makes a difference.

I was working  with a female trainee in the late 1980’s on day shift in southeast.  We stopped a small jeep for some minor violation. We were outside the passenger’s door and I asked the driver for the papers for the vehicle. He opened up the glove compartment and reached in with two fingers and pulled out his vehicle registration and then he closed the glove door. I saw a small handgun in the glove. I had my trainee handcuff the guy and I removed the 25 automatic. It was loaded and after determining that he had no criminal record he was released with a notice to appear in court.

Working 3d watch in North Park in the late 1990’s with a female trainee. We stopped a guy in a SUV for speeding on University Ave. I was the passenger so I was out of our car first. As I walked along the side of the vehicle I saw “security officer” stuff. A “tuffy jacket” and belts. When I got to the passenger door I saw a gun in a belt holster under the driver’s seat. I told my trainee to have the driver step out and walk to the back of his vehicle. I asked him if he had a concealed permit for the gun and he said it expired. We placed him under arrest and he went to jail for the gun and drunk driving. I had her walk up on the passenger side to see if she could see the gun. She did not see it and it was the only thing under his seat.

Working Northern and I made a freeway stop at about 2am on I-5 N/B near old town. I always do a right side approach on the freeway and as I walked up I saw the driver holding a 39 revolver and unloading it in the center console. I waited for him to finish and then asked him what he was doing. He had a limited concealed carry permit to just take money to deposit for his business. He had already done that and he forgot to empty his gun. I have stopped a few off-duty cops and other law enforcement officers and they always announce that they are armed and where the gun is located. In all the cases where I saw a gun I could have pulled my gun on them and handcuffed them, but that just adds unwanted drama to the situation. I always try to stay low key.

Working security on my day off, undercover on the city bus line.

In 1993 the police chief changed policy and allowed officers to work private security on their days off. A couple of police supervisors quickly started a company and got a few local contracts. There were four positions on the city buses and on the trolly. I worked both details, but the bus was the most fun. It was undercover work and we were to watch for crime on the bus. It was mostly “tagging” (spray painting the bus walls) and some other minor stuff. We had to be on one bus line for the run to school and in the morning and the return in the afternoon. One intersection in the downtown area had a major bus stop and a trolly stop about 50 yards apart. There was a convience store between the two and that lot was known for sales of narcotics, mostly marijuana. Since we had nothing to do around 9am to 1pm we throught it would be nice to arrest a few drug dealers. The four of us would meet in a fast food place across the street. It took a couple minutes to identify the dealers and then we would leave and wait for them to approach us. After the arrest we would walk them 2 blocks to the main police station and book them there. In a few months we, as a group, make about 30 or more possession for sales arrests. It all came to a halt when a dealer ran from us and the working police went after him. A deputy police chief responded to the call and wanted to know why off-duty cops were involved. Cops had been watching the action from a rooftop and had seen the dealer take off from us. One of the cops I worked “UC” with still laughs when he recalls me running down Broadway with a backpack in my hand and a cigar in my mouth.

Stage diving, San Diego style.

For several years the city would allow an open air concert event in the downtown area. There would be several bands and various streets and parking lots would be shut down and fenced in. One year  I worked it on  sunday, the last day of the 3 day event. My partner and I were in the “childrens” area and we were looking foward to a slow day. The last band came up and the area in front of the stage was totally packed with people. A couple of knuckleheads climbed up on a city power box that was attached to a small telephone pole. They grabbed the pole and started to move it back and forth. They were right above the crowd and if the pole came loose it would hit several people. I had private security get below them and order them down. They got the “one finger” response. We thought about spraying them with mace, but that would lead to other issues. After 10 minutes past one of them “stage dove” into the crowd below. He hit several people and the ground. He was handcuffed and taken away. I was watching the second guy when I got bumped from behind and I bumped into a girl standing right in front of me. She turned and gave me an elbow in the ribs. She didn’t know she had just hit a cop. The second moron followed his friend, but the crowd moved and he hit the ground. He was cuffed and they both went to jail.

Juvenile arrests

I was working southeast on 3rd watch in the mid 90’s. The recent “push” had been to arrest minors under the age of 18 for being in violation of curfew. The command thought it would be good to get them off the street as both a possible victim and/or suspect. I was focused on drunk drivers and didn’t care much for curfew arrests. One night I was headed for our trailer on 47th St, to get a cup of coffee, when I saw 2 males walking toward the trolley station. They looked under 18, so I stopped them. They were both 16 and it was 11pm and 10pm is the latest they could be out. I arrested them and found 2 stolen city schools hand held radios on them. The radios had been taken in a recent burglary from a school 6 blocks away. Sometimes the little things become big things. They went to Juvenile Hall instead of home.

Northpark in the late 1990’s and I saw a couple kids on bikes and they were not wearing helmuts. They turned into an alley and as I turned the corner one of them pulled a military bayonet out of the back of his pants and threw it behind a wall. It is a felony to conceal that type of knife on your person. He went from a fix-it ticket to a felony arrest. Still in Northpark a 15 year olds mother calls us because another kid took her son’s bicycle. He came up to him and pushed him off his bike a rode off. I took the kid with me and his mom followed in her car. The suspect had taken off S/B on 30th st and thats the way I checked. I found him riding the stolen bike a couple minutes later. Happy ending, the victim got his bike back and the suspect got a ride to Juvenile Hall. (Juvenile Hall is more of a scare tactic. The 1st thing they do is call the parent to come pick up their child. It does give them a taste of the system)


Death and “check the welfare” calls.

I cannot remember the amount of “check the welfare” calls I went on over the years. The call usually comes from family or friends that have not heard from someone and want the Police to see if they are ok.

I went on a call in the North Park area in a retirement home. When we got out of the elevator I knew the person was dead. The smell of death is something you don’t forget and sure enough the lady had been dead a couple days. She had a security screen door and the wooden door was open. She was dead in the living room.

Another call in Pacific Beach and the smell of death. The apartment was empty, except for a body under a blanket on the living room floor. He had been dead a week or so and there was a line of little critters going to and from the body. He had melted into the floor.

We had a body on the beach outside a place called the “marine room” in La Jolla. He had a drink glass near him and we figured he had too much to drink and fell asleep on the sand, during low tide. The tide came in and he drowned.

A call to check on a drunk lying on the driveway of him’s mother’s home. Some of his friends brought him home from the local bar. They tried to put him in his camper in the backyard, but the gate was locked. They left him on the driveway instead. Rule #1 with passed out drunks. Lay them on their side, not their back. He threw up and drowned in his own vomit. His mom was in the house at the time.

We had a guy in Clairemont that died putiing on his socks in his living room. He was on his back with one sock on and the other in his hand. I sat at his dinner table and did my reports while waiting for the coroner to come and get the body. The wait could be up to an hour or more. When I worked Pacific Beach I would volunteer for death calls, to catch up on my paperwork while waiting at the location for the coroner.

Take responsibility for your actions.

I was working the Mission Bay area in the early 1980’s and  checking out the local bay parks for people drinking. I saw five guys standing around a parked car. They all moved when they saw me, so I knew they were up to something. I saw a bottle of beer at the feet of one guy and I asked him it was his. He denied ownership of the beer. They were all in navy, so I started talking to them about the importance of taking resposibility for your actions and as service members they should be responsibile. The guy near the beer changed his mind and claimed the beer. I thanked him for stepping up and taking responsibility. I started to walk around the guys on the other side of the car and I saw a baggie of marijuana on the ground, then another, then another and another. As I held up each baggie one of them claimed ownership. I issued four  marijuana tickets and one glass bottle. Sometimes you run into honest people. I did thank them all for being honest.