Tag Archives: Law enforcement

Courage at Twilight: Staff Meeting Funnies

I have worked 29 years for the same local government employer, both as a criminal prosecutor (two years) and civil attorney (27 years).  Since my appointment as city attorney in 1995, my prosecutors and I have chuckled together at misspellings and grammatical errors in police reports and witness statements.  Spell check contributes to the humor by suggesting incorrect words based off deficient spelling.  I began keeping a list of these comic faux pas.  For years, in my weekly staff meetings, I have “required” (actually merely invited) my staff of four to bring to the meeting their “funnies” for the week.  Inevitably, one of us has a funny to share.  Some are zanier than others; many elicit guffaws and giggles.  I will share some of my favorites with you here, drawn from my 20-page single-spaced collection.  I am not poking fun at my law enforcement colleagues, for whom I have great and enduring respect and appreciation, but am simply finding light-hearted humor in humanity’s frequent communication gaffes.  Today I gave Mom an updated copy of the full list, and could hear her laughing for an hour from her recliner.  I hope you, too, find them amusing.

  • The suspect put a leach on the dog.  (leash)
  • The officer explained the rabies vacation requirements for dogs.  (vaccination)
  • The suspect placed his feet in the potion as instructed.  (position)
  • The officer performed Satanized Field Sobriety Tests on the subject.  (standardized)
  • The suspect’s dog attacked the Minitour Pinscher.  (Miniature)
  • The officer activated his eminency lights and initiated a traffic stop.  (emergency)
  • Refer the suspect for charges of untheorized control of a motor vehicle.  (unauthorized)
  • Refer the suspect for charges of assault on peach officer.  (peace officer)
  • The detective was fluid in Spanish.  (fluent)
  • The suspect did not loose concussions from falling on his head.  (lose consciousness)
  • The suspect stole the change despiser from the till.  (dispenser)
  • The officer saw her in the car huffing from a can of arousal duster.  (aerosol)
  • While the officer was exciting his vehicle, the suspect excited the home.  (exited)
  • The suspects were yelling back and forth searing at each other.  (swearing)
  • The suspect had preciously mixed a drink.  (previously)
  • The suspect was a heavy guy with black bear driving in a red Honda.  (beard)
  • The suspect stated he had smoked a bowel full of marijuana.  (bowl-full)
  • The dog was loose and wondering outside.  (wandering)
  • The officer notified the city reprehensive.  (representative)
  • The witness said there was a costumer in the store.  (customer)
  • The defendant is to enter an impatient drug treatment program.  (in-patient)
  • The suspect singed the citation.  (signed)
  • The wittiness was later identified.  (witness)

(Image by Jupi Lu from Pixabay.)

Chocolate: A Comic Courtroom Play (Scene 4)

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John (13), Caleb (12), Hyrum (9), Hannah (5) and me at the bar of the Federal District Court.

CHOCOLATE: A COMIC PLAY IN ONE ACT
by Roger Evans Baker

This scene pokes a little good-natured fun at the police officer caricature.  (I won’t mention coffee and donuts, a sore spot with my police officer friends.)  Lest I be misunderstood, I have the greatest respect for law enforcement, for who they are, for what they do, and for why they do it.  They bring order to society by maintaining the rule of law within the bounds of the law.  I know of no tougher, more dangerous, more stressful, less-appreciated, more underpaid profession.  I offer police officers my thanks, my admiration, and my respect.  Still, I have read modern police reports that actually used the phrase “dismounted my vehicle,” hearkening unwittingly to the days when deputy marshals dismounted their equine partners while patrolling 19th-century towns.  Now, let’s meet Officer Ketchum.

The Characters:
• The Honorable Marsha P. Stone, Judge of the 13th District Court
• Mr. John Butcher, Prosecuting Attorney
• Mr. Gil Sullivan, Defense Attorney
• Victor S. Bull, the Defendant
• Ashton “Flapper” Cuff, Court Bailiff
• Officer Harold Ketchum, Police Officer
• Vickie Hicks, Bull’s 17-year-old niece
• Judd “Snoops” Lawson, Bull’s duplex neighbor
• Ernest “Tubby” Brown, Bull’s drinking buddy
• Winowna Darling Bull, Bull’s 76-year-old mother

MR. BUTCHER. (with great expectations for triumph) Just one, Your Honor. The best for last. The State calls Officer Harold Ketchum to the stand. (Officer Ketchum, in full dress uniform, takes his seat at the witness stand) Are you or are you not a sworn, certified police officer with 15 years of experience with the renowned Sherman City Police Department?

MR. SULLIVAN. (affecting incredulity) What is this, an awards ceremony? Your Honor, Mayam, he can’t do that. He packs 18 questions into one and bulldozes it all down the witness’ gullet.

JUDGE STONE. (irritated) Oh, grow up, Sullivan. It’s just background details. (she shifts her attention, and irritation, to the officer) Answer the questions, Officer.

OFFICER KETCHUM. (obediently) Yes, Sir, Ma’am. The answer is, Yes.

MR. BUTCHER. Now, then, Officer. Tell us what happened on July 7th.

OFFICER KETCHUM. Yes, Sir. Glad to, sir. (shifting in his seat and clearing his voice, and beginning to narrate like a dramatic newscaster) Police dispatch dispatched me on my new 1,800 mhz radio and routed me to the complaining party’s location, to where I proceeded with dispatch. Upon my arrival, I dismounted my vehicle and encountered the complaining party. I inquired of the events leading up to the complaining party’s emergency call. She narrated to me the events exactly as her niece did a few minutes previous, including the shooting of the said firearm, Sir.

MR. SULLIVAN. (in disbelief) I can’t believe this! H-e-l-l-o! Has anyone ever heard of hearsay? Where is the lady that’s supposed to be so frightened anyway?

MR. BUTCHER. (accusingly) She’s at your client’s house, where she refused to accept a subpoena because she’s too afraid to show up.

MR. SULLIVAN. (indignantly) Look, Butcher–why don’t you just take the stand and tell the whole story yourself.

JUDGE STONE. (flaring) Oh, shut up, both of you! Now move it along Butcher.

MR. BUTCHER. (moving it along) Officer Ketchum, did you ever find this man, Victor Bull, at the scene of the crime?

OFFICER KETCHUM. Yes, Sir, I did.

MR. BUTCHER. (after a pause, annoyed) Well, tell me about it. What and where and when and how?

OFFICER KETCHUM. Very well, sir. I proceeded to investigate the house and the house premises. Finding no sign of the defendant, I proceeded to search again the yard area. Upon shining my police issue flashlight under the rotten redwood deck, I observed the person of the defendant hiding beneath said deck, in a horizontal position, as if sleeping. I instructed him to exit his location. He remained motionless, as if sleeping. I repeated my instructions, and the defendant exited his location, but not without difficulty, requiring my firm assistance to stand and to ambulate to my police vehicle.

MR. BUTCHER. You mean he was drunk?

OFFICER KETCHUM. Correct, sir.

MR. BUTCHER. (delighted, almost singing) No further questions.

JUDGE STONE. Your turn, Mr. Sullivan.

MR. SULLIVAN. Thank you kindly, Mayam. Now, Officer Ketchum. Fifteen years with the department, it is? Certified, are you? Fully trained, are you?

OFFICER KETCHUM. Yes, sir.

MR. SULLIVAN. (innocently) Then tell me this. Just how many times have you been trained in locating suspects beneath rotten redwood decks by flashlight light?

OFFICER KETCHUM. Well, none, sir–not specifically.

MR. SULLIVAN. (with suspicion) I see. And how many times in your distinguished career have you apprehended persons who appeared to be sleeping beneath rotten redwood decks? None, I’ll wager.

OFFICER KETCHUM. Correct, sir, although I have apprehended numerous other suspects who were pretending to–

MR. SULLIVAN (all innocence lost, suspicion turns to combative confrontation) Just answer the questions I ask, Officer. I didn’t ask, Would you please volunteer to me whatever you would like. I asked a simple question, and you gave me a simple answer–no. So it’s fair to say that you have no direct training or experience in the apprehension of people sleeping under rotten redwood decks, with flashlight light at night, right?

OFFICER KETCHUM. I guess not, sir.

MR. SULLIVAN. Did my client have a gun in his possession?

OFFICER KETCHUM. No, sir.

MR. SULLIVAN. Did you search the premises for a gun?

OFFICER KETCHUM. No, sir. I saw no need once we had apprehended the–

MR. SULLIVAN. Thank you very much, Officer Ketchum. That will do. No further questions.

JUDGE STONE. Does the State rest?

MR. BUTCHER. (quite pleased with himself) We do, Your Honorable Honor.

JUDGE STONE. Very well. Present your case, Mr. Sullivan.

[Stay tuned for Scene 5.]