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The Myth Of Power Night

By Wyatt Earp | August 22, 2005

God hates me. That’s what it is.” – Roger Murtaugh, Lethal Weapon

Once every two weeks, the Philadelphia Police Department has a quirk in the work schedule. On this day, every officer in the city is scheduled to work. The brass call it “Power Night,” but the reality is nothing of the sort. For example, last night was “Power Night.” During roll call, our sergeant told us that we would have seven cars, one wagon, and one plainclothes team working the tour. Eleven cops . . . out of 22. Batting .500 may get you into the Hall of Fame, but working with only fifty percent of a squad is inherently dangerous.

I don’t have the time nor the stomach to explain everyone’s lack of attendance, except to say that only three of the officers were on summer vacation. Do the math. I guess everyone else got a 24-hour virus. Either way, we started off the night with only five cars and a wagon. (The plainclothes team was doing a surveillance, and two of the cars were assigned jobs right from the gun.) Luckily for me, I came into work in a really sour mood, and this news didn’t do anything to lighten it.

And lemme tell you about the two cars. The first one was assigned to process a burglary scene right out of roll call. Sometimes crime scenes take a while to finish, but a three-year old chimp can do it in two hours, tops. Of course, this guy is a toad, so it took him FIVE hours! That’s not a typo, kids, he took five hours to take fingerprints, while the rest of us were running our arses off. (I had eleven radio calls last night, and considering how slow my district usually is, that’s a brutal evening!) The other jackass was sitting on a city vehicle which was vandalized . . . for FIVE hours!!! Again, if he called the tow squad a.s.a.p., he would have been back in the fight by 2am at the latest.

So, now I’m royally pissed, running around like a chicken without a head (I was given three sectors to cover), and soon noticed it was “Idiot Night” in the district. To wit:

  • My first call is for a burglary report. I arrive on location, and this guy tells me (with a straight face) that someone jimmied open his bedroom window and took . . . his window blinds. That’s it. Nothing else. I laughed in spite of myself, and asked the man if I was being Punk’d. He said no.
  • A little later, I get a call to take a stolen auto report. The woman states that someone stole her car from her lot at work. I ask her for some info on the car and she has bubkis. I knew the quote was coming, so I braced myself: “All of my paperwork is in the car.” I cringed and said, “So, if a cop stops the car, and the driver (read: thief) says he doesn’t have his license with him, but shows him your paperwork, do you think we’ll lock him up?” She says “probably not.” To which I say, “Here endeth the lesson.”

Sidebar: Hey, kids, please listen up for a sec. My job is difficult enough without you guys making it easier on thieves. Never leave your registration and insurance cards in the car. Frankly, it’s an asinine thing to do. Thank you.

  • By 5am, I am pissed, tired, and hungry, so I take lunch with the plainclothes team. My food just arrives when my guests jump out of their seats and run out the door. Being the curious type, leave the food and follow. They run across the lot to the Pathmark, where I see security holding a female shoplifter. Swell, I guess I’m not eating today. The plainclothes guys lock the crack whore up – I checked, she smoked crack and was carrying fifteen condoms in her purse; either she was a crack whore or Rick James (God rest his soul) – and I get the lovely chance to take her to detectives. After the usual crying and pleading, she started her poo. First she tried to kick out the window of my car, then she said I was a “faggot.” Nice. Finally, she said she was gonna call her friends to come kill me tonight. I wish! When we arrived at the detectives, she told the turnkey that I beat her up.

Par for the course.

Topics: True Police Stories | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “The Myth Of Power Night”

  1. fmragtops Says:
    August 22nd, 2005 at 4:35 pm

    Loverly! Well, at least you didn’t get the “Five guys beat me up for no reason.” complaint, or the “I was in [insert local narcotics trafficking area] and some black guy stole my car.” My personal fave!

    Just out of my curiosity, what kind of shifts do y’all work? 8, 10, or 12 hours? I know 11 complaints in 12 hours is tough enough, but if you’re working 10′s or 8′s, that’s the kinda night that takes years off your life.

  2. Dave at Garfield Ridge Says:
    August 22nd, 2005 at 5:38 pm

    “I checked, she smoked crack and was carrying fifteen condoms in her purse; either she was a crack whore or Rick James.”

    Technically, couldn’t she have been both?

    Just sayin’.

    Man, and I think my job is rough.

    Okay, no I don’t, but it’s the spirit of the the thing. Thanks for doing what ya do, man.

  3. Dr. Phat Tony Says:
    August 22nd, 2005 at 6:05 pm

    Please don’t hit on the crack whores. I had also heard that there is a jobe that is worse than crack whore. That would be assistant crack whore.

  4. Tyler D. Says:
    August 23rd, 2005 at 12:50 am

    Damn man.

    At least I keep my registration and insurance cards on me.

  5. Wyatt Earp Says:
    August 23rd, 2005 at 8:23 am

    Fmragtops – We work a 4-2, 5-2, 8-hour schedule. We work four days, then two days, off, then five days, and two days off. Not too bad, but we only get weekends off four times a year!

    Dave – I never thought of that. This chick could have been Rick, since she looked like a corpse.

    Doc- At least “assistant crack whore” has room for advancement.

    Tyler – Good by. You’re learnin’.