Category Archives: THE CRAB DIARIES (Maryland)

Life experiences from our time while living in, and anything while associated in Maryland. Posted every calendar scheduled full moon as of March 2016.

THE CRAB DIARIES: SNOW ESCAPADES

HYATTSVILLE, MARYLAND

Long, long, long time ago, sometime prior to 1988, my immediate family lived in the town of Hyattsville, Maryland, which is only minutes from the Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C.  Living next door to us was a white family, and one girl I remembered named Maggie, who I just had little kid feelings for, but it wasn’t meant to be. On the other side of our property was another neighbor, who was just as creepy as the tall white guy that flew around on his make-shift plane in the movie Mad Max.  If you don’t understand or know what I am talking about, go find a clip or watch the movie, Mad Max, and you will understand what I am talking about.  You will just need to pay attention to the guy that flies his stupid little helicopter.

Across the street from us was a neighbor who had a beautiful dog named, King, and he was exactly that, a King.  I can’t remember what kind of dog he was, maybe a Husky or mixed with at least Husky, but he was huge and when he barked it sounded like it came from deep within the loins.  We lived on Buchanan Street, closer to the main road of Kenilworth Avenue, and the closer convenient store to us was a 7-11.  On this particular day, I can’t remember if we didn’t have a car available or it was missing somewhere, but my mother and I had to go to the store for some items we needed.  Whatever our transportation issue was at that time, we couldn’t use it and had to trump it out on foot.  However, the challenge was that a Nor’easter or just a heavy snowfall that day, was coming through the area and had dumped numerous inches and feet.

I remember as my mother and I prepared to trump out on foot, we had to make sure we bundled up and kept asking each other are we ready to go? Lol! We made our way out of the neighborhood, which wasn’t that bad until we hit Kenilworth Avenue where the major issues with our trip started.  The plows didn’t come through our neighborhood for a long time and struggled with keeping up with the storm, but the knee deep snow made the walking to the store adventure quite fun and challenging.  As I said before leaving our side street wasn’t too bad, but once we hit the main road things changed completely.  I think we were heading to 7-11, and my mother had on her long burgundy-black coat that I thought only she owned in the world, and walking along the shoulder of the highway was an added challenged as the piles of snow were angled and extremely deep.

I don’t remember how many times we stumbled, fell and got stuck in these mountain reigns of snow, but it was fun and made us laugh the entire time.  Numerous times my mother would think that we should turn around and go back home, but she wanted to keep going so she could get this errand completely finished.  I don’t know how long it took us to complete this endeavor, but we made it there and back with no problem.  After that I had always wanted to repeat that same trip, but each time it would snow heavy we had no reason to go out and repeat the endeavor so it never happened again.  However, it was something I would never forget and always cherish!

Henry Scott

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THE CRAB DIARIES: THE BLOODY KNIFE

Any one that has worked in law enforcement for a brief period of time, will know that things can change in a heartbeat. No domestic call is the same, no traffic stop is the same and no assault call is the same.  That definitely holds true with this incident that happened during my traffic stop, or should I say I was aware of it after my stop.  During one of my night shifts, I remember pulling this car over on Route 1 for some simple violation.  I might’ve been there for some time or not, but the next thing I know I see two more of fellow officers pulling up behind me.  It ended up being a “routine” traffic stop that I cleared with either a warning or citation, but the next thing I remember is that I heard someone running up behind me yelling out to me.  I turned around and saw this young female running towards me, across the road, with this very concerned and desperation look on her face.  When she got close to me, I just remember her telling me that her roommate just attempted suicide and that she needs help immediately.

Without telling the other officers that were there with me, I just immediately ran across the road to the house where the girl came from. Unfortunately, my radio wasn’t getting great reception inside the house so I couldn’t hear anyone calling me at first.  After following the young girl into the house where her roommate was lying, the first thing I saw was just the fear in the eyes of the other girl who just attempted suicide.  As I got further into the room, I saw the large kitchen knife lying next to the girl covered partially in blood.  Obviously, I quickly removed the knife from the scene, or at least away from her, and quickly went into action to stop the bleeding.  I was expecting the girl to fight me from trying to save her life, or trying to treat her, but she cooperated with me every step of the way.  When I was able to hear on the radio that I was being called, I finally was able to inform the dispatcher of what I had and what was needed.

I’m not sure how quickly the paramedics got there, but I remember they were there pretty quick. The whole scene lasted maybe only a few minutes, but felt like it last for several more.  Then, just as quickly as it started the scene ended with both roommates heading towards the hospital.  Each time I wanted to go back to the house to follow up on how things are, I either got distracted with something else or some type of energy just kept me away.  So, unfortunately, I never got to know what happened to the girl who nearly ended her life and if she ever got help.  At the time that happened, the scene was out of our jurisdiction so no written report of any kind was documented, except me responding and people being transported.  Few years later, all that changed when majority of the city became part of our patrols and anyone being treated and/or transported by the paramedics was documented.  Situations like that I often wonder about people that I come across in life at their worse, and how they progress or digress as time goes on.  So many times in our career we don’t get to see the outcome of our assistance with people and victims of certain crimes.  I often thing does the girl even feel appreciative that I came and helped her and didn’t leave the area right away?  Does she even remember who I was?  Somethings in life you will never know.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: TWENTY YEARS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT

I really didn’t give it much thought until my wife brought it up while we were grocery shopping at Walmart.  It was a continuation of our conversation in the truck and she mentioned that she has told other, especially other police wives that I have been involved in law enforcement for twenty years and counting.  As I stood there and thought about it she was absolutely correct!  It all started for me back in July of 1997, one month after I graduated from high school, when I was robbed at gun point for my mountain bike in town.  This was a traumatic experience for me and for the next three days I was in fear that these two men would come after me for getting them caught by police.  For those three days while I was in fear of revenge, I was in West Virginia visiting my second oldest sister and her kids so I had some comfort of them not being able to find me temporarily.

Before it all went down in the streets, I remember sitting in front of CVS Pharmacy on a bench eating my Roy Roger’s when two young men walked in my direction.  My instincts immediately spiked and I left and got on my bike to rush home.  I was approximately thirty minutes away from home, by bike, and I knew I needed to get there as soon as possible.  I even passed a fire department on the way home and if I was thinking I should’ve stopped there, but of course, it didn’t come to reality about that until after the fact.  I saw them coming behind me in a car and as I cut through the community college parking lot, one of them attempted to get out of the car as it was still moving to chase me down, but I quickly changed direction and doubled back.  They left and didn’t follow me and I knew at that point I needed to get home like right now!!

Going down the main road in town, peddling as fast as I can constantly looking behind me for the guys, I passed the 7-11 and they spotted me.  The fear struck me to peddle faster, but they sped up and pulled along side with the driver pointing his gun, sideways, at me saying, “Give me the bike! I ain’t playing around!”  Feeling defeated and scared to get gunned down just minutes from home, I dismounted and the passenger got out and approached me.  He kindly took the bike and told me to walk on as he put my bike in the back.  This is when I noticed they had another bike in the back already, purple and orange mountain bike.  The two drove off and made a right up into my neighborhood, but within a few minutes they came back right by me, which at this point I was able to confirm the plate number, make and model of the car.

Unknown to me two other kids witnessed the armed robbery and notified the county officer who lived on my street.  The county officer came down the street and put me in the car and immediately took my statement.  A couple hours later a detective came to my house to get an official statement and showed me some pictures of guns that might’ve been used in the robbery.  I was able to point out a gun that similarly represented a nine millimeter, which was found to be a BB or pellet gun.  Sometime later, whether the same day or next day, I was at the police station looking at old year books since one of the suspects I had seen at my school a year prior.  One of the two were caught the same day in the town of Lanham and charged with the robbery.  I was told at one point that I was able to point out one of the suspects in record time, which made me feel really good.  About the next day or two days later we left for West Virginia and it was raining part of the way there.

Several months later I was at the circuit courthouse ready to testify at the criminal trial with one of the suspects present.  At first, he plead not guilty, and I was so nervous to do so knowing how important my testimony would be for his conviction.  Then with a stroke of God interfering, the defendant suddenly changed his plea to guilty.  A sigh of relief went over me and he took the full wrap of the crime, but I never knew what happened to his cohort.  I was just happy that everything went well and we won the case without my testimony.  Shortly, after the trial I was invited to come check out the Prince George’s County Law Enforcement Explorer Program.  My demeanor and dedication to this case impressed the detective and wanted me to get a background look at what law enforcement was all about; not to mention I was actually thinking about doing police work as a career.

I went to one of the meetings and I immediately fell in love with the program!!  I spent just over a year in the program and experienced a lot.  I learned what it felt like to be McGruff (the crime fighting dog) and dressing up in the costume with a small fan that barely kept you cool, been interviewed on camera by the local channel 8 news, scenarios at the police academy, won gold at the Explorer Olympics in the 400 meter and coed volleyball and promoted through the ranks-ending at the top as captain.  In September 1998 I ended up leaving the explorer program since I was scheduled to leave for basic training later that month, which was changed to February of 1999.  I enjoyed my time in the program and promoted it to anyone that wanted to do law enforcement as a career to get the inside look that most people don’t get to see.  Hence my taste of law enforcement started off of a bad situation, which created a silver lining of wanting to do my best to keep others from experiencing the same thing.

From then I was a military policeman in Maryland Army National Guard and served in Panama, Germany twice, Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Enduring Freedom and served eight and a half years, University of Maryland Police for eleven years and currently a deputy sheriff in Vermont.  I give credited to the explorer program of where I am now in life.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: GAS SPILL

GAS! GAS! GAS! It what is yelled at the top of your lungs to other soldiers who are in the area when a deadly or dangerous cloud is seen floating in the air.  You have only seconds to dawn your gas mask, clear it and to secure it tightly on your head.  In case of a chemical or gas attack, you can at least protect your eyes, the exteriors of your face and your respiratory system.  God forbid you have to use this in real life to save yourself and your other comrades, but the decontamination process is another important step you must know and perfect as well.  Anyone that has a decent amount of training in nuclear, biological and chemical training will tell you that by the time you smell, taste or touch the contaminate it’s already too late.  At that point you can only hope to escape the area as soon as possible and find proper help immediately.

Although I have never had to put this into real life situations, I think I created a situation that probably would’ve gotten anyone to evacuate.  I can’t exactly remember where we were, but I do know that my wife and I were at a train station preparing to either come home or to visit my mother in law.  Either way being amongst a large crowd of people trying to squeeze through double doors and down a set of stairs is not safe and enjoyable.  The worse was when my wife and I had to change trains and ended up on a PATH train heading towards New York City.  For whatever reason the transportation of trains was in disarray and we ended up packing like sardines on this one train.  I’m not cool with large crowds to begin with, but my wife, however is not a fan and can get very anxious when embedded in such crowds of people.

When we got pushed and smashed up on the train, we were very close to certain people and obviously, if you were not on your hygiene game that day it smelled!  Surprisingly, it wasn’t all that bad, but you can feel the tension of everyone being on top of each other.  This was not the scene of where I think I caused a mini evacuation of a train platform or scene.  At one point during our trip, one track was or train was available at the time and they had to pack as many people as they could in one stop.  For some reason I’m thinking that we were all rushing towards the train platform because it might’ve been the last train that night, but can’t say for sure.  If it was the last train for the night that would explain why we all were rushing and pushing for the advantage to get through the double doors and down the stairs.

In this particular situation when the call came for my wife and I, along with hundreds of other passengers, we all quickly walked towards a set of doors at the same time.  We didn’t know how many of us were going on this train until we rounded a corner and saw more people coming from the other direction.  Our thought upon seeing all these people heading towards the same set of doors was completely overwhelming.  After the double doors were opened it was like a huge amount of water pouring from a dam after release.  People began pouring and running down the stairs as quick as they could, but it didn’t help things for us that were still stuck trying to reach the door.  Suddenly the flow of people going through the door slowed down and it got really bogged!  I felt my wife and I beginning to separate from each other as it seemed like she was being pulled or pushed back.  Obviously, I was afraid that I would lose her in the crowd, get trampled, get left behind and whatever else could go through my mind that was not favorable.

By this time I reached for her hand and held her tightly next to me.  I was all but ready to get physical to make sure she was next to me and not left behind to her demise.  I could feel her getting very anxious as we continued to push through crowd to reach those double doors of freedom.  I don’t quite remember what she said, but she said something that definitely expressed her uneasiness with this crowd and the WANT of getting out amongst the ocean of people.  I soon took care of this when I felt a rumble in my stomach, and I knew for certain it wasn’t the rumble that was calling for the Porcelain God.  I might’ve whispered in her ear and told her I will take care of this crowd and clear everyone out immediately.  Within a matter of a few seconds this royal rumble that was happening in my stomach, finally exited through the rear and out amongst the hostile population LOL!  The killer part was that it was very silent and very long so no one knew who the culprit was.  The villain.  I have to say within a few seconds after that I looked behind me and saw a hole open up in the crowd like Moses parting the seas.

The hole grew bigger and bigger as we got closer to the doors of freedom.  It was even funnier when people tried to avoid that pocket formed that was now contaminated with human expels.  In the midst of the abyss opening up amongst the crowd, I heard one short woman yell out, “Aww! Who did that?!  These motherfuckers stink!”  Still to this day this was the funniest thing that I have ever heard during a situation that I caused!  Soon enough the smell of such gas being released consumed the crowd and made people move even quicker through those double doors.  Finally we found ourselves going through the doors of freedom and down the stairs we went.  I’m not sure or don’t remember what we did after that, but years later this is still something I crack up about.  Normally some people would be appalled or embarrassed about passing gas amongst strangers and friends.  I admit that this was my proudest moment of human expels simply because it accomplished two things: 1 – it got the crowd moving much quicker and 2 – it made my wife not feel so anxious anymore.  It was a very proud day!

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: THE SUNKEN SHOE

LARGO, MARYLAND (Teenager)

Growing up from the earliest part of your life, childhood, until you left your parents’ home, we have all heard them tell us don’t go somewhere, don’t hang out with someone or don’t do certain things. What do we do at that age, we want to go explorer and continue doing what we think is right and what we want to do, despite knowing the punishment we will face if our parent’s, especially our mother, caught us defying them.  This was the same thing my mother would always tell me when we lived in a small town called Largo, which was established in the late 1970’s, risen from dense woodland.  In one part of the town, there was somewhat of a clearing, where you would think they were going to build one or two houses, but the ground was never broken.  So this huge clearing went from dirt and mud to growing green grass, which may have been at least five feet tall at one point and where a skinny dirt path was somehow created alongside a creek.  This creek flowed through parts of the town, and whenever it rained heavy enough, the main bridge that you had to take to get into the neighborhood would be flooded.  Living there long enough, and experiencing some of the weather patterns when it rained, you could easily figure out that the creek would rise above the level of the bridge and at times even nearly submerging the bridge.

Now the bridge was only maybe ten feet above the flowing creek, but the banks of the creek were not properly built to withstand rising levels. It became such a problem that those that lived on the edge of the creek, whose backyards laid adjacent to the banks, kept getting their basements or first floors flooded with dirty, muddy and sandy water.  The creek really smelled over time and never turned back to the color of water and where you could see the bottom anymore.  Finally, the town rebuilt the banks of the creek and no more flooding of the bridge, which had to be repaired due to the crap in the water constantly flooding.  However, before all that even became a huge issue, for those reasons alone about the creek, my mother, and most parent’s, would tell their kids to stay away from the creek and not go down to that part of the neighborhood.  Despite all that happened, however, the creek, which encompassed the open grassy area where the new homes were never built, some of our memories come from being in the forbidden land.  We all knew that we would be crucified when one of our friends nearly drowned in the creek, and was completely drenched in that dirty creek water from the neck down.  To give you the background of how that happened, think about the curiosity of a child, or young teenager, and how they try to use their mind to engineer things to accomplish something else.

Well, we didn’t engineer anything except heartache, emotional instability and the wrath from our parents who were, obviously, angry and ready to knock our heads off with anything they could find. When this happened, there were probably six to seven of us standing on one side of the creek looking over at the other side, figuring out how to get over and expand our Louis and Clark expedition like motivation.  There was a massive tree that some time ago fell across the creek, and possible to use to shimmy your way across, but it was too unstable and didn’t quite fall to the ground.  So although the tree was the best way for us to cross the creek onto the other side, it wasn’t low enough or we weren’t tall enough to reach it easily.  Not to mention the part you could easily reach was over one part of the creek, and if you stepped in the water the bottom would give way and cause your foot to be submerged.  With that out of our option of possibility, we either had to walk through the water or attempt to jump across and land in the middle of the creek on some small patch of rocks and dirt that stuck out high enough above the water level.  One friend, who was crazy enough to attempt some shit like that, actually got a running start and jumped across to that rocky landing.  Even though he made it across the first part of the creek, he still had an even bigger jump from the rocky landing to other shore line, which was impossible to make without going into the water.

However, when he made the first jump across, part of the rocky, dirt landing area sunk underneath his feet, which nearly made him go under. He was able to grab on to the rest of the landing and pull himself up, but we all quickly realized that jumping on that landing would not be the best way to go.  So our last course of action was to walk through the water, which was raging underneath, unknown to us, but you would think we would use common sense to just turn around and go home.  One friend, who was a girl and played tackle football with us, attempted to walk across by going through the water, which, of course, would require her feet to touch the bottom of the creek.  She quickly found out that was not very smart as she quickly started to sink through the creek bed the further she went into the water.  It got to a point where she began to panic and tried to turn around to come back, but by then she was too far into the water and her feet got stuck underneath the creek floor.  Almost immediately she began to panic as she started crying and yelling out to us to help her because her feet were stuck and she was still sinking through the creek floor.  At this point you could see that she started at waist high and now at neck high within a matter of minutes of being in the water.  Thank God, we had one friend who knew how to swim, but his problem would be seeing her feet under the water.

See, the creek was always brown and dirty, and when he went under the water to free her feet, he had his eyes closed and used his hands to feel his way; while they were both kicking up the sandy bottom polluting the water even more. He came up numerous times to catch his breath, but had me hold the girl’s hands and arms so she would stop sinking while he attempted to free her feet blindly.  Obviously, she was panicked, but while he was doing that she kept kicking up more of the sandy bottom and sending herself further underwater.  I did my best to keep her calm above the water, while he worked his ass off to free her feet from the quicksand bottom.  I was partially in the water up to my waist and did my best not to get myself stuck as the bottom kept sinking and sliding, which kept my feet moving.  I don’t know, but maybe about several minutes later, we were able to free her from the water, although she was free from danger and out of the water, she was more disturbed that she lost her shoe.  My best buddy did his best to find her shoe under the water, and shifted through the sandy bottom for it, but never found it.  Of course, we all feel defeated about the effort, but soon that feeling was turned to fear as we made our way home on our bikes and on foot.  I can’t remember what happened to us when we all got home, but I do believe I was grounded for at least a week.

Even after everyone served their corporal punishment within their confines of the family court, we soon slowly made our way back down to the creek, but much smarter than before and never attempted to go across it again. I do believe, however, all of us that were there that day watching our friend nearly drown in dirty creek water, were seriously affected by it.  We hardly ever talked about it and moved on with our childhood lives like nothing ever happened.  It was amazing how we were there for each other when shit went south very quick, but got on each other’s nerves at times through our growth.  How many children or kids can say that now with our society more technical and full of computers than before when all that happened.  Oh, and I think the girl that nearly drowned lost either money, keys or something of value under the creek water that she had in her jeans.  Oh well, at least I know her shoe is part of the history of that creek and who knows where it is now and what condition it is in at this point several years later.  God only knows.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: SOME THINGS ARE DIFFERENT, OTHERS REMAIN THE SAME

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND

“THE LEGAL SIDE”

You would think that if you are coming to an event, such as a wedding, formal dinner rehearsal or some kind of very important activity that you would put on the proper attire?  Right?  You would also think that coming to a courthouse would require the same amount of energy? Especially, when you are coming to the legal house to fight a traffic ticket, criminal case and/or to deal with attorneys to plead with them to handle your case.  Well, I sometimes wonder what is going through people’s mind when there is potential that you will be standing in front of a judge to defend yourself?  The judge is pretty much going to judge you by your representation.

Now, I understand when you are coming to the courthouse to fight or challenge your traffic ticket that you are not dressed in a suit, which I don’t expect, but I do have the expectation that you would wear something ‘appropriate’.  I don’t think showing up to the courthouse in your club attire you had on last night is very appropriate and going to play hard in your favor; especially if you are dealing with a judge who has been on the bench for a thousand years, and still stuck with the old ways of thinking.  Showing up in your clothes that looked like you went rolling around in the flower bed before entering the courthouse is not going to help you either.

However, I completely understand that some that are less fortunate or homeless will show up in whatever they own just so their ass is covered.  I am certainly in no way talking about those that are truly less fortunate, but I am speaking on those that know better and certainly have the wherewithal to at least understand what it is they are showing up for.  I don’t think the judge appreciated the miniskirt that is so short with only a couple of centimeters before your ‘female essence’ is shown if you step or bend wrong.  These are just some of the examples of what the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) area had to offer.

With that being said, and knowing I can go on for days with how people came to court, another important thing about coming to court is to make sure you pay attention.  This is the same rule that applies to all courts across this country, but somehow you always have a handful of those that just don’t want to or struggle to understand.  When the judge says to you “When you hear your name called please answer ‘here’ before or as you approach the defendant table so I know that you are here”, you would think people would follow instructions and do just that.  Well…sad to say that didn’t always happen…shocking I know, but it was honestly comical to see how the judges would react.  It wasn’t too funny to the defendant when an arrest warrant or FTA (Failure to Appear) was the verdict because you failed to listen; even if you were present in the courtroom.  That’s how serious this was to most of them.

I remember being in court one day, as I wait for my traffic case to be called on the docket and my wife sitting in the back to witness the foolishness that she so much enjoyed watching, Judge Love called up a defendant and in talking to him he got really agitated.  For one, Judge Love didn’t appreciate being interrupted as he was giving instructions or explaining something to you and certainly didn’t appreciate stupid and idiotic people.  On this particular case the defendant told the judge ‘Hold on! Hold on!’ as he was being explained something.  OOOO!  Judge Love got real upset, and I believed cocked his head kind of sideways, and responded in kind, ‘Did you just tell me to hold on?!’  Ohh!  Snickering followed, including me as well with the ‘Oh what the !@#$ face!’

Needless to say the gentleman (being politically correct) quickly recognized his mistake and backtracked with the quickness.  That sudden change in his verbal direction saved him from not only being scolded and possibly being held in contempt.  I can almost guarantee you if that was a visiting judge, a judge from another county within Maryland, he probably would’ve found himself wearing silver bracelets and escorted to his temporary hotel for a few hours at least.  One woman found out by wearing these silver bracelets and being held in contempt of court was not worth the gum she was chewing, which said gum got her in trouble.  How? For not following instructions!  This female judge, who I can only remember her name as Patricia, did not play around and got real offended if you did not say ‘Thank you, judge!’ after your case was dismissed or heard.  She was also very strict on her instructions and made an example when she held that woman in contempt for chewing gum.

Another judge I remember a few times was Judge O’Brien.  I think his pet-peeve, or at least one of his pet-peeves, was people running red lights.  I say that because one day I was again in traffic court waiting for my case to be called, and each defendant that he called up to the table and found guilty, he would double the fine!  Now, I believe a red light ticket was about $150 and carried two points.  So if you were found guilty in your case to fight the ticket, you ran the risk of having your pockets a little light in the green.  That is exactly what happened when a security guard showed up for court to fight her ticket and I was the officer that issued it.  Somehow she figured that even though she ran a red light and nearly t-boned me as I was making my U-turn, she was able to fight it and have the charge/fine reduced or even dropped.  Little did she learn from others in prior cases when they were called.  To make the story shorter, when Judge O’Brien heard both our testimonies, she left with an expression of defeat and despair when the verdict came of her new fine! $300 Fine! Three points!

A couple of county judges were, in my opinion, to soft and to light, but some were just down right mean and less sympathetic.  Now, all of this I just explained took place at the District Court in Hyattsville, and some of the other ratchetness took place at the Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro.  Majority of our criminal cases and some traffic cases were held at the Upper Marlboro courthouse, which was a much nicer and bigger courthouse and operated by the sheriff’s department.  The courthouse in Hyattsville is operated by the bailiff’s.  I may have to save those stories for the Upper Marlboro courthouse for another day, but sometimes transporting our prisoners thirty minutes south to the circuit court was a blessing and a curse.  It was merely an unwritten rule that if the prisoner was cooperative and at least respectful, we would take them to Hyattsville; only a ten-minute drive.  If the prisoner was an ass and wanted to make things difficult, we drove them to corrections at the circuit court.  They were much more ‘meaner and stricter’ than those located in Hyattsville.

Many of the college students we dealt with thought we would just hold them in our small cell at the station then release them later.  Some got their world rocked when they found out we would transport and leave them with the real criminals (murders, robbers, real thugs, gang members and others that were held on misdemeanors and felonious crimes).  Some could be heard crying their eyes out and make pleads to be set free or moved to another cell.  No matter which DOC you were in neither staff wanted to hear people crying as they considered them ‘bitches’.  Very often was the DOC in Hyattsville closed due to full capacity of prisoners, which forced everyone in the county to go to Upper Marlboro.  When both DOC’s were closed?  Well…you really couldn’t do anything or arrest anyone unless it was for crimes you could issue criminal or civil citations let them go.  Needless to say whenever the DOC in Hyattsville was closed, it made every officer go into the mode of ‘I’m only going to arrest if I have to because I don’t want to go to Upper Marlboro.’

Either DOC closing made things difficult at times and definitely made an impact on what you would do on the streets.  Then the smartest thing became if you could write and release?  Then you write and release.  This made things kind of easier, but almost counter-productive as you had to gather more information.  Not only were the closings a pain, but the constant change in how you would process your own prisoner, which agency would receive better treatment and how your report packet should be put together got frustrating and annoying.  Although we hardly ever had to present our own prisoners, if your arrest packet or folder was not properly put together they would either call you back to fix it or just not present the prisoner to the commissioner.  Some commissioners were just as bad, if not worse, than the judges who would view the cases.  If your application for an arrest warrant, search warrant or even a summons was missing a word, phrase or a line, even if you had great probable cause, would deny or make you rewrite it.  A few would assist you and help you in the corrections needed, but others were just not helpful.

To Be Continued…

THE CRAB DIARIES: PUNCHING A TICKET TO JAIL

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND (UMPD)

I think every officer who does this job have cases in the back of their mind that they don’t think about much. My case for this one is no different to that statement, but I can’t tell you what made me remember this brief case.  This is one of those cases that kind of sticks out because I’ve never had this happen before it happened and haven’t seen it since.  On this particular night I was on patrol on one of our busiest roads cutting through the city, University Boulevard.  I don’t remember, and I don’t think, we had assigned sectors yet, but I tend to hang around on this road looking for people smuggling drugs and/or weapons.  Sometimes I would just get lucky and get something else I wasn’t looking for, but that happens in police work.

While I was sitting on the side of the road, a car came traveling by me at a high rate of speed, and I think the car had equipment issues also. However, after the car went by me, I pulled out from the shoulder and began to pursue the vehicle.  By the time I caught up to the vehicle, it was approximately one mile away from the time I spotted the car first passing me.  I don’t remember the final speed I was at when I caught up to the car, but I do remember by the time I did pull the driver over it was two people in the car, not just one.  Once I called out the traffic stop, and my final location to the dispatcher, I stepped out of my patrol car and started my approach.  What happened next completely took me by surprise and got me to react very quickly.  As I continued my approach, I probably got to about the “kill zone”, where the space lies between my cruiser and the violator’s vehicle, when I saw the driver punch the passenger dead in the face.

I immediately responded and rushed the rest of the way up to the car and pulled out the driver. Of course, I immediately placed him under arrest for second degree assault.  By this time my back up responded and helped me contain the scene from getting any worse, which I didn’t think would happen anyway.  After getting the passenger out of the car, I realized that it was a female that he hit in the face.  What words were exchanged between them I don’t know, but while investigating the situation, I found out that the driver, who was the either the husband or boyfriend, was probably cheating on his wife or girlfriend.  She was more up front with her explanation of the situation then he was, but he seemed to be more upset with her then being placed in silver bracelets.  This was something that I had never experienced before, but I quickly squashed the situation before it got worse.

My explanation to the girlfriend or wife, who is now the victim of this situation, was that he was going to jail regardless of how she felt about it. I certainly expected her to give me some grief about it or her opposition to the disposition of him getting arrested.  She never once gave her opinion of why he should not be arrested and was very cooperative throughout the time I was there.  He was cooperative as well, but tried to give me some attitude, which didn’t carry him very far.  Not much was said on the way to the county jail, and not much was said when we got there.  However, he was released on personal recognizance and don’t know what happened to him after that.  Court for the stop came up weeks or months later, and he didn’t have to serve any more jail time, but was apparently served with a Peace Order from the female.

I can only anticipate that they got a divorce, but that would also be wishful thinking. You have to be aware of your surroundings, and especially when the police are stopping you for a simple traffic violation.  We are all being watched by either Big Brother or by some self-aware citizen who wants to be on top of things that are happening in our society today.  We didn’t have body cameras at that time, and not all of our cruisers were equipped with vehicle cameras too.  I would’ve like to watch this video of how things played out and my reaction to the situation, which suddenly turned south.  Again, be aware of your surroundings and you never know when and where the police will be, so you don’t have to punch yourself a ticket to jail.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: PLAYGROUND FOOTBALL

LARGO, MARYLAND (Teenager)

I didn’t grow up in a poor neighborhood, nor did I grow up poor or as some would say ‘less fortunate’, but the kids in the community were very creative and had great imaginations. In order for a large group of us to play football, we either had to find someone’s backyard, a series of backyards or go hardcore and play in the street.  We didn’t play football in the street too much, but it was definitely the turf for kickball, which I will get into at a later time.  Our football field moved numerous times, and I remember we started to play in my backyard and used the neighbors’ yards to mark our end zones.  That worked for a while, but as we got older and bigger my backyard became too short of a field, so naturally we had to search for another location.

I can’t remember in what order we went in, but I remember for a good long while we ended up using a series of lawns, which were not fenced in, as our football field. It was a good length size field, but eventually the home owners of the four lawns that we were using came out and banned us from playing football.  So for the first time in many years we were given a ‘No Play Zone’ and began to worry that we wouldn’t be able to play football anymore.  Now, we did have a neighborhood football field, but it was too far and no one was going to drive us or ride their bikes all the way across town just to play football.  So once again our search was on in the area to find a new football field, which we found one, but it definitely wasn’t ideal.

It was an open field and just big enough to accompany two teams of maybe 8 on 8, but anymore than that and you felt crowded. Sometimes we would get as many as we could, and have subs, to make it more challenging.  However, streaking above us were powerlines that were just high enough for us to not worry about, but surrounding the outer perimeter of the field were the back of homes.  We had no clue who owned the land, but played there until we didn’t play anymore, which wasn’t long before some of us were drafted to play flag football for a church league.  That was the first time we all played together in an organized fashion, and even though we lost every game we played, it was a good experience.  I was drafted as the quarterback and basically ran the offense and called the plays, which wasn’t long before the other teams marked me as one of the top players on the team.

Going back to our playground football conversation, we also formed a small league where we would have four teams from different areas of the community playing against each other. That was fun!  That caught on for a quick while and we ended up having our own bowl games during the winter snow fall, which really added to the excitement.  However, we had a few people that would join us every so often, from other neighborhoods or within the same community but didn’t play with us that much, and acted like they were pre-Madonna’s and that they were being scouted for some big Division I school to begin their career.  I remember we had one guy, named Rasheed, that would come out and play with us sometimes and his skills weren’t bad, but he wasn’t the greatest either.  Rasheed brought out his brand new football one day and threw it around.  Well, he was my quarterback and when he threw me the ball I ended up scoring a touchdown!  Ordinarily, I celebrated by spiking the football, which got him upset at me and immediately grabbed his ball!  Rasheed was mad that I had scratched up and scuffed his football because I spiked it!!!  He began to rub the dirt off of it as if I had played with his trophy cased, autographed football!

I looked at him and asked him with a very annoyed voice, “Why did you bring the football out then?” That turned me off completely and made me look at him differently.  I think he was also one of those that didn’t want to get to dirty if we were playing tackle football, which we did at least 95% of the time and people in the area knew that.  Playing with guys like that sometimes made playing football less fun, and once in a while a physical fight would break out between guys.  Just like any community and neighborhood some people moved away, some went to college, some went on to begin their careers (such as me) and others stayed in the same area, but just got older.  When I go back home to visit I do sometimes run across some of the guys and funny to see some of them grown up with families and good careers, especially the ones that I thought wouldn’t do anything with themselves.  A pastime in my life that I will never forget and always look at as most of my fun times.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: LATE PUNISHMENT

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND (UMPD)

You know? We are all human beings in this world, and we all make mistakes here and there throughout life.  However, learning from you mistakes is the key to not repeating it over and over again.  At the same time, if you are not aware of what your mistake is, and you keep repeating it over and over again, then that would probably make you ignorant to your situation.  As you grow up from a child into adulthood, you are taught right and wrong, and it is up to you as you get to a certain age to follow what you were taught without assistance from your parents or role models.  Throughout those years you are living, you also become, or should become, aware of how society is and what rules are followed by the society you are a part of.  We have laws and rules for a reason, and those laws and rules are to avoid situations that would allow anarchy to reign, and to maintain a civilization.

Well, one person that I dealt with years ago, I suppose, decided not to follow the rules and laws that have been set forth. During the early morning hours, the day of the Maryland Terrapins football teams last home game of the year, I was on campus this time watching for vehicle traffic at a certain spot.  This spot that I was stationary at had two stop signs, approximately 100 feet or more from each other, and we were having issues with people not stopping at them.  So, I decided to pick a time of the morning, when vehicle traffic is very low, and watch these two stop signs to see if anyone would blatantly run them.  I didn’t have to wait too much longer for this to come true, but it was someone who absolutely knew better.  As I was sitting on the side, in a graded driveway, I witnessed this dark green Cadillac, with dark as shit tinted windows, come blowing through one of the stop signs at a very high rate of speed.  Of course, the running of a stop sign wasn’t exactly the surprise, but at the speed this driver was going was the shocker sort of speak.

After witnessing this blatant disregard of basic traffic rules, I pulled out of the driveway and pursued up the hill after the car. In doing so, the car blew through at least one or two more stop signs before pulling over after seeing my emergency lights.  The first thing that happened was that the driver, who I now see is a female and an employee of the university transportation department, jumps out of the car screaming, “I’m late!  I work for DOTS!  I’m late for my assignment!”  Maybe she thought screaming that at me would spell good things for her, and for me to cut her a HUGE brake.  NOT!!  I didn’t budge at her request to let her go and join her fellow employees, who were waiting for her to take up her traffic post.  So, I went through my entire traffic stop like I normally did, and even made the pre-conceive notion that her punishment would be at least two traffic citations for her behavior.  However, things would quickly generate downhill when my dispatcher came back with information that the vehicle registration was stolen.  Well, this news, obviously, didn’t bow well for her and at this time more officers arrived when the stolen tag information came out.

Her reaction was denial, and that she had no idea that the tags were stolen. Further investigation, discovered that the vehicle was not registered and, of course, no insurance.  Although I made the arrest, she did resist a little bit and ran off at the mouth, but quickly realized her reality was not changing.  While interviewing her after the arrest, she basically told me that she ran the stop sign because she was late for her assignments, and also finally admitted that her boyfriend was the one that stole the tags from another vehicle.  Apparently, from her verbal statements, her and her boyfriend, who live in D.C., stole a D.C. tag from another car, a close by neighbor no less, and used it for their car.  In addition, her boyfriend also got the car from someone else, legally, but decided not to be bothered with being a responsible citizen and register the damn car.  Of course, at this point she is pointing everything at her boyfriend, but she also wouldn’t give up his name, which I knew would be a tall order.  So, in the end, she was charged criminally and also given numerous tickets.  Through the following months, after the our initial contact with each other, she only appeared in court once for her traffic violations, but decided to not show up for her criminal court case.

HAHAHA! This ended up not working well for her either.  Once I knew the judge placed a warrant on her head, I knew where she worked and was going to wait for a long while before I arrested her again.  I knew where she worked at so rushing to that disposition wasn’t my main goal.  However, once again fate allowed things to happen, and this time, once again, I ended up in the same place where she was.  The day that I ran into her again, was created by one of our officers being involved in a vehicle pursued, and one of the witnesses of the crime worked at the transportation department.  Our suspect was finally caught after he crashed the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot.  Without any hesitation I went to the transportation department, at the request of the arresting officer, to see if I could gather witness statements for the case.  In doing so, I arrived at the transportation headquarters and, low and behold, I saw my warrant suspect sitting on a bench, outside with other employees, during a bar-b-que they were having.  She and I made eye contact, and I thought she would remember me from months ago and would know she has an open warrant for her arrest.

Needless to say, after I received all the written statements, I inquired to other employees about my “warrant suspect”, and I was told that she went back to the main office. Other employees, at least from me, never knew about her having a warrant, and never understood the reasons of me asking for her whereabouts.  I gave all the written statements to the arresting officer of the vehicle pursuit, and went back to my dispatcher to have her check my “warrant suspect’s” name in the national database.  I would have to say I was pretty pleased to know that her warrant was still alive and valid, which made me recruit another officer to meet me at the main office, in case she decided to act a damn fool.  Several minutes later, I arrived at the main office and asked for her whereabouts, which she was in her office working on whatever.  When I advised her that I was there to arrest her again for an open warrant, she broke down and started crying uncontrollably where another employee had to console her.  This arrest went a little better than the first one, but once again I called for a female officer to search her persons.  During the search of my “warrant suspect” by a female officer, it got a little rough and some words were exchanged pretty aggressively between them.  After that, I took her to the regional correctional facility, where she was processed.

I never saw her again, but I did hear that about two or three weeks after my second arrest with her, she ran into our officers a third time. Apparently, when her mother was pulled over, she came out of the main office causing a disturbing scene and was arrested a third time.  I suppose this drove her superior’s nuts and caused them to terminate her from the job, which was sadly overdue.  People do deserve chances to prove themselves, and to show that they are the right people for the job, but to continuously getting in trouble with the law will not keep those chances coming.  I felt kind of bad for her, but at the same learning more and more of how she was outside of our contact, it was bound to happen.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last transportation employee we would run into over and over again throughout my remaining years there.  You would be amazed of how many employees were dirty, which made you believe that no background and/or reference checks were done; at least properly.  Sometimes people fall through the cracks, and those individuals sometimes allow themselves to seep through to only be wiped back up and tossed away.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: HELL WEEK!

COLLEGE PARK (UMPD) & LAUREL, MARYLAND (HOME)

Being diagnosed with lupus is one thing, but living with the disease is a whole other situation. I can’t remember the exact time, but it might have been summertime of 2013, however, the one thing that I do remember is that it was definitely summer.  Living in the Mid-Atlantic region you are used to dealing with certain weather forecast and cultures, but even with some of the native locals they still complain every chance they get.  With this summer in particular, I couldn’t really blame anyone complaining since it was the hottest summer on record, or at least one of the hottest.  Unfortunately, this incident took place while I was at work on patrol and I don’t think anyone expected this swift storm, called a “Deracho”, to come through the area and cause mass problems in such a short time.  I remember being at work, this particular night I was on the evening shift I believe, and just doing my normal patrols around the city and campus, when suddenly it seemed like we were reliving the scene of the tornado swooping through Kansas in the Wizard of Oz.

A very strong wind started to come through the area, causing light poles and power lines to sway very noticeably. Then the rain started to come down very heavy and hard where your windshield wipers, even on the highest setting, wasn’t making visibility good enough to drive comfortably.  Suddenly, I started to see objects, which were not heavy enough and not secured to a solid structure, fly through the air, such as construction cones and trash.  In driver through this harsh mess of a storm, I made the decision to find a parking lot on campus and just stay there until it passed.  Some of us drove around the area with our emergency lights on so we would be visible until we all got to a safe place, which I think was broadcasted over the radio for us to do so.  As I sit stationary in one parking lot, near the Children Youth Center, one of the construction cones hit the passenger side of the cruiser and continued across the windshield through the parking lot.  In complete amazement, I continued to sit there watching the storm all around me as I felt the cruiser shake and rock a little bit.

As suddenly as it started, the storm ended and everything was calm once again. However, it wouldn’t be without consequences that the storm left behind in such a short time.  The quickest and strongest storm I ever been through, as far as I can remember at this point, caused numerous power outages throughout the D.C. area, including my apartment complex.  Thankfully, my wife was home at the time when this storm happened, but while the storm was going on she was sound asleep in the bed.  In other parts of the county, power lines and telephone poles were knocked down and strewed across roadways, along with trees, and it appeared, the thickest branches of those trees were causing horrible travel conditions.  I can’t remember if any cars in the area right off hand were heavily damaged, but if none were, then that was truly a blessing.  Normal patrols, I believe, were suspended as we had to drive around the city and campus assessing damages and what areas need our attention immediately.

With the damages that was done during this Derecho, most people were out of power for at least three days to a week, or maybe even longer. Our apartment complex was out of power for at least a week, and that sucked royally for so many reasons.  Thank God we didn’t have any family pets with us because it would’ve been a lot worse.  During the week of no power, the temperature in the apartment reached over 100 degrees, and every window in our apartment was opened as wide as it could be, but with no wind blowing around for that entire week, which seemed impossible, didn’t help at all.  My wife’s lupus anti-bodies began to work overtime, and each passing day and night her condition was getting worse and worse.  Her lupus made her body swell, joints extremely sensitive to the touch and constantly sweating with no break it seemed.  You would think at night the temperature would be low enough to make it feel cool, but even at night the humidity was high and the temps sitting somewhere in the mid to high 80’s; sometimes in the low 90’s.  However, the outside temperature didn’t matter because the sauna inside our apartment was literally killing my wife with her lupus just breading through her body like never before.

It was during this week also that the Marriott Hotel on campus was offering all the university employees, especially the police officers, a break in the daily rate to stay at the hotel for at least one to two days. Watching my wife over on the other couch suffering in this God awful situation, day in and day out, prompted me to check on that deal or we would end up in the hospital if she has to suffer through this one more day.  On a Saturday night while at work, I went to the Marriott and spoke to one of the employees there, who told me that at least 75 people are checking out the next day and that he will hold a hotel room for us to have.  I was so thankful for his generosity and for the Marriott allowing us to stay there for a night or two to regulate our body temperatures once again.  The news excited me that when I told my wife about it, she explained to me that she can make it one more night, but after that the hospital would be our friend once again.  Being in a position at first where I couldn’t think of anything to help her ease the pain and suffering, I felt much better knowing that for the entire day Sunday we would be in great shape.

The only positive glimpse we had during the week of no power, is while the power company was working on the busted up transformers and severed power lines, everything came on for at least ten seconds, but then it went out once more until that Sunday night/Monday morning. I was definitely happy to be in a cool and comfortable hotel room after suffering for nearly six days in the intense hot and humid apartment, but I was extremely happy to know that we avoided my wife visiting the hospital, which were apparently working at near max capacity.  Our overnight rate at the Marriott turned out to be only $35, which was a tremendous break from the normal rate at that time of $350-$400!!!  I got the employee discount rate, and was in good standing with employees there; however, shortly after that or before that Hell Week, our free dinners at the Marriott were stopped suddenly.  Most of us have suspicions on why that is and can probably point fingers at certain people for jacking that privilege up!!  My wife and I lived through that week without getting pissed off at each other and without arguing.  At that point in our lives, and through that situation, being good towards each other was our most important goal, and it worked.

We were not going to spend our week, or days, in the hospital once more because the lupus disease decided to kick in high gear! Everyone who lived through it lost tons of money in generator gas and the supplies of food in the refrigerators.  When you buy bags and bags of ice, which we had a very hard time finding some, seriously, and you pour them in the bathtub to keep food fresh and cold and the ice melts within a matter of a couple of hours, sometimes minutes, you know that inside your dwelling the temperatures are just brutal.  I hope to never experience anything like that ever again in my life, but if it does happen again in our lifetime, my wife and I will be much better prepared; we hope lol!!  After that week passed, some homes and businesses still had no power, but majority of the area was able to go on with their lives and look back into history to remember where they were when this quick, but devastating storm struck.  I don’t want this to sound like it was hurricane force winds and trees and telephone poles coming out of the ground, which some did, but it was bad enough to cause millions of dollars in damages throughout the area.

Once again this storm exposed the vulnerability of our infrastructure in this country, and that things need to be replaced, repaired and rebuilt as soon as possible. This storm also, once again, sparked up the debate that power lines and telephone lines throughout the D.C. area should be placed underground and out of harm’s way.  Knowing the area, this will take another twenty years, three more devastating storms and cost serious more millions of dollars in damages and hundreds of lives before they expedite the fixes.  Time will tell!!

Henry Scott