True Detective Stories

Allow me to explain what kind of garbage department I work for. (Yes, I know that first sentence would get me kicked out of English class.) But I digress.

When I was a wet-behind-the-ears detective, the squad floor had four printers. Two Epson black and white printers, one color printer, and a black and white teletype printer. The teletype printer just pushes out court notices, warrant updates, and messages from police headquarters.

About three years in, one of the black and white printers went kaput. The city promised they would replace the printer, but fifteen years later we are still waiting. “I don’t think she’s ever coming back.”

The color printer was a godsend. We could finally show photo arrays in color, as the black and white photos were usually grainy. Eventually, we saw a trend with the color printer. The ink would run out in less than a week.

The color printer effectively became a Rube Goldberg machine. The ink ran out, and it took the city a few weeks to replace the color ink. We would insert said ink, and the two week backup of detectives trying to print in color – even though they knew it wasn’t working – printed the backlogs.

This particular color printer was nearly impossible to stop while it was shuffling out papers we didn’t need anymore, and by the end of the day, we were out of color ink.

The circle of life continued unabated…

We currently have two printers working (more or less). One is the black and white printer, the other is the teletype. We have one – ONE – ink cartridge for the teletype and the printer. So, when someone wants to check court notices, I have to put the cartridge into the teletype. If someone wants to print a report, I have to take out the ink and place it into the black and white printer.


The day we realized we were effectively out of ink, we called the supply unit and they told us to bring down the cartridge and they would give us a refill. We did so, and were told, “Nah bruh, we don’t have any ink left.”

Now I think this is absolute bullshit, because I damn well know the big bosses aren’t running out of ink in their offices. I think they figured they would hoard ink for the important people, and leaving us with scraps.

I checked the ink last night around 7pm and our lone ink cartridge read 5%. The entire building will be out of printer ink probably sometime today. It’s going to be great when the bosses ask where our hard copies are, because the answer will be, “It’s still in the printer.”

Here is a photo of the printer problem. The empty printer is on the left, then the empty color printer in the middle, and the teletype is on the right.

19 thoughts on “True Detective Stories

  1. May I suggest getting someone like Nick Holden (Tony Curtis) in “Operation Petticoat” to open up a midnight suply depot in the big bosses’ floor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TXNick – No can do. The captain’s office is locked when he leaves, as it the inspector’s office. It’s not like we can go to Staples and get some, because they’re industrial cartridges.


  3. You should buy a printer and charge your co-workers to use it. I think I saw that is some copy show somewhere, but it’s not a bad idea. Of course, it would need an industrial safe, lock, and key or they would all just steal the copies.


      1. Lieutenant Louie Provenza on “the Closer” and “Major Crimes” did that.

        Except IRL Philly someone would steal your coin jar.


    1. VM,

      “Some people just want to watch the world burn”

      My opinion. Stupid and nihilistic “Fun.” Another way the poor people stay poor. Like crabs puling each other back to the bottom of the bucket.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We still write up property receipts with carbons in them. Search warrants are not digital. We type them on Word and fax them to the D.A.’s office. It is no exaggeration to say we’re trapped in the 70’s. This could all go digital/online, but the city refuses to allow it.

      Maybe I’ll start categorizing all the outdated crap our department uses. It’ll blow your mind.


  4. VM – Probably both. Vandalism is huge in Philly, which is why I take my old junker to work. Already had my hood keyed. Most gang initiations here are violent. Rob someone, carjack someone, etc.

    By January 13th, we had 91 carjackings city-wide. The other day, two thugs tried to carjack a cop, and when she pulled her firearm, they fled the scene.


  5. RD – She was the correct acceptable color. Also a really good cop.

    VM – Agreed. If I stay in PA when I retire, I want to head to the ‘burb, but those close to Philly are seeing the same problems.

    Mike AKA Proof – We don’t get those. When the ink runs out – and it has to be COMPLETELY out – we take the cartridge downtown and they take it and give us a new one. No cartridge, no ink.


      1. It’s how this department runs things. When I retire and I write a book about the issues here, it’ll have to be listed as fiction, because no one would believe what goes on.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s