True Detective Stories

If there’s one thing upon which we can all agree, it’s this: never answer a ringing telephone.

On Thursday night, a gentleman called the division and stated he filed a police report and wanted to speak to his detective. The man said he made the report “an hour ago,” and needed to talk to the investigator.

Now in a division as busy as mine, we rarely get reports that quickly unless there is an arrest involved. I asked the man to read off his report number, and after entering it into the database, I located the entry, but the report – obviously – had not yet arrived. Upon hearing the news, the man was not entirely happy with me, as if I was the person who wrote the report.

After a few minutes of whiny pleading, he finally said he was being blackmailed by a younger woman. The woman threatened to vandalize his property and vehicle unless he paid her money. The man never explained why this was happening, just that it was happening. I decided he needed to feel a truth bomb.

“Sir, I understand you’re upset, and this is very important to you. However, in any given day, this division receives dozens and dozens of police reports a day. Tonight there are only four detectives in the office, so while we will work on your report diligently, I cannot guarantee you will be able to speak to a detective today.”

The man ignored every word I said, and gave me this retort. “Well, I would like this report to given to Detective Brown, because he worked on one of my cases a few years ago.”

Sigh. “Sir, that’s not how this works. The job must be assigned to someone working the shift when the report was taking. We do not practice ‘detective shopping.’ Your job will be assigned to a detective and he or she will contact you at their earliest convenience.”

The man finally relented, I bid him farewell, and when I heard him hang up, I slammed the phone down as hard as I could. My coworker walked by and said, “How are you this angry in the first hour of the shift?”

Because people are stupid, Bob. People are stupid.

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