Observations this Past Week that Reek!

Posted: February 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

What is that smell?

I don’t  know what it is. I actually know what it is and hate it. But what I mean here is that in the last week while off-duty and out and about in public, I have come across 2 different occasions where people had the amazing strong smell of marijuana, cannabis, or as some know it as “mary j” about their person.

I will admit, before becoming a cop I lived a pretty sheltered life. I did not go to places where this was prevalent, did not hang out with people who smoked weed, did not know any friends who believed in partaking in this mess.  The worst thing I knew of people doing on the outside of my circles of friends were those who smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol. I graduated high school (public) in 1992. Like most average schools, my high school was a fair mix of redneck, thug, preps, jocks  and nerds. I fell somewhere between the jocks and the preps. I digress.

But last week, Saturday, February 12th, I was at my son’s YMCA sponsored basketball game. Here I am watching my son and all the other 5-6 year olds learning what to do with the basketball and two knuckleheads walk past me sitting on the gym bleachers and they reek of weed. I think to myself, “I am a cop, I should confront them.” However, I do not confront them. Reading this, some may say I had a duty to act and deal with the situation. But, for those non-cops out there we take in consideration a ton more than what you see on the surface.

You see, I had my other kids and wife with me, problem “numero uno.” That is a problem because if I confront them and the situation gets ugly I risk the safety of my family. Second, I do not know if these guys are armed. I am armed and always are, but this has obvious implications.  Thirdly, if they actually still had weed on themselves and didn’t just smoke it all up in the parking lot before they entered the school gym arresting them is only a misdemeanor (if it’s less than 20 grams) in the state I live in. Is getting into a confrontation with 2 unknown thugs, unknown weapons, unknown criminal history, my family in close proximity worth a misdemeanor if it goes south fast? Listening to reason the answer is a resounding “no.”

You may say that  had a duty to act. I say, only if the cards are in my favor. If I were alone might I act as one would think I should. Quite possibly. But even then I would have called a patrol unit to the scene and provided a witness statement to smelling the weed on the 2 thugs. That is as far as I would have taken it. However, I get away from my initial point of this story.

Yesterday, I was at a local redbox to rent a movie after a wonderful dinner with my wife for Valentine’s Day. When I pull up I see a black male standing at the redbox finishing his transaction. He leaves and I exit my car and walk to the redbox. He gets in his car and sits there a minute. Immediately I smell a fresh and strong odor on marijuana about me and all the way to his Jeep. I look back at him and look at my cell phone and think to call my dispatch to have a road unit respond to deal with him. However, my wife is waiting on me to return to finish our evening. Even if I called to give a tag to the Dispatch, I would still have to get involved if they(patrol) stop the vehicle. Probable cause would demand I write a statement and if an arrest is made, I would be subpoenaed to court to testify against him. My night would be a waste. My queen would certainly hand down some form of punishment for being a no-show.

Again, I have a conflict of mind and spirit. Oh, the moral decision. Oh, the ethical decision. Decisions, decisions! Guess what I do? I carry on as if I never knew anything had happened. I had a duty to my wife. But, I admit I was torn terribly. I thought a few times to call it in,to maybe jot down the tag. I did type it in on my phone to save for later. But I went about my business. I bring these two stories up to say how these incidents have become more frequent in my experience where they were nonexistent before.

SO, what does this mean? Is our society going from bad to worse? I could agree with that. Are most people smoking weed on a daily basis? Probably so. Or is this situation an anomaly? Maybe.

So, what do you think blog world? What would have been the right thing to do? How should I have acted? What would you have done if you were in my shoes?

  1. Mad Jack says:

    My queen would certainly hand down some form of punishment for being a no-show.

    There is no decision here. You face the certainty of death by slow torture versus busting some loser on a misdemeanor for weed and maybe DUI. What, you have to ask?

    Seriously, I think you did the right thing both times. In the first case, you have to identify yourself as a cop while you’re not wearing your uniform, which means you lose credibility. Then there’s the case that smelling like pot (to someone else) isn’t a crime. What if you came up empty handed? Then, as you point out, your family is involved. I think that last one would clinch it for me. In the second case you’re kind of up against it. If you call it in the odds are that a patrol unit won’t catch the alleged perpetrator. If the alleged perpetrator is caught, you’re involved and unless the wife is one zillion percent in favor of you busting every loser you see, well… you did it right.

    I cannot get too upset about someone smoking a little weed. Driving while obviously impaired is a little different. Still, it’s up to the officer in question.

    Now, were it a kidnapping in progress, I’d bet your wife might be a little more understanding.

  2. Meadowlark says:

    Husband wouldn’t have taken action, for many of the same reasons in the first and because he doesn’t have a ticket book (no longer patrol). Also, it’s not really going to stand up in court the whole “they smelled of pot” thing. This community isn’t real big on those kinda tickets. Sadly.

  3. Willy Runion says:

    you’ve got awesome post here, keep ’em coming.

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