‘You do know that he is coming back to work today,’ the lieutenant asked.
‘Yeah I know. Please don’t tell me you are putting him in my platoon,’ The sergeant said.
‘He isn’t going back on patrol. He is going to be working with Internal Affairs,’ the lieutenant replied. ‘I’m giving you a heads up so that you can warn your men. I do not want any harassment.’
‘Couldn’t they put him somewhere else?’ the sergeant asked.
‘We aren’t that large of a department,’ the Lieutenant replied. ‘If he weren’t a fucking hero, we could toss his ass out all together. You know how it would look, if we fired him now with or without cause.’
‘I guess the rat squad is the place for him, if we have to keep him. At least this time we will know he is a rat,’ the Sergeant said.
‘Come on all the guys he took down needed it. They weren’t just looking the other way, they were dealing,’ Lieutenant Billy said.
‘Still he ratted out cops, that just ain’t done,’ the sergeant said.
‘Of course it is. People roll on cops all the time, we just find a way to make it go away. In his case, it stuck. He did his job,’ the lieutenant said.
‘Then he’s a fucking junkie,’ the sergeant said.
‘He went to rehab and he has been declared fit for duty. He is coming back as part of the new internal affairs unit. The department of justice is going to be watching us. If we keep fucking up, we are all going to be out of a job,’ the lieutenant said. So like it or not he will be working here. He will be in your roll call and after that he will be supervised by the detective unit.’
‘So when does he start?’ the sergeant asked.
‘In about five minutes. So you need to work on a welcome back speech,’ the lieutenant replied.
While the meeting was happening in the Lieutenant’s office, Roger Everhart entered the assembly room. When he entered the room all the conversations stopped. He had pretty much expected that reaction to his return to duty. A little of the cold reception was because he had been in rehab, but mostly it was because the other cops saw him as a traitor.
It was bad enough that he had testified against several cops. Those who had sold dope from their squad cars were the worst of them. His return to duty was as a detective with the newly formed Internal Affairs department. The unit was formed in the hopes that a reorganization of the department could be done from within.
The department of justice was talking about coming in with a big broom, if the department couldn’t clean its own house. Roger was pretty sure that it was the only reason he hadn’t been fired. To the DOJ he was a hero, to the General Green police department he was a rat and always would be. Well to some of them he was a junkie rat. He got hooked on crack while getting recruited by the cop gang. He documented the police gang’s activities while he was smoking crack. He tried not to get hooked, but his body betrayed him.
Roger spent three months in rehab while they were getting the plea deals worked out for the others. The men sitting on the jackpot gave a hell of a lot more information on the workings of the gang, than Roger did. The leaders of the cop gang also gave up a lot of names the Roger hadn’t even known existed. Roger figured he was responsible for about a fourth of the cops going inside over the dope. The other three fourths were from one cop rolling up another cop.
So there was more than enough credit or blame to go around. Whether it was credit or blame was dependent upon who one was talking with at the time. It seemed all the cops on the street blamed Roger, but the brass approved, or so they said.
‘Ladies and gentlemen welcome Roger Everhart. This is Rogers first day back from a medical leave and also his first day in the new internal Affairs bureau.’ Sergeant Graham said.
It was the coldest greeting Roger had ever seen in the squad room. Even rookies got a hi how are you. Roger got nothing, it was what he had expected. He knew there was no sense in trying to be a smart ass, so he just smiled and waved his hand at them. He knew it was going to be a long time before he was allowed back into the club. Hell it was possible that he never would be allow back in.
When the meeting ended, Roger went to find the office of internal affairs. He needed a place to sit and a telephone at the very least. He had wondered who the detective in charge would be. It turned out that his new partner was almost as much of a pariah.
‘Good morning, my name is detective first class Hillary Bridges. I’m going to be your boss for a while,’ The overweight woman, hovering around forty years old, inform him. Her father had been a some kind of big deal cop back in the day. Everyone knew she had some departmental pull, but no one really knew where it came from or exactly how much juice she had. Since that was the case everyone steered clear of her as well. The two of them had most likely been the first choices for the first every internal affairs unit. They were the two people the brass most likely wanted hidden away. Go for the guys who were already hated, Alex thought.
‘Okay Detective Bridges,’ Roger replied.
‘Call me Hillary,’ she said.
‘So Hillary, what do you want me to do first,’ Roger asked. He sure didn’t want a long lecture from the detective in charge. He just wanted to go to work.
‘I hope you get that this isn’t an opinion job. We just gather facts then carry them to the Chief. He decides what to do with them.’ she said.
‘I get it,’ Roger replied.
‘I hope you do,’ she said. ‘We have a new CC.’
‘CC?’ Roger asked.
‘Civilian Complaint,’ Hillary explained. ‘One of our officers shot her dog last night. She says it was for no reason at all. Of course she said it in front of a TV camera.’
‘So what is our responsibility here?’ Roger asked.
‘We are going to do a psychological profile of the dog,’ Hillary said with a straight face.
Roger felt he was in for a total waste of at least the next two hours of his life. The first thing that they did was to interviewed the dog’s owner. They found her in her small frame house one block off a major thoroughfare.
‘So Mrs Owens, could you tell me exactly what happened,’ Hillary asked.
‘Where should I start?’ the sixty plus year old lady asked.
‘Let me start by asking, why the officer was on your property. The police report suggests he was at your door to investigate strange noises and smells coming from the house,’ the DIC suggested.
‘I didn’t know that when he knocked on the door. I tried to answer it. That’s when Max ran past me. Max jumped up on the cop. The cop just shot him for no reason.’
‘How much does Max weight?’ Roger asked.
‘Vet said he weights sixty-five pounds,’ The DIC said.
‘He was a full blooded pit bull, but he played fine with my grand kids and never hurt any of them.’ The homeowner said.
‘I get that. I’m a dog lover, but you know he didn’t see that officer as one of his puppies. You know that is how he would see your grand children. My guess is he went out that door snarling and showing his teeth.’ Roger said.
‘Maybe,’ The complainant agreed. The interview, for all intents and purposes ended on that admission.
‘Our job is not to try to convince the complainant that she is wrong. It’s just to gather facts. We are going to talk to the neighbors.’ The boss said once they were in the yard.
Two of the three neighbors who were home, stated that they felt the dog was aggressive. The third one didn’t even know the woman had a dog. ‘I mind my own business,’ the man said when asked about the woman.
‘You know something isn’t right don’t you?’ Roger asked.
‘No I don’t. The aggressive dog escaped her control and attacked the officer. The officer used good judgment, when he shot it. That is sad, but it does happen,’ she said. ‘That is what the facts show.’
is more to it than that,’ Roger said.
‘Like what,’ the boss asked.
‘I don’t know, but something,’ Roger said.
‘I don’t see that there is anything more about the complaint to investigated. We have closed the complaint there is nothing else to do except take the officer’s statement. He will be in for the evening tour at 3pm. We can take his statement then.’ she said. ‘I will show you how to write the report showing our findings.
‘Finished and home by five,’ Roger said.
‘Exactly,’ she failed to understand why he acted like that was a bad thing.
Once they were back at the office, she had Roger put his fresh eyes on some open cases. ‘Things that are a little more serious than a dog attack,’ Hillary promised. ‘These complaints seemed to have been saved for us.’
She had a dual purpose for showing him the complaint file. It was supposed to show him there were a lot of complaints laying around. Also there were things more important than the dog attack to deal with.
Even so Roger couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling about the old lady and her house. From having spent a couple of years on the fringes of the drug culture, Roger knew that things were seldom what they seemed in that part of town. For instance Roger knew that most drug labs, or processing centers had a pit bull or two hanging around. The old woman didn’t seem like a member of a drug gang, but things were never what they seemed.
Next door to the old lady’s house sat an abandoned house. Abandoned houses were common in that neighborhood. Usually they were a condemned rent house, which had failed to meet code. Once they could no longer be rented, the owners just let them slip farther and farther down hill. The house next door to the old lady was like that.
Those houses were often used as dope houses. The way the cops got on to them was by the number of employees coming and going. Those visits made the house look suspicious rather than abandoned. A neighbor complained and the cops raided the house. They usually found a meth lab or a drug cutting lab.
‘Roger had an idea the old lady might be helping to hide a drug operation in the house next door. Hide in plain sight was the term that came to mind. When Roger went back to the house after work, he walked around the outside. If anyone was cutting or cooking drugs, they were hiding it well. There was no physical evidence of it from the outside. The grass was high and the power meter was gone. There was also no noise coming from the house.
Roger went home to his tiny apartment. He tried to sleep that night but it was difficult. He had urges, he found difficult to fight off. It was old hat he fight them every night since he got clean. Finally he was exhausted enough to sleep.
Roger knew he couldn’t do anything about the house from his new position, so he had to get some help. It was that or just let it slip through the cracks. Letting it go was not an option for him. He had let the drug trade ruin his career and almost his whole life. He was determined to fight the drug dealers where ever he found them. They made their living off human misery. He felt that drugs were as big a threat as any other form of terrorism.
He did not have a single friend on the department. There was no one in whom he could confide, so he did the next best thing. He found the most honest of the shady cops in vice.
Roger knew he was going to be giving up all credit for the bust. The cop to whom he gave his information would get all the credit, if it panned out. He wanted to get ahead with the department, but getting the lab closed was more important to him. He was on a vendetta.
The sergeant of the vice unit rushed by Roger at roll call the next morning. Roger slipped a note to him asking for a meeting. He wasn’t at all sure that Mark would call.
He went through his routine day checking out complaints from citizen’s imagining harassment by the police. There just didn’t seem to be anything better to do. If there was, someone was for sure keeping him away from it.
‘What the fuck do you want?’ Mark from vice asked. It was not the ideal way to begin a phone conversation.
‘Look, I know people lost their jobs because of my information, but it was the nature of the job. You know that,’ Roger said.
‘Yeah we all know it, but I don’t for minute believe that you didn’t enjoy it. All those patrolmen you got busted, and let’s not forget the dope and the girls. That had to be heady stuff for a junkie.’ he said.
‘Mark, I didn’t get you,’ Roger said. ‘We both know I could have.’
‘I might not be a Sergeant now if you had named me, but they wouldn’t have fired me for looking the other way once for a friend. So don’t even go there and I certainly didn’t become a junkie snitch,’ Mark said.
‘When you get through saying your piece, I got a tip for you. Considering the present lack of trust among my peers, I figured I needed someone else to make it happen. This has nothing to do with my last assignment.’ Roger said.
‘Tell me what you have.’ Mark demanded on the burner cell. ‘If we are going to talk about it get yourself a disposable phone. The guys on the fifth floor are going to be tracking you.’
‘This is a burner,’ Roger said hanging up on Mark after passing along his suspicions. He felt better after the call, but not a lot. He wasn’t doing the investigation, but he hadn’t sold out to the ‘do nothing’ mentality either.
Over the next two weeks he suffered the silent insults of his fellow officers with a silence of his own. Roger felt that he would have to find a new career eventually. It looked as though police work wasn’t going to work out for him.
The detectives of all divisions used the same break room, so no one noticed a vice officer standing in line for coffee behind Roger. ‘Roger meet me in the park for lunch.’ Mark said.
Roger dug through the crap till lunch, when he left the office to met with Mark. ‘So what is happening on the tip?’ he asked.
‘Wanted to tell you that I put a couple of guys to check the house. About midnight a van pulled into the old lady’s driveway. That van was a crew car for the 69th street crew.’
‘So there is an entrance to the house next door somewhere in the old lady’s house,’ Roger suggested.
‘I did a walk around it the evening after the dog shooting. There are those half basement windows in the rear, but there is no real slope in the lots there. I couldn’t tell if the abandoned place has a basement or not.’ Roger said. ‘If it does they would only have to tunnel five feet. Those two houses are almost connected.’
‘Yeah you have the concrete between the houses to hold the roof of a tunnel up so you wouldn’t even need to brace it. So we look for a tunnel in the basement of the old ladies house. We are going to seal off all exits from both houses,’ Mark said.
‘Good, so when do you go?’ Roger asked.
‘I’m leaving here and going back to the office to set up a raid for tomorrow. Mark said.
Roger got the call on his burner phone at 3pm that same day. ‘I’m standing here waiting to give the order to swoop in on them. Just about a minute from now the armored car should be driving up.’ Mark said.
‘If I get there in two minutes, can I go in with you?’ Roger asked.
‘The guys are going to think you are there as a member of IA,’ Mark said. ‘I can’t have that. What ever you do they are going to see it as somehow sinister. I’m sorry Roger, I know it’s your bust, but I can’t have you here.’
‘Okay,’ Roger said.
‘Not to mention if there is a gunfight, I would have to worry about who would they guys shoot first,’ Mark said.
‘Just do it right,’ Roger said. Rodger knew his life as a cop was over at that moment. It would only be a matter of time until he was killed, or forced out.