A compilation of true stories mostly about the Phoenix Police Department from the 1940’s through the 1980’s.
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If you are put off by graphic descriptions of: depraved sexual acts, flesh rending violence, bloody- gory scenes of would-be cop killers doing that little drum dance that they do with their heels when they have been fed a load of double-ought buck-shot, then this book isn’t for you. But then again if you want to know what it’s really like to be cop – read and enjoy!
THE TOOTSIE ROLL
It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. Mohandas Gandhi
Drunks being “Rolled” (read “mugged” or “Strong-Armed Robberies”) down on the Deuce were in the normal milieu of “Duce life.” Criminal acts of this type usually involved a near empty bottle of Tokay and a handful of loose change – none the less for ware. Such caused not the slightest wave or ripple on the ink black surface of the cesspool of suffering humanity such as existed there. I write “existed” as such life as there was in that one of misery was not one that we would recognize nor desire, and the use of the adjective “normal” really can’t be said to apply for the only constant the only normal that existed on the Deuce during the hours of darkness was violence, for violence was normal in that part of town.
Then somehow in a relatively short period of time the Deuce became more violent as several unconscious drunks were savagely beaten. Although my opinion was in the minority it seemed to me that the robberies were secondary in motivation and the violent beatings were the primary reason for the drunk rolls. Bad news on the Deuce spread faster than the AIDS virus among intravenous drug users in the San Francisco bath houses in the early 1980’s, and in no time rolling drunks became the crime de jour. And of course while the command types drew up charts and created studies some sergeant down in the trenches came up with a solution. Set up a decoy or sting operation and catch the fuckers as they were in the commission of the crime. But how does one go about doing that.
Enter some ninny-knot command type who suggested cruising the duce until an unconscious drunk was spotted and then putting them under surveillance until they were rolled. I’m told by one of the sergeants who was in the meeting when this doofus brought this idea up several people did an opened-mouth double take of incredulous disbelief while someone gently explained why doing something like that was not only immoral but illegal to boot. Word of the idea spread but it appeared that it was to die abornin’ when Officer Wil Tootsie stepped up.
In his book; Never without Heroes, by Lawrence C. Vetter, a book about US Marines of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion’s combat operations in Vietnam Wil Tootsie is found in the list of heroes in the back. Wil is an American Indian, his mother being Hopi and is father being Tewa. (Both tribes are located in the NE Arizona – SW New Mexico area and may generally said to be “pueblo dwellers.” In Vietnam Wil was wounded by a pre-teenaged girl who step out from a place of concealment and sprayed a group of passing Marines with an AK. Wil took a round that dammed near took his arm off, then smoked her.
You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em. Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC
Officer Wil Tootsie stepped forward and suggested that he could act as a drunk Indian (a very common occurance on the deuce) and perhaps the unknown suspect(s) might pick him out to roll. Then other officers concealed nearby could intervene and make the arrest, take the criminal into custody and end the problem. (This is termed pro-active police operations, a dying species these days it seems).
Everybody who worked the trenches loved the idea for they immediately saw how it would work. Of course the command murmured among themselves about liability possible injuries and the like. (Honestly I believed then as I do now that they were just jealous that they hadn’t thought of it themselves and thus opposed the program out of obstinacy). Eventually sanity ruled in the voice of Chief Larry Wetzel and the program was implemented.
Wil would dress as a deuce-bum, his fellow officers would anoint him in cheap wine, and I’m not talking any Lutheran sprinkle either, I’m referring to something more akin to a Southern Baptists immersion. A likely spot would be selected, Wil let out to stagger a few blocks to the “bait location” where he would collapse. He would then remain there, often for some lengthy period of time until rolled. Naturally this ruse worked well early on and several arrests were made. But the violent ones eluded the trap and as the easy perpetrators were taken down the waiting periods increased. And then the guy finally struck attacking with a knife, and Wil took him down getting nicked in the process. Almost immediately some gherkin dicked jerk in command-land became all “Wee-Weed Up” and the days of the Tootsie Roll were brought to a close.
Wil went on to become a motorcycle officer and served out his career as such. Wil took a spill or two as such and one caused him a severe brain hemorrhage. Wil lie in a unconscious state for 3 months and then one day woke up. He went back to motors and retired in January of 2000 with nearly 31 years of service on the PPD.
Until I left the department Wil and I were very good friends, remaining so even after I left the US. In fact hearing of his hospitalization I flew from Santos, San Palo State, Brazil to come to his bedside as he lie unconscious. Somehow while at his bedside I became aware that he would recover and return to riding putts. I went back to my work a continent away.
Wil is now enjoying his retirement having served his country and the citizens of the City of Phoenix well for over 35 years and a hero by anyone’s measure.