Dad is retired, put in his time and went on his way. His wife is still a cop. He has always been a controversial fellow - both at work and in his personal life. But in all the years I've worked with him, never once has he been accused of abuse of power nor has he closed his hand into a fist on anyone - prisoner, colleague, family. I'd even go as far as to say he's a bit odd. Most of my friends have some order of spirituality. He is proudly void of that sort of thing - not huggy, not deeply loving in an expressive way - analytical and process oriented. And so, you never really know where you stand with him, whether you are part of the family of cop loyalty - something that should not be compromised - the live ever, die never, semper fidelis (Always Faithful) fraternal way. And it seems you do have to keep your most intimate secrets close to your vest or you will see them later in a book, or part of a conversation at a campfire, or hear it back from someone else. But not always. And he has a temper. When he gets pissed, you can see it boiling on the inside through the furrow of his brow and focus of his eyes.
Dad got arrested two days later for assault - two counts - and a protective order was issued. A protective order is meant to protect victims of family violence from retribution, further violence or psychological pressure to recant. As you know, chronic victims of family violence can often rationalize an ass beating as the price for love, security and what not. But the very foundation of family violence laws - the lions share of which if violated are rare and/or minor, or are a consequence of intoxication - is to discourage family violence in a home while also preserving the family. It's a complicated amalgam and easily lost sight of by fervent, officious or man hating cops - especially given the advent of liability. It is a duty none the less of the loftiest sort.
So this is clear to you, after the squabble, the husband and wife lived blissfully together for three days. There was no evidence of continued violence, retribution etc. On the third day, Dad was arrested and a protective order issued. The protective order stipulated that he could not contact his wife at home or work, could not go home, could not go to her business, could not go to his business - for sixty one (61) days. The wife, who never was a victim at all, who drafted and signed an affidavit claiming the same, visited with the judge who issued the order. And under the authority of the law, the protective order was modified to exclude her - for she was never a victim, nor was there probable cause to suggest so, nor any evidence whatsoever to suggest that there was a risk of further violence. The judge modified the order, applying the protections to the daughter alone. They went home and again lived blissfully together without incident.
Now back at the office, the Police Department and Sheriff's Department alike, cops started running their mouths, stirring the pot, and making shit up. And before you knew it, people were saying that the wife was a classic victim of family violence in denial, and that her husband had been repeatedly kicking her ass. I even got a phone call from an Assistant Chief making that very claim. Alas - there has never been any evidence to support that notion at all. In fact, witnesses to the squabble which generated this intervention indicated in statements that "never" has anything like that happened, "ever".
Fervent, unprofessionally outraged, personally involved - in hearing that the protective order had been lawfully modified, the Sheriff's Office personnel in command of this case re-applied for the protective order, re-applying restrictions to the wife - who had already stipulated in a statement that she was not a victim, was not assaulted, had never been assaulted, and was not in fear of further violence. And officious and personally driven as they were, no one bothered to pass on the change of order to the family at all. And so for the next twelve days, they lived together blissfully, without incident, or violence, or retribution, or chaos - not knowing that the judge had re-issued the order.
I am all throughout this, minding my own business. I have my annual Halloween party, the husband and wife come, I take pictures of the fun and frivolity and then post them on my facebook page. It seemed that the "couple" even engaged in coitus, perhaps, in the midst of it all. That fact may be repugnant to you more puritan and lonely types, but this house and my parties have often led to some sort of intimate exchange. Even one of our Sergeants attributed the production of his son to one of my Christmas parties. I will say that the most notable incident was Keri Atkins and Mike Impson going at it in the phone booth outside in the yard. Someone has pictures of that. Anyhow - after the Halloween pictures were posted, more San Marcos cops took it upon themselves to express their alarm that the "Ass Beating Victim" was hanging out with her "Aggressor". And so finally, after everyone made their flurry of phone calls intervening where they had no business, finally, the family gets a phone call from the judge reminding them that the protective order had been re-issued.
Needless to say, having now lived together blissfully for fourteen days and having fun at a Halloween party, the family was again separated from each other by a seemingly lawful order.
With nowhere to go, dad shows up on my porch looking for a place to stay. And I, being of sound mind and character thought nothing of opening my door and my house to him. He was my brother, my colleague, my friend for many, many years - although we often disagreed. So too was I on the receiving end a time or two of his angry eyes.
In the end, a special prosecutor was appointed to examine and manage this case. Independent and uninfluenced by the "wave" of hatred and insider trading that plagued this relatively minor incident, the protective order was recalled and the charges dismissed. Justice prevailed because someone without an axe to grind, who with a clear conscience sought to allow the facts to drive this case rather than the underlying dogma, unresolved issues and plane old "Hatred" that has no place in the enforcement and application of law. This is especially so from Law Enforcement officers. There are a few cops who ran their mouth in this case, unsolicited, that helped to make a bad situation worse and in doing so, violated their own code of ethics.
But I digress. This commentary is about hatred and the things it drives weak men to do. Just the day before yesterday, I ran into a prominent San Marcos cop. I've known him since he was fifteen. He took the time to laugh at me with a distasteful eye, cajoling me that a lot of cops had changed their opinion of me for allowing "Dad" to stay at my house. He went on of course in his conversation for a while, ending it with, "it's really none of my business". I, of course, pointed out that it seemed he was making it his business. His wife smiled and rolled her eyes. I told him quietly that I did for "Dad" the same thing I would do for him should he every need fraternal support or assistance. He replied that he would never get himself into that position. I said, "Lucky You."
While I'd taken on a temporary housemate, I included him in my circle of friends and we'd go bowling on Monday nights. The first couple of times there were a few tense exchanges between dad and Richie Prado who worked security at the bowling alley. Something about the Judge, his aunt, doing the wrong thing. Anyhow - I discovered that Barry - son of owner of bowling alley - also hates Dad. And then last night for the first time ever, I got charged for bowling not because I had worn out my welcome, but because I was in the company of dad. How odd. I asked why he hated him so much. He said that he always bitched about the prices and that once, he saw him take a cup from the stack of cups at the snack counter without offering to pay for it. Wow. I figured that he and the security cops had probably exchanged intel.
And so today, I am thoughtful of hatred. It's a debilitating waste of emotional commitment. So too have I wondered what it is about "Dad" that has made him such a lightning rod for disdain.
If you looked purely at the things he's accomplished in his lifetime, what he has acquired in material wealth, raising four kids from two families, and so much more - it seems like something that most people would admire. I'm sorry - I just don't understand why people who have not been around him for years are still taking such pleasure in wielding their positions of authority with such callous disregard for common sense and ethical fortitude. Time will tell whether what goes around will come around or not. It's just one of those things that would have never happened back in the day.