It Happened 2 Me

It HappenedTo Me: As A Cop

It HappenedTo Me: As A Cop


I worked for FIVE Agencies in my law enforcement career. Travis County TWICE, SMU and the Federal Government (FBI, IRS, FBI and a little known agency called NS).  Actually I worked for Travis County three times but two were with the same type agency (Constable) but different precincts (5 then 1).

I had fun, met a lot of good cops and some good not cops and can't really talk about all of it YET.  Wait for the book or the movie.

Just thinking about when I first got started... I was so naiive.  I was probably as green as most people who claim that racism is dead today. 

I started in the early 1970's as what one might call today an INTERN at the Travis County Sheriff's Department.  The Sheriff was T.O. Lang (RIP) and he was a really good man.  He was hard-nosed and makes today's Williamson County Sheriffs Office, the dreaded place today, look like kiddie camp.  NOBODY wanted to go to jail at Travis County.  My God, the memories... Sheriff Lang got a lot of bad press once they found out that the attorney client area was miked (bugged). Lang was defeated by retired Air Force Colonel Raymond Frank who ran as a reformist on the VERY liberal Democratic slate and NOBODY that I knew who was pro law and order wanted to stay and work for him.  As only time would tell he was rightfully viewed as a hippie sympathizer and pro marijuana idiot.  It turned out that was true when we caught a then and now Austin area country great with a CAR LOAD of weed and had to take him home because Frank would not allow him to be booked in the jail.  It was crazy.  Charlie Jones took me under his wing at the Constable's Office and I swear that was the best cop job I ever had... EVER.  Charlie knows it.  We still talk about the good old days when I visit him at his house. He is like an uncle to me, the old codger.

I remember them sending every deputy to police academy in 1975 because before then NOBODY went.  They hired you, trained you and let you go about your business.  Then the State created TCLEOSE and everyone had to get "trained" but seriously, I didn't learn anything I didn't already know about from hanging with my buddies at TCSO like Abe Williams and Captain Herman Morgan (RIP) and the constables at precinct 5 like Harry West (RIP) and Al Richter (RIP) who especially schooled me. My God I had some good friends didn't I?  Teachers.  Lets' not leave out the Justices of the Peace I knew like Buck Smith (RIP) and Steve McMurtry (RIP) who never failed to issue any warrant I requested.  I remember meeting other fantastic people like Dale Owens (RIP), Jeff Friedman (RIP), the legendary Ronnie Earle and then lawyer but now Judge John Deitz.  Friends with personality and hearts are hard for me to forget.

Anyway back in those days there was an UNWRITTEN rule that Negro cops couldn't arrest White people unless other White cops were there.  It happened like that and everyone knew this but me apparently.  It is funny now but it was always tense back then because I am the little boy who went along with my now famous mother Bertha Means to many sit-ins and racism picket lines.  I have experience by fire.  MANY people do not understand WHO I am, where I am from and where I am going when THEY catch me wrong.  I don't care WHO they think they are if they disrespect me.  I am not having none of it. 

I remember doing a prisoner pickup with Detective James Riggins (RIP), a Federal Policeman I knew and catching hell in Columbus, TX over picking a White man up.  We are both Negroes.  The jailer was trying to call US "boy" and treated that prisoner better than us  It was tense but I think the threat of having an armed conflict with some feds backed them down.  That was 1976.  How will I ever forget it?  Apparently I didn't know my place.


It has me smiling even as horrible as it was. I moved to Dallas and worked for the IRS and turned Republican for a while because President Carter froze federal hiring.  I had been offered a good position by IRS CID Chief Glenn Shepard and this scuttled my chances. Len Vinsko was the Deputy IRS Chief of the region and we were good friends.  I had good friends wherever I went.  I went to work for Chief Coffee at SMU but didn't like working graveyard.  It was no fun.  I didn't have a girl up there either so I started pining for the familiarity of home pretty quickly.  They said it best with the saying that "There is no place like home."

So I came back home to Austin and worked for my friend Bob Chapman who was head of the FBI in this region.  Then I went to work for Don Nesby at Precinct 1 and helped them develop a motorcycle escort service.  We were proud, did excellent work and above all else for me, it was fun.  The funny thing is, while we were all out writing citations and everything I don't think 2 of the 6 deputies had motorcycle licenses inclusive of me.  That was in the late 80's and I didn't get my license until 2006.  Who dares ask a cop for his license when the badge is present?  No cop I ever knew.  I know better now.

Those WERE the good old days

I cherish my memories because honestly, even those racist days seem better than these when the racists were out in the open.  They were not pretending to be OK and they certainly were not trying to make us look crazy because we complained about all they did.  It happened to me.

If there are spelling errors please understand that I am disabled with only ONE EYE.  I think for someone with a disability I am doing a lot better than most who do not.  At least I can comprehend what I read and even with errors so should you get the jist of what I am really writing about.