Our very own Detective Dave talks about how police do their work in the time of the coronavirus/covd-19 pandemic. Detective Dan offers his own perspective on how cops deal with the various biohazards they encounter on the street and when the police take someone into custody.
Guests: Detectives Dan and Dave.Read Transcript
Yeardley: [00:00:09] Hey, Small Town Fam. This bonus episode is about how does your job change if you’re in law enforcement in the age of COVID-19. It was originally slated for our Patreon feed, but for obvious reasons, we’re breaking it out and making it available on the free feed for all our fans, because as we all do our best to shelter in place or keep the shop open, as it were, and all the while practice social distancing, we at Small Town Dicks find a great comfort in listening to our favorite podcasts. And so, we figured you do too. And therefore, more content is better. So, breathe, and please enjoy this lively, insightful conversation with me, Yeardley, and Detectives Dan and Dave. We’re so happy you’re here.[music fades off]
Yeardley: [00:01:06] Hey, Small Town Super Fam. It’s so good to see you here back on Patreon. We love it when you’re here. As you know, we cannot do this without you. You guys are the best. So, I have with me here, I have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:01:20] Are we live?
Yeardley: [00:01:21] [chuckles] Yes, just this once, we are live. No. And Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:27] Good morning, team.
Yeardley: [00:01:28] Good morning, sir. As we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, as declared by the WHO, the World Health Organization, I was curious, does that change your job at all? Because it seems to me that you guys don’t get to socially distance yourselves. If you did that, there would be no job.
Dave: [00:01:50] Yeah. Honestly, the adjustments we make in this job are minor, subtle, for police officers, first responders, firefighters, paramedics, ER staff, food service people, anybody who has a large amount of interaction with the public. For first responders, we always treat people as if they have what we call universal precautions. They have communicable diseases like hepatitis, tuberculosis, AIDS, HIV, that kind of thing. We treat our interactions with the public as if everybody’s infected.
Yeardley: [00:02:27] Interesting.
Dave: [00:02:28] Speaking for myself, I’m a germaphobe. So, me personally, I have a container of wipes that when I get my car ready for each patrol shift, I wipe down every surface I think that I might touch in my patrol car. Every day before my shift, I always have a pair of gloves, latex gloves, in my pants. So, if I have to run into a house and perform some first aid or put my hands on something that’s dirty, search a car, that kind of thing. I’ve always got personal protective equipment right there with me.
Yeardley: [00:03:03] It also keeps you from contaminating the scene.
Dave: [00:03:06] Right. You’ll find police officers always have gloves, always. Firefighters and paramedics, same way. We kind of hoard those things. I have a box of gloves in my patrol bag that sits right next to me in the car. You’ll also notice in most patrol cars, you’re going to have multiple containers of like Purell alcohol, you’re going to have wipes. There’s always wipes in every car. For this specifically–
Yeardley: [00:03:33] This pandemic situation?
Dave: [00:03:34] Correct. I actually just got an email yesterday from our command staff saying, “Hey, I know we already deal with this, but here are some extra precautions that we can make.” You talk about social distancing. It’s typical for us in a field interview, where I’m speaking to someone out on the street that you’re three to five feet away while you’re speaking with somebody, gathering information from them. Of course, in this situation, the ideal distance is six plus feet. The directive that we’ve gotten is to maybe add a little bit more distance. With that, you also have to anticipate that not everyone we contact has the best intentions. So, they might run, they might look for a chance to come at me. This distance helps in certain ways, but if the person is going to run, it also hinders me.
[00:04:22] Also, if I pull a car over and I’m up at the window, it would look really odd for a police officer to be standing six feet away from the door and the window, “Can I get your license, insurance, and registration?”
Yeardley: [00:04:33] And then just chuck it on the ground.
Dave: [00:04:34] They’re like, “Here you go, asshole.” [Yeardley giggles] There are subtle changes. Our job is to take people to jail in some cases, to hospitals, other facilities, like detox centers, mental holds where we have to take someone who is suicidal or a danger to themselves or others, we have to transport them to another facility. At this point, we are now having to evaluate people based on their symptoms. So, if they have the symptoms that mirror what people who are testing positive for the coronavirus are, we are told to alter what we’re going to do. I’m not going to take someone into physical custody who’s displaying those symptoms. If it’s for a low-level misdemeanor or a low-level felony, that’s not a person crime, we’re not going to introduce a person who is exhibiting symptoms to our facilities and now get our staff and other inmates or patients at the hospital, we’re not going to expose them to all these other people, now we have a huge issue where this virus is now running rampant through these facilities. So, we’ve got to make some adjustments.
[00:05:41] Our command staff’s been really good, they actually put together kind of a little go-bag with extra personal protective equipment. Like I wear, extra gloves, extra wipes, extra alcohol for sanitizing your hands, all that stuff that most people would have in their own patrol bag. I’m guessing Dan had that stuff. Now, we’ve got it in every car. So, if you don’t have that stuff, which I hope every police officer on the planet would carry that stuff with them. Now it’s in every car, so you’re wiping down all the back seats after every use, which I used to do that anyway. Handcuffs, once they’re taken off the suspect, you wipe them down with a powerful sanitizer, which I already did anyway. It’s just making sure that’s a routine now.
Yeardley: [00:06:28] Wow.
Dan: [00:06:29] When you first get to the academy, one of the first classes you take at the academy is bloodborne pathogens. You learn a lot about how these highly contagious diseases are passed along through our population. The first thing you learn is that your skin is the best barrier to these things. The problem with the current pandemic that we’re dealing with, is it comes in through your eyes, your nose, your mouth, and you can’t always protect against those things, especially in the intimate nature that we have to deal with people. We’re face to face with them. When I arrest somebody, I can’t search them without being close to them. I can’t do it properly and safely without being close to them.
[00:07:11] Dave talked about field interviews and when we contact somebody out on the street, sometimes it is safer to be a little further away from somebody. But at the same time, if somebody has an edged weapon-
Yeardley: [00:07:22] Like a knife?
Dan: [00:07:23] -a knife or an icepi– I mean we come across all kinds of different improvised weapons out there.
Yeardley: [00:07:29] Screwdrivers.
Dan: [00:07:31] Screwdrivers. Syringes. People have threatened me with syringes before, like, “If you’re going to arrest me, you have to come through this syringe first.”
Yeardley: [00:07:38] Meaning, that they’ve used a syringe and you don’t know if they have some thing–
Dan: [00:07:43] They’ll stab you with it.
Yeardley: [00:07:44] I see.
Dan: [00:07:45] I know Dave’s had an exposure with a syringe. You’re always aware of guns and other weapons, but the frequency that we came across people who are addicted to IV drugs, it seemed like every person that I patted down, I removed syringes off of. Some people, like we’ve said, don’t like the police. I think particularly in Dave’s exposure instance, this guy purposely bent one of the needles and poked it through his jeans. So, when we pat people down a lot of times, we’ll pat and then will rub down their legs like in their pockets. Well, he had poked this needle out through his jeans, and that’s how Dave got stuck.
Yeardley: [00:08:26] Oh.
Dave: [00:08:27] So, it was at night, a place that frequently we would come across people committing thefts, it was a donation center for a thrift store. In this area, you would always come across people late at night, early, early morning hours where the business is clearly closed. People would be going through items that had been donated and committing theft. So, it’s well marked, like no trespassing, no loitering, no theft, violators will be prosecuted. So, it was pretty routine for everybody to at least take one trip behind that building every night, just as a patrol check. And I see this guy’s going through all this stuff. I went to contact him and he was argumentative right at first. I asked for a cover unit, but I also thought I need to get this guy. He’s acting (unintelligible) up. “I’m just going to detain him. He’s not under arrest, but I’m going to get him in handcuffs right now before this goes sideways.” Put him in handcuffs, let him know he’s not under arrest. I asked him, “Do you have anything on you that’s going to poke me, stick me, or hurt me?” I remember this clearly, he said, “No.” So, I patted the outside of his pockets, not like grabbing, just with the palm of my hand. I had patrol gloves on which in my case were baseball batting gloves, but those aren’t puncture proof. I patted the outside of his pocket.
[00:09:47] I remember when I patted his pocket, his right front pocket, and I got stuck and he started laughing. I said, “What the hell, dude?” He goes, “You didn’t ask me if I had any needles.”
Yeardley: [00:09:58] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:09:59] Like it was my fault.
Yeardley: [00:10:00] Wow.
Dave: [00:10:01] Fuckin’ asshole. [chuckles]
Yeardley: [00:10:03] Unbelievable.
Dave: [00:10:03] And that’s a horrible feeling. Every cop remembers when they first had an exposure by a needlestick. It’s horrible. And you’re like, “I need to go to the hospital right now and get the cocktail,” that is horrible. It’s like having the flu for two or three days, they give you all these drugs to knock out whatever could incubate inside your body.
Yeardley: [00:10:26] And did you do that?
Dave: [00:10:27] I actually spoke with a doctor and said, “Hey.” I was freaking out. It’s like a two-year cop, and everyone’s like, “You get stuck by a needle, you’re going to get AIDS or HIV, you know?”
Yeardley: [00:10:36] Sure.
Dave: [00:10:37] And this guy that I had taken into custody was already on file for being hep C positive. So, wonderful. And he told me the needle wasn’t his, and Dan can already anticipate what the excuse was, that he found it on a playground and he didn’t want any children to come across it. This guy has got multiple arrests for heroin and methamphetamine us. This one time, he was in a playground, he found this needle, good for him. He didn’t cap it but turned out he had stuck it into his pants purposely in a manner that would expose somebody who padded his pockets to a needlestick. And that was my first needlestick. I’ve had one since then. After speaking with the doctor, he is like, “Hey, you got like less than a 1% chance of contracting anything on this. Did you get to it quickly?” Yeah, I mean, I put this guy in handcuffs, had him sit down and went straight over to my car. And I’m dousing myself with hand sanitizer and all the most powerful stuff we have in the car.
Dan: [00:11:37] Treating it like a snake bite.
Dave: [00:11:38] Honest to God, I was freaked out. The second one, I was like, “Okay, son of a bitch. I can deal with this now.”
Dave: [00:11:58] I remember the first person who ever spit on me. It was a female who was HIV positive. She spit blood in my face, on purpose. Couple years before I became a detective, so this is fresh early in my career, I got sent out to a dispute and I had a field training officer at the time. So, this is like a year into my career, going through FTEP, Field Training Evaluation Program. I’ve got an FTO, and Dan was working the same shift. I think it was 3:00 to midnight shift.
Yeardley: [00:12:29] Yeah, swing shift.
Dave: [00:12:31] We get sent out, and right when the address comes out, I know who we’re going to be dealing with, because we go out to this apartment complex all the time, and it’s always the same two people fighting and it’s always the same issue. Somebody drank somebody else’s beer.
Yeardley: [00:12:45] Really?
Dave: [00:12:46] Yeah. So, here the address come out over the radio, and we know that we’re going to be dealing with Jerry and Brenda. And they always fight about always over alcohol, who took the last of the alcohol. Jerry is wheelchair bound.
Dan: [00:13:02] Motorized wheelchair.
Dave: [00:13:03] Motorized wheelchair, that’s a factor in this. In this case, when we get there, Jerry has been ejected from his wheelchair, he’s now laying on the floor of the living room in front of his electrical wheelchair, and Brenda is in the back of the house and she’s screaming, because we’re there. We’re trying to get fire there to treat Jerry because Jerry’s got a big cut on his forehead. It turns out that Brenda had hit him in the head with an empty beer bottle. So now, we got a domestic violence crime and Brenda is going to be going with us. Fire is dealing with Jerry in the front room, and I’m in the back of the apartment. The hallway to the bedrooms goes straight into the living room. So, I have kind of like the catcher’s view of the whole field in front of me, while I’m dealing with Brenda, who is unruly, she’s extremely intoxicated. I also know her to be HIV positive.
Yeardley: [00:13:57] Are they drug users?
Dave: [00:13:59] In the past, earlier in life. They had now shifted to a more, I guess, socially acceptable addiction, alcoholism. Fire’s dealing with Jerry, trying to treat him and they get him back up into his chair, and we determine that Brenda is going to be going with us. So, we go to take her into custody and she starts fighting with us, and she’s petite. But trying to get a person in the handcuffs that doesn’t want to be put in handcuffs is really difficult. She’s really wirey, she can contort and bend, we couldn’t get her arms behind her back. At some point, she loses her balance, and her head like goes up against the hollow bathroom door. Not like a solid wood door, it’s a hollow one. Jerry sees this and he grabs the joystick on his motorized wheelchair and starts heading off in our direction up the hallway, moving the firefighters out of his way. And Dan had turned and started to help us with Brenda. And Jerry runs right up into Dan’s legs, as basically Dan’s facing away from Jerry. And he’s running into the back of Dan’s legs. And he keeps doing it, like into him, back up, into him, back up.
Dan: [00:15:13] I’m like, “Jerry, would you stop that?”
Dave: [00:15:15] Anyhow, Jerry is sticking up for Brenda. He was upset with us for taking her into custody.
Dan: [00:15:21] And it’s a mandatory arrest for us.
Dave: [00:15:23] It’s an assault with a weapon in a domestic situation. She’s going to jail, even if he doesn’t want her to. So, I remember, at least three times into him, back up, into him. And Dan just finally turns around, he finds the on-off switch–
Yeardley: [00:15:37] On the chair?
Dave: [00:15:38] Yeah. Dan turns it off on the chair. And now, Jerry is immobile. It’s like he put spike strips down in front of him.
Dan: [00:15:45] He did the click back and forth a couple times and figured out that he wasn’t moving. Jerry is very intoxicated at this point. The sound that he made, “Arrrrgh,” like I just ruined his night.
Yeardley: [00:15:57] Now if you can find the on-off switch, surely that’s something that Jerry can find himself.
Dan: [00:16:02] He can’t reach it.
Dave: [00:16:03] It’s in the back.
Yeardley: [00:16:04] Oh. How bizarre.
Dave: [00:16:06] Right, you think there’d be like a manual override near the joystick, but in this case, it’s like bottom right behind the back right tire. So, Jerry is going to the hospital, get stitches in his head, and my FTO and I are going to be transporting Brenda to jail. Again, I know Brenda has HIV. It’s in her little notes on her local law enforcement page. So, I’m sitting in the passenger seat. Behind the driver is plexiglass, where the partition is. On my side is a cage. And I remember her saying kind of softly, “Officer, Officer, can I talk to you? Officer, can I talk to you?” And I just turned my head to basically let her know I’m giving her attention, and she [spits] spits blood all over my face.
Yeardley: [00:16:58] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:16:59] I was screaming like, “I cannot fucking believe you did that.” It was in my eyes. It was horrible.
Yeardley: [00:17:06] Did she just bite her cheek and summon all this blood, like what’s happening?
Dave: [00:17:10] When she had fallen into the door, she cut her lip. So, she had blood in her mouth. And I remember my FTO he pulled over the side of the road, we got out these wipes that don’t have any business being next to my eyes or my mouth.
Dan: [00:17:23] You’re not even supposed to use them on your skin, their for surfaces, really harsh chemicals.
Dave: [00:17:28] I rubbed all over my face. I always kept saline in my patrol bag, and I washed my eyes out. I remember putting hand sanitizer into my mouth. Like, I’m doing all this. And my FTO said, “Is that the first person’s ever spit on you? I said, “Yeah”. And he goes, “And it’s the first person that’s ever spit blood on you that is also HIV positive. Welcome to the job.” Mortifying.
Yeardley: [00:17:54] Wow.
Dave: [00:17:55] Horrible.
Yeardley: [00:17:56] So, Brenda goes to the jail. Jerry goes to the hospital. Do they stay together? What became of them?
Dan: [00:18:02] They did stay together. I’ve been to that house so many times, some of them blend in. Obviously, the one we talked about earlier where he kept running into my legs, that one stands out. I had another one where we did a lift assist with the fire department there, because Jerry had fallen out of his wheelchair, and he fell between the bed and the wall. So, you know, tiny bedroom, think about a bed, that tiny space. I mean, it’s a foot wide. And he had fallen in between the bed. Brenda couldn’t help him, and she was intoxicated, and so was Jerry said. So, we had to try to lift him up. So, I get these big, brawny firefighters. It took four of us to get him up.
Dave: [00:18:43] Years later, on a dark and stormy night, we get called to a vehicle versus pedestrian crash on a major thoroughfare through our city. It was Jerry who was on his motorized wheelchair. He was in the bike lane, he had been hit. He was driving the wrong way on a bike lane. As a police officer, I see bicycles going the wrong way. Bicycles are supposed to be going with traffic, because when people emerge from businesses or side streets, they usually look in the direction that traffic is coming towards them from. You don’t think to look the other way first, which is why you’re supposed to be going with traffic because a driver who’s emerging onto that street is going to see what’s coming at them. So, it’s actually against the law to be going the wrong way.
Yeardley: [00:19:35] So, he’s breaking the law?
Dave: He’s actually breaking the law. And you get a lot of people they get really upset when they’re on bikes, and they’re going the wrong way and then we hand a ticket to them, even though they got injured in a vehicle versus bike accident, but they’re the one breaking the law, not the vehicle. So, in this case, Jerry was going the wrong way. It was dark and rainy, and this vehicle pulled up to get out onto this main thoroughfare and did not see Jerry approaching him the wrong way. And Jerry got up in front of him at the same time as this guy hit the gas to get out onto the street. Jerry didn’t have any lights on, this guy just didn’t see him. And Jerry got ran over and died at the scene of that crash. Sad way to go.
Dan: [00:20:25] And once again, Jerry was intoxicated. It was unfortunate. When Jerry was somewhat sober, he’s actually really pleasant person to talk to. But he was an angry drunk. When he was with Brenda too, it was oil and water, but they loved each other. They did.
Yeardley: [00:20:56] I feel like I remember one of you saying that if somebody is in handcuffs, you don’t put the seatbelt on them, because they will spit on you also.
Dan: [00:21:04] Depends.
Dave: [00:21:05] Yeah, it depends a lot on their demeanor and how cooperative they’ve been. If they’ve been at all shady or shifty, or uncooperative, people will say, “You didn’t put my seatbelt on.” I will offer it to most people, “Would you like your seatbelt on?” But that’s if we’ve had this very nice cordial reaction where I’m not anticipating that you’re going to do something to me. And I learned that lesson when I was going through field training. I went to put seatbelt on somebody who was demanding that I do it, and they went forward and bit me.
Yeardley: [00:21:36] Jesus.
Dave: [00:21:37] I’ll never do that again.
Dan: [00:21:38] When Dave first started the seatbelts that we had, we just had the regular like lap belts. There’s a shoulder belt there too, but now they’ve come up with the seat belts that have basically a kind of a rigid handle on them, and you don’t have to reach too far across the body to be able to engage it into the buckle. But when we first started, they were just these regular floppy belts, and you had to reach all the way across somebody. And I’ve had people headbutt me reaching across them. They headbutt you in the forehead, right behind your ear. It’s painful.
Dave: [00:22:10] Biters, head butters, spitters.
Dan: [00:22:13] Mm-hmm.
Dave: [00:22:13] That’s what you get when you put somebody’s seatbelt on.
Dan: [00:22:16] It speaks to another preventative tool that we have, and they’re called spit hoods.
Dave: [00:22:20] Pantyhose, right? [chuckles]
Dan: [00:22:21] They are kind of like pantyhose, but a little baggy. I mean it’s not tight, like Nick Cage in Raising Arizona. And I’ll be taking these Huggies too.
Dave: [00:22:29] And whatever cash you’ve got.
Yeardley: [00:22:30] [chuckles]
Dan: [00:22:32] It’s loose on their head, but you can’t spit through it. And people quite often spit at us, and will say things like, “I have hep C and you’re going to get it.” “I have HIV.” I always treat people with respect when I arrest them. Sometimes, for me, if you’re going to fight with me, the fight is personal while we’re fighting. But once I get you in handcuffs, we’re done. I’m going to dust you off, I’m going to make sure you’re okay. If you’re injured, I’m going to take you to the hospital. But stuff like that is uncalled for. But I think sometimes people have really bad interactions with the police where they feel disrespected. And that’s the first thing that they go to, is any way I can get over on this cop by giving him some fear that, “I’m going to spit on you, and then I have HIV,” things like that. So, that’s why Dave and I talked about a lot of times to how important it is to treat people with respect and dignity, because I don’t want to fight everybody. But it’s a reality. I mean, that’s one of the things we deal with.
[00:23:36] The other thing, earlier I was talking about, when you’re close to somebody, sometimes it’s actually even safer.
Yeardley: [00:23:42] Why is that?
Dan: [00:23:43] Because if somebody’s got a knife and they’re coming at me, if I’m from me to you away, we’re what three feet away right now, I can lunge at you and I can get you with a knife. But if I’m close to you, your arms are out here. If I can tie up one of your arms, if I close distance– In military, they talk about an ambush, the best way to confront an ambush is to charge toward it. So, that’s what we’re doing. We’re closing distance, so we can tie them up. And it basically takes that weapon out of range form. I mean, they can still stab you and everything but what you try to do is immobilize the arm.
Yeardley: [00:24:18] They can’t get as much momentum.
Dan: [00:24:20] Exactly. All these little intricate things that we have to deal with out there and it’s constantly evolving. You have to think on your feet, you’re right up at the window on a traffic stop, and somebody can spit in your face right there too. But if I’m standing six feet away, can I see what you’ve got in your hands or what you have in your lap? It’s not safe for me.
Dave: [00:24:41] What’s in the little pocket on the door?
Yeardley: [00:24:44] Right.
Dan: [00:24:44] All these considerations we have to make. And at the end of the day, I’ve talked about it many times on this podcast, it’s time, place, and circumstance, is how you make decisions in this. Dave’s already talked about how the department is changing the way they do things in this current set of circumstances that we’re in, is use some discretion out there. If they’re a low-level offender, we can still arrest them on paper. We just give them a citation to appear in court. And it’s way better than dealing with them in the car, possibly contracting this illness that we really don’t know a whole lot about.
Yeardley: [00:25:18] This COVID-19.
Dan: [00:25:20] Yeah, and taking them to jail. And then, they end up shutting the jail down or they completely change the rules where now we can’t take people to jail at all. They quarantine the inmates, basically. They’re not going to introduce anything new into this jail. So, you have to think about everything you’re doing out there. And what’s the best way to address the issue that I’m dealing with right in front of me.
Dave: [00:25:43] You think about how many domestic violence or dispute calls you’d go on per night. Say you’re working the swing shift, 3:00 to midnight, or graveyard from 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM. And you go to disputes nonstop for a few hours, because families fight and then you get called and you get to referee their life for a little while. Usually, we’ll bring one person out of the house, and one person will stay in the house, but where the cover officer can still keep their eyes on the other officer that’s at the call with him. Now, we want to bring people out of the house, because I don’t want to be in that stagnant environment where there’s no airflow. You’re in their living room, and you have no idea when the last time they cleaned it was, but you can make some observations about the amount of moldy food or how many McDonald’s cups are on a coffee table, that that place hasn’t been cleaned for a while.
[00:26:38] All those things, they’re all tradeoffs, I get to remove them from their residence, but now they can run from me. Now, the neighbor’s going to see everything and say that neighbor doesn’t like the police. Now, we’ve got interference from outside sources. So, it’s all a give and take but it’s all with discretion in mind. Like Dan said, time, place, and circumstance, do what’s right on that call that puts you in the most advantageous position where you’re not going to be exposed to bad air right now.
Dan: [00:27:23] Dave’s been stuck by two needles. Knock on wood, [knocks] I never have. I feel lucky that I never got stuck. I’ve had needles poke through my gloves, but they didn’t get my skin.
Yeardley: [00:27:36] Oh, wow.
Dan: [00:27:37] I mean, you’re just thinking your lucky stars that you didn’t get stuck. The biggest exposure that I ever got was, someone had successfully completed a suicide with a rifle. And when I got there, we weren’t sure that he’d actually pulled the trigger yet. I got sent to a suicidal subject. I arrived. Another guy and I, we clear this house. And of course, it’s the very last door that you come to. And I remember opening the bedroom door. It was the bedroom in the very back of the house. I opened the bedroom door and the first thing I smelled was the gunpowder and iron. You think about what is in blood.
Yeardley: [00:28:17] Iron.
Dan: [00:28:17] It’s iron. So, when it vaporizes, you smell the iron. And it was dark in there, I went in, confirmed this man was deceased, came back out of that room out into the daylight. It’s 3:00 in the afternoon. And one of the firefighters outside turned to me and said, “Wipe your face.” And I wiped my face. I had gloves on, and you could see the blood on my gloves.
Yeardley: [00:28:43] Oh.
Dan: [00:28:44] A rifle shot to the head, especially with this size of rifle, it was a .30-06.
Dave: [00:28:50] You would have had to leave minutes before going into that room for it to settle to get out of the air. It’s all vaporized blood and mist that you’re walking through. You don’t see it. You smell it and you taste it, which lets you know you’re exposed to it. I remember Dan telling me this story about when he got off work and what he went straight home and did, which was–?
Dan: [00:29:11] Shower, wash my clothes, blood just pouring. I mean it was in my hair. It was all over my skin. What I dealt with after this from my exposure was, about two days after this, I started having the worst headaches I’ve ever had in my life. And I think about that room, I was in that room because I had to process the scene and do an investigation also. So, I’d immediately left the room after finding him deceased. And then, I had to go back in. Well, this blood was still vaporized in this room, and I spent about an hour in there. Didn’t have a respirator, didn’t have a mask on. And I would do things different now. But at the time, I mean this is years and years ago when this happened, I left that call, went home later that night, did the shower thing, cleaned off as best I could, washed my clothes. But for weeks after that, I was having the worst headaches ever. I mean just painful headaches where you almost see strobe lights when you close your eyes. I wouldn’t call him migraines because I’ve had migraines before, but it was right on the border.
[00:30:18] I went into my sergeant at the time, who was maybe a year or two away from retiring. So, he was an old guy, he was a salty old vet. And I told him that I wanted to fill out an exposure form for insurance purposes. He asked me to describe what had happened and when it had happened, and I could pinpoint when it happened. And he said, “Sorry, that’s too long ago, and you didn’t have any open wounds on your body. So, I don’t know what you really got exposed to.” I’m like, “It’s in my lungs, man. It went into my eyes. It went into my nose. It’s in my mouth and went in my ears. You’re saying I didn’t get exposed? Come on.”
Yeardley: [00:30:56] That’s kind of crazy.
Dan: [00:30:57] Yeah. If you think about this virus, COVID-19, where does it come in?
Yeardley: [00:31:01] Sure.
Dave: [00:31:03] Well, and from a sergeant’s perspective now, it’d be handled completely differently. One of my officers comes in and says, “Hey, I’m having issues with this,” or “I think I got exposed,” I, no matter what, to me, if you think you got exposed, I’m filling out that paperwork. I don’t need you to confirm it. I’m going to believe you. [chuckles] It’s too much stuff to mess with, and that’s not my judgment to make. You got an exposure, you’re injured on the job. Let’s fill out the paperwork and get it done.
Yeardley: [00:31:30] Sure. Wow. There you have it, Small Town Fam. Life in and out of a pandemic for law enforcement.
Dan: [00:31:38] Got so many stories about this stuff. I mean we could do this for hours. It’s just brought up so many other ones.
Yeardley: [00:31:45] Well, I mean that’s just more snackable content for another time.
Dave: [00:31:51] Yeah, this is one of those where any detective we brought in here, you could say, “Tell me about the first time you ever got blood spit on you?” And they’d be like, “Oh, I’ll tell you the story.”
Yeardley: [00:31:59] Yeah. See, as a civilian, I’m glad to say I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody spit blood on me intentionally. Or, even maybe unintentionally. So, there you go. Gentlemen, thank you. Thanks for even after getting blood spit on you, being bitten, head butted, stuck with needles, thanks for not quitting. Thanks for not quitting the job.
Dave: [00:32:22] It’s the paycheck.
Dan: [00:32:23] Yeah, it’s so good.
Yeardley: [00:32:25] [laughs] Thanks for being here, Small Town Super Fam. We love seeing you here on Patreon. We really appreciate the support and also, to all the doctors, nurses, firefighters, first responders, grocery store clerks and baggers, pharmacy workers, delivery people, everyone who’s out there on the frontlines, thank you for holding the fort. You are truly the best. Small Town Super Fam, we’ll see you here on Patreon next time. As you know, we cannot do this without you. That’s it for now. I think that was pretty good snack, don’t you? Yeah.
Dave: [00:33:03] Thanks for being here.
Dan: [00:33:04] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:33:07] Thank you so much for listening. Hey, hit us up on social media and let us know how you’re doing in this weird not normal time. We’re all navigating our way through. We love hearing from our Small Town Fam. And we will be back with regular episodes on Friday, April 10th. Until then, stay safe and healthy. So, there you have it, another slice of snackable content here on Patreon. And just like our regular episodes, Small Town Dicks on is produced by Gary Scott and me, Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by detectives Dan and Dave. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. And Logan also composed our Patreon theme music. And finally, our books are cooked and catch wrangled by Ben Cornwell. The team is forever grateful for your support.