Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's in a name?

So part of my job is to have a short interview on a weekly basis with all the people on my caseload. They come in at a scheduled time on Wednesdays and I go over there schedule for leaving the house for such things as work, school, Dr's appointments and the like. They are also made aware that at the time of their appointment with me they are to always be prepared to provide a urinalysis sample and/or give a breathalyzer test if I feel the need. I find it amazing how some will come in basically with their eyeballs floating to do a UA and the ones who think that if they tell me they just went before coming out they will get out of it. Anyway, the people who hold out on you are pretty much the ones who you suspect right away of being dirty. Especially if they have come in and provided right away in the past. So a few weeks ago I put together my list of people I want to have UA'd and as they come in I will tell them and then if it a male I will fill out the proper papers and take them to the bathroom to make sure they are not using someone else's urine or dipping into the toilet water or something similar. The females on the other hand are sent to a different building where a female officer is to monitor the UA. I have this female on my caseload who divulged to me that she had a heroin addiction and was really struggling to stay sober. I made a few phone calls to try and find a local detox that had a bed available for an intensive in-patient treatment program. This woman also suffers from depression and severe social anxiety disorder so therefore takes meds accordingly. After a little bit of looking I found out no detox will take someone who is on those kind of meds until they have been off of them for at least a week. Seemed strange to me but I instructed her to call her Dr. to make sure she could do that so we could get her in treatment. Meanwhile I also told her she needed to remain clean and that she could expect a UA soon.
So the next week comes and I decided to wait one more week for a UA since I had done a house visit that weekend and she seemed to be doing well. The following week she comes in for her appointment and first thing she asks is if she has to provide a UA. I happened to be off that day for family reasons and had someone else taking care of things for me. Since she was not on a list again she went out to the port-a-potties we have for their use. (someone smeared crap on our walls once) The following day I got to work and another partner of mine said he was leaving for work that evening and decided to use the port-o-pottie instead of getting his keys again and going through the fun of all the doors to get to our bathroom. When he went in the stall he noticed the lid was up and he looked in as he was shutting it and noticed what appeared to be a condom in it. They had also just came and cleaned them that day as well. My partner gloves up reaches in and grabs the item in the bottom of the toilet. Needless to say for some reason he just wrapped it and put it in a secure place to look at in the morning.
The following morning he shows it too me and we carefully unwrap it to find it is a prescription pill bottle with urine in it and aluminum foil over the top taped on the sides all in a condom. I have seen this before and knew immediately how it works. She puts the clean urine in the bottle, puts the foil over the top and only tapes around edges. Puts the bottle in the condom leaving the top exposed with the foil and inserts it in her vagina. At the time of urine collection they place the cup under themselves the use a finger to pierce the foil and let the urine go into the cup. Being that it is in a body cavity it will maintain the right temperature to pass that part of the UA.
As I said it was on a prescription bottle and wouldn't you know it she forgot to peel the label with her name on it! Man did that make my job easy. A few hours later she was arrested at her home for intention to tamper with her UA. She provided a good UA later which did come back positive for heroin. It is amazing what someone will go through to no get in trouble sometimes. I guess the good news is she got a bed for detox and has all the free counseling she could use. Albeit not where she wanted but it will get her off the drugs until she gets out. She also had 30 days added to her time as well. Addiction is a powerful thing.

Until next time,

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Let the Blogging begin.

Well since this is my first blog ever I guess it may turn into a silly rambling that goes nowhere as my thoughts frequently do.
I have the feeling that most of my subjects are going to be related to my profession for the simple fact it pretty much rules my life and can be interesting too.
I am a probation officer for the Spokane County Sheriffs office in good ole Spokane WA. If anybody reading this has any experience in the criminal justice system or better yet what most probation officers do, you can almost throw that out the window.
I work with offenders that are mostly on EHM or Electronic Home Monitoring for those non acronym types out there. I also deal a bit with work release offenders and the other groups that are in inmate work crews and plain old jail birds too.
The best part of my job is that I do not spend all day in an office doing referrals to treatment centers and preparing for court hearings on violations and such. I am one of a few probation officers that spends time in the field or community monitoring inmates to make sure they are complying with their probation. I am fortunate enough to have a county vehicle that I drive to and from work daily due to the fact I have to be available at all times during my work week to respond 24/7 to violations. I am very well equipped in my job with the requisite firearm as well as a x-26 taser and OC spray. I regularly wear a protective vest and operate at all times of the day whether it is arresting an offender for use of alcohol to felony warrant service.
Unfortunately, all this stuff from the outside sounds exciting, and dangerous I find the most difficult part of the job is seeing people struggle with uncontrollable addiction. I have seen my share of broken homes and hearing children cry as one of their parents are arrested on yet another violation. I think some of the most disheartening scenes are on non-violation field checks when you knock on the door and when the child sees an officer they instantly burst into tears and beg you not to take their mommy or daddy to jail.
I have so many heart breaking stories to blog about I am excited to have an outlet. On the same note I also have some very rewarding things to write about.

Until next time.