It’s hot, everybody’s drinking beer but me — and it’s hot

Nothing goes better with a 95-degree day than a good old-fashioned beer festival — which is how I spent the day roasting in a black uniform just to make a few bucks and observe the behavior of the upper crust of the beer connoisseur community.

At 40 bucks a pop, most of the lightweights and bar crabs would naturally be eliminated from the crowd — except for about a dozen of them who obviously saved a few payday bucks to hang with the big boys and girls. They didn’t last long once they found that Bud Light wasn’t on the menu.

Having spent years moonlighting at various establishments such as Good Ol’ Days and Scooters (remember Scooters?), I’d seen my share of nickel-pitcher commandos whose motto was fight or — well, most of them ended up either fighting or puking in the bathroom.

What I found was, among other things, this: The difference in the lightweights and bar crabs compared to the refined beer connoisseur is about two hours. I’m kidding. It’s more like three hours.

I’m not knocking refined beer connoisseurs — not too much. The problem is that in order to enjoy the humor of those engaged in festive beer drinking, you need to be festively drinking with them. Otherwise, the clichés are dull, repetitive and not well-delivered. I’m not talking about the clichés among the festive beer drinkers themselves, but the clichés the festive beer drinkers save up for the cops.

How many times should I have to hear “I didn’t do it!”?

Okay, twice, maybe three times, and you get the courtesy laugh. After that, all I can do is muster a blank stare and drool — a sure sign of heat stroke.

“Hey! You guys gonna give me a breathalyzer if I drink too much?”

“Ha, ha.”

“Hey, you guys gonna give yourselves a breathalyzer if I drink too much? — wait, I mean if I drink too much?”


“Hey, you guys gonna lock me up for breathalyzing too much — uh … ”

“Move along please.”

Let me point out, the organizers did have Safe-Ride people there for free rides home to those who drank to the point of bad clichés. And there were many cabs available.

It was so hot …

Did I mention the 95-degree heat?

After three hours of festive behavior, some of the weak and sickly-but-festive participants began to show the wear and tear of the day, which was evident by the vomiting in the parking lot. (I told you these people were refined. Anyone else wouldn’t have made it to the parking lot.)

The end of the night came with cooler temperatures. No one was more appreciative than the cops who always wear the Kevlar vests. On hot days, most of the heat trapped between the vest and your body escapes up through the front of your collar, making your chin melt. By the time I got home, I looked like a Salvador Dali rendition of Jay Leno.

Now don’t think it was all painstaking work. Many of the festive gals, after a few samples of beers with odd names, wanted that photo op with the cops. It’s ain’t all bad. They put their arms around us, smiled for the picture and then asked: “What happened to your chin?”

As the beer festival patrons left, they offered goodbyes and advice on how we should do our jobs, namely stop writing tickets. And, in a really festive flash, they were gone — except a few who found it hard to leave with all that beer left, or those who couldn’t find their way out of the portable toilets.

Once rescued, they disappeared into the sunset, in the back of a cab, waving to us. I think they were using all their fingers, but I’m not sure.

31 comments Add your comment


June 15th, 2010
4:55 pm

“What happened to your chin?”

LMAO You’re welcome to have one of mine. I have LOTS! ;-)

I enjoy reading your blog, Lt. Keep it up.

Shaun Polunsky

June 15th, 2010
7:00 pm


Remember the comment many gave when they were given the reason for why they were pulled over?

“But ossifer, I only had 3-2 beers!”

Still wonder why SS went the dark uniform route. Granted they hide dirt better but isn’t the nickname of Metro Atlanta “HOTLANTA”. If it wouldn’t add another 10 pounds to an already heavy Sam Browne, a cooling unit for the Second Chance vest would be great.


June 16th, 2010
9:52 am

Shaun, please do not refer to Atlanta as “Hotlanta.” EVER!! Its just tacky.

Lt. Steve

June 16th, 2010
2:58 pm

The black uni’s are very hot and sweat drips down so thank goodness my pants are black too or I’d look like i was having bladder-control issues.

Way Prettier Than You are

June 16th, 2010
5:10 pm

Talking about Scooter’s……Thanks for making me feel REALLY OLD (I just found out I am going to be a Grandma) …..Yes, I remember Scooter’s, Jerryl’s, Breezie’s, VIP Club, Elan (met my 2nd husband there!), LIMELIGHT, Casbah, Xanadu,The Library, Krazz….to name a few…I was a regular on the disco scene and was in many dance contests(!) Hey Lt. Steve do you remember the Chattahoochee RAFT RACES..??? Why don’t you tell stories from those days….Talk about debauchery….Those were the days….I saw lots of you guys there…..Back then it was WILD. P.S. I lived at Riverbend (WHEN Steve Bartkowski lived there) for a while too. Do I have stories from then, whew !!!

Mark Donka

June 16th, 2010
9:16 pm

Great stuff people who never wore the uniform don’t always get it. But you told it how it is/was. I remember working bar security 20 plus years ago. They came in all friendly and smiling until they became beer brave and needed to impress someone. It would normally turn out bad with them on the floor in cuffs with snot running out of there noses from the mace.. ahhh the good old days.
Retired Hartford Police Sergeant thanks again

The Truth about Cops

June 17th, 2010
2:19 am

Do ya’ll were kevlar when you’re hiding on the freeway waiting to fill your quotas? Um, why? Most of you never see any danger pulling over mini vans for tag light violations.

Protect and serve? More like find and solicit (cash). You should all walk with your heads down in shame. We as a public are disgusted and we don’t respect you.


June 17th, 2010
12:13 pm

That’s a really funny column. Glad you can write as well as police.


June 17th, 2010
12:17 pm

sounds like The Truth about Cops needs a beer festival or two.

Van Jones

June 17th, 2010
1:30 pm

Good stuff – keep it coming!

Atys, HOTLANTA is and always will be cool. But it’s tacky to write a contraction without using an apostrophe.


June 17th, 2010
4:55 pm

How do you hide on the freeway? Are you just too stupid “Truth About Cops” to look AHEAD when you drive? Or does paying attention to the road take too much attention away from your cell phone?

That car, yeah THAT ONE the one stopped in the emergency lane with the cop lights. He’s a COP. Slow down, ACT like you aren’t drunk………..

Chip Jones

June 17th, 2010
8:33 pm

“Truth About Cops” should be ashamed about the comments. Just TRY being a police officer you pansy. You make me sick.


June 19th, 2010
12:07 am

“Truth About Cops” should be ashamed about the comments. Just TRY being a police officer you pansy. You make me sick. ditto

Atlanta Native

June 19th, 2010
8:49 am

Scooters! My 80’s den of iniquity! You dropped the bomb on me Steve. Thanks.

Ignorance annoys me

June 19th, 2010
12:13 pm

Anyone who takes the time to understand what a cop’s life is really like, could not possibly have anything but the utmost respect, admiration, and gratitude. What they encounter from the general public on a daily basis is not pretty, to say the least, and a constant risk to their lives, to say the most. So if you do something wrong, get caught, and the cop is not all cheerful and polite, it’s probably because they just encountered “Truth…”, or someone like him, or worse. So as they say on another blog, drink a glass of shut the eff up!! (Can I say there here, Lt.??)

Your ignorance annoys me, it must annoy you to death

June 19th, 2010
3:44 pm

Why would any of us care about how hard you think it is to be a cop? You made the choice. Most people avoid the cops at all costs, not because the people themselves are criminals, but because they are very scared that the cop is a criminal. Why don’t you ask yourself why this is instead of telling a member of society that you disagree with to shut the eff up?
Just this week in Atlanta, we (the taxpayers) will be paying an older lady who had committed no crime $20,000 for her false arrest by a criminal police officer (yes, he was a criminal. He had no authority to demand that that she move, nor did he have the authority to arrest her for asking why.) We have also seen a police officer in Seattle arrest a woman for jaywalking (not an arrestable offense) when he did not like her attitude, and we have seen him assaulting her friend for speaking up in her behalf. We had a similar incident here in Atlanta with a German tourist a year or so ago.
Do you get it now? The public does not want you to be the judge, jury, and executioner, yet you act like one and that instills fear and mistrust in the people you are supposed to serve. It also instills intense dislike of ALL police in people who have had their freedoms taken away by these self-decided enforcers of what they decide is wrong. When the police expose the corrupt among them instead of support them, when the law is used as a guidebook for how to behave towards the public instead of the uniform used as the final arbitrator; then maybe people will begin to support the police. Until then, I will continue to cheer loudly every time one of you gets arrested, or shot while performing illegal acts, or sweating your asses off in your polyester uniforms in 100 degree weather; it’s the only enjoyment we get out of the cops that we have.


June 20th, 2010
10:27 am

Another great story – and some great comments. It is too bad that there are comments here also from the dregs of society. When I read such comments, I think that the writer(s) has been nailed by an officer for some offense and probably got off much too lightly. Keep up the great writing!

Chip Jones

June 20th, 2010
10:54 am

I’m glad people make the choice to have a career in law enforcement, the military,or even teaching. So much sacrifice for a relatively small paycheck. The losers who piss and moan about the police are also the first to call 911 when they’re afraid of a stray poodle in their yard.

less than 8 years to go for retirement

June 20th, 2010
11:03 am

to retired alive, glad you made it, and you are right, the “dregs of society” have no idea what 90 % of police do. i would say that less than 10 % of dept personnel are dedicated to traffic enforcement, and they are the ones who have been through the accident reconstruction classes to work the fatalities and serious injuries wrecks. 70 % are dedicated to patrol duties to respond to calls for service, and the tickets they write are usually for the lesser car wrecks. 10 % are in the detective division, and the remaining 10 % like myself are dedicated to crime suppression / swat. in my dept, some of the swat officers also work patrol in case that situation arises there is already a swat officer available to take command of a scene, and wait for the rest of the team to arrive. very little government revenue comes from writing traffic tickets. the people who complain and dislike the police that constantly write in this section are highly misinformed about what we do. maybe these people can explain how the fulton county d.a.’s office has 21,000 active felony cases, and the fulton county state court has approx. 15,000 active warrants to serve. i assure that these are not “traffic” cases that are pending. and by the way – you can be arrested for walking or crossing a road in nearly every state including georgia


June 20th, 2010
2:01 pm

. . . or maybe I’ve misjudged “The Truth About Cops”? Now that I think about it, doesn’t he sound more like a “wannabe” who probably couldn’t even make it as a night watchman for an empty parking lot? I think that he probably tried to become a police officer and didn’t make it due to his background investigation, polygraph results or even psychological screening. Yep, that what it is!

Ignorance annoys me

June 20th, 2010
2:24 pm

Just to clear up a couple things.
I am NOT a cop, never have been, don’t want to be. I’m just a citizen who is damn glad there are people out there who DO want to be.
Re dirty cops – they’re all discovered and dealt with eventually. It’s pointless for you to make a generalization like that, when you find people in EVERY group who are dishonest. CEOs, bank employees, retail managers. So when you discount an entire group because of a bad apple, you really are displaying your….well, ignorance and hatred.
The cop in Seattle was fairly restrained, in my opinion. He was alone and surrounded by smartass juveniles, both of whom had extensive criminal records by the way. Do you suggest that he should have let her punch him?? I’m upset about that incident alright – upset that he didn’t tase her loser butt.
Have fun with your opposable thumbs.

Ignorance annoys me

June 20th, 2010
2:32 pm

How come no one has mentioned Fuzzy’s or Johny’s Hideaway ??

Ignorance annoys me

June 20th, 2010
2:33 pm

Back in that day, it was probably still the “Bearded Clam”? Before my time in Atlanta…


June 20th, 2010
2:39 pm

To Ignorance: You need to re-read the post you made prior to your last one. you contradict yourself. You mentioned Seattle in both posts but seem to alter your view in your second posting. Just be honest and say you are a cop-hater. Cops can deal with it. After all, you are just a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things – and that is all you will ever be.

Chip Jones

June 20th, 2010
5:57 pm

10-4 on your last post RETIRED ALIVE. Ignorance will never know how it feels to comfort a child or the elderly in times of need,to try to save a life..even if you fail. So many facets of being a Police Officer. If all of us could just walk in their shoes for a few shifts.


June 20th, 2010
6:37 pm

Chip, the things you mentioned are what make the job tolerable – to be able to help others in their time of need. Sometimes it is no more than just being there to listen and to lend support. I have heard and said that the police see people at their worst, and that is true. The other side of that coin is that the police see people when they are facing the worst that life has to offer: the death or severe injury of a child or other loved one, the loss of their home to fire or other disaster or the loss of treasured posessions to a thief. Just to be able to help, if even in a small way, is important to those who serve.

Your ignorance annoys me, it must annoy you to death

June 21st, 2010
9:53 am

You mentioned other professions with dishonest people, but quite frankly, none of those other professions have the right to shoot, taze, or remove me or others from the population and into the hell that is our prison system without recourse. Nor do they have a union that stands up for them no matter the crime, their co-workers dislike them and would roll over on them in a skinny minute, not blindly support them because they wear a badge.
There are now around six or seven posts bashing me for various things of a personal nature and assuming I am a criminal, when nothing could be further from the truth. I am a regular member of society with a great wife and kids, and I dread the thought of calling 911 because it has been proven to be potentially dangerous to the person who does. 911 would and always will be an absolute last resort for me and my family, I’ll take my chances.
I also notice that on a blog full of officers and their friends and families, that not one of you has taken the time to address the issues that I have brought up regarding the culture of corruption. If Kathryn Johnston was your relative, I bet you’d be singing a different tune. For all who doubt me, why don’t you walk into a police station and ask them how you go about filing an anonymous complaint against an officer? Or maybe try calling 911 to report an officer not doing his duty? I did this once when I lived in Atlanta proper regarding an officer who was having carnal affairs with a hooker in his squad car while on duty. Do you know what happened to me? I was hung up on repeatedly and transferred multiple times over a period of almost two hours, while the cop joked and laughed and got bl*&n by the hooker in his car. After the second or third disconnected call, I began by asking for a superior officer, when that officer answered, I immediately asked for his name and badge number, no matter who it was they did not want to give it to me – and this was not just one officer. What was the result? They were covering each other and not giving out information that they are required to give to the public in an effort to not have an external record of their business. All of this while I was attempting to be polite and businesslike on the phone and merely let them know what was taking place. At the time, the area around my condo was very lawless and drug sales and prostitution were rampant, yet there was a police station less than a mile away. After trying to get this situation reported to someone who cared for nearly two hours, I heard (yes, my condo was in earshot of the offense) dispatch call over the radio to the officer in question that someone was raising a stink about his behavior; shortly thereafter, he let the hooker out of his car and squealed off, tires burning rubber, pissed that someone question him and cut short his fun. I would bet you everything that I have that this officer never received a talk about his behavior, a suspension, or any other disciplinary measures. Two days later, my condo was raided by the Red Dog Squad, who found nothing because there was nothing to find. Does this sound like a normal occurrence that would happen in any other profession? Was this guy just one bad egg and the whole rest of the bunch were decent and upholding the law? If so, why did they not care to corral him in? Why did they retaliate against my trying to clean up the corruption in their department instead of addressing the officer who was cavorting with hookers on my time? Try to twist this any way you want, but I can assure you that I could see and hear what was going on in his squad car that night and not one officer I spoke with wanted to have him behave differently; what they wanted was for me to not raise any issue about it.
Everyday across the US there is a story of police corruption and the attempts to cover it up by the police, there are also many stories of people dying at the hands of the police while doing nothing wrong. The same dept I mention in my story above was investigated by to US Dept of Justice and found to have a “culture of corruption” from the top down, which the citizens of Atlanta are still paying for. The incident I reported happened over twenty years ago now, yet twenty years later, the same corruption is going on. Is this how you like your tax dollars being spent? It’s not the way I care for mine.
There are many other examples of similar crimes and deaths in Ga. alone, so if you would like to continue bashing me, go ahead, but I would prefer all of you “honest” cops to change this by not allowing it to go on. Same goes for you honest court employees dealing with DA’s like Danny Porter and the like, as well as you honest citizens; that is, if you’re not too scared to speak up because the people you are complaining about have the right to take your life and liberty away from you with very little recourse for their actions. You officers know this, the other guy has a gun too, and buddies that will be quiet about what he does, which is why you let it slide and become the major issue that it has become.
I will repeat what I said above and dare any of you to challenge it: When the police expose the corrupt among them instead of support them, when the law is used as a guidebook for how to behave towards the public instead of the uniform used as the final arbitrator; then maybe people will begin to support the police.

Your ignorance annoys me, it must annoy you to death

June 21st, 2010
10:33 am

HA – low and behold, all I have to do is look in today’s paper for another shining example of our law enforcement officers behaving as if they don’t have to follow the law and the whole system around them trying to protect them instead of doing justice –

From the article:

Police say Dailey was off duty and wearing civilian clothing when he flew off the handle Feb. 1, 2008, and attacked a female motorist he had never met on a Sugar Hill roadside. Dailey told investigators that he had been drinking and had just crashed his car when he flagged down the woman and asked her to call 911. Moments later, he inexplicably attacked her, smashed her car window and threatened to kill her, according to police.

Dailey then allegedly shot and wounded an off-duty Fulton County officer who stopped to intervene.

Hmm – I wonder what will happen to this dangerous criminal, surely they will throw the book at him, let’s read a little more of the article to see how we treat dangers to society like this criminal:

Dailey has a documented history of alcoholism and depression. His mother, Janet Dailey of Alpharetta, wrote a letter to the court in August saying that her son “never should have taken that first sip of alcohol” on that day. In his defense, she said, Dailey suffered from sleep apnea and had been drinking to help him sleep so he could work that night.

Dailey’s aunt, Elizabeth Cocchiarella of White Bear Lake, Minn., also pleaded with Superior Court Judge Dawson Jackson in a note to the court to impose a reasonable sentence if Dailey is convicted.

“It’s hard for me to understand some of the choices Jay made that day, but I strongly feel it was a one-time lapse of judgment on his part,” Cocchiarella wrote.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said he expects one of the main issues at trial to be what role, if any, that intoxication played in Dailey’s strange behavior.

“There is obviously no issue that Jay Dailey shot Paul Phillips,” said defense attorney Jeff Sliz in an e-mail on Friday. “I do not believe that he recognized him [Phillips] as a police officer due to his severe intoxication.”

Sliz said he also does not believe the aggravated assault charges against Dailey for the attack on the female motorist and two passers-by were well-founded. He said there is no evidence that Dailey threatened the woman with a gun and no evidence that he ever intended to harm the bystanders.

The court gave approval for Dailey to have an extensive psychiatric evaluation. Dailey has no criminal history and relatives say he was both a loving husband and a doting father to his then 5-year-old son prior to the incident. However, Sliz has not filed a notice of intent to use an insanity defense.

Porter said that the psychiatric evaluation, which was sealed prior to the trial, could come into play during sentencing if Dailey is convicted.

Gee – a documented history of depression and alcoholism – wonder how all of those brothers in blue never noticed this and referred him for help or asked that he be removed from his job until he was treated. What else have we learned, oh yeah, he was drinking so he could sleep to work that night. Wonder why this was also never noticed by the quality officers he worked with or his supervisors. Guess it’s OK since he only carries deadly weapons and has to interact with society in ways that can tragically alter their lives; I’m sure that his altered judgment due to alcohol won’t ever come into play in any of those scenarios.
He didn’t know he was shooting another cop because he was so drunk, well poor guy, he was under a lot of stress, let’s give him a break. And by the way, pulling a gun on three other people is just a mistake, too. No need for assault charges, cops have guns, cops pull guns, that’s why they have them – right?
These stories just write themselves. I bet good old Danny Porter will go pretty hard on him to prove to the public is against this sort of behavior, most especially from sworn officers of the law; let’s look at his track record in cases of cop misbehavior resulting in injuries to the public or even death – hmm – seems he’s more concerned about protecting the thin blue line instead of punishing it’s members who are acting criminally. We are watching, it’s up to you police officers and court personnel to change our opinions – it’s not our job to put on rose colored glasses and act like there are not two different types of justice – one for us and one for the police.
I’ll ad another personal anecdote, this one in response to the gentleman above who suggested that not all police are beat cops, but investigators and such. I have a friend who was hit and nearly killed by a drunk, off duty detective in an unmarked car. My friend was on his Honda CB550 that I had helped him get running a mere two weeks beforehand, he was passing through an intersection when the detectives car crossed into his lane and hit him head-on, sending him into the windshield of this detectives vehicle, breaking his wrist, collarbone, and ribs – he was very lucky to survive and remain conscious during this ordeal. When the regular officers showed up, they became aware of who they were dealing with and did their best to cover up for this detective. They wrote my friend multiple tickets, blamed the accident on him, and sent the drunk detective on his way before any other investigators showed up. This ordeal cost my friend a lot of money to get out of, and had he not had witnesses who could testify to the truth of what they saw – a drunk, slurring and swaying detective cross into his lane – he would have been railroaded into a jail sentence, parole or probation, and a ton of fines and points against his license. As it was, when it was discovered he had witnesses, all charges against him were suddenly dropped and he was told to go about his business. No accountability for the hospital bills and lawyers fees he incurred from the person who caused him harm, just left all of it on his shoulders. I begged him to sue, but he didn’t because he already couldn’t afford the bills that resulted from this and he felt that it would be of no use with a bunch of police officers testifying a different reality than he was presenting. He was also 20 years old at the time of this incident and I’m certain had he been older and wiser, he’d have sued the city and the officers involved in a heartbeat.


June 21st, 2010
1:45 pm

Hey, this is a pretty good idea…. having LEO’s blog about their work exploits. I’ve often guessed that if we were to hear some of the things that LEO’s witness and observe after having dealt with us civil, law-abiding, God-fearing citizens, we’d either die laughing, or maybe even straighten up. Great read!


June 21st, 2010
6:55 pm

“Your ignorance” has presented us with an article describing a cop who has obvious mental issues. Duluth was correct in terminating him. As for “your ignorance’s” friend hit while riding a motorcycle, he should have sued if those were the facts surrounding the incident. Perhaps, you should have begged your friend a little more to sue. Perhaps, he could have borrowed money from family or a good friend like yourself. Ultimately, he decided not to do so. He lives with that decision, not you.

jackie baines

June 21st, 2010
8:48 pm