In the ten years I was a police officer, I saw some pretty amazing things. Things that most civilians would never come across or experience. Some things so unbelievable that all I can say is truth is stranger than fiction. Things only other cops or EMS personnel would believe. Cops get jaded after a while, seeing crap day in and day out. You see bizarre shit daily and so often you stop saying "Now I've seen everything..."
That is until one day you see something that odds are against ever seeing something like it ever again.
In my early years, when it wasn't as busy in the district I worked in we still had time to answer "Unknown Problem" calls. This is one of those calls.
My partner and I were halfway through a somewhat slow day shift when we got the radio call. See the woman about an unknown problem. We were only a few blocks away from the address and we were quickly at the residence, a well kept rowhouse in a nicer section of our sector. My partner and I walked up to the stoop and knocked on the door...
It was answered by a short rotund black woman who bore a striking resemblance to Aunt Jimima...
"Oh officers! I'm so glad you're here! Come on in!"
We were ushered in the front door into a spotless living room pleasantly decorated, fresh flowers arranged in a vase on a faux mantle. The surroundings put us at ease as she began to tell us what the problem was...
"Officers, I've lived here in this house for thirty-seven years and I never have seen anything like this!"
"What seems to be the problem, Ma'am?"
"There's a leg in my back yard!"
I looked at my partner and we both gave eachother the looks as if to say "Sure lady. A leg... And how long have you been off your medications?" But we kept our professional look out front and let her escort us through an equally spotless dining room and kitchen to the back door. I opened it and headed out first only to be stopped dead in my tracks.
There, laying in a light dusting of snow that had fallen the previous evening, was a human leg. I called for my partner to call the Crime Lab and I went closer to investigate. Sure as shit it was a human leg. Unclothed, and from the looks of it and the tracks in the snow all around, it had been a late night snack for several stray dogs that roamed the district.
My partner went back to the patrol car to get the Polaroid camera while I followed the dog's tracks and obvious drag marks in the snow up the alley...
I followed the tracks for three blocks to the rear parking lot of the local hospital where it all started to come together.
I'd never done so much Goddamn paperwork over a body part.
Long story-short, apparently someone on the medical staff the previous evening was too lazy to take the time to follow proper procedure in the disposal of infectious medical waste and instead tossed an amputated leg into the hospital's garbage dumpster instead of the incinerator giving the neighborhood strays a feast...
And causing us to call the CDC & EPA... And until their investigations were over my partner, myself and that sweet old woman had to go into quarantine to insure we didn't cach some rare infectious disease. Never again will I say "now I've seen everything".
But what I wouldn't give right now to have been there to see the look on that woman's face when she first discovered it in her snow-covered flowerbed...
It probably looked a lot like the face I had when I saw it.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden