Brown Paper Bag
I was working security outside a Fraternity Party. One of the activities I performed while working these events was to manage the consumption of alcohol in public. The less drinking outside the party, the less chance of violence outside the party. Often when the party would spill out onto the front lawn, or worse, the sidewalk and the streets, fights would break out. So I would stop anyone in possession of an open container of alcohol outside the party. If they were over 21, they would get a warning for an infraction violation of the municipal code. If they were under 21, I would write a misdemeanor citation for minor in possession of alcohol.
I saw a young man walking toward the party, drinking from a beverage inside a brown paper bag. This suggested to me that he was probably drinking an alcoholic beverage. I contacted him and asked him what he was drinking. He pulled a 4Loko from the bag and admitted that he was drinking an alcoholic beverage. I got his ID from him and saw that he was 23 years old. I warned him that he was not allowed the drink alcoholic beverages in public and he said, “Oh, it’s okay. I kept it in the brown paper bag.”
I realized that he didn’t understand and explained that the brown paper bag didn’t make it legal, it was just to keep me from knowing what he was drinking. The young man’s pleasant expression fell and he realized that he was committing a violation.
“Oh my God. Thank you for telling me. I could have gotten in real trouble.”
I was supervising a trainee in Field Training. He was having issues and we decided to try putting me in plain clothes to see if that helped. I like Hawaiian shirts, so that is what I wear. I’m supposed to look like a civilian ride-along, but perceptive people can tell that I’m a cop, wearing a vest under my shirt, and a gun hidden in my waistband. My trainee was detaining a parolee who might have been involved in some gang activity. This detention lasted a while as the trainee tried to figure out what he was supposed to be doing (well into his 14th week of training-where he should be able to manage all on his own). I leaned against the patrol car during this time and watched and waited. This particular trainee often complained when the trainers intervened, “But I was just about to do that.” So I was no longer intervening. I brought a book, in case I got bored. Finally, the trainee was done and told the parolee that he was free to leave. As the trainee got back into the driver’s seat, the parolee approached me and asked quietly, “Hey, Sarge. He’s not going to pass training is he? He’s gonna get himself killed out here.”
I stopped a parolee who told me a long rambling story about his criminal career. I caught that he used the phrase “rolled up” a couple of times. This was in the context of when he got in trouble in prison and that he got “rolled up.” This “rolling up” was a serious obstacle to his betterment in prison and prevented him from getting good assignments. Either way, I was there, contacting him because he was behaving like an idiot and I needed to shoo him away. Shooing done, I continued on my way.
Later in the day, one of my officers asked me to watch the two parolees that he had detained while he searched their pickup truck. While we waited, I took the opportunity to ask them if they were familiar with the term “rolled up.” They both said that they were, enthusiastically. I told them that a guy I had stopped had mentioned it to me and I didn’t know what he was talking about, could they explain?
Driver: Yeah, it means he’s a fuckup.
Me: How so?
Passenger: Did he tell you who rolled him up?
Me: No. Is that important?
Driver: Yeah. If you fuck up and the guards roll you up, that means the guards come into your cell, throw all your shit on your mattress, make you roll up your mattress and take you to a new cell, somewhere else so they don’t have to deal with you.
Me: And who else could roll you up?
Passenger: Well, if you fuck up and piss off the other prisoners, they come into your cell and kick you until you roll up into the fetal position. Same thing, different response, but really, you end up in the same place, ‘cause the guards have to move you anyway.
You learn something new every day.