(Roughly) Daily

“He do the Police in different voices”*…



Police blotters aren’t tasked with remembering criminals or crafting their deeds into a hardboiled narrative. When newspapers can only spare a sentence to describe a raft of offenses, fitting the who, what, where, when and why into a roundup of the cops and courts beat’s leftovers is hard enough.

The magic of police blotters, however, is that a sentence alone can be mightily revealing…

For example:


A resident reported a large light in the sky. It was the moon.

— 2002, reported in the San Jose Mercury News

9:53 p.m. When a roommate moved out, he took several unweaned kittens with him. 

— August 13, 2013, reported in the Arcata Eye (which was profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle for its police blotter)


8:30 p.m. — A caller in the vicinity of Bloomfield Graniteville Road and Bush Road reported an “illegal wedding,” with a PA system.

12:25 a.m. — A 911 caller on the 14000 block of Meadow Drive stated that “There is electromagnetic radar, and she has no emergency at this time.”

— June 2, 2014, as reported by the Union


A resident reported that she and her sister had become involved in an argument that became more heated when the topic of religion arose. The sister decided she would call a friend or a cab and leave the residence.

— June 29, 2012, as reported by the Vienna Police Department

A state-by-state sampling of the poetry of police blotters at “All crimes are local: America’s police blotters, indexed.”

* Betty Higden, of her adopted foundling son Sloppy, in Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend : “You mightn’t think it, but Sloppy is a beautiful reader of a newspaper. He do the Police in different voices.”   “He do the Police in different voices” was T.S. Eliot’s original tile for the poem we know as “The Waste Land.”


As we tune our scanners, we might bake a laced cake for journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson; he was born in Louisville on this date in 1929.  The author of Hell’s AngelsFear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 is widely credited as the creator of the Gonzo school of journalism (an extreme form of New Journalism in which the reporter isn’t simply present, he/she is central), and widely remembered for his love of inebriates and guns, and for his hate of authoritarianism in general and Richard Nixon in particular.

…the massive, frustrated energies of a mainly young, disillusioned electorate that has long since abandoned the idea that we all have a duty to vote. This is like being told you have a duty to buy a new car, but you have to choose immediately between a Ford and a Chevy.
– Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72  (1973)



Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 18, 2014 at 1:01 am

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