Acting Sgt. Ron Martin
24 Years On
Current: Patrol East Precinct
I couldn’t even tell you my own nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays, but I could still spout off the birthdays of several dozen people I’ve handled, their kids’ and their parents’ birthdays.
When I first started, I had to have a person in custody to run their name over radio. I had to have a birth date and their full name, etc. Radio was really busy. We had one data channel for the whole city. You had to wait in line until they got to your person.
Then we got the computer screens in the cars. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I’d already memorized everyone’s names and their birthdays and I kept a small binder of them. It wasn’t very well organized. My cell phone will hold more names than what I had.
But I had this little binder and I’d see someone walking down the street and now with the computer I didn’t have to run it over radio, so I’d just run their name and find, oh, they have a warrant. I’d get another officer and go scoop them up. This generated one of my nicknames, which was Bogeyman. They’d see me driving around and then one of their friends would disappear. They’d say, “What happened to Robbie?” “Oh, Bogeyman took him.”
Sometimes, I would just drive up, stare at them, get my binder off the dashboard and open it up to any page at all. They knew what it was. They’d look at me, shake their heads, walk away. I thought I was doing pretty good police work when I’d get people to leave without even having to talk to them.