By Trey Rusk
A lot of police agencies like to take the fresh new recruits straight from the academy and use them to work undercover. In the early 80's I can recall being ordered to participate in an undercover operation in Houston as a new hire. U/C work is fun and dangerous. Working U/C in a club is drinking on the state's dime and being paid to get others to misbehave. Strippers already like to misbehave and are money driven. If they get a glimpse of a roll of cash they will milk you until it's gone then move on to the next sucker.
I worked U/C with four others in a strip club that had run amuck with reported violations. Our job was to make sex, liquor violations and drug cases in an effort to shut the club down by license revocation. We were loosely supervised. I was told by my supervisor that I walked like a cop. He told me to walk like I was at the beach in swim trunks. It worked.
Establishing credibility requires a lot of lying and cash. I befriended a stripper named Rose in the club. I assume that the stage name was from a tattoo on her ample right tit of green thorny rose stem that ended at her areola. She was wild and sucked down cocaine and tequila between lap dances. I bought a lot of weed and cocaine from Rose. She was not discreet and usually scored the drugs from the bar manager. By the time I received the drugs she had used or taken half.
Once cases were made, we obtained warrants. The night of the raid we donned raid jackets and loaded up at least 50 people in transport vans. It was quite a show and Rose cursed me as she was being loaded in a van.
I attended court on at least four of my cases and lost them on technicalities. It was unusual because most vice defendants usually plead out for reduced jail time.
Something didn't smell right.
In state law enforcement case dispositions are recorded monthly. I was concerned because a lot of dismissals might impact my job evaluation. I checked with the rest of the guys on the squad and they told me their cases were also being dismissed.
Shortly after questioning the dismissals, I was summoned to the Lieutenant's office. I arrived and was asked to take a seat. The Lieutenant exchanged pleasantries for a while then said he wanted to discuss my cases at this particular club. I learned that all of the cases were being dismissed and the administrative case to close the club was going away. Of course, I was skeptical and asked what was going on. He explained that the Feds had been running the club before our investigation began and they allowed the club to run amuck. The complaints were received and we did our job. He assured me that it was all documented and our cases were good. They just wouldn't be prosecuted for the good of the federal case.
I saw Rose a couple of years later working at another strip club. She was worn out and skinny. Her rose stem tattoo looked like weed. I asked her how she was doing. She replied that she was still living the dream. Rose died of Aids shortly after I saw her.
Undercover work is sleazy. Cops already have a large divorce rate and U/C cops sometimes get too involved with their snitches and begin to live the life. I firmly believe that undercover cops should be closely supervised. In addition undercover assignments should be limited to a maximum of two years. I know a lot of U/C cops won't agree with me but their families will.
That's the way I see it.