More Street Stories Tales from the Barking Muse



By Gerry Goldshine


Police work can be soul-crushingly stressful. To keep from going off the deep end or venturing over to the Dark Side, many officers devise harmless but often humorous diversions – well, at least funny to them. To be sure, if the public or police department supervisors were to become aware of some of these high-jinks, more than likely outrage, internal investigations and discipline would surely be forthcoming. Some of these people have no sense of humor. So, as a result, this story may self-destruct when you’re finished reading it.

Having worked Traffic most of my career, there were times that constantly crapping on someone’s day by issuing them a citation or spending hours investigating some gruesome traffic accident occasionally got me thinking about paying a visit to our local 5150 depository. However, I managed to find my own ways to keep from being fitted with a straitjacket.

Kustom Radar
Kustom Radar

On one occasion, my department had long last taken delivery of a brand new, Kustom Electronics, dash mounted, moving radar for the traffic car. It had all the latest whistles and bells and it was Radar Love for yours truly. This marvel of early 90’s electronic engineering came with an instant on-off feature designed to defeat radar detectors. On this particular day, I was driving through downtown, heading north, when I noticed that the car in front of me had a radar detector clipped to the driver’s sun visor. After a moment of contemplation, I flipped the instant-on switch and saw a small red light illuminate on the guy’s radar detector. I suspected it also had an alert tone because the driver, who had been blissfully gazing out his window, suddenly became alert and vigilant.

For whatever reason, he failed to see me in his rearview mirror, so I flipped the radar off.  I could see the light on his detector go out. A few blocks later, we stopped for a red light. Seizing the opportunity, I toggled the radar on and off a couple of times, each time setting off his radar detector. By the time the light turned green, he was making all sorts of adjustments to the device. He even went so far as to tap it a few times, as most all males are wont to do when something electronic appears to be malfunctioning. I let a little distance open up between us and another car soon filled the gap, but I could see that the radar detector was still reacting whenever I flipped the switch. For the next mile or so, I think I might have driven this poor guy to the brink of lunacy when, with what had to be a display of disgust, he ripped his radar detector from the visor and tossed onto the seat. Mission accomplished, I took the next side street.

Juvenile? Yeah, probably. Did I have the giggles for the next couple of hours? You bet!

When I started working Traffic, I became to DWIs what the Great White Shark was to people in Peter Benchley’s Jaws. After awhile, it was almost as if I had a sixth sense and could close my eyes, point at a random car and that driver would turn out to be under the influence. Sometimes that ability was a bit of a curse. One Saturday night, at about 2:15 AM, I was heading into the station more than ready to call it a night. No sooner had I contemplated going home on time than good old Murphy’s Law intervened. The car in front of me began to swerve, weaving from one shoulder, across both lanes and onto the other shoulder, kicking up a slight cloud of dust, all the while, gradually slowing down to about 15-20 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. My inner DWI alarm went off. This guy had to be stopped and while I could have passed the arrest onto a Graveyard shift officer, that wasn’t how I viewed my job; I saw it as relieving Patrol from having to deal with anything traffic related.

Long story short, I arrested the driver for DWI. He was so intoxicated that while we were enroute to the station, he repeatedly kept asking me where he was. Though he wasn’t nasty or combative, around the twentieth time, in the space of five minutes, he asked me where he was, I started to get annoyed. I have no idea why I did it, but I finally told him he was in Reno, Nevada. Much to my surprise, that shut him up until we got to the station.

The first question he asked as I got him out of the back seat of my patrol car?

“How the hell did I get to Reno?”

Clearly, I had him hooked. After I booked him and he completed the Breath Test – I don’t recall his BAC other than, he was way over the limit – the question for me then became, should I tell him the truth or reel him in? I reeled him in, of course!

Reno, Nevada
Reno, Nevada

Though I knew nothing about Reno – this was years before the show Reno 911– I kept up a conversation with him as if we actually were in Reno. Finally, he stared at my uniform patch, which of course, had Petaluma Police embroidered on it.

“Hey! Hey! Hey, wait a minnnnute! How come your uniform patch says Petaluma Police on it? That’s where I’m from…or was…or something.”

“Coincidentally, sir, the Petaluma Police Department is participating in an officer exchange program with the Reno Police Department.” I replied, trying desperately to retain my official demeanor.

Against all odds, he seemed to accept that explanation and staggered his way back to a holding cell, where he promptly fell asleep. The following afternoon, right after briefing, a Dayshift officer came up to me in the hallway.

“Hey Goldshine, I just released your “deuce” from last night. Boy, that guy must really have been plowed because he kept asking me for bus fare back to Petaluma. He thought he was in Reno. Can you believe that shit?”

Yup, I sure could.

More Street Stories Tales from the Barking Muse

Robot B-9 Calling

Robot B-9 Calling

By Gerry Goldshine


At one time or another, nearly everyone has had the experience of hearing that little voice in the back of their head warning them to be cautious in a potentially hazardous situation. Whether you call it intuition, premonition, déjà vu or ESP, many call it superstitious nonsense. Early in my law enforcement career, I had several veteran officers tell me never to ignore that little voice; more often than not, it was right. Having never experienced such a phenomenon, I dutifully tucked that guidance away with all the other useful tidbits of advice I had been acquiring.

Then, one Friday evening, Dispatch sent me to assist Officer Peggy near Cattleman’s Restaurant at the north end of town. She had stopped a pickup truck and the driver appeared to be intoxicated. When I arrived, she was administering a field sobriety test to a portly Hispanic man. Looking on from the passenger side of the truck was another Hispanic man, wearing a white cowboy hat. Our shift supervisor, Sgt. Jim, had arrived ahead of me and because he spoke fluent Spanish, was helping Officer Peggy by translating. I kept a watchful eye on the passenger as it became quickly apparent to us that the driver was extremely intoxicated. Finally, Sgt. Jim told the driver in Spanish, “Usted es arrestado por conducir ebrio.” When Officer Peggy went to handcuff him, the “fun” began.

In his drunken state, the driver’s machismo kicked in and no woman was going to arrest him. He was quite a bit taller than Officer Peggy but when he tried to pull away from her and resist, she scaled him like a veteran lumberjack climbing a giant Sequoia. In a flash, she brought him down to the ground with such consummate skill, I was tempted to yell, “Timber!” As Sergeant Jim and Officer Peggy fought and struggled to get the driver handcuffed, my natural inclination was to jump right in the fray and help.

Lost In Space Robot B-9
Lost In Space Robot B-9

That was, until I saw the passenger starting to ease out of the truck. I don’t know if it was the look in his eyes, the slow deliberate way he moved as he pushed the door open or that I couldn’t see both of his hands that abruptly put me on edge. The image of the “Lost In Space” robot suddenly formed in my mind, with him waving its arms, crying, “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!” The hairs actually stood up on the back of my neck as Robot B-9 shouted a warning, “Watch the passenger!”

The vicious fight going on to my right faded from my attention as I focused in on the passenger’s intent. I pointed at him with my left index finger while my right tightly gripped the butt of my pistol. Using my best public safety Spanish, I ordered him to stay inside the truck and to put his hands on his head where I could see them; “Sentarse en el vehículo! Ponga sus manos en la cabeza. No se mueva o disparo!” At first, he seemed disinclined to abide that polite entreaty and ease out of the truck. Then his eyes widened when he saw my brand new Beretta 92 pointed right at his center of mass. He correctly deduced it would be better if he stayed in the truck. That still did not dissuade him from bending forward, making what police officers everywhere know as “furtive movements”. As if, I needed more to heighten my suspicions. When Sgt. Jim saw me pointing my pistol at the passenger in the car, he quickly requested some additional help.

Shortly after the additional officers arrived and joined the clash, they managed to take the misogynistic driver into custody. Then, exercising caution, Sgt. Jim and I ordered the passenger out at gunpoint. When he stumbled and did a face-plant, it was clear he was “muy borracho”, just as his friend had been. Finally, I searched the inside of the pick-up. Under the passenger’s seat, I found a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol. The magazine was fully loaded, there was a round chambered and the hammer was cocked back, ready to fire. Naturally, we charged the passenger for possession of a loaded concealed weapon in a vehicle and the driver for allowing a loaded weapon in the passenger area of his truck.

So, was it supernatural prescience that triggered my imaginary Robot B-9 to shout his warnings? That would make for a good story, but no, it wasn’t. By that point in my career, I had participated in hundreds of DWI arrests; rarely did the driver become physically violent and resist arrest. If they did, it was because of issues beyond the DWI, such as having a suspended license, outstanding warrants, commission of another more serious crime or something in the car that they did not want found by law enforcement. Because of the driver’s combativeness, I reacted with greater suspicion. For a passenger to get out of the vehicle without one of us telling them, usually meant that they were either going to get involved in the altercation, were themselves wanted for a crime or warrants and were going to run or also had something in the vehicle they didn’t want us to find. The result was further cause for heightened awareness. That he moved with a deliberation that belied mere intoxication was yet more reason to be wary. Finally, I couldn’t see both of his hands and if there is one cardinal rule of officer safety it is “hands, hands and hands”.

I don’t think it was intuition but situational awareness that was the result of continuing training and experience, that had me ready to act. We were faced with two “danger zones”; Officer Peggy and Sgt. Jim were addressing one. My job was to address the other. While we could never prove that the passenger actually was holding the gun in his hand when he tried to get out of that pick-up truck, the fact remains, there was a pistol right under his seat, loaded and ready to go for a reason.

Over the ensuing years, there were other occasions when “Robot B-9” caught my attention and I never ignored him; “he” was always right.



Traffic Officer Gerry Goldshine aka T-36  Petaluma Police Department mid-1980's
Traffic Officer Gerry Goldshine
aka T-36
Petaluma Police Department mid-1980’s

Gerry was born in Providence, Rhode Island but raised in Southern California. Upon graduating from California State University, Los Angeles, Gerry enlisted in the Army and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. After leaving active duty in 1979, he worked for Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. From 1980 until his retirement in 1996, he was a patrol officer, traffic officer, and a trainer at Petaluma Police Department. Gerry is married, has a daughter and lives in Sonoma County, California. Gerry is a regular contributor to Just the Facts, Ma’am. Check in weekly or so to see his newest posts.




Tales from the Barking Muse

And We’re Off And Running

And We’re Off And Running

(part 1 of 3)

By Gerry Goldshine


To coin the venerable Sergeant Joe Friday, “It was Saturday night. I was working the Swing Swift out of Traffic Division. My boss was Sgt. Dave. It was approximately 0145 hours, near the end of watch. It had been a quiet night.” Okay, enough of the homage but that’s what happens when it’s been an unusually boring watch and you can see the finish line; you get a little loopy. Sgt. Dave had just gone out with a possibly intoxicated male subject in the parking lot of a business on the fringe of the main downtown area. I was nearby and responded for backup, knowing the unpredictable nature of drunks, especially at that hour. As it turned out, he was an amicable inebriant who had a much soberer friend willing to take him home. Standing there talking, we all suddenly heard the sound of tires squealing and unmistakable roar of an engine under heavy acceleration. We no sooner turned in the direction of where the sound was coming when a tan car went flying by us, doing 45-50 miles per hour – in a 25 mile per hour zone. Sgt. Dave gave me a wry grin and simply said, “Go get him, Ger!”

I climbed into my patrol car, rather unenthused about the prospects of ever being able to catch the tan car, never mind the fact my brain had so recently shifted into the “I want to go home on time” mode. I pulled out onto Petaluma Boulevard North and traffic was very light which made it easy to spot the ne’er-do-well. My doubts were confirmed; they had well over a half mile lead on me which was increasing by the second. My foot pushed the accelerator to the floor and the sound of the big Ford V-8 police package engine roaring to life got my predatory juices flowing. Just as the rational part of my brain was starting to tell me that I was embarking on a futile quest, I looked on in astonishment up ahead as the tan car suddenly braked hard for a red light.

Burning rubber
Burning rubber

Now, by “braking hard”, I mean his brakes locked the wheels up so that his vehicle, with its back end shimmying side to side, was quickly shrouded in churning blue clouds of burnt rubber. My internal “DWI” detector immediately went off; from my training and experience, I knew that anyone operating a car in the reckless manner that this yutz had, was more than likely under the influence of some intoxicant. No longer was this just about a speeding ticket. Stopping this person from driving as soon as I could, before they crashed and possibly caused injury to themselves or others, was now a priority. Fortune favored the bold that night for the traffic light stayed red long enough for me to catch up to and pull in right behind my target vehicle.

I notified dispatch that I was going to be making a traffic stop on a tan Toyota Whatyacallit. I hadn’t yet turned on my emergency lights when the driver finally noticed me in his rear view mirror. I watched as he shifted position, sitting straighter in his seat; all his attention was now intently focused on my reflected visage. At the same time, his passenger turned in his seat to look intently at me. The driver apparently said something to his rider, who violently shook his head. Then the signal turned green but the tan car didn’t move an inch. As Princess Leia said to Han Solo, I had a bad feeling about this. I didn’t need to be a Jedi Knight to know what was going to happen next. I snugged up my seatbelt, closed my windows and turned up the radio, mentally cursing Sgt. Dave’s “Go get him, Ger”.

A second later, I shook my head in resignation as the car ahead abruptly took off, its back tires squealing as they sought the proper coefficient of friction against the asphalt roadway throwing up a blue haze of burnt rubber while the back end fish-tailed crazily. The driver rapidly accelerated through the intersection. A surge of adrenaline shot through me and I flipped on all the emergency lights along with the siren; we were off and running. As we sped past the police station, I notified dispatch that I was northbound, now in pursuit of a possible DWI.

So much for me going home on time.

Check out part 2 tomorrow right here!

Writer's Notes

Under the Affluence of Incahol

Under the Affluence of Incahol

Guest Post by Gerry Goldshine

The one thing that police officers can count on coming across at least once during a shift is someone under the influence of alcohol, otherwise known as “The Drunk”. The over consumption and abuse of alcohol is a serious problem in this country. According to the National Institute of Health, 17.6 million adults are alcoholics or have serious drinking issues. The US Department of Justice says that alcohol is a factor in over 40% of violent crimes and where domestic abuse has occurred, that figure jumps to over 90%. One third of all traffic fatalities involve someone driving while intoxicated. Most of my Law Enforcement career was in Traffic; that included traffic accident reconstruction, traffic law enforcement as well as the detection and apprehension of intoxicated drivers. Of all the traffic fatalities I investigated, only 6 did not involve someone who had consumed alcoholic beverages. Consequently, I developed quite a knack for spotting the inebriated motorist and getting them off the road. While I want to clearly acknowledge that the abuse of alcoholic beverages is a serious issue, not to mention the deadly ramifications that result when a motor vehicle is involved, some of the most memorable and often humorous encounters I had as a police officer came about during an arrest of a suspected drunk driver.

Since I’m going to be talking about Driving Under the Influence (also known as Driving While Intoxicated and abbreviated as either DUI or DWI) it would usually follow that some aberration in how a person was driving caught my attention. I say “usually” because there were occasions when I came upon a car completely stopped in the middle of a street, engine running and no obvious malfunctions that would explain why the. More often than not, these sort of occurrences happened around 2:30 in the morning, which is shortly after the bars and clubs in town closed. Since a car stopped in the middle of a main thoroughfare is a clear traffic hazard, especially if it is within an intersection, I needed to check and see if anything were amiss. I’d pull in behind it and turn on my patrol car’s emergency lights to warn other vehicles. As I made my approach to the car, invariably I would see that the driver was staring straight ahead, his face a mask of intense concentration almost as if he were paying serious attention to his driving. After checking for any obvious visible officer safety concerns (such as guns, machetes, rocket launchers and such) the first thing I would usually do is to have the driver put the shift selector in park, if it was not already. Then the ensuing conversation would go something like this:

“Good morning, sir. Officer Goldshine, Petaluma Police. Are you having some type of problem with your car?”

“Uh, no. I’m just driving home.”

“I see. You are aware that you’re stopped in the middle of the street?”

The driver would, more often than not, get this incredulous, almost goofy expression, as if he didn’t believe me, even though I was standing next to his car. He would check his mirrors and swivel his head around, looking at other traffic passing by, as if just at moment he had become aware of their surroundings.

“Well, that explains…that certainly explains how you caught up to me on foot!”

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Keep in mind that person, while stopped when I came across him, had driven his car to that spot. Call it luck, kismet or divine intervention, but whatever the reason it was fortuitous that his slightly pickled brain made him think he was still driving at the same time it was telling his foot to remain firmly planted on the brake pedal.

Seattle PD DUI test
Seattle PD DUI test

Another night, not surprisingly around the same time, I was dispatched to investigate a hit and run accident that had just happened. I knew something was amiss when I turned a corner and came upon over a dozen damaged parked cars along the right side of the street, all seriously banged up. Some were pushed into the car parked ahead while others were knocked askew into the street or up onto the sidewalk. Glass, undercarriage debris, bumpers and other debris littered the roadway. As I drove down the street, the mess got only worse. I followed the trail of damage which began to include the remnants of shredded tire, fluids and gouge marks in the asphalt for nearly a quarter mile until I abruptly came upon what could best be described as a wrecked hulk stopped dead in the middle of this residential street. Billowing clouds of stream swirled up and around from what was left of the engine compartment reflecting back the hues of red and blue from my emergency lights. As I got out of my car, I could hear a loud clanking noise a result of the engine fan banging against what was left of the radiator as the engine coughed and sputtered in its death throes. Assorted fluids were pooling beneath the wreck. All four tires were either completely shredded or flat. One of the front rims had gouged itself deep into the road surface. The passenger side door was sprung off its hinges held in place by the door latch. There probably wasn’t a square inch of the car body that didn’t have some type of damage.

By then, a fairly large group of bystanders had gathered, some of them the unhappy owners of the damaged parked vehicles. I had not walked halfway from my patrol car to the wreck when that unmistakable odor of someone who had imbibed far too much liquor or beer assailed my nostrils. By the time I reached the driver’s door, the smell was overpowering. Despite this, I make a quick check to make sure the driver had not sustained any visible injury. Seeing nothing obvious, I asked if he was okay. Still seat-belted behind the wheel, he just stared at me with eyes so bloodshot that they could have passed for pages in a Rand McNally road atlas. A half minute or so passed while he slowly turned his head to survey the scene and what was left of his car. From the blank expression on his face, it was clear he hadn’t a clue as to what he’d done. Then he turned to me, swaying unsteadily in his seat. Sounding just like the late comedian Foster Brooks and totally matching the Hollywood stereotype of the quintessential drunk, the driver finally says, “Good…good evening…offisher. I’m fine…just fine. How…how are you? May I ask why…why have you stopped me? Is there…a problem? Have I committed some…some infarction of the law?”

Though I realize we have narrowly averted a serious disaster, I cannot help groaning inwardly at the hours of report writing I now face. About then, the driver tries to get out of the remains of his car; however he forgets that he has his seatbelt fastened and it is all that I can do to keep from laughing as he struggles vainly to throw off his restraints.  When at last he finally does, he nearly does a faceplant right in front of me.

Fortunately, I catch him and lean him against the side of his car, where he inspects the wreckage. With the most uncomprehending shocked facial expression I had ever seen up to that time, he then says to me, in all earnestness, “Offisher! Offisher! I do believe…someone has wrecked…wrecked my veh…hicle!”


Traffic Officer Gerry Goldshine circa 1985
Traffic Officer Gerry Goldshine circa 1985


Gerry was born in Providence, Rhode Island but raised in Southern California. 

Upon graduating from California State University, Los Angeles, Gerry enlisted in

the Army and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. After leaving active duty

in 1979, he worked for Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. From 1980 until his retirement

in 1996, he was a patrol officer, traffic officer, and a trainer at Petaluma Police Department.

Gerry is married, has a daughter and lives in Sonoma County, California.

Next week, we return to Pahrump, Nevada for the “Cadet Diaries” — see how new recruits are trained in the basics of law enforcement.

More Street Stories

Guest post-Police Reserves part 2

Almost a pursuit…

One night, we had gotten into a pursuit with a man driving a stolen motorcycle. Traffic was light and the suspect was flying down one of the main streets at a high rate of speed. He managed to make a sharp turn onto the freeway in an effort to evade us. I came into the same turn a tad too fast and had to brake hard; really hard or we were going to crash. The car skidded across a wheelchair ramp, across a sidewalk, across a dirt shoulder and came to a stop between a streetlight and traffic signal with about a foot to spare on either side. As the dust and tire smoke filtered past us, we realized that somehow, I had avoided doing any damage to the car nor had I hit anything. We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and Tim summed it up by saying, “Well, as they say in basketball, no harm no foul.” We got back on the road and resumed the pursuit. That’s the way we worked together.

As to the bad guy, though we were not able to apprehend this guy that because he dumped the motorcycle and fled on foot. About a year later we stopped him for a minor traffic violation and discover a warrant for his arrest; it was for evading a police officer.

Still, for all the good things that Tim and I accomplished together, there were still those elements in the department that felt a reserve officer should be assigned to take care of mundane tasks that many officers find tedious, such as operating our holding facility, booking prisoners and transporting them to county jail. Also, I felt there was an undercurrent of resentment at the successes Tim and I achieved working together. Usually, it was from officers with less than admirable work ethics or who were stuck in another less contemporary age of policing.

Officer Gerry Goldshine (in the pig hat) and Reserve Officer Tim Aboudara behind the wheel-Halloween sometime in the 1980's
Officer Gerry Goldshine (in the pig hat) and Reserve Officer Tim Aboudara behind the wheel-Halloween sometime in the 1980’s

Halloween Cruise

On one particular “Cruise Night”, it happened to be Halloween. Tim and I decided to both wear a hat that had a pig nose, tail and ears as a way of improving our image and rapport among the multitudes of young people, whom were most often the recipients of our numerous traffic citations. It did so beyond our best expectations. However, a very “traditional” minded sergeant felt otherwise when our attempt at bettering community relations was brought to his attention. We both received some “counseling” from him for crossing the line in decorum and demonstrating conduct unbecoming a police officer. There came the day that these negative elements all came together and someone in the upper echelons of management made the decision it would be better if Tim and I didn’t work together so much.

It was decided, Tim could be of better use working our “jail” (a temporary holding facility); after all, he was just a reserve. Eventually, common sense and less rigid minds prevailed and it wasn’t long before we were “allowed” to work together.

Aboudara assigned as emergency contact

As partners are wont to do, I designated Tim to be person to notify my wife should I be seriously hurt or killed in the line of duty; little did I know he would have to do exactly just that for me a few years later. Near the end of May in 1986, I was training a new officer and showing her how to use moving radar. An inexperienced teenage driver lost control of his vehicle while adjusting his car’s radio and slammed head-on into my side of the patrol car at over fifty miles an hour. Among my many injuries, I sustained serious head trauma and lost consciousness. I later learned that many of those officers who had responded to the scene had concerns as to whether I was going to survive. Someone called Tim, who then had to do a job no one would envy–notifying my wife. There is no hiding the nature of such a visit when fellow officer shows up at the front door unannounced, late at night. I could not have placed my family in more capable hands; my partner handled everything in an exemplary manner.
The end of reserves at PPD

The end of reserves at PPD

Despite Tim’s and the other reserve officers’ stellar record of service to the Department, in the 1990’s, those who looked down upon them began to prevail once more. This time liability fears, training and alleged financial constraints were the reasons given to gut the reserve program. To the best of my knowledge, no one in management had really made much of an effort to find solutions and keep it running. Stunned, Tim and a few other senior Reserve Officers were forced into “retirement”; they were given a hearty hand clasp, a nifty certificate and a handsome plaque. The younger Reserve Officers, still working toward their Level One status, were essentially told that their services were no longer needed. With a silent whimper, an important part of the department disappeared.

The invaluable role reserves played at PPD

Many a full time officer had got their start in the reserve program. The reserve program had been an excellent recruiting tool for full time service at a time when qualified prospects were few in number. Those that made the transition were better, more polished officers because of that experience. The program was a conduit to the community as to the workings of police department. It was a valuable source of extra manpower for special events. When the town was hit by a disastrous flood, it was the reserve officers who volunteered to help an overwhelmed patrol force, some coming in even while their own homes were at risk. When animal rights activists protested at a local beef processing facility, it was the reserve officers who manned the booking station in the event the situation turned nasty. When the Department began running DWI Checkpoints, it was the reserve officers who volunteered to assist with some of the more routine tasks.

Reserve programs in other jurisdictions

Though no longer a member of the Petaluma Police, I do know that they eventually began a volunteer Reserve Community Service Officer Program. It is my understanding that they assist in many administrative tasks, supplementing an overwhelmed civilian staff that has been pared to the bone by budget cuts. Whether they ever go back to having a Reserve Police Officer program in the future remains to be seen. The largest agency in California, the Los Angeles Police Department, has been running a reserve program for generations and now has over 650 active reserve officers. They are still one of many police agencies that still count on Reserve Officers. I suspect that when the need for supplemental man power in an era of shrinking budgets outweighs the liability fears having such a program, my old department might revisit such a notion.

A new day dawning for reserves

Shortly after I had written the prior paragraph, I received the monthly informational bulletin from my old department, which had recently hired a new Chief of Police. After several months of settling into the job and learning about some of the issues facing the Petaluma Police Department, Chief Patrick Williams has apparently begun to implement his vision as the direction the department should head. Among some of the new programs described in the bulletin was this; “For the first time since the early 1990’s, Petaluma Police Department will begin screening applicants for the position of Police Reserve.”

Gerry Goldshine

Born in Providence, Rhode Island but raised in Southern California.

Upon graduating California State University, Los Angeles, Gerry

enlisted in the Army and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.

After leaving active duty in 1979, he worked for the Sonoma County

Sheriff’s Office. From 1980 until his retirement in 1996, he was a patrol

officer, traffic officer and at Petaluma Police Department.

He’s married, has a daughter and lives in Sonoma County, California.


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