Jailbreak! And the Pyscho Martin Crebbs

(Some names and locations have been changed)  

Crebbs drawing  2  


Jailbreak! And the Psycho Martin Crebbs

     It was afternoon in August in the early 1980s.
     Egg-frying, Texas hot. That is to say that if you plopped a raw egg down on the street, it would sizzle in less than a minute.
     CID Sgt. Howard Kelly and I were cruising back into our city from a long day of looking around the countryside on the north side of our county. Looking over open, condemned land. Howard had caught a tip that a ring of car and truck thieves were stealing vehicles, stripping them down and discarding the remnants out on the vast fields and farmland very soon to be covered over by a major lake project. If we didn’t find the stripped vehicles soon, they’d all be under about a hundred feet of water. Howard had an idea about this location and we hoped we might catch the ring at work.  Who in the world would be working out in this laser heat, though? Still, we had to try.
     We were in my assigned Chevy, but Howard was driving because he knew where he wanted to go. I had my hands up on dashboard to collect the air conditioning shooting it up the short sleeves of my damp dress shirt. No matter the heat, we usually had to wear a tie and a sport coat or a classic suit. Had to cover the gun back then. Kelly almost never wore a tie, or a jacket for that matter, and “they” (admin) were kind of afraid to tell him otherwise. He was the NCIS, Jethro Gibbs of the detective division, if you get my drift with this modern analogy.
     We hit town, turned down Chester Ave and into the busy downtown area, talking about who knows what all, when a screaming man yelled over the police radio, “Jailbreak! Jailbreak! A whole floor is loose!” It was the county dispatcher. He was desperate.
     “All available units report to the SO, ASAP.”
     This news quickly went out over the city radio airwaves too. This did not sound like the usual “suspect bounding out of the first-floor, book-in room” and off to the city park north of the Sheriff’s Office.
     Howard and I looked at each other. We were about 100 feet from the County Sheriff’s Office! He pulled onto the lot. We bailed, pulled our guns and ran into and into the building. We could see some city police cars zipping in, and some officers running across the field from the neighboring city PD.
     We got inside and three county investigators were standing by the doors, guns up and at the ready, as the one main elevator descended from the cell floors above. What was this? Were escapees coming down? Howard Kelly and I pointed our guns at the doors too.
     The elevator descended. Descended. The doors opened. On the elevator floor laid a jailer. Johnny Yale. He was howling and quaking. There was blood all over his torn shirt.
     “He stabbed me!” he yelled. “They stabbed me. The whole third floor is loose!”
     SO investigator Jim Wilson hit the kill switch on the elevator wall and knelt beside Yale. Lt Jim Neel knelt also.
     “Who stabbed you?” Lt Neel asked over and over. “Who?”
     “Crebbs! Crebbs did this. It’s a jailbreak up there. He turned everybody loose.” Yale yelped, almost crying.
     “Everybody” on the third floor of the county jail was about 75 inmates.
      “Block off the stairwells!” Jim Wilson ordered. Some deputies near there with shotguns and pistols, took positions.
     Crebbs. I looked up at the ceiling, my .357 Magnum revolver in my hand. Crebbs. I’d put that raping, stabbing, psycho Martin Crebbs in this jail. I caught him. I put ‘em in here. And now? 
     Now I’m gonna go upstairs…and I’m gonna kill him.


     Who is this Crebbs? How did I catch him? Why did I think he needed killing?
     He was Martin J. Crebbs. Years ago, back in the 1970s as a patrolman in Texas, I’d heard of a rape case from station-house gossip and crime updates. A woman had been awakened in her bed by an intruder. The intruder controlled her with one of her own kitchen knives he’d collected from her counter on the way to her bedroom. She was raped at knife point in her bed. Then she was abducted to another house and tied up and raped again. Held for hours, she escaped. Our detective squad caught this teenager, also a known burglar. He was convicted and sent to the Texas Pen. Somehow, don’t ask me how, perhaps his age? Perhaps the trying times of overcrowded penitentiaries? He was released on parole.  The man’s name was Martin J. Crebbs.
     Then, there was another home intrusion rape in the neighborhood, and a series of aggravated robberies and burglaries throughout our city and in North Texas, and by this time, I was a detective.

May 19                  Paroled
June 12                 Aggravated robbery
June 12                 House burglary
June 20                 Aggravated robbery
June 20                 House burglary
June 20                 House burglary
June 20                 Attempted rape
June 23                 Attempted rape/home invasion
June 24                 House burglary
June 26                 Aggravated robbery
June 26                 Aggravated robbery
June 30                 House burglary
June 30                 House burglary
July 1                    House burglary
July 4                    House burglary
July 5                    House burglary
July 5                    Aggravated rape
July 8                    Aggravated robbery
July 12                  House burglary
July 12                  House burglary
July 14                  Aggravated rape
Other crimes too…

     Also, I might mention that not all of these crimes listed were within our city limits. Some occurred outside the city, in the county and in the counties north of us. In the 1980s we were not in “lightening” touch with each other as we are today. It would take days, even weeks, maybe even a month or two before regional crime patterns over multiple jurisdictions could be recognized and organized. 

     Where did I come in? July 14. The a.m. hours of. There was a pool of detectives in our squad, all taking general assignments and some of these crimes were routinely spread out among us.  

    I happened to be the “detective on call” so I was summoned to an old house on the northeast side of the city in zero-dark-thirty hours of the 14th of July. A home invasion, rape case. Crime scene specialist, Russell Lewis was also dispatched. In route to the house, I was informed that the victim was rushed to the hospital and with the crime scene in Russell’s expert hands, I turned off my path to speak with the victim and oversee the rape kit process. At the hospital, I learned what I could from this poor exhausted, bruised woman, I’ll just call her “Judy” here, before she was rolled into an examination room. I left Judy with a patrolman to gather info for the basic, crime report. Judy had a good friend who quickly met her at the hospital, as well as the ever-handy “Friends of the Family”a group of female counselors we used to help rape victims. Judy, the friend and the counselor promised they would all be at the police station by about 11 a.m. for a detailed statement.

     By 6 am, I was at the house. Russell and I had to swap stories to really know how to scour the residence, yard and area again. The open (an left unlocked the night before), a kitchen window of the older, wood framed house, and the big kitchen knife (from the victim’s kitchen drawer) and the bed in total disarray, and the strips of cloth used to tie her spread hands and feet to the bed frame…well…they all told much of the overall story. The three-hour ordeal.
     We stepped through the yard and with the help of the rising, welcome, dawn light and with our giant flash lights, we saw four, dry, Marlboro cigarette butts by the doghouse (there was no dog) in the yard. We collected them. I found another cigarette butt by a big tree in the yard. Another place to hide and watch from? Russel photographed and printed. We carefully folded up the sheets and pillows hoping for fluid stains and head and pubic hair and so forth. Was anything stolen or missing? I wouldn’t know until the victim could return to her house and take stock. You never know how fast you might need this info and the first few days are a thirsty rush for intelligence.
     By mid-afternoon, I knew a few things. The suspect was young, white male, 20s maybe, long blonde hair. He surprised Judy when she was in bed. He had one of her big kitchen knives. He treated her “like a candy store,” as she described it. He brandished the knife until she was tied up and even after at times while she was tied. The tip was at her neck. 
     He told her as he left, “Don’t bother calling the police. They’ll never find me.”
    Forty something years later as I type his last words to her, those words still burn my stomach and piss me off, not unlike when I heard them the first time. 
     Well, guess again, dipshit.

     Judy, nor anyone she knew, smoked cigarettes, least of all Marlboro cigarettes. The presence of such butts in the yard was mysterious to her. Perhaps we could run some successful saliva tests on them? She said she’d looked over her house and thought she’d lost one piece of jewelry. It was a customized piece. I learned she was an art student and I asked her to draw the suspect and draw that customized piece of jewelry. She did, and man! Did that come in handy later.

    I started a neighborhood canvass around dinnertime on the 14th, looking for any and all information about people, cars and suspicious things. 
     That began an amassment of suspects. One of Judy’s next door neighbors was a parolee, who had killed is wife in the 1960s, and was a known “window-peeper.” Another “weird” guy lived a block away, the neighbors told me. Plus, we had an occasional “butcher-knife” rapist working that side of the city for years, but he was a little older and always brought his own butcher knife. Neighbors reported their usual, suspicious “hippies.” One of these “weird hippies” was wanted for assault. I wasted a day running him down and arrested him inside a college night club. I quickly cleared him of this crime. 
     Russel Lewis checked in with me to report the fingerprints were smudges and not comparable. He sent other evidence off for testing.
    Meanwhile, I’d also caught “talk” of this Martin Crebb’s parole, once again from general “cop gossip.” I cannot tell you how important just gossip and talk was and is with fellow, area investigators, especially back in those non-tech, days. When on day shift, after the morning crime briefings, a bunch of us would go eat breakfast at a series of restaurants. We, the county and the state investigators would congregate, talk smack, hunting, sports and oh yes…crime! Some of us on evening shift would still drive in and eat breakfast for this. Ignorant police supervisors and bean counters who’d never served as investigators, would oft times complain about this “laziness.” But, they were just plain ignorant and frankly, pains-in-the ass. 
     At one breakfast, someone from the state, warned us to watch out for , “Hey, a crazy somabitch, Martin Crebbs was paroled and he is a little psycho, crime machine. A robber and a rapist. He’s got relatives in this county and up north in Crisco.”
     So, I looked into Crebbs and contacted his state parole officer in Crisco County. After this phone conversation, I could see it deserved a drive north to look at his file, which the officer said was thick, and always a pain to fax back then. Faxes were a bit foggy to read especially if you received copies of copies. Better and quicker to make the 90 minute drive.

   Once in the state building in Crisco county, I sat down with the Crebb’s file. The parole officer said that in just the few short weeks Crebbs had been on parole, he was already a growing problem. He lived with his parents in a rural area in Crisco county. His picture matched the suspect description and Judy’s drawing. Some of his prior rape conviction details did match those of Judy’s crime, but still, many rapists share common denominators. Had robberies increased since his release? Yeah. Burglaries? Well, yeah. But they come and go. Maybe up here in Crisco too? I took one Polaroid photo of Crebbs from the file, and collected some copies of ID data.
    My next stop was the Crisco County Sheriff’s Office where I met CID Captain David Bone. Bone and I had worked together a bit in the past. Bone was about 6’5”, a power-lifter, former Texas Tech lineman, ex-rough-necker/oil field worker and smart as a whip.on fire. What little we had and knew about computers back then, was already Bone’s new interest and his specialty. If I ever build a Dirty Dozen, police force, Bone will take up two slots. He had a very simple business card that had two things on it – the word “BONE” in the center in capital letters, and his phone number in the lower right. Not Captain, not Sheriff’s Office, just “Bone.” If you got one of those stuck in your front door, that Bone had been there looking for you? And you’re a shady character? You’d better just pack up and head on out to Mexico.
      “Martin Crebbs!” Bone said to me. “I am right this instant, looking at him for an armed robbery of a convenience store.” South part of the county. I need to talk to the clerk. Let’s go.”
     Go we did. I climbed into his sedan and took the front seat, passenger side. I felt like a small child there. Bone was such a giant that he’d removed the front seat and welded a new foundation for it, moving it back a few more inches than factory spec, so that he could fit his giant self behind the wheel and work all the pedals. So, though my own 6’3” self felt like a kid in there. I drove his car once on another case we worked and could barely reach the steering wheel, and I needed a Dallas phone book to sit on. But, I digress. Back to the case….
     The robbed county store was not that far from the Crebb’s family house. The owner himself was robbed, and he thought the getaway car he spied parked up the road from the store was familiar looking “Seen it around,” he said.

me and bone
Bad quality, old photo, but that’s me and Bone in the early 1980s. Though we worked for different agencies, he was one of my best partners to work with.


     The masked man with a gun reminded him over-all of someone in the area, but he couldn’t say for sure whom. The man said that the .45 pistol aimed at him was old and even “rusty-looking.” 
     Right then I recalled that we too in my city, had two armed robberies where a suspect held an old, .45 pistol. I realized the suspect at home did match the overall shape and size of this Crisco crime.

     Back the Crisco Sheriff’s Office, Bone and I made a plan. We would take turns surveilling the Crebb’s family house and if that dried up in a day or two, we’d march up to the house and question everyone. As Howard Kelly would say, “When you hit a brick wall, go shake the tree. That might not make sense, a “wall” and then a “tree.” But it meant that when all leads fail, go shake up, and mess with the suspects. Sometimes they react in a beneficial way. What have you got to lose? You never know what will fall out of the wall…er, I mean…the tree.

    The next day I asked Judy to make a return visit to the P.D. I showed her a photo line-up with Crebbs and with similar males with blond hair. Since the rape occurred in darkness, she just couldn’t be sure enough to pick Crebbs out. She gave me a maybe on Crebbs. I can’t work with a maybe.
    I did a “shift” on the Crisco county house. Bone did a shift and he had a deputy do one too. We never saw Crebbs, and only observed the comings and goings of a large rural, family. Nothing 
interesting happened. Not even a sighting of Crebbs.
     We decided to do that “march” and “tree-shaking” after three days. We drove up the dirt road to the two-story house and knocked on the door.  What we found was a mad mom, a mad dad and a mad uncle. Not mad at us. Mad at Martin! We all sat down in their large living room. 
     “I know that little shit is robbin’ places! I know it!” the dad exclaimed. “The day after he got out of jail, his little sister took him to Boydston, to a pawn shop, and he bought a gun.”
    “What kind of gun?” I asked.
     “It’s an old Army pistol,” he said. “I’ve seen him with it.”
     “By old you mean…”
     “Like World War II? An automatic.”
     It was very common to call semi-automatic pistols, “automatics” in those days.
   “He is a hangin’ out with that Steve Spitz from Sherman. He’s trouble,” the mom said.
     Bone nodded and said, “Heard of him.”
     “I’ll bet you have. He’s a snake in the grass,” the dad said.
     “They drive around in Spitz’s car,” the mom said. “Some kind of Camaro, dark red. It ain’t his, belongs to some poor girlfriend of his.”
     We collected various bits of other information, like the little sister’s name and birthdays. Cars. Etc. 
     Then Bone and I drove back to the Crisco Sheriff’s Office and we went straight to their records room. We looked up Spitz. Bone uncovered  in the county files that both Spitz and Crebbs were roommates in their jail years ago under burglary charges. With the Spitz birthday on file, we ran his criminal history and drivers license info. We had mugshots. Spits had dark hair, Crebbs had blond hair. 
     Back home I collected all our resent armed robbery reports. I was not assigned to any of those robberies. One robbery was at the usual gas station combination convenience store. 
     According to a customer pumping gas who saw the robbers approach the store, one robber was masked, the other man was still donning his mask while running across the lot. This almost masked man had black hair. And the customer saw the man’s face before the mask slipped on. The robbery team got inside, pulled an “old” semi-auto gun and robbed the place.
     Who was the witness pumping gas, the customer who saw the face?  I scoured the report. The detective assigned to the robbery case had not found out, even after three weeks? I will only tell you that the detective assigned to the robbery was a slug, and I wasn’t surprised. 
     I drove to the store and working with the manager, looked over the credit card receipts from the crime date and time, hoping the guy didn’t pay for his gas with cash, but used a credit card. 
     He did use a card! He used a company card. With some long-distance phone calls, we found him, an Oklahoma truck driver. I created a photo line-up of similar white males, and I met this witness at a restaurant on the Texas/Oklahoma border. He actually picked Steve Spitz out very quickly. 
     The next day, I got an arrest warrant for Spitz and we spread the word all over North Texas.

    Meanwhile, I contacted Texas Ranger Phil Ryan who worked the region including Boydston. I gave him the info on Crebbs and Crebbs’ little sister and asked him to find the pawn shop where the gun was purchased. Ryan was a great Ranger and I write about him often in my recollections. He would work a tractor theft as hard as a triple murder and within two days we learned all the details of the gun purchase. It was an old, .45 caliber, semi-auto pistol. 

     Days later, my desk phone rang. It was Bone.
    “We got Spitz,” Bone said. “A state trooper found him driving on Highway 8. Alone in his car. Nothing in the car. I’ll wait for you to get up here, and we’ll talk to him.”
     “I am on my way,” I said. 

     Spitz was a real punk, but he knew he was caught and he did talk in the hopes for leniency.
    “Cripps is crazy, man! He thinks he is Joe the Dope Dealer with drugs and Bonnie and Clyde, Clyde the robber. And he thinks he is Jack the Ripper.”
     In just three weeks these idiots committed a crime wave of felonies with more plans on the Crebbs drawing board for supermarket robberies, raping lone convenience store clerks and Crebbs favorite – home invasions, but of families at night. They had even plotted a bank job. Police officers stumbling into these scenes would be taken hostage or shot.
    “You know, it was all Crebbs. I…I wouldn’t do all that,” Spitz said. 
    Spitz was an emotional mess. Crying. Bulging veins. Pleading. We knew we would have to prove and re-prove everything he said, anyway we could.
     I won’t bore you here with the skyscraper of paperwork this produced. And all this back in the day when we typed reports on typewriters, maybe electric, sometimes not, with carbon paper, and used expensive, copy machines when we could. But filing warrants and cases on 30-plus felony crimes was a paper puzzle. We did it none the less, filing cases in three counties.  Welcome to my world. Today, all this would be done by a task force. Back then, it was just me and Bone. (In case I forget to tell you later? Spitz took a 10-year plea bargain.)

    We were informed by the angry relatives that Crebbs was still coming and going from the family house once in a while in another friend’s borrowed, two-door, light yellow Chevy. Bone drew up a search warrant for Crebb’s room in his house, just in case, which we searched and turned up nothing.
    Now, all we had left to do was find Crebbs and that gun. The word was out he was a wanted man. We were back to staking out the family house in plain cars. I was driving my personal Ford Thunderbird. 
     And then one afternoon after a few days, we saw him go by in the two-door Chevy. We pulled a simple traffic stop and an “under-the-gun arrest.” He tried nothing. He knew he was surrounded. Cuffed and stuffed, I took a quick look over his car. There in an open compartment in the console was a chain and a piece of jewelry. It looked familiar. It actually looked like the drawing Judy sketched of her stolen necklace. I walked back to my car and returned with my Polaroid camera. I snapped a photo of the console and the jewelry. I pulled the jewelry out. It matched Judy’s drawing perfectly. Her missing piece! The souvenir of a rapist. I stuck the picture and jewelry into my pocket.

     Next, began one of the most unusual relationships I guess I have ever had with a criminal, and I have had many, from Narcs, to Cowboy Mafia-men to dopers and killers. Back at the Cisco jail, Bone and I sat down with Crebbs in an interview room. We read him his Miranda rights. He waived them. I think he was dying to talk and see what we had on him. At first, Crebbs denied everything and was only concerned with the evidence we had, trying to play all the angles he could. He yelled and swelled up, and pitched a fit of innocence. He called us crazy.
    I pulled the chain and pendant from my pocket and held it up, the pendant swung like a hypnosis watch.
    “You took this from a woman,” I said calmly.
    His head shook slightly, just back and forth, not side-to-side, not yes, or no, and he almost smiled. Then I proceeded to tell him a list of what we had on him, step-by-step, to include a complete confession from Steve Spitz. Then I told him about the evidence the lab was working on. He listened intently.
     “You’re good,” he said.
     “No,” I said. “You’re just that bad.”
     But actually, he was impressed with me and Bone. His whole demeanor changed and he sat there and told us everything, almost as only an actor could, playing the part of psycho, talking about someone else, not him. He spoke in a passive, monotone voice. He did slightly giggle over some of the rape details. He bragged about the houses he “shafted.” He criticized his accomplice’s inadequate performances.
     “Did Spitz lie about anything?” I asked.
     “No, I don’t think so,” He said.
     It was pretty clear we were dealing with a psychopath, who viewed the rest of us as mannequins to his passing fancy. Bone and I took long, separate written (actually typed) confessions from Crebbs. He was quite proud of himself and his…achievements.

     Over the next few days, Bone and Crisco County kept Crebbs as they worked on paperwork and court appearances for the crimes in their county. Meanwhile with Judy’s jewelry and the confessions, I obtained a few more arrest warrants on Crebbs and pushed the local paperwork monkey further up the tree.  By this time, Texas Ranger Weldon Lucas caught wind of all this and wanted to help out. In about a week, Weldon and I drove up to Crisco, served the warrants and transferred Crebbs to our jail in cuffs and a hobble.
     Once in our jail, I had several visits with him, and frequently took him out to cruise the city and further document the locations of his rape, robberies and burglaries. I never once talked down to him, and always treated him “normally.” And we talked about a lot of things other than crime. This is an important strategy for every detective to try. You either have this knack, or not. Now, this method of “questioning/interrogation” has been quite formalized by the FBI and now even for fighting terrorism.
     Crebbs sat in the passenger seat of my car, cuffed around front to drink coffee and eat from drive thru, fast-food places. This was a treat for an inmate. I knew he would kill me in an instant, but I had a detective in the back seat right behind him that I could really trust and would…seriously intervene. It was probably another detective in our squad, Danny McCormick back then, but I just can’t remember. I knew this was tricky and dangerous, but it was the confession game I was playing. A risk I knew I was taking. And I knew Danny would just shoot the son of a bitch, if Crebbs tried to kill me. 

     In the process of his first local court appearances, he was appointed an attorney, who immediately shut all this interaction down. This attorney, first-name Gary, was a sharp guy, and we were friendly adversaries, as I was with almost all local defense attorneys. Gary could not conceive the unusual mountain of evidence and confessions I’d obtained from Crebbs. Within a few weeks, I would have a sperm match with the rape kit and a saliva match on the cigarette butts from the yard. Solid, solid case. This surely looked like a major, plea bargain to all of us. When Crebbs was eventually transferred from our city jail to the county jail, he told our city jailer to tell me goodbye.

     This had all the earmarks of a plea bargain indeed, but we had a new, go-getter, assistant district attorney I’ll call here “Hal Sleeve.” Hal craved the Crebbs prosecution. He asked me over for a meeting at the DA’s Office, and I expected a puzzle-piece, plan to bunch the crimes together into one big, plea bargain with a hefty jail term.
     “I am going to start with the rape,” Hal said.
     “Start?” I repeated.
     “This guy is an animal, and we are going to try him one felony at a time.”
     Okay. He’s the boss and that is what we did. Sleeve really was one helleva an attorney too and he did quite a job.

     So, within a few months, with Crebbs in our county jail with a “no-bond” the entire time, a trial eventually began. When I walked into the courtroom, Crebbs waved at me, and I nodded at him. Do you see what I mean by strange? When I was called to the stand to testify and Gary could not shake off any of the evidence we presented, especially the confessions I took from Crebbs, that I had to read aloud before the jury. I was dismissed. I had to walk past the defense table and Crebbs nodded at me again. Strange. I just fried him alive, and still he acknowledged me.

     Crebbs got about 30 years in the Texas Pen for aggravated rape. But, the next trail date was set a month off, and Crebbs remained in his cell on the third floor of the county jail. And during that wait? Crebbs called a friend on a pay phone for a pick-up, escape vehicle for a planned date and time, took small pipes off of an exercise bike, sharpened one end of each, wrapped the other ends of the pipes with a small, hand towel, tied the towel with some string, and tried to kill a jailer named Yale with seven stabs. Yale fell screaming. Crebbs took the keys off of Yale’s belt. With the Jailer’s keys in hand, he turned the whole 3rd floor of the jail loose, and they gained access to the office off the elevator. There were various staff weapons up in that office.


     And now you know why on that hot, August afternoon, with jailer Yale screaming bloody murder on the floor of the elevator, and the SO in chaos, I stared at the ceiling, gun in hand, and wanted to kill Crebbs.
     With the elevator sealed, with just a few moments ticked off, we made our move. There was one stairway to the 3rd floor. Me, Howard Kelly, a city patrol officer named Jim Tom Bush (who was a decorated Vietnam War sniper and now brandishing a shotgun) and Jim Wilson gathered at that doorway. Wilson opened the steel door and we heard the raucous yells and crazied chants from above. With all our guns pointed upward, just me, Kelly, Bush and Wilson ran up the stairs. For some reason? No one else followed us up. I can imagine why.
     Oh, you might think, “Now wait a minute now, isn’t this a job for SWAT?”
     But back in those thrilling days of yesteryear, Tokyo and Los Angeles had SWAT teams. Back then, we were the SWAT team. In my department the detective division was the SWAT team. Same with the County Sheriff’s Office. So me, Kelly and Wilson had been on quite a number of raids and actions. Patrolman Bush? Bush was just a routine bad-ass. (Many years Bush later became a leader on our SWAT team.)
     We got to the big, vault-like office door on the 3rd floor, which lead to the cells. There was a window in the door and we saw the inmates walking around, yelling, throwing stuff. Unlike modern jails with open pods, this jail was mostly a series of hallways and cells on either side, and some open, sitting and eating areas. Wilson unlocked the big door, shoved it open, and we marched in.
     “Back in your cells or die!” we shouted, pointing our guns at everyone we could see.  This was Texas in the 80s and they knew that we were not bluffing. Mostly, they did return. Some were shoved.
     “You cannot get out of this building. Get back in your cells!” we said.
     I also was on the visual hunt for Crebbs. I couldn’t find him. I couldn’t see him. I ran down an empty hall to one of the day areas. I heard a voice. Angry, pleading. His voice. I turned the corner to see Crebbs on one of the pay phones. He was yelling at someone about his car ride escape. He held the shank in his hand. Jail keys hooked on his pants.
     “HEY!” I yelled.
     He turned. He dropped the phone. And pissed-off, stared at me. We were completely alone in this end of the wing. The ruckus in the halls seemed far away.
     It was another one of those moments in my life. I could have shot him. Dead right there. No one would have doubted or questioned the action under these circumstances. Somehow I had this odd feeling that shooting him was just not enough. It was a gut feeling. I holstered my gun and walked toward him, pointing my finger, “Drop it! Drop it. Drop it.”
     He didn’t. He didn’t. He didn’t.
     He raised it as I got close, and we had a fight. I can’t specifically remember each step of this, but I beat him down pretty bad. He’d had a lit cigarette in his mouth and I hit him there first, which was hard enough to make him drop the shank in his hand. After that? Confusing mess. When it was done, I picked him up off the floor and handcuffed him. A deputy ran down the hall and shouted. 
     “You okay?” he asked.
     “Yeah, can you get that?” I motioned to the shank.
     I marched Crebbs back down the hall as Kelly, Bush and Wilson and another deputy or two locked up the last of the loose inmates.  I took Crebbs through the office, down the stairs and was sort of surprised how no one else had really joined us? No one else in the stairwell, until I got to the bottom, where some officers stood an anxious guard. Maybe they thought we would just take the floor office back, shut the office jail door, and only secure the office? I don’t know. I walked Crebbs past the Sheriff, past some of the 
detectives, officers and civilians congregating on the first floor hall. The local news was already there, their office building a few blocks away. All solemn eyes were upon us. Maybe I had a bruise or two on my face. Crebbs did. He was bleeding. I took him into their CID offices, followed by some of the investigators, and sat him in a chair. Nobody cared about the blood.
     “Yale?” I asked of the jailer when CID Captain Ron “Tracker” Douglas walked in.
     “He’ll live.”
     “He’s all yours. Let me get my handcuffs,” I said.
     And some of the SO detectives stood Crebbs up, and we exchanged cuffs.
     “I caught him on the pay phone. I’ll write you up a statement right away and get it back to you,” I told Tracker.

     I needed out of there. Needed air. I walked outside. My car was still outside and Howard Kelly could simply walk across the parking lot to the City PD. This was a county crime, and a county arrest. I didn’t need to do that usual ton of city paperwork. The county did. I just needed to type a statement. This whole thing took about 15 minutes? 20 minutes? From the second we heard the radio call of “Jailbreak!”
     I saw my car on the crowded parking lot. I could squeeze it out between all the emergency and news vehicles. 
     I was going to make my own little escape from the mayhem! I could of killed him. Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda. But I didn’t. I just didn’t. It just didn’t… play out that way. And, I did what I did, and I felt real funny about it. Kind of mentally sick in a body-chemical way I can’t explain. A hard to describe feeling. I just wanted to get to my office and type up a short, concise, statement. 
     I backed out of the parking spot, and then I saw in my mirror, Tracker Douglas outside running toward me and waving.
     “Oh shit, what now?” I said to myself. I rolled down the car window.
    “Hock. Crebbs said he wants to talk to you.”
     “Talk to me?”
     “Yeah. We need a statement, and he said he would talk only to you.”
     They really didn’t need a statement. Yale was alive to testify about his attack. But to be thorough, a statement is always…nice to have. I pulled back in the parking spot and got out. Tracker and I made our way back to the CID offices.
     We found an interview room with a desk, and they sat Crebbs in a chair, cuffing his wrist to the arm of a chair. A deputy with a shotgun sat outside the door.
     I walked in, closed the door and sat on the desk. I said in an astonished tone, like two old friends talking, “What in the fuck happened up there?”
     And he began and wouldn’t shut up. He told me everything and I mean everything. I got off the desk and sat in the other chair. He told me with the rape conviction and more trials coming, he realized his life was over and had to escape.
     “Well, the only chance you have for any kind of leniency is to explain all this in a statement. If you don’t get your voice heard, you’ll just be like a cool-blooded killer. An attempted murderer,” I said. “You know they won’t let you speak up in court. The prosecution will really tear you apart if you take the stand.”
     “Yeah, I know,” he said. “Yeah, I’ll make a statement.”
     Now, technically, Crebbs was still under the auspices of Gary the attorney. In some locales, this might shed a darkness over any statement Crebbs might give. But, on the other hand, he could waive his rights at any time, and offer a statement. So I went with that angle. Worse came to worse? They would just outlaw/dismiss the statement.
     And so I began the statement process with Crebbs yet again. I got a standard confession form with the Miranda warnings on the top, and I began collecting a confession from Crebbs. We went line by line. When it was done, I told him, “good luck,” and handed Tracker the confession. It had various details like who the getaway driver was supposed to be.  And so, to my memory that was like the 23rd or so confession I had collected from Martin Crebbs. The last one, I had hoped. But oh, no. No.

     The next morning, prosecutor Hal Sleeve called me. He wanted to know the details of the escape from my perspective. I told him. In those days, video tapes were a growing interest in the legal system and Sleeve had massaged the DA’s office budget into buying some expensive, camera equipment. He was a real advocate for maximizing the use of video in court from crime scenes to confessions.
     “So, he confessed,” Sleeve said.
     “Yeah,” I said.
     “Would he confess again? I mean on tape? Could you get him to confess again?”
     “I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know. What would Gary say?”
     “Gary’s on vacation for two weeks. Crebbs waived his rights. What can he say? Would he confess again,” Sleeve asked, “up on the scene. Would he walk you around the 3rd floor and explain what he did? Could you get him to do that?”
     “Can you get an SO detective to do that?” I asked.
     “You know he won’t do it for anyone but you. Go try, Hock.”
     I didn’t work for the DA’s Office, but I kind of do, you know? We all do in this business, and the police chief and sheriff are really just anal retentive, hotel managers. And, as the old Al Pacino movie line goes, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
     Sleeve set it all up. 1 p.m., the next day. Two days after the escape attempt. I went to the SO. Sleeve was waiting there for me.  Their crime scene people and operators of the video equipment were at the ready. Tracker Douglas was also at the ready to facilitate. Crebbs was brought down to the same interview room and there we were again. Just me and him. He was surprised to see me. This was the kind of guy that, if you fight him? And you beat him? He respected you even more. And, after some conversation, like a damn salesman on cue, I reluctantly began my requested pitch.
     “Listen, Martin, it would be a great service to this agency and all the other agencies to hear you describe how you did all this yesterday. You know it’s a new world with these video tapes. And a video like this would be helpful, also make it look like you were trying to help us, and fully cooperate. Show full cooperation. It might show the jury that you have some…you know, hope? Compassion? Whatever.”
     I guess he had nothing better to do! Why not. His face was expressionless.
     “Yeah, sure,” he said.
     And we did. Uncuffed, he stood beside me, on the third floor, with all the hooting and hollering of a hot, un-airconditioned day in the county jail. I read his Miranda rights yet again on film. Maybe the 24th, 25th time? I don’t know anymore. He waived them again. I asked him to start explaining what happened. He walked us to the exercise area, showed us the particulars on the exercise bike where he got the two pipes for his shanks…showed us everything, right up to the point where he and we had our little, physical confrontation in that day room by the phones. I was wondering how he would handle that, describe that part of the tour? Just at this point, I asked him a question and broke his chain of thought.
     Video done. I left again.
     I got back to our station and sat down in Howard Kelly's office, stretching out. 
     “Is it over?” Howard asked.
     “I think that part is over. Now comes the rest of the trials.”

     I didn’t see Crebbs for about 3 months until the next case came to trial.  The jailbreak case was put atop the list in his crime wave. He was charged with Attempted Capital Murder with a Deadly Weapon. In the hall Gary the attorney looked at me, half-smiled and shook his head.
     “I don’t know how you do it,” he said.
     Meaning my conscience? I think I knew what he was talking about. Should I have waited for Gary to return two weeks before I questioned Crebbs? That whole protocol thing?
     “He said he wanted to talk to me, Gary. They pulled me off the street to see him. Then he kept waiving his right to counsel.”
     “And yet? I am still his counsel,” Gary said.
     “And yet you are.” What else could I say?
     In court, there were arguments for and against both the written and taped confessions. The judge ruled in the state’s favor and both confessions were admissible.  I did a lot of testifying that week. The jailer testified. Sleeve’s great, closing argument was another patriotic, crowd pleaser. In the judge’s chamber, awaiting the jury verdict, Hal Sleeve was ecstatic. At one point he even put his head on my shoulder and said, “Thank you.” 
     Somewhere in the annuals of the county court evidence records, in a locker somewhere is that very strange video tape of Crebb’s confession, taking us on a violent tour of a jail stabbing and mass escape.
     Crebbs was convicted, received nearly a life sentence and following that, the prosecutors from various counties joined together for a big plea bargain. There were aggravated robberies, rapes, burglaries, drug charges…what a bundle. He wound up with over a hundred years to do.
     Somewhere in all this, and I don’t remember how, nor is it in my notes, I somehow recovered that rusty old “Army” gun. Crebbs must have told me where it was. But I got my hands on it and I do recall, and do have notes, that I traveled around and showed it to the robbery victims in our city to further close up our robbery case files. One woman I showed it to jerked back at its sight, like it sent an electric shock her way.

     And that is the Crebbs story and his jailbreak scheme. I sometimes think about the victims of his crimes. And that line, “Don’t bother calling the police. They’ll never find me,” Martin J. Crebbs told Judy the rape victim as he left.

     Well, guess again, dipshit.

     Just a few months after his confinement in the Texas Pen, Crebbs was almost beaten to death by fellow inmates. I received no further information about this.

     Just a few months after this beating, Crebbs was stabbed four times by another inmate. He survived. I received no further 
information about this.

     After a few years, Crebbs was killed in prison by another inmate. Once again, I received no further information about this, nor did I care. This is a typical end for a psychopath.
me and h kelly_medium


Hock's email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

This story is excerpted from upcoming book Dead Right There. Read more misadventures with these books…


2 Police Covers Med



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Two Ways that Fights Can Start Up

 I would like to identify two types of physical attack "starters." But first, as for situational starters, when I often say – 

"life is either an interview or an ambush," 

2 ways 1

… and I mean that it is in the most broad and generic of terms. Whether in business, marriage, child-rearing, or in gang fights, you are either surprised (ambushed) or have a few seconds or even longer trying to figure out what's going on and take some course of action (which would be the interview). So, in the most generic sense, most fights, even arrests, start this way. A clever person once added that, "You could have an interview to set up the ambush or an ambush to set up an interview!" But it still starts with these two terms and situations.

     Having covered that set of two very broad, primitive ideas – the interview or the ambush – which also is the subject of another essay,  let's be even more definitive then in a category of two actual physical, "fight-starting movements and moments," because this smaller, refined slice of a fight is important enough to discuss. Very important, especially when it comes to training methods. I have come to believe that many people train one way or the other way, but rarely both ways with the proper priorities.  

     The confronting aggressor does two common fight starters in the Stop 1 "showdown" of our Stop 6 – the Stand-Off confrontation and the Mad-Rush attack. You might summarize with the phrase "close and not close."

Close or Closer – The Stand-Off/Confrontation. He stands before you with his routine, be it the stare down, the bullying threats, or the yelling. Finger pointing? Even stupid chest bumping. You know what a bully does. You know what the instigator does. The pusher. The prodder. He's the troublemaker and the sucker puncher.  

2 ways 3

      His measured and acquired distance is usually way too close for natural comfort. You try to fix that quickly and move, and he dances in and around with you trying to maintain that distance. This attack starts too close and tries to stay too close for comfort. Lots of sucker-punch problems here. Lots of strikes and not from a classic fighting stance either. 

     I know instructors will bark at you that you screwed up by letting him too close, but let me warn you that this sudden, surprise closeness can and does happen to the best of us in real-life situations. In a flash! I should know. I, too, have been jumped despite all the warnings I spout. If you think you cannot be surprised like this? You are naive. 

Not Close – The Mad Rush. I had coined this term for our training programs back in the 1990s and made…

For the rest of this article, read Fightin' Words, click here

01 Book Cover-med


Thinking About Benny Parkey on the Balcony

I was thinking about Benny Parkey the other day. Thinking about some of the last photos of him, on a balcony in South Padre, South Texas, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico right before he died. And he knew he was going to die. One photo (below) kinda haunts me. I wonder what he was thinking, looking over those waves. Then, today, (Thanksgiving, 2016) this came in my email. (I have deleted/altered some info – we have to keep sex crime victims protected.)


"Subject: You and Det. Parkey solved my case.

Dear Detective Hochheim,
My name is __________. My maiden name is ______. Back in October 1990, I was followed home from the Kroger on ______ Drive to my apartment on ____Street. _____________ followed me there and abducted me at knife point, kidnapped me in my own car and drove me to the outskirts of town where I was sexually assaulted. He planned to dismember me. I remember begging and pleading to for my life at the beginning and quickly saw that added fuel To the fire. So I pretty much surrendered to the situation. I accepted the fact I would be murdered. The turning point came when I asked him for the switchblade he was holding. I asked for him to let me have the dignity of killing myself. I meant it.

Anyway, you and Benny were the detectives and I remember you so clearly sitting in your office that cold fall day at your typewriter taking my statement. I'll never forget, the next afternoon you all called me to tell me a State Trooper had pulled over a Brown Datsun with heavy front end damage that matched the description of the suspect (as he was) leaving the ________ Street Trailer park. You (got his picture) called me in for a photo lineup and when I identified him, you and Benny high fived and I'll never, ever forget how excited everyone was , including myself, to capture that creep. It was one of the best days of my life in so many ways!!

Y'all two together went to the trailer park (suspect's trailer, arrested him) and saw my mom's old super 8 film camera on the suspect's couch, but I had stupidly forgotten to mention that I had one (in my car). Anyway, y'all drove me to the crime scene too where we found more evidence way out in the middle of nowhere.

Had you both not worked so dam hard, ________ would not have gotten that 85 year sentence or even had gone to trial. I'll never forget your dynamic personality and Benny's sweetness. You were too!! You took me and my best friend for a coke that next morning after the assault. I know this thank you has come too late. I'm heartbroken over Benny's death. I think of y'all often and wish I could have thanked you both much earlier. I owe you my life in many ways.

I went on to earn 2 bachelor degrees. I'm married now for 14 years to a great guy who is sensitive to the debilitating PTSD I have. I'm grateful to be here!! I mainly want to thank you with every fiber of my being and from the depths of my heart and soul. I thank you. I'm so grateful. I'm sending Benny my thanks and keep him alive in my spirit. I'm so proud of you both and I treasure you both!!!!
Happy Thanksgiving
_________________________ "


Sadly, I don't remember this at all. Isn't that terrible I can't? I mean, It's so important to a person, I am so ashamed. But, It is hard to remember when you have about 22 new cases a month for about 14 years in CID. It's a rat race, chasing rats. And…all the pain. The pain. It all melts together as your brain melts. Benny and I worked on many cases together (by choice) and for a period of time, he and I and a Margaret Yarbrough worked Crimes Against Persons section within the division. Now Benny and Margaret are both dead from cancer. 

But, I hope Benny did remember this one case, sitting on that balcony on the Gulf, remembering things like this, and the times that we "won," when thinking about…life…and some of things that managed to work themselves out well enough.

]Benny Parkey Balcony]



One of Benny's favorites, Leon Russell sang – " I'm up on the tightrope , one sides hate and one is hope."







Veteran’s Day, USA

     Lots of people post pictures on the Facebook and the internet of themselves on Veteran’s Day, but I’d like to post this guy. One of my personal heroes I guess you could say. TC Gaston. He was kid from the projects of Washington D.C. He joined the Army and was a decorated Korean AND Vietnam war vet and my MP Sergeant in South Korea. In the 1970s, we were all stuck in an a crappy Army base just south of the DMZ on the west side of South Korea. We did the usual policing and force protection along with the ROK Marines and overseeing KATUSAs. Gaston never went to college but he was one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met. If you could imagine a black Clark Gable in mannerisms and speech but a wicked sense of humor and real understanding of people.


     Through the years some of you have heard me talk about him. And my recollections of his fighting and uncanny way with dealing with all kinds of people (he had most of the officers afraid of him) I could tell many stories but briefly here’s one of my favorite: In the 1970s, and I hear tell in the 80s too, there was constant trouble at the DMZ, and we had various levels of alerts, but one morning, the war sirens went off. When this special baby sounded off, we appeared ASAP, even if in our skivvies, civies, Mickey Mouse pajamas or Ho Chi Minh flipflops. You got there.

In this ragtag formation a LT. told us,

     “I don’t know anything about this yet, but we now are at war. Somethings happened. We are at war.”

     Everyone was quickly released to scatter off to their attack positions and jobs. A few of the guys – some were missile tech guys there and in the Army only to eventually go to college – were actually sobbing. For me, I had this sick sense of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, but I was in for it. There. Not up for it, there. It’s an “oh-shit moment.”

     The MPs met at our little station house and were given the force protection assignments. My job was to oversee a 50 caliber, machine gun team on the north west corner of the camp. It was facing north and overlooking the valley/rice patties that the Red Guard first invaded over in the 1950s. It was a breathtaking valley I had walked over and jogged on and now it became a ticking time bomb.

     We each had an M-16 and a .45 pistol. Big problem, while we MPs had ammo for our .45s, while some of our guard staff had some M-16 ammo, we and no one else had any ammunition for the M-16s or the 50 cals! I learned later that through history, in places like Pearl Harbor, the ammo has been locked up and no one either sent release orders, or they forgot too up and down the chain of command…I don’t know…but locked-up ammo has been a problem through military time.

     Gaston, now suddenly in full charge of force protection, walked in the shack having just supervised a bunch of stuff outside. Several of us said, “Sarge, we have no ammo!” He was aghast, “WHAT?” So far, he’d only had his pistol belt with mags. He disappeared and marched across the chaotic grounds of the base. He commandeered an open-backed, duce and a half (that’s a big old Army truck) jumped in the bed and standing up in the open back, ordered the driver up a long steep hill to the ammo dump. In his force protection role, he had keys to everything. Too include the ammo dump. They returned within minutes, him standing behind the cab of the open truck with bandoleers of ammo hanging over his shoulders.

     At the main grounds he shouted out to all, “Ammo! Ammo!” and desperate men ran to the truck where he dispensed the ammunition to the troops.

     A Captain and Lt. ran out of HQ and the C.O. said, “SGT Gaston! No one authorized that ammo release from the dump!”

     Gaston gave him a dirty sneer, ignored him and continued distributing the ammo. They could not say much. I mean, how could they? Gaston whistled us over and we got our ammo too.

     This little base has several operational assignments. One was to missile the holy fuck out of North Korean planes, and also bomb a few sites over the DMZ before we were over run. We were not meant to "stay." To "defend." Just hang on till the damge was done, then “retreat” the best way to Seoul.

     Gaston was in full infantry mode once back in the shack. He looked pissed. He look concentrated. He looked at all of us and said,

     “When they shoot off all their missiles this place is empty. Worthless. We’ll work out way back to Youngsan.” He looked into each of our eyes. “When we go, you don’t follow these officers and these college boys, you follow me! You got that? You follow me, because I am a combat muther-fucker and I’ll get you there alive.”

     I’d follow that son-of-bitch anywhere. I still get goosebumps when I think about that speech. I guess ya had to be there.

     We remained on war status for several days. Intense at first because we heard nothing but the classic "rumors of war." The GI radio and one TV station told us nohting. The people in the village played out their lives. We sat and stared at that valley and the skies. The thought always occurs to you in these times, "we didn't make enough sandbags!"

     Then it downgraded after a few days, day by day. There were numerous alerts while I was there but none as big and serious as that one. It was all over an multiple killing incident at the DMZ that is too long and distracting to explain here.


      This is a small story. I could tell many stories about Gaston. Police stories too. Like the time he knocked out a knife attacker with one punch. Or, when he played on the unit football team, damn near 60 years old, playing tackle with us kids. On the way to the games in one of the duece and a halfs, he'd have a pack of gum, ten pieces and give 9 of them away to us nearby. I noticed small stuff like that. Or the time…well…DON'T get me started.

     He retired right after this tour and returned to his life in the Washington DC projects. I was on a security detail on a small mountain that overlooked the base below and I saw him get into a KATUSA jeep for last ride to Youngsan. I watched the jeep for as long as I could from up there. I never saw him again. None of us heard from him again. He had an ever-lasting impression on my life, as a cop, a soldier and person. I can still picture him on the back of that deuce and half, ammo hanging off of him, and see him handing out ammo from the back of that truck to the troops.

     This Veterans Day I would like to especially salute Staff Sergeant Thomas Gaston. I ain't much in life. But whatever I am? He helped.


Hock's email is hockhochheim@forcenecessary.com


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Should You Even DARE Use a Knife to Defend Yourself?

 (This "never-knife," and "anti-use-knife" subject came up somewhere else on FB, where a Krav school decided to completely stop teaching the use of the knife for self defense. One reason was that carrying knives is prohibited in their region. Another reason was the low stats of such events – might be the lack of carry-knives is a reason for the low stats of events? These observations are actually a common argument in various countries around the world and from various instructors AND practitioners around the world I meet with.

     "I'll never have a knife!" they declare.

     "Yes you will, you'll have the knife of the guy you just disarmed." I add. (Insert the word "pistol" in place of "knife" when you hear about that subject.) Because they do spend copious amounts of time, disarming, disarming, disarming. What happens next?

     Others say that aspects of the knife training "culture" can be whacky, extremist and too ugly to connect with, even loosely. Stigma!

     Still, I carry on with my own knife course – Force Necessary: Knife! Here's why and perhaps some of the talking points I use, may be used by you for your positions. Below is how and why I justify a "nasty, violent" knife course, and how I have wrangled with these issues myself, into something I can morally and ethically work with.)




"I'll never use a knife."

"I'll never need a knife, I have my unarmed skills."

"Even if I disarm a knife, I'll just throw it off."

"Carrying Knives are illegal where I live."

"I don't need knife training. Everyone alreday knows instinctively how to use a knife."

"People who like and use knives are crazy, like criminals."

…and so on. 

     First off, I understand your concerns.  I really do. I myself have no particular fascination with knives. I do not collect them, nor would I collect wrenches or hammers, or tools in general. Some folks do collect knives. And of course, that's fine. But since I feel this way, I might offer a very practical viewpoint on the subject, needless to add my decades of investigating crimes might add some value too.

     We live in a mixed weapon world and therefore I accept the challenge of trying to examine this hand, stick, knife, gun world. I have a knife course. I have my own motto in my knife course. “Use your knife to save your life.” which is the opposite of the "no-use," "never-need them," anti-knife movement remarks we hear. Mine is a politically correct slogan that sets the stage for the carry and use doctrine. I would like to say in summary for myself, and some things to think about, is that…we all live in a hand, stick, knife, gun world. Carry and possession laws aside. It’s still a hand, stick, knife, gun world. It's a world of war and crime and that  includes weapons. We fight criminals and/or worse, we fight enemy soldiers.

   – Sometimes we escape them.

   – Sometimes we capture them.

   – Sometimes we injure them.

   – Sometimes we kill them. 

     It’s all situational in "who, what, where, when, how and why." I believe that those "Ws and H," based on good intel, not assumption, should set priorities for training schedules for you and your areas/regions. Where you live and what goes on there are very, important considerations.

     However, one set within those priorities should never ignore that in a hand, stick, knife, world, a person (who lives anywhere) should know how to use a stick, a knife or a gun, despite the laws possessing them. I am not talking about possessing here, as in walking around with an illegal weapon in your pocket, though I know many world-wide that do, I am just talking about using. Using it. Knowing. Messing with it. Familiarization.

     Statistics of things almost never happening? Knife defense hardly ever happens? I agree. If you do big-picture studies of fighting in general, I think you would discover though that even simple, unarmed fights are also extremely rare when compared to population size and the billions of personal interactions people every day. I believe this to be true in USA states, Australia, United Kingdom and other countries banning common also. When you consider this big picture, places like Australia are a wonderful, peaceful places. (USA is too when you think of 320 million people and billions of easy, successful, interactions every single day).

     So then, if an actual, unarmed fight, or an actual unarmed attack/crime is so very, very rare, why do we then bother to practice any self-defense at all? If it hardly ever happens? Even crime rates are small compared to the over-all population. Most of you reading this now will never be in an unarmed fight, never a knife fight, never be shot, or never be a victim of crime. Still we work on these problems because on some level we know, it has happened, will happen and could happen to you and yours. It sort of – needs to be done. Needs to be looked at. With these very low stats, this "understandable, needy" acceptance, logic suggests to us to work unarmed material. This very same logic should suggest that we include stick, knife and gun too.

     You'll never have or will never touch a knife (or gun)? In a fight, you might well pick up a knife, a stick or a gun in the area, or right from the bad guy's hands. I might mention here too, that an attacker's knife, disarmed and dropped on the ground? It is still dangerous and the death threat is NOT over. A person was just trying to kill you with it, and his knife is still just 3, 4 or 5 feet away from his hands on the ground? It is still a very deadly situation and a very quick pick-up.

     So you have disarmed him or picked it up and now hold his weapon? What happens next? Can you fight with it? He's charging in! (My favorite “What” question is "what happens next?" What happens next? ( Ending down the "what question" line with in – "are you arrested or sued?) Don't know what to do next? Do you think you will just become a knife fighter/user because of some magical, inert, instinct? Why do you spend all that time working on simple, unarmed moves and spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars shooting guns and bulleye chasing, and yet ignore the knife? (Some people suggest getting a disarm and "throwing it away," tossing a knife "away." This is suggested by the naive as some sort of consummate solution, but is not consummate or universal, such is highly situational,  and is the subject of another essay.) I might add here there are numerous Department of Justice stats through the years in the USA that even holding a knife, "presenting a knife," can scare off over 50% of common criminals.

     Knives are EVERYWHERE, (and knife-like items). “sticks,” or stick-like things are too in a way. Guns? In many countries the opponents bring the guns to you, barrel first. Many of the Krav schools around the world (oh, about 40% of the schools I teach at each year are Krav schools) have no weapons handling at all. All unarmed stuff. Not all, but many. This is a criticism I hear with some regularity from many Krav people actually. But whatever. In a way that's fine if all the parties involved are educated enough to know this incomplete status and where they fit in the big picture. I don't agree doctrine-wise, but whatever.

     In order to best use or fight against a weapon, you should at least know how that weapon is actually used. Not how you assume it is used. Your assumptions may be wrong. Know something about it. We have that USA expression about baseball –

     “you’ll never hit a curve ball if you never see one in practice.”

     This involves studying the curve ball, throwing good curve balls in practice and a lot of batting practice concerning curve balls. We also have another old expression, "life throws you curve balls." This is trus in all confrontational endeavors. You must know what a boxer does. You must know whet a grappler does. You must know what the current armed robber team in your area is doing. You must know what the street thugs are doing – the the fad of the "knock-out gangs." Know they enemy, Which brings us back to the "who, what, where, when, how and why."

     The knife-stigma issue can be challenging. Weird and violent course names and weird, macho knife names don't help you in the end. Trust me on this. I've worked these cases. I have no grim reapers, no flaming skulls and none of those suggestive, macho mantras made by people (mostly/usually from folks inexperienced with the true, real, ugly, wet violence and the aftermath) who seem obsessed with a certain "type" of knife culture. (I have seen photos of knife training where attendees wear bandanna-masks on their faces like cartels or something like that?) Associate with criminal looks, themes, names and behavior? And then use a Klingon knife in an incident and the police and prosecutors will use all of this against you, every Facebook entry. Every strange tattoo, photo, hobby, associates, etc. Anyone teaching anything about the knife, must know about this stigma and should try to overcome it with a level of professionalism. Remember, by selecting and promoting your own "dark" premise, you are defeating your own end game. Concerned about thus, all my courses are stacked and packed with legal issues and the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions. It has to work in court as much as possible! I repeat – remember, by selecting and promoting your own "dark" premise, you are defeating your own end game.

      Historical stigma. Many times through history, self defense has been hidden inside martial arts when self defense seemed threatening to the local governments. The same can be said for modern times. For example, the study of "knife fighting" can be condemned in some societies, yet is okay when done inside the auspices of say – a "Filipino Martial Arts Class." The trappings, as in the "look" and style and so forth, make it an art form to the shallow eye, tempering criticism. Packaging. Many groups in these weapon-restrictive countries, still openly practice sword fighting and "short-sword" fighting, rapier and dagger (that's a knife, folks) but in the wrappings of a Medieval disguise. Those folks get featured on the TV news as an interesting hobby, but some guys in street clothes in the park doing the similar things might get… arrested? 

Knife for self defense

     Force Necessary: Knife! is VERY simple course about the mechanics of the knife. Simple as needed. Complex as necessary. It is a popular course throughout the UK and Australia too, as in other countries, despite the no-carry laws found. Some people are just plain interested in the subject for whatever reason. Historical? Perhaps. Numerous police officers and agencies attend these classes to gather expertise and information on the subject for their professions. Others may have a morbid curiosity on the subject of edged weapons.

     The knife course, all knife courses, should also have less-than-lethal applications, which I think is very important from a doctrine perspective, and people want to know these applications too, as do police. As do the military, as they often are under orders to take prisoners. Less-Than-Lethal applications includes the verbiage around "situational surrender," or scaring the attacker off (this happens in high precentages in the States), closed folder strikes, pommel strikes and areas on the body to slash (like incoming fists) that are meant to slow and wound. 

     While you might quickly punch something or someone, as you might quickly stab or shoot something or someone, an overall "fight" is much more than that singular event. The knife-criminal-attack or knife-war-event is surrounded by details and situations. One studies the situational responses. Your knife course also must cover knife ground fighting as well as fighting against common "weapons," (like a chair for example). Overall, knife "combatives," as well as all "combatives really must include in doctrine:

* standing

* moving

* seated

* kneeling

* ground top

* ground bottom

* ground side-by-side

* fighting versus common weapons, not just knife vs. knife or other exotic martial weapons

All of it seamlessly because, "you fight where you are, with and against what you and he have."       

      Of course, in the history of crime and war, a knife (and sharp, knife-like things) has been used, dare I say, countless times to defend oneself. Since this "no-knife-no-matter-what" discussion "aired" on the web, Britians and Australians have added presented examples where desperate they have used knives to save lives and have been acquitted. Even guns have been used in self defense and shooters were acquitted. In the end, the "totality of circumstances" (a legal term) and common sense should usually win out.

      Self defense instructors? School owners? And here are some points from a business/training perspective, and is part of the "who question." Who do you teach? Who do you want to teach? And the "How questions" – how big is your course? How diverse is your outline? How many people do you really teach, or how many groups and people do you want to teach? Do you expect to teach only citizens, or the police and the military also? Do you want too? Or just teach some nice, neighborhood people in your classic 5 square mile demographic? If you want to do more, reach more, then your curriculum must be of a big mind. That bigger mind is hand, stick, knife, gun. Keep in mind also, that there are just men and women – customers –  who are just interested in the use of a knife. They just…want to learn what they call "the knife." For knife sakes? It fascinates them. These folks too, are your customers.

     Should you ever, even dare to use a knife to save your life? It will certainly be ugly. There will be ramifications. Knives! Look…hey…they exist. They are everywhere. To save your life and the lives of others, use them when and where you gottem'. Its a hand, stick, knife, gun, world. To me, you are either in it or out of it. If you can't do it all (I can't) know where you are in the big picture, and were you need to send people for the rest.

     I will leave you "never-ever-knife" folks with this thought. This question. It's 4 am and you hear two thugs breaking into your back door. Your spouse and kids are asleep. Presuming you are unfortunate enough not to have a gun handy, do you reach for the biggest kitchen knife you can find? Will they get yours first instead, as so many home invaders and rapists do? If you don't even think about getting a knife in that very dark moment? You may have a thinking disorder.

Hock's email is hockHochheim@forcenecessary.com

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Gilligans – In Training

     In old-school police training, (and probably first in the business world and certainly in psychology) in the 80s and 90s, there was a teaching term called “Gilligans.” The object was to find one word that instantly conjures up as much as possible. Mental force multipliers? (Oh that sounds way tacta-cool). But, smart instructors were encouraged to invent as many Gilligans as possible. This idea took a good hold by some of the original Calibre Press instructors in the 80s and 90s.

     What is a Gilligan? Of course, youth and even many adults today don't know of, or don't remember Gillgan’s Island, the VERY popular TV show of its times. When one said,


      …back then people immediately had a flash of the show, its overall context – “lost on an island” – and picture of the whole cast. The concept. Virtually instantly.


     I remember when I first heard of the idea decades ago, the police instructor stood still in front of the class and said “Gilligan,” with a big smile. Then he asked for a show of hands of how many people flashed to the Gilligan’s Island TV show. We ALL did. ALL. He explained that it was a one-word concept, He suggested that we invent as many Gilligans as possible when teaching. Find the word (or very short phrase) that means a lot of words, long phrases, sentences and maybe even paragraphs. At best, it should have an emotional contact/connection too. The teaching idea was nicknamed “Gilligan” by whom I do not know.

     Another example of a Gilligan? Classic JKD instructor Larry Hartsell said in a seminar once that when you punch, you should "dent." Imagine denting reasonably thin/thick metal. For me that simple word "dent" put me on the overall right structure to punch harder, penetrate and leave a mark. It "lights" up the brain.There are so many examples and uses of this idea.

     When you say Gilligan today, almost no one thinks of that show, or thinks of the teaching concept even. I just referenced this while teaching in Denver last weekend and one guy there, Larry Cline, "comfortably" over 65, knew the old TV show I was talking about. He immediately said out loud, "Mary Ann.”

Mary Ann Gilligans Island 00

     But it’s the idea, the teaching concept that still lingers. Some young people think they have invented it? But, its what Dave Spaulding always says, "there's a difference between new and original. Its just new to you."

     For a period of time in the thrilling days of yesteryear, at least, the idea of Gilligans was sort of a known term in police training and I am sure other business circles and some military too.

     Maybe we need a new TV show? Big Bang Theory? 



(Jiyu Yushi  checks in –  "The above ideas involve the psychological concepts of associative learning that were quite popular in that time frame from the Behavioralists who were impacting learning theory. Associative learning postulates that certain events and things occur together, making recall and subsequent performance more accurate and swifter with the stimuli received. This learning involves both Classical and Operant conditioning to specific stimuli (visual, audio, tactile, etc)."


Hock's email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

For more on subjects like this, read Fightin' Words, click here

01 Book Cover-med



The Case of the Survival Wardrobe Continuum 

     We were about 4 or 5 weeks deep into US Army Basic Training, back in Ft Polk, LA in the early 1970s – “Little Vietnam” as they called it – and the drill sergeants, were starting to back off a bit with their constant abuse. We were in a formation in our company area, which was right across the street from a small PX, a laundry and a few things, like a an old fashioned strip center. Restricted, we did not dare go over there or leave the company area when off-duty. The drill sergrant asked,“any questions?” right before dismissing us.

      I raised my hand and asked, “when we will be old enough to cross the street?”

      Everyone laughed at my sarcastic ass, even the Sarge.

     “We'll see,” and he dismissed us.


      My joke worked because within a few hours, the word was passed that we could indeed cross the street! Well! We did. The little store was worthless, but you could get a beer there, and a pretty piss-poor, little pizza and a bag of chips. And then, myself and apparently quite a few others decided that we would deposit several sets of Army fatigues over there at the laundry and get them starched! Yeah! Be all looking like the stract cadre walking around. Yes-sir! Be looking mighty fine for all those damn, morning inspections too.

      Within two days we got them back from the laundry. Cost almost nothing. And the following morning we wore them, breaking that heavy, cardboard starch that only those of us in the “green machines your granddaddy called the service” would understand. Driving your foot through the cardboard leg of poster-board pants. OO-ahh. Draft dodgers have no idea what I am yakking about here.

      And there we stood in morning formation. Hundreds of us in toto, but only about 40 of us were starched up. Suddenly the drill sergeants – once friendly, but NEVER to be trusted – started walking the lines,

      “YOU!” “YOU!” “YOU!”

      They started pulling troops from the lines! One even came by me, gave me a dirty look and called me a “YOU!” and he pulled me out, too! What the…?

      They put us in several, new lines. I took a good look around and we were all the guys who had our uniforms starched. That was the only common denominator I could see. Maybe we were going to get a prize, you know? They marched us over to several of our nearby barracks. Now, these were old wooden barracks and, being in the near swamp levels of Louisiana, the buildings were up a couple of feet, off the ground on support beams. And being swampy, the underneath's of which were also shady, wet, muddy and yucky. The Baskerville Moors of Polk quicksand!

       They lined us up by these buildings, and then they ordered us face down on the ground, Then they ordered us to low crawl up to…and then under those barracks, plum out the other side. All to the delight of the other soldiers watching with glee. WELL! I did what I was told, fearing worse on the other end! Why me, Lord? There are hairy spiders and poisonous snakes down here! Leeches and shit! Hells bells, they got gators in the Louisiana bayou! Lumpy, mud and who knows what-all!

       They lined us up and back again we were so ordered! Then back yet again. Then, they lined us up and the drill sergeants took a good look at us, making contorted and disgusted faces. One sarge, the most articulate at yelling in melodious cuss words and clever phrases of ridicule made a speech as only he could. It was full of cussing and yelling and stomping about and well, it was got-dam, beautiful, it was, you know, in that negative sort of way. But I can't recall it word-for-word, so I will summarize it for you all here.

      In so many words he explained that you cannot love your uniform too much, can't worry about it being too clean or kempt. He explained that we constantly clean and polish and brush our uniforms because we were supposed to get them dirty. Every day. All the time. That was our job to get dirty and clean them. Get dirty and clean them. You didn't love your country if you weren't getting dirty defending it. We were in the Army, and if you worry about your clothes getting messed up or dirty, even for a second, you might hesitate to duck, dive or fight, and that might get you killed in – "This Man's Army!"

      So, he explained, in order for us starchie-low-lifes to get a proper day's training in, we first needed to be roughed up, and made to forget about how "purty" we looked. Then we fell in beside the other troops for the day's other fun and games of mental and physical abuse. And we starchie-low-lifes spent the whole day in caked mud. From there after? They didn't care if you showed up in starched fatigues, because you've been read this riot act. It must happen every Basic cycle, huh? The message must be conveyed. After that, we could go starched-up, but just don't get caught worrying about ruining your look. Just dive into the mud hole then they say “jump!”

       Clothes make the fighting man. Movie critics once mentioned that there was a distinct difference between James Bonds. Said one, “Sean Connery, when all dressed up, looked like he couldn't wait to get dirty. Roger Moore when all dressed up, looked like he couldn't stand to get dirty.” What a great analogy.


     If my old drill sergeant had heard that line, he no doubt would have yelled that in my muddy face.

     “Whooo are you, boy? Sean Connery or Roger Moore?"

     “Sean Connery, Drill Sergeant.”

     “Whhhooo? I can't hear you! You prissy little, misbegotten excrement from a house-mouse whore!”

    “SEAN CONN…” …you know the routine.

      It was a lesson I never did forget. And it has merit. It is inspirational and gets your head on straight as you step out the door to go to work. But the lesson doesn't always fit the organization. Even in the military.

      Soon after Basic Training, after the military police academy, I was pulling garrison, (standard police patrol) military police duty and in the daytime we had to wear Class A uniforms which was worse than a thick suit and tie. Pistol belt outside the jacket, riding up your torso like a straight jacket. The clod-hopper boots. Are you roller skating in a buffalo herd? The bloused pants with the special rubber-band-thingy on your calf. And heaven forbid you were caught without your big white hat on, even when driving. The whole thing was…

For the rest of the article, read Fightin' Words, click here

01 Book Cover-med


Notes on…”The Tackle”

       The who, what, where, when, how, and why do you want to tackle an opponent? If you tackle someone in the real world, you will usually end up on the carpet, tile, floor, cement, asphalt, dirt, rocks, etc., with the enemy. I know a veteran doorman/bouncer from New York City who says,  

       “why should I take a customer down to the ground? Then I just have to pick him right back up and take him out. And dance floors can be dangerous at ankle height.” 

     The same can be true for many police situations. Sometimes taking a suspect all the way down may be part of your plan. For example, the police may take resistors and fighters down to the ground just to get them off their feet or prevent them from running. In some military situations, enemy soldiers such as sentries must be taken down and out of sight of his comrades and quickly restrained, made silent, and/or finished off.

     Another reason the police tackle people to the ground is because they are chasing people in pursuits. They tackle much like a football player must pursue and tackle. But so many real-world altercations are not foot pursuits. In fact, citizens in most situations would prefer their opponent suddenly turn and flee. Why chase them? Why tackle them? The citizen has then escaped a crime? 

In the non-sport world of no-weight-class restrictions, you don't know the animal you may be tackling and then wrestling with on the ground. Or, for that matter, the size of the ground fight inside the dog – to paraphrase that old expression.



     Many untrained knuckleheads, mimics, and sports people will tackle. Being tackled is one of the four main ways we hit the ground, so says a number of universities with police science department awhile back, gathering a smattering of stats as best they could. The big four ways, briefly, are these:

  1. We trip and fall during the fight.

  2. We are punched down during the fight.

  3. We are tackled during the fight.

  4. We are pulled down during the fight.

     One of our Force Necessary "Worst Case Scenario Modules" is all about the Tackle and Countering the Tackle. So we must learn the ways of the opponent. Here are the main and common ones we exercise through in the courses as a foundation for you to springboard into deeper studies: 

Common Sport-Based Tackles (which can, of course, work in "real" life, too)

   – Single leg right, a "leg pick," or smothering crash on it;

   – Single leg left, a "leg pick," or a smothering crash in it;

   – Double leg;

   – Single of Double leg, and he evades with a footstep, you hunt/swivel for the best direction for a takedown;

   – The "Fire Pole" – a slap-down tackle from a bear hug or clinch;

   – The Military Belgium Takedown, a classic military (WW II) tackle from the rear;

   – Football tackles.


Belgium tackle art series_for the web

Non-Sport Tackles

   – Wild-man, “untrained civilian” body grabs/tackles
   – Military body pitch where a tackler's torso goes airborne 
   – Law Enforcement Pursuit Tackles System where chases tackled from behind are exercised.


Common Counters to Tackles

   – Splay/Sprawl
   – Evasive footwork back and/or side-step
   – Brick wall
   – Side headlock, catch, crank/choke
   – Wheel throw



Experiment with these foundational moves, then is you wish, continue on deeper.

Email Hock at: HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Shoot the Car! I Need Me Some Relief!

Shoot the Car! I Need Me Some Relief!

     I recall a time when cars did not have air conditioning, and when they did, many police cars still did not have the add-on feature. To save cost, skinflint supervisors ordered fleets of cars without AC, but of course their cars had AC. In the Military Police, “back in the day,” on dayshift we had to wear our class A uniforms on day shift. Whether tan or the green “suit”, we had to wear that big-ass, white hat inside the car. The hat that rubbed on the interior roof if you were over 5 feet tall, and turned the top of your hat gray. Yet we’d see the Provost Marshal (like the police commissioner) driving in his sedan with AC and hat off. His hair all blowing in the AC wind tunnels like a big dog. It’s nice to be king! Evenings and midnights we switched over to fatigues, but hot is hot in Oklahoma and Texas,and in the deep south.

DressClass A copy

     Shoot the car! What? Wait, stay with me. Shoot the car for ventilation? Or for draining? Every once in awhile some eager officer would draw out his gun too soon during a chase, hit a bump and shoot the car. The floorboards. Under the dash. One time in Texas, an officer who shall remain nameless, held his gun, hit a bump, shot his car and killed it. Dead right there. I don’t remember exactly where he shot, but it hit the engine and killed it. This would also happen with interior “quick draw practice.” Or the anxious officer would draw his gun out in a chase and lay it on the seat. Well, when you are driving at a hunnert miles an hour, a slight turn or braking, and that six gun would fling itself all over the car, along with the french fries and burgers). But back to shooting the car…for draining?


     A lot of these old police cars had bullet holes in their floorboards. On purpose. No accident. I was reminiscing with another old vet and we were talking about the ice bag trick. Various ice houses and stores back then often gave free big bags of ice to officers, or sold them, in the summer. Some ice houses just stacked them by their back, open loading doors and cops would drive by and throw them into the cars.

     The trick was to shoot the floorboard, you know center-mass. You go out and drive over some soft dirt or sand, shoot the floor and the bullet buried into the ground. In them-thar days, the outside bottoms of cars did not have the Buck Rogers technology of today’s cars. It just made a nice clean hole in the body, if you knew where to aim. Next, the big ice bags are plopped on the floorboards. The vent fan was turned up full, and wala! Ice bag air conditioning. Primitive, but better than nothing.

ice bag copy

     The floorboard holes were needed for the condensation and ice bags to eventually drain. The driver needed a little makeshift barrier to keep his bags from the pedals. Better than nothing, and your cowboy boots would keep your feet from freezing off, usually. But passengers could ride with their feet high up under the dash.

As I recall, you would certainly get into official trouble for shooting your car, but many veteran supervisors did this in their good ol summer days, too. So. Mums the word. If your supervisor were “cool” the word would get about such pending inspections. And these were fleet cars back then, not necessarily assigned to any one, two or three officers. So finger pointing alibis were engaged. What? Who?

     Everyone knew where they could get their holes plugged if need be, for any planned inspections. We had a day or two to fix things, and in emergencies, we all had a few midnight shift, open garage/gas stations back then to race to when we had a such fix em up emergencies with our cars. But that’s another batch of stories.

      Finally cars were manufactured in such a way that it cost extra to remove the FM radios and air conditioners, frustrating sadistic administrators! Play rock in the cool breeze! And we peons ruled the day! Viva la revolution!

Hock's email HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com



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Storm Jumper! Captured Alive in Water Channel

     On the east side of our city, there ran a series of waterways, storm channels to handle the bad Texas rainstorms. I know some cities don't have any of these drains, but I guess everyone has seen storm channels in the classic movies and TV shows about Los Angeles. Just like theirs in the City of Angels, ours was an "open top" system, quite wide at parts, deep in sections and branched off into all parts of the city.



       The channels were usually dry unless it rained heavily. But like in this photo here, there was usually a skinny stream from somewhere. I have seen them flood and overflow. I have had a few foot chases thru and in, some fights, arrests, and a couple of mishaps down in the dirty ditches. Here's one such tale.

     I once chased down and cuffed a child rapist through those channels, but my first real adventure down below in the water channels … catching an armed robber, way back in the late 70s. There was a series of armed robberies plaguing us on the east side of town, and the detectives were doing the best they could with stakeouts and interviews to break the cases. Solo actor. Big revolver. Black male. In his 30s. Afro. Cheap bandanna over the lower half of the face. We were all convinced that the suspect was a local. No one ever saw a getaway car, and each time the occasional witnesses said the man just melted off into the back lots and alleys behind the businesses.

     Several nights a week back then, I rode with another patrolman named Clovis George, a very sharp and real funny guy, a prior border town/city cop down Mexico way. Even back then, the Texican border towns were all hotbeds of all kinds of criminal activity and, yes, drugs, too. The interstate that split our city ran from old Mexico straight up the center of the USA. A drug route then and now, but that's a whole other story. Clovis had seen a lot of street-level action down there on the border. The George family was big in our city, and he returned home after several years to settle down. Our city produced one Miss America,  Phyllis George, and she was his cousin.

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     Another one of these armed robbery calls went out late one weeknight while we were paired up in one car; and it had us and other cars running every which way hay-wired, trying to find the suspect either running or driving away in a getaway car. Not a clue. A clean escape yet again.

     When the dust settled, we drove to a taco outfit and got tacos and some ice tea, sat on our squad car hood, and ate, contemplating the world as it blew by us. We also contemplated the armed robber.

   "I'll bet that squirrelly bastard is jumping down into these dry channels and running right home," Clovis said between bites.

     "I'll bet we could jump in at one key point and cut him right off," I said.


     Sounded plausible to me, so we made a plan. A large percentage of criminals lived in the nearby projects in our beat, and we drove around to calculate possible routes from Tell Ave. businesses to the government housing districts. We knew the CID stakeouts were spotty and all above ground and vehicle-based. No way the detectives could cover all those locations every night, night after night. So if we were free and patrolling and heard a report of another east-side, armed robbery on our radio, and if our man was indeed a storm channel jumper, we would guesstimate the time and location where the robber would be running, jump in the drains at some point, and stake out that spot.

     Well, within a few nights, a chicken restaurant was hit by our lone suspect. Handgun presented. Money grabbed. Mask. In and out. And Clovis and I raced to our own planned stakeout. We parked the squad car and, in a huddled-over combat run, slipped into the open channel by a viaduct at a bend in the system where we couldn't be seen from afar. There was less than a small stream of water in there. In less than one minute, we heard some splashing and footsteps, and we exchanged surprised expressions like … "well, damn! That could be him!" 

     And sure enough it was. He rounded that corner huffing and puffing with a paper bag of money in one hand and a revolver in the other. We spread out and hit him with our flashlights' beams. We pointed our pistols and started shouting,

      "Drop the gun, or we'll kill ya!"  

      "Drop it or yer dead right there!" Words to that general effect. You know what I mean. And they were true warnings.

     Our man dropped his pistol and bag and put his hands up. Bandanna in his back pocket. We cuffed him, hauled him up the side, and "took him in," as the expression goes. 

     CID was kind of thrilled. And they took over. Our suspect was not a local as it turned out. He was in from Akansas visiting locals and thought he'd run up some traveling money while in town. Mask. Gun. Money. Flight. Matching size and clothing description. Wow. Nice little arrest. Hey, three cheers for the Clovis George idea of ditch jumping, all over some tacos and tea.

     Through the years, Clovis and I were also detectives together, too. First him, and then me. Starting back in the early 1980s, I had a bit of a reputation for getting a lot of confessions; and Clovis often asked me to partner up with him when he had extra troublesome witnesses and suspects in his cases. Plus, I was his choice when he served an arrest warrant on some of his cases because we knew how to work in unison.

     So, we worked these numerous cases together. Always had a blast, too. I remember he had an affinity toward the Tonight Show's Johnny Carson suit line. He thought he was really styling it in a Carson brand suit. You know what? He was!

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     We went out with our wives to various country and western establishments in those days, some Tex-Mex locales, and drank way too much as I seem to recall. Admin often made the mistake of sending us to various investigation training schools in Austin, whereupon we had entirely too good a time above and beyond the classes. We'd drive to Austin on Sundays to be in position for class on Monday mornings. On some of the trips we'd bring a small camper's black and white TV set with us to try and watch the Cowboy's games in the car on the drive down. It was a war with the rabbit ears for antennas, trying to catch the local channels as we passed through cities on the interstate. Back then, you could legally drink and drive in Texas (not be drunk – just you know – sip up until), and this adventure always included beer. One guy drove and the other guy operated the rabbit ears. What a team! (Imagine doing that today. We would both be serving life sentences.)

     Clovis took a few promotion tests while in CID and went back into uniform as a supervisor. He continued his professional career rise, while I, never testing for any rank, remained back in line operations working in the trenches, not unlike the stinky water ditch system where we made the aforementioned arrest.

     Then he had a severe heart attack in the early 1990s. He recovered and became a supervisor for our communications division. He also became an avid runner. Then he suddenly died in 2002. The heart again. Couldn't outrun those genetics no matter how hard he tried. I was working out of the country at the time and missed the funeral. 

     Many years later, the next century actually, our agency developed a truly amazing, modern police academy. They dedicated the police library part in his name, which I thought was just a damn fine idea. Here's a picture of one of the best Police Chiefs you can find, Lee Howell, dedicating the library with Dana George.

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     Clovis George was a really good guy, a good friend, and we had a lot of laughs, tacos, beers, and margaritas. Plus, together, we handcuffed a number of felons, too. What more could you possibly ask of a friend? What more?



Email Hock at HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com