Giving Myself Away!

GUMSHOE-DANNY-PITOCCO[su_dropcap style=”flat”]H[/su_dropcap]ELLO KIND READERS and welcome back to another saga from the past experiences of

This one is up close and very personal, in your face and from my heart. No yarn – just real from my side of the badge.

I was taught in the police academy back in 1971 that a good cop checks his of her feelings at the door at each and every call – no matter what! I can still hear the echoes of the grizzled police instructor;

Show no emotions; be strong and detached, but polite and always act professional!”[su_spacer]

Show no weakness!”[su_spacer]

Cops don’t cry!”[su_spacer]

Never take the street back to your home!”[su_spacer]

If you shoot some ass$&@# you should only feel the recoil!”[su_spacer]

These were the mantras instilled into my brain “housing group” (US Marine slang for skull). This advice and guidance seemed to serve me well over the course of my forty some years in law enforcement career. Well, no so quick dear Gumshoe! I sadly learned the hard way (due to my thick skull) that all of these mantras were all unmitigated “bulls#%$!”

I covered my feelings and emotions with either stoic silence (at the crime scene) or with a facade of humor (back in the police) locker room. “Never let suspects or other cops see you sweat, shake or shed a tear!”

These “tried and true sayings” came with a high personal cost to me: one divorce of my first “starter marriage”; occasional thoughts of suicide (God saved me); high risk assignments (swat and undercover street narcs) high blood pressure, crappy diet, insomnia; a minor stroke behind my right retina; high blood pressure and finally a near fatal heart attack.

Fortunately, I never succumbed to wild women or drink or drugs. (My Catholic upbringing I suppose?)

No, I did not have a death wish but I was an adrenaline junkie. Type “A” personality that could literally suck the air out of the room! I was the young altruistic guy wearing the badge chasing the 911 calls. Lights and siren – shots fired! I believed in John Wayne, apple pie, the American Way and that the good guys always win in the end! (Even now, I still do!)

Somehow though, I could not recognize that over a period of time, I also was the “unidentified victim” with no ID or clue. Parts of me were dying and disappearing. MIA! KIA! (Not the Korean made car mind you)

I became the walking wounded, emotionally drained; psychologically weak; physically exhausted and almost spiritually dead. (Thanks to God, I kept my faith!)

Too many times seeing the bodies and the aftermath of disassembled parts; the dead and the dying the decayed; too many accident scenes; too many human tragedies; death notices; homicides and horrendous assaults; suicides; dead babies; rapes; shootings; stabbings; OD’s; pursuits; fights; riots; responding to unknown trouble calls; being punched; being spit on; being shot at and one time stabbed in the back (lucky my ballistic vest stopped the blade); too much blood! Too much evil and never enough good!

Note to self: In my next life be a fireman – everyone loved firemen!

Did I fail to mention the too many insults to my character and to my integrity – not by the suspects (I always expected that) the insults from the damn defense attorneys trying to impeach me on the witness stand for fun and profit!

However, you might ask me why? Why did I carry on like a good Jar Head?

I’m no hero or a martyr, I was just a guy who always felt I was doing God’s work and I felt blessed. He was my co-pilot and more often than not, the pilot! I loved the challenge of putting the worms back in the can; putting the cuckoos back inside the clock; putting the scum bags in lockup and yes administrating some “curb side” justice to a wife or child beater suspect. It felt good! (God forgive me)

Part of me loved the job and part of me hated the job – what an oxymoron I became. Cop humor – the joke was on me. I learned to love myself again!

I reconnected with my feelings again. Crying was good! Purging the toxins that were kept bottled-up for way too long deep inside me like a pressure cooker. The dark shadows that enveloped my soul vanished in the light. The flame of the candle does not cast a shadow don’t you know?

I said “howdy!” to my returning emotions that I missed. I became “whole” again. I focused on the things above and not on the things below. I finally retired!

Oops! I gave myself away – I found my human-self again thanks to God’s grace!

God gave me His grace and His mercy to survive and to carry on. Time to re-wire!

Well, that really felt good to let you kind folks know that ” Robocop” only exists in the movies.

Too many victims and too many suspects. Too many court cases where justice was denied. Several partners killed or maimed. Some personal friends killed by their own hand. Too many missed birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, dates, school events, just to name a few.

I could go on, but you folks get the dark, ugly picture.

This is Gumshoe sticking to my story (testimony) until next time folks. Love the ones who love you! By the way, God bless!


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. Thank you for sharing the transparent you. We are all a mixture of paint and thread and lumber and iron and wax. It’s a wonder any of us become persons of distinguishable design. I’m glad your character formed the man you came to be, intelligent, wise, compassionate, funny. Your mess has become your message. Keep sharing your story, Danny.

  2. First I agree with Ken and won’t repeat what he said here. Your story reminds me of the many times I write about ‘too much’. Your too much carries a heavy weight though. I don;t know why anyone would go into law enforcement – and I don’t know how anyone does it without God piloting their life. Your words spoke to me of the spiritual power you had to remain whole when life was literally ripping you to shreds. ”
    I was just a guy who always felt I was doing God’s work and I felt blessed. Part of me loved the job and part of me hated the job – what an oxymoron I became. I found my human-self again thanks to God’s grace! God gave me His grace and His mercy to survive and to carry on.”

    Your recollections have been wonderful to read. I’m thankful that you’re willing to share them with us. This reminds me of a quote I have come to believe in over the past 2 years. “When God is all you have, you realize God is all you need.” We can get along without a lot of things in life, but we can’t get along without God. We are blessed people.

  3. Well, Danny, that goes a long way to explaining why cops have very high rates of divorce, alcoholism, and even suicide. It doesn’t bode well for an officer’s well being, with or without religious grounding.

    When you spend 40+ hours per week for years dealing with the dredges of humanity, often to see them released before you get off duty, it takes a toll. Then you arrest them again a week or month later. It would seem rather pointless after a few years.