What is your name? the officer asked me; and like a very good citizen I gave the officer my first and my last name while I was pulling my ID out so the officer could see that I was being as truthful as possible.
It all happened inside the yard of Public Storage at 2727 South Decatur and Sahara Avenue, where I met a lady that wanted to buy some of the furniture that I had stored there since I moved out of my home eighteen months ago.
I asked the officer what his name was, and he paused and pointed to his name tag. “Officer Rodriguez,” he told me, putting his face down like he was embarrassed about what he was ready to speak out of his mouth when I asked him if “Officer” was his first or middle name.
“We do not give our first name for security reasons,” Officer Unknown Rodriguez told me. Dummy me; I forgot that Rodriguez is a police officer and as so many other police officers often say, “I was in fear for my life”; but I did not say that to Officer Unknown (I assume that is his first name) Rodriguez because I had a plane to catch and I did not want to miss my flight, as I would have if we kept talking, so I just smiled and went on my merry way.
When Officer Rodriguez asked me for the buyers’ name and I told him that she called my office number, he wanted my cell phone to verify that I was telling the truth that I did not have the lady’s telephone number.
Can anyone imagine that! A police officer, regardless of what his first name is, wanted to grab my telephone and check all incoming and outgoing calls that I have in my cell phone!
Hasn’t Officer Rodriguez ever heard of the Journalists Shield Law? Please allow me to shed some light behind your uniform, your badge and your gun, I wanted to say, but before that, I’d like to remind you of something that your boss, Douglas Gillespie AKA Doug Gillespie AKA Sheriff Gillespie, says and teaches all his people to repeat as if they were reciting the Miranda Rights or the Constitution of the United States of America: “If you are not guilty, you have nothing to worry about.”
That is why I was not concerned when you asked me for my name and I gave you both my first and last name to satisfy your curiosity when I was not even part of your investigation in which a lunatic woman claimed that the lady that came to pick out my furniture tried to run her over with her truck.
A shield law, Officer Rodriguez, is a law that gives reporters protection against being forced to disclose confidential information or sources in state court.
My cell phone is full of sources in general; therefore, it is off limits to everyone; that is why I hate to lose my cell or misplace it even if my sources are in code and to anyone in the street such code names may not mean anything; however, a shield law aims to provide the classic protection of “a reporter cannot be forced to reveal his or her sources” law. Thus, a shield law provides a privilege to a reporter pursuant to which the reporter cannot be forced by subpoena or other court order to testify about information contained in a news story and/or the source of that information.
Several shield laws additionally provide protection for the reporter even if the source or information is revealed during the dissemination of the news story, whether or not the source or information is confidential, and the reporter should not be forced to reveal how the reporter obtained that information.
Depending on the jurisdiction, the privilege may be total or qualified, and it may also apply to other persons involved in the news-gathering and dissemination process as well, such as an editor or a publisher; and surprisingly enough for you, Officer Rodriguez – who speaks the English language better than I – I am both the Publisher and the Editor In Chief of this newspaper.
People who drive into the Public Storage have a hard time turning around; how could anyone run someone down with a super big truck that could not turn around in that ten-foot space?
The lady may be only five feet tall, and if she weighs 110 pounds it would be a miracle; so my question is, why does a man with a law enforcement uniform, a badge and a gun, need a bodyguard? I was under the impression – and please forgive me if I am wrong – that the badge and the gun make a police officer macho even though he may not be; a superman of sorts, that without the badge and gun he probably wouldn’t be; so how can a police officer the size and heft of Officer Rodriguez be afraid of a single little old woman that probably could not lift a package of cigarettes without feeling her arthritis?
I am blessed with the friendship of many members of the police department in all divisions and all units that appreciate very much that I keep their names out of my column and out of my news stories for many reasons, such as their feeling embarrassed when I point out the errors, mistakes and bad behaviors of their fellows police officers. And I know that this column would also embarrass them, where I point out that one of the two big police officers that responded to the Public Storage call may have mistreated a skinny, tiny old lady.
The second officer did not bother with me because he was too busy chit-chatting and laughing with the hysterical, lunatic complaining woman that had everyone in the yard at Public Storage on edge, making everyone there uncomfortable.
The lady that has my furniture had her two old dogs in her truck and she kept the engine running because she wanted the air conditioner on so her two dogs could be comfortable while she went to look at the furniture that I was offering.
After my encounter with Officer Rodriguez, I went to the airport. All during my flight, I had the incident in my mind, but I was not thinking about the cowardly behavior of Officer Rodriguez who was afraid of a little old woman; that incident was out of my mind and was no more important to me since I have the habit of dismissing out of my life what I consider useless.
My concern at that time was the budget of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and how much more the Sheriff will be asking for this year to hire more police officers, despite the fact that the police department has $130 million that was supposed to be to hire more officers, but was never used for that purpose.
Sheriff Gillespie claims that he needs more officers out on the streets, but he allowed his department to waste two officers – both big and tall and (dare I say) fat – to respond to a call wherein the victim became the suspect/perpetrator because the big-mouthed aggressive person who called 911 claimed that she was being run down by that lady’s truck. Accusations apparently override logic and common sense.