January 27, 2023 at 11:55 pm

13 Law Enforcement Professionals Talk About the Saddest Things They’ve Heard Criminals Say

by Matthew Gilligan

Police officers have tough jobs and they see people on the best days of their lives…and definitely on the most awful days of their lives.

And today we’re going to hear from some police officers about the saddest things they’ve ever heard suspects say.

Let’s take a look!

1. Thief.

“I observed a 14 year old girl grab a few items from a makeup rack and conceal them into her purse.

She walked out the doors with the intent of stealing them and I brought her back into my office to process her. She didn’t show much emotion, but the one thing that really stuck with me was that she didn’t want us to call her house because her mother had cancer and was sleeping.

I called her aunt, explained the situation and she said that she would pay for everything that was taken, which I couldn’t do, but something told me to take it easy on her.

So I said that I would let it go if she wrote a letter of apology to the store, nothing specific, just something to show that she learned a lesson. She said would write it and I left it at that not expecting her to really write anything.

A few months later I received an envelope addressed to me. In the letter she said her mother was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and that she has two brothers that she takes care of by herself as her mother is bedridden. Her father is gone and left them when the diagnosis was revealed.

So here she is at 14, taking care of her brothers and mother, and didn’t have enough money to fix herself up like the other girls at school and felt self conscious about it. She didn’t want to waste money on herself, and would steal items that she needed from stores. She admitted to stealing socks and underwear for herself, but said she paid for everything that she got for her mother or brothers.

She just felt extremely guilty spending money on herself. She sent along with the letter a hundred dollar bill to pay for the other items she took. I called her and asked to speak with her face to face at work. She came down and I handed the $100 back to her along with a bag of makeup supplies.

She explained to me that she wanted to join the military when she got older, because she felt her life was spiraling and she needed the support. I gave her the number to my local recruiter and told her to call him and he would get her set up as I was friends with him.

Three years later I get a call in my office from the recruiter saying he has someone in his office trying to get into the marines, but they had admitted to being caught for theft at my store. He said he needed a letter saying that charges were not sought and that she wasn’t actively trespassed.

She was absolutely trespassed as that is the one thing I didn’t have control over at the time. However, I ripped up the Trespass, maliciously changed things in my computer system, and sent out the letter to get her into the marines. I felt that I couldn’t deny her her shot at her dream.

Fast forward to last year, she came into the store and asked for LP. She not only thanked me, but hugged me and cried. She said that her mother died shortly after she got caught stealing and her brothers were taken by her aunt while she had to go into foster care. She offered to buy me lunch, but I declined for professional reasons.

Otherwise, I felt that she just needed a person to believe in her and give her a chance. I told her, anytime she wanted to talk, knock on my door. She knocked a few months ago and we chatted for several hours before she left. I told her how proud of her I am and that she is such a wonderful person. Just a little bit of caring went a long way with her.

That’s all she ever needed, just someone to ask her how she’s doing. She had nobody. Out of all the things I have done in my job, that makes me the most proud. Even though, if my bosses found out, it would most likely get me fired, but I never cared about policy when showing a little compassion. This was one of those times.”

2. Married to a policeman.

“Not a cop but was married to one who worked the graveyard shift.

He’d get home at 7 am and crawl into bed, and if I woke up, I’d ask how his night went. His precinct had the highest m**der rate in our city, so he regularly saw some pretty awful things and more gut-crushing abject poverty situations than you can imagine.

So it’s early morning on Thanksgiving Day. He gets home, showers, crawls into bed, and I ask how work was. A bunch of teenagers got hold of a g** and were playing Russian Roulette. One lost, the other teens scatter. One gets home and tells his mom who calls the police.

Cops get to the address and a sister comes to the door. The mother and sister are home but slept through the g**shot in their own apartment. They didn’t believe a shooting happened and didn’t want to let the cops in. They finally convince them, and the sister walks them to the back bedroom and is like, “Nothing here. See?” and opens the door to a room that is now essentially painted with her brother’s brains.

I can’t imagine what it was like for any single human involved in this situation: the friends who witnessed it happen, the sister walking in on it, or the officers arriving at the scene having to surprise a family with the news of someone’s horrific d**th that they slept through.”

3. She apologized.

“There was a young lady that we were always dealing with. Long story short she ended up a**aulting one of us during a call.

As she was being booked, obviously upset, she apologized and said “My real parents beat me, my foster parents beat me, my high school boyfriend beat me, my current boyfriend beats me, violence is all I know.” It really hit me. She was so young and had probably never been treated well or with respect by anyone in her life.

On top of all this she was pregnant at the time. We ended up talking for awhile. I ended up running into her a year or so later. She again apologized and seemed like she was doing well with the baby and in a better situation. Probably the only time in my career I felt like maybe I made a small difference.”

4. Awful.

“A 12 year old girl came in handcuffs. She was pregnant. She tried to take her own life with a g**, but her cousin wouldn’t let her and she accidentally shot her.

She called the cops on herself and then drank a bottle of bleach. I was working on her and she told me over and over again that she was sorry. No, sweetheart, I’m sorry. You never had a chance.”

5. Not a feel-good story.

“Worked a case where a group of lifelong friends got into an argument, resulting in the d**th of one of them at a birthday.

I don’t think it will be surprising to anyone that a lot of folks don’t typically speak with law enforcement, let alone aid in an active homicide investigation.

It’s something I didn’t fully understand at the time, but was a starting point for me. Having conversations with the best friend of the deceased and a distant relative that was an inadvertent witness.

Both had negative interactions with law enforcement in the past and it was some of the most heartbreaking work I’ve ever done to build rapport – having to convince someone that you actually give a s**t about their friend that was ki**ed, and that talking about it would actually help.

The whole investigation was one of the bleakest things I’ve ever been a part of. Just senseless violence, (deserved) mistrust, and a court case that was an absolute travesty.

We “got our man” in the end, but it was fairly hollow. These men had, effectively, sent one of their lifelong friends to prison for ki**ing another.

The defense for the accused was one of the most incompetent proceedings I’ve ever been a part of – to the point that the defense was basically making a case for the prosecution in his closing remarks.

There’s just not a lot of feel-good stories in police work. For every baby taken out of a hot locked car (stop leaving your kids in cars!) there were ten homicides, ODs, sexual batteries, or DOMVs we had to pick up the pieces of.”

6. I don’t want her.

“Adolescent residential program, highest level of care in the state.

We had an especially v**lent intake. Young girl, think she was 16, who would get violent with herself and others to the point of restraint almost every hour. It was exhausting, and a lot of us were at our breaking point with this kid.

I had some rapport with her since I’d done her intake, so after what felt like the millionth restraint I sat alone with her and tried to process. Her answer still haunts me: “I like the pressure.”

She was literally after being restrained because it felt good to be HELD. Had to explain to her that we could hug her if she wanted. Explained a f**king hug. Still ki**s me.

No surprise later at a family meeting her father, word for word, said, “Well, I don’t want her. She has to live with you!”

And I hate to say that’s not the worst thing I heard at that job. Maybe top ten, but not the worst.”

7. Sad.

“People routinely ask if they can go to jail or a nursing home because they can’t take care of themselves outside of jail.

It’s a financial issue but also a larger issue of pure institutionalization. They literally don’t know how to live.”

8. Ashamed.

“One time we detained a man accused of accidentally burning down his dad’s trailer. His statement was:

“I mean, nobody wants to admit they ate nine cans of ravioli, but I did. I’m ashamed of myself. The first can doesn’t count, then you get to the second and third, fourth and fifth I think I burnt with the blowtorch, and then I just kept eatin’.””

9. Trying to stay clean.

“Guy was trying to get clean and be a better person.

He said the moment that changed his mindset was when his gf brought his son to jail to visit him. Son (5ish) put his hand on the glass (like in the movies) and said “I want to come in there with you” and he remembered visiting his father in jail and thinking it was somehow cool.

It flipped a switch in him and made him want to be better. Not exactly the answer people are looking for I know.”

10. The cartel.

“That if we turned him in and deported him, then the cartel would mutilate and r**e his wife and kids, and that he was only doing what he was doing under duress.”

11. Tragic.

“A family is outside sobbing.

And teenage daughter is walking towards the sobbing family and she yells as she cries,”mom, she shot her face off.”

It was reported that night that a young girl was playing with a g** in the house and accidentally shot herself and her face off. She d**d.”

12. Having a hard time.

“Partner and I were arresting a young woman for public intoxication.

In a very slurred speech she tells us she’s a school teacher and that “little f**kers make me drink”.”

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