Bernie Jones

(transcript from Dry Creek Police Department Internal Affairs investigation 18-034)

DOBBINS: “For the benefit of the recording, I’m Lieutenant Kent Dobbins, the Criminal Investigations Division Commander and lead Internal Affairs Investigator for Dry Creek P-D. I’m here with Detective Mike Wall, our most senior investigator. Today is December 13, and it’s, oh, about 0-812 hours. Mike, please clarify your current assignment for the record.”

WALL: “I’m assigned to the, uh, Persons & Property Unit under Detective Sergeant Rudiger. Before this, I worked with Detective Sergeant Bernie, um, sorry, Bernard Jones, on a temporary assignment to backfill a, uh, hole in his Neighborhood Enforcement Unit.”

D: “Thanks, Mike. You’ve been ordered to speak with me regarding Internal Affairs Investigation number, where is it, 18-dash-0-34. You’re here as a witness, so I don’t intend on reading your Garrity Rights unless you demand it. Are you ready and willing to speak with me now?”

W: “I’ve never had anything to hide, L-T. Let’s get this over with so I can get back to work.”

D: “Do you know why you’re here today?”

W: “Actually, no. I usually hear about all this shit through the rumor mill, but you, uh, actually managed to keep a lid on this one, L-T. I got no fuckin’ idea this time.”

D: (AHEM) “We’re on the, uh, on the record, Mike, please watch the language.”

W: “Sorry, sir. Whadda-ya-got for me?”

D: “I have some questions about your time working for Sergeant Jones. Without discussing the present, underlying investigation, how would you rate Jones as a supervisor, maybe, from, uh, one-to-ten?”


W: “That’s hard to, uh, put a single pin on, L-T.”

D: “Well, I’m gonna need ya to try, anyway.”

W: “So, there’s a lot that goes in to a, uh, into a boss, right? So, on his knowledge of working dope cases, drug trafficking, all that counter-cartel shit. He’s a solid 10. 9 on a bad day. That dude knows his shit, sir. But, bosses also gotta communicate what they know, teach the new guys, get ‘em to, uh, speed, right? He’s like, maybe, um, on a good day, he might top out at a 4. Jones is terrible at training, even worse at teaching. If you don’t know it when you show up to work for him, you’re not gonna learn it, least not until you fuck it up…sorry, screw it up, and then he’ll give you a damned earful about how it shoulda gone the first time.”

D: “Was that a common occurrence while you were assigned to him and his unit?”

W: “Not daily, but, I’d be hard pressed to say a week went by that he didn’t blow a gasket over something that wasn’t anything more than a training issue.”

D: “What else?”


W: “I’ve been in this job, this career, a long time, L-T. I’ve seen a lot of bosses come and go, and, uh, over the years, I’ve worked for most of the guys I started with. Some guys want the stripes, the prestige of command, some don’t. Personally, for me? I don’t like being responsible for everything that all those other assholes.”

D: “How’s that related to Sergeant Jones, Mike?”

W: “In my opinion, and that’s uh, all this is, my opinion. But, I think Jones is one of those guys that promoted for the money, and not for the right reasons. As a supervisor, you gotta have the trust of the men below you. You gotta trust them to go out, do the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons, and they gotta trust you to watch out for them. Jones doesn’t do that. He doesn’t watch out for his guys, he only worries about Jones. Hell, it’s almost like he sets them up for failure, with the way that he gives ‘em training after they screw up. Jones leads a small unit. Those few guys go into enemy territory together, just the couple or three of ‘em, and that’s exactly what it is. When they step through the front door of a house filled with Jamaican dope traffickers, or Santa Lena cartel members, they’re the only thing threatening those assholes’ freedom. All those traffickers gotta do is pop three dudes and run, and it’s tempting for ‘em. I been out with N-E-U a couple times when things started going sideways, L-T. One time, we went to a stash house and had a Jamaican illegal try to run into the kitchen when we went in. He came to his senses when he got a couple guns pointed at him, but he was going for a full-auto Mac-9 on the counter, right next to the goddamned cookie jar. He stopped three feet from that trigger, and he woulda smoked all of us, even if he died, too.”

D: “Where do you see Jones coming into play in that?”

W: “His guys have to trust him, and each other, to, uh, ya know, to confidently go into those kinda places together. If you don’t trust the man on your right, that’s a problem. I don’t wanna speak for the other guys, L-T, but, um, for me? I don’t trust Jones as far as I can throw him, and I never heard anyone else say they did. I don’t wanna put words in their mouths and say that, uh, no one trusts him, but, still, I ain’t never heard those words fall outta anyone’s mouth.”

D: “Are you aware that Detective Melner recently resigned his position with Jones’ unit to transfer back to Persons & Property?”

W: “I am. Doug asked me about the transfer before he put in for it.”

D: “What did you tell him?”

W: “Honestly, L-T, I told him was a fuckin’, sorry, a goddamned idiot if he stayed. I’ve seen Jones ride his ass for no reason, like he’s just gotta keep his guys under tight control, to the point that Doug started to doubt his own competency as a cop. That ain’t right.”

D: “If these problems, the ones you laid out, Mike. If these turned out to be training issues and Jones went through a kind of supervisor’s academy to address them, would you ever consider working for him again?”

W: (LAUGHS) “L-T, let me put it this way: given the choice of working for Jones again, even after some bullshit remediation training, or having unprotected sex with an AIDS-infected porcupine, I gonnna go bang the porcupine. Every time.”

D: (AHEM) “Why do you think Jones runs his unit like that?”


W: “I got no idea, L-T. As I see it, there’s only two people that benefit from that. Jones, first and foremost. And all the dopers and traffickers that his guys miss because they’re not trained up like they oughta be. But, for the ‘why,’ nobody knows that but Jones. You’d have to ask him.”