CRIME TIME provided by the Santa Barbara Sentinel
Stumbling Suspect Possibly Inebriated
CRIME: A 56-year-old transient from Compton tried to walk away from SBPD after they approached him but he stumbled sideways, lost his balance and hit the sidewalk. It was 7 am on a beautiful Friday morning. Nice. Compton is definitely in the house.
OBSERVATTION: SBPD’s Public Intoxication Probable Cause Declaration reflected the following observed characteristics:
- Odor of Alcohol: Strong.
- Eyes: Bloodshot, watery and glassy.
- Speech: Slurred, thick and incoherent.
- Clothing: Soiled, mussed and unkempt.
- Balance: Unable to maintain and unsteady.
COMMENT: A basic analysis of the foregoing information really leaves little doubt: This guy was decidedly unable to care for himself.
But further examination begs a few questions. First, aren’t bloodshot eyes pretty much always watery and glassy? Can eyes actually be watery and glassy but not red? Or bloodshot and watery but not glassy? Are people really making these kinds of determinations?
And what exactly is “mussed” clothing anyway? The Oxford American College Dictionary defines it as “make untidy or messy,” or “a state of disorder.” “Unkempt” is defined as “having an untidy or disheveled appearance.” Is there any difference? (I think we all know what “soiled” means, so let’s not belabor it.) Are police officers this nuanced in their descriptions of drunks? Are these things debated around the water cooler in the station?
We doubt it, but let’s look at another example to see what we can deduce.
Poop-In-His-Pants Man Booked For Alcohol Abuse
CRIME: A 40-year-old grownup with a house in Santa Barbara pooped in his pants after drinking too much. Officers conferred and determined that the Santa Barbara resident was indeed too drunk to care for himself.
OBSERVATION: Interestingly, SBPD marked the “soiled” and “mussed” clothing boxes but not “unkempt.”
COMMENT: Fascinating. This adult male with a turd in his trousers must not have risen to the level of disheveled that begets an “unkempt” designation. Maybe his shirt was pressed and tucked in? Shoes shined? The poop was certainly untidy and messy, though, so we get “mussed.” And “soiled” is a no-brainer. Nice distinction here. Very important.
(There was a similar case with similar boxes marked in connection with a different grown man who had pee-peed in his pants after talking with officers and demonstrating signs of drinking. He was designated as “mussed” only, not even “soiled.” Hmmm.)
State Street Screamer May Have Been Drinking
CRIME: A drunken 37-year-old transient was harassing people on State Street and screaming profanities at SBPD. She was deemed too intoxicated and detained.
OBSERVATION: This lovely woman was quite vocal with officers and innocent bystanders, so SBPD was able to determine that her speech was “slurred” and “incoherent” but surprisingly not “thick.” “Indeed, “thick,” as it relates to speech, is defined as “not clear or distinct, hoarse or husky.” (Sounds like some bedroom talk we’ve heard.)
COMMENT: This one is tough to understand. Most times we’ve heard slurred and incoherent drunken speech, it sure seemed to lack clarity or distinctiveness. (But who knows, maybe we were too drunk to understand.) Perhaps a few more cigarettes would have resulted in the necessary hoarse and husky voice. I think we need more data here.
Falling-Down-Man Fails Sobriety Test
CRIME: An intoxicated 65-year-old transient repeatedly fell onto his “buttocks” during an interview by SBPD. He was detained.
OBSERVATION: Every single box was checked on the detaining officer’s public intoxication declaration.
COMMENT: We give up. Just learn the difference between “mussed” and “unkempt” clothing, and “thick” and “slurred” speech. You just might avoid detainment the next time you soil your pants after drinking too much and passing out in the middle of State Street.
Be good out there this week folks.