Friday Follies: One Hazy Night

Being a street cop in Denton, Texas, in the 1970s was quite an experience in some ways. In the late 1960s, if I remember correctly, Denton became known as the party capital of North Texas. That reputation was partially due to the haze from little hand-rolled cigarettes hanging over the Fry Street area. Of course, Denton was also the wettest little dry town, alcohol-wise, in the area.

Yes, we had some fun times. We dealt with a bit of everything back then, from nude co-eds riding motorcycles through the North Texas campus to a huge old house that is the local Yoga center today. Back then, it was the home of one of the biggest pot dealing operations in North Texas. I was lucky enough to join the raid that finally shut it down.

Yes! After only six months on the job, another rookie and I were chosen to be involved in a major drug operation. The task force consisted of local, state, and federal officers targeting Denton’s drug trade.

That evening was not only filled with kicking doors in, searching smoke-filled apartments, houses, and what have you. It was also the first time I’d seen someone killed in a horrible and sickening manner.

No! He was not killed in a shootout during the operation. He was in a horrendous car accident near the operational area. Even cops can be rubberneckers, so the detective we were assisting wanted to check out the scene.

The details of the accident are not important. Rather, it is simply another weird event on a night filled with several strange events. As noted above, it was the first time I had seen someone dying in such a horrible fashion.

Of course, I’d seen dead people before. In those cases, they were all dressed nicely and laid out in a casket with flowers. This was as far from that as you can likely imagine.

So, after reading those few paragraphs, you’re likely wondering, “Where is the folly in this?” Well, the folly started days before the night of the operation. The other rookie and I were called into the captain’s office and told we would be part of the operation. He also told us we’d need to wear a coat and tie so we looked like detectives.

That was folly number one. We weren’t supposed to wear plain clothes. We were supposed to be in uniform and be responsible for handling prisoners as they were brought in. Someone got confused, and we got to help serve search warrants. That was a lot more fun than arrest paperwork.

Funny story two involved the huge old house where the local drug czar, according to the feds, lived and ran his operation. A few funny events occurred there, including detectives rushing into one of the bedrooms shouting, “Police, freeze, show us your hands.” The young couple using the room was in the midst of passionate sex that ended prematurely, you might say.

The best and most ironic part of this night of drug busts and terrorizing young love birds came to my attention a day later. I found out the guy owning the big house and running the drug operation was a punk from a small Texas town some friends and I visited on our way to Houston one summer in 1965.

He and his buddies did not like these “big city guys” coming around dating local girls. So after we’d taken the young ladies home, he and his friends decided to run us out of town with baseball bats. Our driver was better than his, and we lost them, returned to my buddy’s grandma’s place safely, and headed on to Houston the next morning.

You know what they say about Karma. Well, he got his dose of payback Karma that night in Denton.

© 2023

About S. Eric Jackson

See "About."
This entry was posted in Daily Life, Humor, Police, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Friday Follies: One Hazy Night

  1. The Hinoeuma says:

    Dude! Are you still in Texas?

    • Indeed I am. My family moved here in 1950, and I’m still here. I’m about 30-something miles or so north of the Cactus Patch.

      • The Hinoeuma says:

        Wow. I lived in TX 2002-2011. I lived in Round Rock & worked in downtown Austin (Stephen F. Austin building) for GLO/VLB. I am from central NC but, I miss Texas…a lot.

        My immediate supervisor had a ranch in Clyde, TX, just outside of Abilene. His property was next to the Yahwehs. He talked about the guard towers on the property & the armed guards.

        I split with my ex-Marine & moved back to NC. I wish I hadn’t but, it was a terribly tumultuous time (a TTT…LOL!).

      • We came to Texas from Indiana by way of Kansas when I was a toddler. Never lived anywhere outside the DFW area for more than six months after that. Visited a lot of places over the years but never lived anywhere else.
        Texas is still hard to beat as a place to hang your hat and call home, but that is changing rapidly in some ways. I wrote a piece titled Far East Frisco in 2020 about the way things are changing here. Funny, I’ve never heard of the Yahwehs before, but after looking them up, that’s probably a good thing. Take care out there in NC, this looks like it could be a record year for weird and nasty weather.

  2. Phil Strawn says:

    I remember Denton well. A few of my friends attended NTSU in the early 70s, and as you say, it was a wild little college town. The two of them got into more trouble than allowed and were jerked out of school by their parents, thus losing their college deferment which allowed them to visit Viet Nam for a spell. I bet you saw some crazy stuff back then.

    • Denton was an interesting part of my life. I lived there for twenty-five years before returning to Fort Worth in 1995. Between I35 and two major universities, I saw many hysterically funny things, and a lot I wish I could forget. You never knew what I35, college students, booze, and other substances would cook up for you to handle. One of my funniest encounters as a young street cop was a DWI trying to find his way back to the interstate. When I stopped him, he was driving around the square at about two in the morning. When I made contact and told him I had to take him in, he puffed up and said, “You can’t arrest me!” When I asked him why not, he said I was a Dallas cop, and this is Denton. Of course, he was looking at my collar brass, which was DPD. When I reminded him DPD could also stand for Denton Police Department, he almost cried. Well, off to my cardiac rehab time. Eric

Leave a Reply