Don't Call the Cops!

Employees at the Denver VA say they're being harassed by their own police.

"It so arbitrary," says one VA worker who asked not to be identified. "Employees who are friends of the officers or ladies they're trying to date never get tickets. But if you get into an argument with them about it, they'll come after you.

"I apparently got on their wrong side," continues the employee, "and they called me into the office and told me that they ran my plates and discovered I had a warrant out for my arrest. Well, that's just not possible, because the car I drive is registered to my brother. So the security guards--oops, I mean the VA police--must have run my name to find out about unpaid tickets I had in Boulder County. Then they called the Denver cops and had them come out and arrest me. It's like they're on a witch-hunt. And now I hear that they want to be able to carry guns."

Officers at VA hospitals across the country are currently lobbying Congress to allow them to carry sidearms. Employees at the Denver VA Medical Center say this struggle is just another indication of the cops' intense desire to be taken seriously by hospital staff.

"When they get guns, maybe they'll just shoot you for a ticket," says the anonymous employee.

William Curtis says that the VA police did enough damage to his body without firearms. Curtis's wife, Cheryl, is a nurse at the downtown Denver jail and says her husband had soft-tissue damage, swollen wrists, bruised ribs and possibly a dislocated shoulder as a result of his scuffle with the VA cops.

"The injuries are similar to what I see down here at the jail," she says. "They're like the assault injuries you see when a guy gets slaughtered by a cop. There's enough damage so that the cop got the message across, but not enough so it's too messy and the guy has to go to the hospital."

Since his arrest, Curtis has been on paid leave from the hospital. He recently got a visit from the FBI after he told a counselor at the hospital's Employee Assistance Program that he was "feeling postal" as a result of the incident. "But the FBI guys were cool about it," Curtis says. "They asked me if I had any automatic weapons, and I told them I didn't. They understood that I just said what I did to the counselor out of frustration."

And Curtis remains frustrated about the behavior of the VA cops. He says he's trying to find a lawyer to pursue the issue in court.

"I've got no problem with the night crew," says Curtis, "but these four officers who work during the day are terrible. Maybe they've got too much time on their hands, and this sort of thing is the result. But the bottom line is that they're just dickheads who wish they were real cops.

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