Cops from the city and County began riding Bi-State busses and trains due to an up-tick in crime on the public conveyances.

Bi-State Transit Auth provides bus and rail transit throughout the metro area.  This includes Metro east, St. Louis City and St. Louis County.  The public transportation system served around 3.5 million people.  For many the only mode of transport available.

Of course, the bus and rail systems are always broke and keep going to the taxpayer well for this new tax and that new “User” fee.  Seems like all cities throughout the country are beset with this black hole where money goes in and never reappears.  Oh well.

The bi-state board wanted cops to ride the busses and trains, in soft clothes.  This  obviously assists in the apprehension of violators, smoking regular or cannibus cigartees, playing loud music from the ever-present “Ghetto Blasters” drinking, causing a ruckus, actin’ the fool, general or specific mopery or any number violations of the criminal cod

A team consisted of a SGT and two police officers.  The Cops rode in the bus, the SGT followed behind in beige American Motors Ambassador. Great vehicles, I might add.

The cops riding the busses or trains sat around as if they were stoned, drunk or simply sleepy.  One of the cops, Dave Barron, dressed up like a laborer.  Scruffy bib overalls, a construction hard hat. Although not confirmed, I think he pinched it from a county water dept work crew.  He also carried a lunch box.  Inside the lunch box a police walkie-talkie.

Dave later became a member of the Tactical Operation Unit and then a supervisor in the Homicide Bureau.  Dave became one of America’s premier Homicide investigators. Solving some of the most difficult and perplexing cases.  Departments throughout the country asked for his opinion on various cases.  Usually with good results.  Dave later became the subject of a book “Murder in Little Egypt.”

Back to the present.

One evening whilst I, Dave and another officer waited at the bus turnaround we observed three bus drivers stand in front of a bus passing a hand rolled cigarette back and forth.  The current holder waved the joint under his nose to capture the smoke.

We proceeded to the local, identified ourselves and placed the three under arrest.  The Transportation authority fired the drivers.
Two took their medicine and left quietly.  One fool claimed his civil rights had been violated, retained council and fought the criminal and civil matter through the court

His attorney, “Howlin’ Ray” Nixon.  Got some face time on TV and radio but soon the interest, if there ever was any, faded into oblivion.

At one of the many court hearings Dave explained, as he had many times before, how the three bus drivers passed the joint among themselves.

“Howlin’ Ray,” asked, “Have you ever seen a person inhale the aroma of a fine cigar by passing it under their nose?”

Dave replied in the negative.

At Paddy’s one night Dave relating the story said I shudda’told that fuckin’ “Howlin’ Ray” “I once saw a ‘ho blow smoke rings out of her snatch after she took a hit off a rum dipped crook.”

We all continued on the Department, riding the trains and busses for a little spending money.

One day we worked a line that had an unusual amount of criminal activity.  Including taking guns off passengers.

Dave attired in his dirty bibs, hardhat, tool belt and lunch box rode the back of the bus pretending to nod off after a hard day’s work and consuming a Budweiser tall boy in a brown paper sack.

One of the passengers looked around the bus.  His eyes settling upon the snoozing policeman.  After several furtive looks, the dude extracted a joint from his shirt pocket and fired it up.

A few moments later, upon observing no further activity from any of the passengers, the vile and vicious criminal escorted off the bus and given a summons in lieu of arrest citation.

He seemed to be a good sport and joked around with us.  He said he knew Dave was a cop, man I knew that, man I was right, I knew that.  We all agreed that yes, Officer Barron is indeed a police officer.

The little jive ass offender then asked Dave.  “Man, can I ax you a question?”


“Hey man, is that a fo’ real lunch box..or is that a prop?”


To read about Ken’s latest novel, go to his website.



Published by Ken Dye

Having grown up in Missouri, Ken Dye graduated from Northeastern Missouri State University (now Truman State University) and served his country. When he returned to St. Louis, he joined the St. Louis County Police Department and served in the tactical operations unit, as an undercover narcotics and homicide detective, and with the intelligence bureaus. After 13 years, he moved to Chicago to work with the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority. He is the author of three books: two crime novels, Shadow of the Arch and Beyond the Shadow of the Arch and Michael Brown, Jr. didn’t have to die, a non-fiction narrative. For more information about the author, visit www.KenJDye.com.

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    We had a brand new probationary patrolman show up in the old Fifth with a lunch pail…the kind with the thermos in the top, his first day on the job…They put him down on 14th and St. Louis, walking a beat. I was driving the Captain back from 12th and Clark and passed near the intersection where it seems, our guy, aka “Hunky Lunch Bucket” was sitting on a paper box eating his P & J for all the world to see. The Captain says: stop the car…I think I just saw a copper down there eating out of a lunch pail” Couldn’t stop…had to go the long way around and by then thank God, Hunky had moved on…told the Captain he must have been mistaken…later explained to the new guy that you didn’t do things like that in uniform…that they would feed you for free across the street at Crowns Candy…
    The Captain still swears he saw a lunch bucket…Crowns gained another mouth to feed…The SLMPD just christened another probe destined to be white shirt material.

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