KAZ the Failed Probie
Kaz, The Failed Probie
by Dick Mauer
In the late 1960s I was a P.I. in Calexico and my unit was assigned a new probationer that had just recently returned from Los Fresnos. He had a long polish name that I no longer remember how to spell and he called himself and introduced himself simply as "Kaz". In Calexico there was a tradition of trying to help a probie make it through probation but he had to be willing to work hard himself to make it. Kaz was a guy that wasn't sure he wanted to be there in the first place. He never caught on to signcutting, or much else for that matter. As far as learning Spanish he might as well have been trying to learn Greek.
The story needs a little backgound here. In Calexico the Station Senior was Mr. (Tom) Carnes and we were used to him coming out most nights around midnight when it seemed that most chases got started. He would come up on the air in his sedan, monitor the chases both east and west, and start directing the action. He knew the valley so well that he could tell when we were closing in on the wets and he would then direct PIs to go lay in where he figured they were headed. He liked to catch the aliens himself and was pretty successful. More background. Kaz did not like to use his vehicle number as a call sign like everyone else did. He preferred his call sign to be "Kaz on Afternoons", or "Kaz on Midnights" I don't think he knew the Scouts had numbers.
Back to the story. Kaz became an instant legend during a chase one night, when Mr. Carnes joined the chase in progress. His first question was "Who is on the tracks?"
We were all astonished and held our breath when Kaz announced (on repeater) "This is Kaz on Midnights and I'm on the tracks!
As he always did Mr. Carnes responded by asking him to describe the tracks. After a rather lengthy pause, Kaz came back on the air (on repeater) and said that he guessed they looked like regular railroad tracks. All over the sector P.I.s were guffawing so hard that no one could talk on the radio. Mr. Carnes was speechless as well.
Somewhere between 5 and the 10 month exam, Kaz came to the office to turn in his gear and resign. One of the amazing things he turned in was 3 piles of 0Is and CFRs still tied up with string just as he had received them from the Academy. Kaz had, somehow, gotten through the academy, the post academy training and 5 month exam without putting his law books together..