The first time someone threatens to kill you – it gets your attention. The second and third times it does, but not as much. In my other life, I dealt with bad people. Bad crime. Pretty intense stuff. A few of the bad guys I dealt with took the enthusiasm I showed for my job personally. When that happened, they were likely to lash out.
Threats were rare. But they happened. The first time for me was Robert A. A North Shore white scumbag punk who had a string of armed robberies. He had cases all over. So, I followed him. From courthouse to courthouse. Courtroom to courtroom. Informing the judges of all the other cases. And what a bad guy he was. So Robert A. remained in custody – ultimately going down for the count. After perhaps half a dozen of these expeditions, as he was being led away – he screamed at me. Lunging. Held back by court bailiffs. He described in detail what he planned to do to me – and my family – when he got out.
Our usual protocol was to report such threats to the Chief of the Criminal Division. He would ask us to fill out a 3″ x 5″ card detailing the case, the parties and the threat. That way – if one morning I was found floating in the Sag Canal, investigators could thumb through the file cards and have a heads up on where to start (“Lemme see. . . . Petersen . . . here he is . . . . Petersen was threatened by . . . . . . “).