Tim Morrison, Erica Carr-Romero (with her K-9 dog, Karlo) and Sheila Morrison work in law enforcement. CNJ photo by Rick White
By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor
On Sunday mornings, during breakfast at a Clovis restaurant, a family of law-enforcement personnel speaks in a code guests at surrounding tables don’t typically understand.
Clovis Police dispatcher Tim Morrison talks about how crimes start; his mother, Sgt. Sheila Morrison of the county jail, talks about how crimes end; and his cousin, K-9 officer Erica Carr-Romero, often fills in the blanks.
Many times they talk using the prefix 10, which is the first part to a code law enforcement personnel use to communicate.
Bonded by blood and a calling to fight crime, the three are often in communication on the job — and off.
“It’s actually very nice (working together),” said Sheila, who is in charge of security on her shift, typically from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
“Sometimes it gets boring for the rest of the family because we talk about work and what we do at work and they’re like confused.”
Sheila said the three usually work the night shift, and often talk about the more interesting aspects of the nights they worked together at family gatherings.
About three years ago, when they were all working together for the first time, the group was often the center of attention at those family gatherings.
After all, Sheila said, law enforcement produces more outlandish stories than other professions.
But nowadays, Sheila said “the ones who want to hear it stick around and the ones who are tired of it go away.”
Tim, in charge of dispatching police to crime scenes, said he doesn’t hesitate to send Carr-Romero to dangerous areas and he believes his mom is — for the most part — safe at the jail.
“I don’t really worry about (mom’s) safety because I know she has other people at the jail to back her up, kind of like me being here to back Erica up,” said Tim, who added that sometimes he “gets a little nervous” for their safety.
Carr-Romero said she is often worried about her aunt Sheila because of recent riots and poor staffing at the Curry County Adult Detention Center.
“In my opinion the jail is a very dangerous place to work, because of lack of staffing,” Carr-Romero said. “My aunt being in a supervisor position has to deal with a lot of the problems that arise there.”
Carr-Romero, who recently married Agent Roman Romero of the police’s detective unit, said she can remember at least three occasions when she went to the jail to control “mini riots.”
Even so, Carr-Romero said she’s glad she has family who understand law enforcement and what she goes through.
“Cops have a warped sense of humor, a warped sense of reality because of the things we deal with, and when I say a (criminal’s name), they know who I’m talking about,” she said.