Thursday, October 25, 2007

Third shift wrap-up

Overnight Wednesday and Thursday closes out my short week of the late shift. Last night, though, I wasn't the duty commander. Rather, I was Officer Tim Abele's gopher. He and Officer Cass Briggs were the lucky (or maybe unlucky) winners of a shift of my services as a contest for this year's United Way campaign. The deal was that if you were a donor, regardless of amount, your name was in the drawing for the chief to chauffeur you around for a shift, work your calls, and do your reports.

I sensed that Tim's a little like me: he likes to control the remote, and to control the car keys. He was gracious about it, but my guess is he'd rather be driving the bus than riding shotgun. Tim's beat is 5A: a ten square mile swath of southeast Lincoln from 27th to 98th, O Street to Van Dorn Street. Tim knows his beat very well--just what I saw when Officer Jim Hawkins was forced to take me as a replacement for a sick partner in the fall of 1974. Tim knows what lights are normally on, what alleys have the best access, and where the high spots for the best surveillance are. I was duly impressed. I'd like to think that he was duly impressed too, as I showed him a few spots on his beat that he wasn't familiar with: like Lincoln's least-known City park, Sunburst Park.

Unlike Monday and Tuesday, it was slow this morning in the wee hours. I survived the night with only two reports, a minor hit & run traffic collision, and the brutal egging of a 2001 Mercury Cougar. I doubt I'll get off that easy when I work Cass's 12-hour shift. The dayside may be better for sleep and family life, but the sunlight officers tend to get slammed with a lot more reports. In police work, the fun tends to be during the dark.

Tim and I spent most of the night spotlighting businesses and shaking doors. I think we hit every commercial establishment on the entire beat at least once. With a full moon, we spent a good deal of time in residential areas running in stealth mode, but hard as we tried, the best we could do is snag a urinator and a few girls who sneaked out from their sleep over. Tim opined for my benefit that we probably prevented a burglary, even if we couldn't catch one.

The three 14 year old girls we snarfed up at 70th and O were an interesting contrast to the preceding night's ninth graders. The Wednesday morning boys were convinced that Their Parents Would Kill Them. They were both as scared as a mouse in a trap in my patrol car. The three girls, conversely, were giggling in the back seat as we drove them back to the non-slumber party a mile away.

Can you imagine that--getting taken home by the police chief at 2:20 AM and laughing about the ride? I think I would have involuntarily sucked the plastic back seat into my lower gastrointestinal tract. This wasn't a nervous laughter, they were just cavalier about the whole matter. Mom wasn't exactly in a death-dealing mode when the girls roused her and she came to the door. The boys yesterday had gotten the hairy eyeball from their mothers so severely that I tried to ease the tension with a little levity. This morning's mom, however, was pretty mellow about the whole affair. My warning lights about their next five years were blinking brightly. I hope I'm wrong, and have just blown a fuse.


Anonymous said...

Has LPD ever had two officers in each cruiser as a regular thing, perhaps at some time in the past?

Maybe I'm just an aged TV-watcher, pining for Reed and Malloy. "One-Adam-Twelve, One-Adam-Twelve, see the man..."

Anonymous said...

So this explains the large number of traffic stops the last two nights. As they say 'When the cats away the mice will play"

Tom Casady said...

Two-man units were the rule when I arrived, except the motorcycle officers, and appears to have been the case since the patrol car came along in 1930. This ended around 1976, about a year after the "man" part ended.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that kids today simply have NO RESPECT for police officers, elders, property, etc?

Probably listening to too much hip hop music glorifying the "gangsta" life in the hood.

Tom Casady said...

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

-Socrates, circa 400 B.C.

Pre hip-hop, pre iPod, pre-MTV. These girls really weren't disrespectful so much as just "unworried." The mom was perfectly pleasant, thanked us for bringing them home, but I just didn't get the feeling that anyone was going to be in the slightest amount of trouble over this.

Anonymous said...

Chief, I remember a few incidents of "late night sneaking out" when I was a teen back in the early 1980's...and I think I turned out okay :). If I were the mom though, I think I'd be a bit more worried today than "back in the good old days" as to what might be awaiting the girls on their late night adventures, if you know what I mean....

Anonymous said...

On the subject of patrol cars, do you unload those sturdy and smooth CVPIs at 60k?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the girls should have been taken to their OWN homes instead of the "sleep-over" house.

Tom Casady said...

No, 60K is a bit too soon. Our goal is 80,000. Urban police patrol fleets have about double the engine hours and wear the odometer shows. You'll find that State patrols and many sheriff's offices with more highway driving will have a higher mileage threshold before replacement.

Murph said...

Chief, recently the Lansing, Michigan Chief of Police has commented on his department's readiness in the event of zombie invasion.

In light of this, and with Halloween fast approaching, could you share with us some of LPD's preparations in the event of a zombie uprising?

Long time no see by the way, thanks for having all your officers out for us when we got home from Iraq!

SSG Jeff Murphy (formerly of the city's IT dept)
Troop B 1/167th Cavalry

Tom Casady said...

Murph, Lansing's Chief Mark Alley and I understand that you must not reveal the full panoply your tactical plans and preparations to the enemy.

Suffice it to say that there is a reason it's a little harder to find garlic, wooden stakes, and silver bullets on the shelves of retail establishments here in Lincoln at the moment.

Exsisto Paratus.

Wolfman said...

I think LPD should spend more resources inventing an anti egg/smashing pumpkins (not the band) shield than spend the money on stakes, garlic and silver bullets.

I think the only downside of the SRO program is that kids get used to cops and they aren't afraid of them like we were when I was a kid. Sometimes fear = respect. I don't think that's a good reason to do away with SRO's though.

I don't know you Murphy, but welcome home and thanks for serving.

Anonymous said...

Wolfman: I hope kids don't fear us, but a little more respect would be nice at times. I have worked with many-many kids over my career, through calls and projects, I have found most them to return the respect they get. Perhaps if we want to find out what is wrong with our kids we should take the short walk to the bathroom and look in the mirror. In our effort to give them what we didn't have, we sometimes forget to give them what we did have: respect for elders, authority, and the like.

Anonymous said...

Okay. Seriouslyy people. I was one of the girls picked up, and we were extremely hyper at the time.
We'd decided to walk to Walgreens for Corn Dogs, and had two cell phones with us. We took the routes that had lights, and weren't on very busy streets. We got energy drinks and gum, and therefore, hyperactivity. We were not trying to be
"disrespectful" in any way,
but, really,
if you had been out at walgreens at two in the morning, for CORNDOGS, would you not be laughing too?

And in fact, we did get in trouble.
The girl who's house we were all at, got grounded for like, two weeks, and can't have anyone stay the night for the rest of the year.
The other girl i was with, got grounded for two or three weeks,
and i've been grounded ever since, no exceptions.
And, The girl's mother was upset, she gave a very stern lecture, and then sent us all to bed.
We went straight to bed,
got up earlyish in the morning and cleaned.
So yes, we all got punished.
We do have respect for the law, and we all felt very bad afterwards.

And for your information,
we dont listen to rap or hip hop
or anything
and honestly couldnt care less about the "Gangster life in the hood"
so yeah.

Anonymous said...

I'm 21, my sister is 14...If she's not home after dark, I worry about her, even if I know where she is. Funny thing...we live in a town of 2500 people. Am I paranoid? Maybe a little, but there are just too many people out there who don't have a normal mindset as far as what's right and what's wrong. Now if I found out she was wondering the streets of Lincoln, going out to "get corndogs" I would've been scared out of my mind. I mean really...would it have been so bad to have asked whomever was in charge of you girls to take you to the store to get your corndogs? I'm sure they would've rather done that than think there would be a possibility of you leaving the house without permission. At your age, shouldn't you know better than to go sneaking out of the house?

Anonymous said...

Yes, actually. We know better. But, that doesnt mean we act better. We're Teenagers, we like to 'go against the rules' or whatever.
so yeah.