Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The denizens of A Beat

One of the critical skills for police officers has always been the ability to talk to strangers. The more you can introduce yourself and carry on conversations easily, the more effective you will be. Good police officers can be talking to the president of the bank one minute, and the delusional vagrant the next—with equal facility.

I was impressed with Officer Tim Abele’s knowledge of his beat and the people upon it during my tour of duty with him in October, and it was the same with Officer Cass Briggs on Monday. She and her coworkers are plugged in to the Southwest Team area. My initial glimpse of this was at the first order of business: get a cup of joe. Officer Briggs and Officer Mark Fluitt took me to one of their favorite haunts, Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso, where they were obviously not strangers

We took off to survey Southwest A beat, and Cass spotted a familiar vehicle parked on 18th Street. She told me that officers had handled a few calls involving a woman was bringing her disabled husband to Hazel Abel Park every day. He had developed a habit of dropping his drawers. Sure enough, it was them. He had his pants up, though. It was pretty chilly early Monday morning. We made a little conversation then went on our way.

We were soon dispatched to check the welfare of a man with mental health issues. As we were checking his residence, Officer Kelly Koerner drove by just to make sure all was well. She stopped to talk with someone she recognized across the street. When we finished up, we walked over. She was making small talk with a guy carrying a large kitchen knife in a tattered sheath held together with packaging tape. On the other side, a 12” sharpening steel dangled from his belt. He looked like a character from a Bud Light commercial. She was chatting with him as nonchalantly as you’d talk to your next door neighbor. The Butcher recognized me, and offered his services as a secret police investigator, should we have the need.

After departing this parallel universe, we heard Officer Koerner being dispatched to a suspicious person in the area of 27th and F Streets. On the way, Cass pointed out a woman walking a three-legged dog. Officer Koerner beat us to the suspicious one. She and Cass both recognized the man, who they knew by his appropriate nickname: Three Fingers. Hmmm, mere coincidence?

It was just the beginning, though. We handled the arrest of a methamphetamine addict who called me by my first name. He apparently knew me better than I knew him. Later, we conversed with his frightened and disheveled wife. Cass introduced me to the nice proprietor of the Super C convenience store and her daughter, and we chewed the fat with the clerk at Laundry Land. After making a special stop to meet an apartment full of incredible criminals, we ended the day chatting with a nice young family and their beautiful little niece, Giselle. In between we talked to a dozen other people of all kinds, including two guys reclining in a hot tub right alongside an arterial street. I rolled down the window, and asked them if they had room for two more. It had been an interesting day of meeting and talking with the denizens of A beat.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some years ago a man, who has since deceased was walking by our house. I do know his first name was Vick. As he passed us walking in a drunken stupor he asked for a cigarette. My generous uncle took one cigarette out of the pack and handed the pack to Vic. Vic insisted that he only needed one of them. He said "I only need wompom" he insisted repeatedly that he only needed one of um. After much haggling and exchanging insistancys Vic walked away down the street. We were in amazement as he took one cigarette out of the pack and through the remainder into the thick weed growth adjacent to the sidewalk.

Much like three fingers, stovepipe, can man, dumpster David, hustling Hank, perky Pam, pesky Pete, Big Bud,(retired Sergeant)

Need Wompom is now added to this list of aliases. I'm guessing that your readers can add to this list. It's quite amusing what names we can come up with from an encounter in daily life.

I wonder if the sheriff that works off duty at Amigos will ever stop calling me JJ. My babysitter called me by that name when I was five. Maybe, he's just trying to be a father figure to me. Oh well.
Jim

Anonymous said...

Welcome to our world Chief, things have changed a bit since you had to tie your horse up to the pole when you went to get a cup of joe. Hopefully your time on southwest can get us some extra bodies to cope with our issues. If we had 20 cops they still would all be busy. And maybe next time a officer makes a error he wont get hung to dry so quickly.

Snap said...

Ah, the good old days.....

Anonymous said...

Local 10 learned the larger alligator was well known on the reservation and employees had nicknamed it Poncho.See the story j

http://www.local10.com/news/14578234/detail.html

Anonymous said...

To anon 12:19 PM... If I add this up correctly 'your world' on monday consisted of 71 calls for service on the SW Team in the 24 hr period. With the 14 officers who worked during that time period my math works it out to a little over 5 calls for service in a 12 hour shift. If you had the 20 cops that need to keep from being so overworked, that puts the calls to about 3.5 a shift. I'm not sure if that would give you enough time in the day to work on your 'issues'. This would leave alot more time to do a better job and make sure you minimize mistakes so that you aren't 'hung out to dry' but it would mean that you wouldn't have all that time to blog anonymously (on duty) and spread your negativity throughout LPD.

Anonymous said...

He was just taking a bite out of crime.

Anonymous said...

I think what anon 1219 ment is that being proactive 20 officers could clear up lots of crime down in SW, look at PSN details. And seems like you 11:20 am also waste lots of time to get some useless stats and for that on a Mon. You must be a Capt, Ill get my 30 stops DONT WORRY

Tom Casady said...

You know, the snide back biting is mighty tiresome for me. A little bit goes a long way.

To repeat: we all have the same goals, we want to provide the services that make our community a safe place where people feel secure. We want to have adequate resources to do that job well. We want to be productive as individuals, have fulfilling work, and to be fairly compensated. If we can't keep this straight, it will be back to kindergarten.

Anonymous said...

Chief,
I like this type of blog. How about doing something like this a little more often? Sounds like you have a good time interacting with the people. Im sure it beats sitting in the office doing paperwork huh?

Poncho is my hero said...

Poor Poncho. He had to be put down because he got a taste of meth head. The next thing you know he'd be out breaking into cars and stealing stereos, CDs and purses to support his meth head habit.

Do you get follow-up if your suspect gets eaten by an alligator or is cleared by exception?