Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Veterans Day on the street

I don’t know where to begin. A blog post has to be reasonably short, and all of mine are already too long. But I can’t possibly capture the day in a handful of paragraphs. I guess this is going to have to be a short series.

Yesterday—Veterans Day—was a City holiday. The police department, though, is always at work, and I spent the day joining in the festivities. As part of our United Way campaign, donors got a chance to win the services of the chief as their gopher for a shift: I’d handle your calls, and do your reports. All you’d have to do is keep me out of serious trouble. Officer Tim Abele, who works the graveyard shift on the Southeast Team already collected his winnings, but yesterday, winner number two was paid off. I spent Veterans Day with a United States Navy veteran, Officer Cassandra Briggs, who works the twelve hour shift from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the Southwest team. I’ve known Cass for a long time. I met her when I was a rookie police officer with less than a year on the job. She was three.

I had a great time a few weeks ago with Tim, but I got off pretty easy with the rather light reports--a minor traffic collision and a vandalism. I predicted it would be different with Cass, and the day did not disappoint. Here’s the summary: Cass and I responded to several back ups with other officers, and were dispatched to eight calls for service of our own. Seven of these were reportable: three larcenies from auto, one trespassing, a stolen bicycle, a graffiti vandalism, and a disturbance. I cranked out two Additional Case Investigation Reports, six Incident Reports, one warning citation, one official citation, on arrest book-in, one Property Report, and one Probable Cause Affidavit. Luckily for me Capt. David Beggs (the second shift duty commander who would ordinarily be reviewing my reports) was off for the holiday, and Assistant Chief Jim Peschong was the substitute. That probably saved me a few error notifications.

I hold Cass responsible for the small avalanche of reports. No sooner had the words “It’s pretty quiet” fallen from her lips then the dispatcher was calling our number. Three of the reportable incidents emerged as we were working other calls--victims approached us. By the way, one of the hardest parts of working with both Tim and Cass was trying to respond to another officer's call number. Your mind is conditioned to hear "304." The brain filters the huge volume of radio traffic, cell phone conversations, information on the mobile computer screen, and face to face conversations going on simultaneously and delivers your radio call number directly to the front when it's called. It's not quite so effective when you've temporarily adopted someone else's "name."

Of the people we dealt with on these events, we spoke with a Latino victim of a car break-in, a Russian victim of another larceny from auto, a young Vietnamese woman whose dad was in a mental health crises, a Somali man contemplating suicide, and a Latino family who discovered that a suspect had climbed up onto their balcony, stolen a bicycle, and was riding into the sunset as they arrived home. It was a great multi-cultural, multi-ethnic experience.

I was getting a little nervous. It’s November, and getting late in the year. I had yet to make my annual arrest. That was resolved, however, by the disturbance at 1027 Washington. We located the man responsible at 11th and B Streets, several blocks from the scene. He was wanted by another officer on another matter—a case in which he had fraudulently used an acquaintance’s stolen ATM card. We snatched him up on that case. He was a tweaking meth head, with all the classic symptoms—including the syringe in his jacket pocket.

The saga will continue later this week.


jenn said...

Maybe there needs to be an annual publication written by police who want to tell their most interesting arrest(s). The names would be confidential. Would that be a possible thing to do? All cases would probably have to be closed; it would be an interesting read. I know officers have enough writing to do, but it would be a way to get things off their chests too. Just a thought.

Murph said...

I went to high school with Officer Briggs.

LPD also recently hired two Soldiers I served with in Iraq. Excellent Soldiers, and good men both!

Thanks Chief for looking out for us vets!