Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Watcha Gonna Do?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride along in a city police cruiser for an officer’s eight-hour shift.  Here is what I experienced from one of Akron’s finest:

Careful of following too close. I was told to follow my office everywhere.  Not paying attention to where he was walking on the way out of the police station, I accidentally followed him into the bathroom.  That made for an awkward situation.  However, following too close also made for an awkward situation of a women who slammed into a stopped car.

We were the first upon a scene of an SUV that smashed into the back of a small hatchback, taking its driver to the hospital with neck injuries.  The woman driving the SUV had just pulled this rental car out of Enterprise, and was cruising down the street looking for the windshield wipers when, BAM!  One elderly lady who saw the accident while walking on the street continued to repeat the entire incident to me about 16 times, refusing to believe I wasn’t an undercover cop.

Shootings are unfortunately normal for some. We headed out to respond to a shooting in a development of government housing where a bullet went right through a women’s window and into her living room where her two-year-old was playing.  As I helped several police officers look for the bullet casings across the street, the vibe from the neighbors was that this was just “normal living.”

Every job has its boring times. After each assignment, we had to just sit in the car for about 15 minutes, as my assigned police officer filled out the electronic report of the previous call on his car computer. On top of that, we also received a “lame” call where we had to check on an abandoned car, waiting 20 minutes for the tow truck to take it away.  (However, the two times blazing through the street with our lights and sirens on made up for any lag time!)

Sometimes the bad guys get away. One of our first calls entailed two teens who kicked open the front door of someone’s home looking to take a few items on their way to school (a “fun” pre-school and after-school activity that has been on the rise in our community).  When the teens saw that the owner was still in the house (oops!), they took off running, unable to be found…probably heading right to school.  As we drove around the surrounding streets looking for the suspects, and any footprints through adjacent back yards, it was obvious their time of reckoning would come another day.

On another call we were sent into a high-rise apartment building where an unknown and armed suspect was being chased by security.  Upon arrival one of the security guards was waiting for us, as we took the elevator to the 10th floor where the man was last spotted.  The other security guard then radioed in saying the suspect was heading down one of the stairwells.  We quickly stopped the elevator, got out, as the one security ran to the stairwell on our left, while we headed to the right (the contrast between the panicked security guard and calm & cooled officer was stark).  As I was following my assigned officer, he came to the stairwell door, opened it very slowly, and then turned to me with his finger over his lips to remain quite.  We then slowly and quietly headed up the winding stairwell, looking up, with my “partners” gun drawn.  (NOTE:  You now may be wondering if I had a bulletproof vest on…but NO!  At this moment just a windbreaker and some soiled pants.)  As we headed out onto the above floor a man fitting the description was down the hall and approaching us within something in his hand.  The officer had his gun on him and asked him to stop.  Unfortunately, it was the wrong guy just carrying a cell phone, and in the mean time the suspect got away.

Don’t hit girls (& your grandmother). “Don’t hit girls” has been a playground rule ever since the birth government funded schooling and kickball, however times are changing.  Our first assault surrounded an incident where a 7th grade boy choked and beat a 7th grade girl just because she wasn’t attracted to him.  When you hear stories like this, and talk with the victim first hand, you wonder if we are de-evolving back to prehistoric days of cavemen banging women on the head and dragging them back to their lair.

The second assault call was even more troubling of a seventy-year-old grandmother who had a large welt on her head by her granddaughter who punched her on the way out door to school (This brings new meaning to the phrase “plant one on me before you leave for school.”).  As the police officer and I took the grandmother back to the station for photos and a report, I was disheartened by lack of female respect and honor towards our elderly…but equally grateful for the “men & women in blue” who seek to uphold order and justice with precision, professionalism, and care.

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~ by Dave Smith on March 27, 2010.

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