In only a couple of days, two favorite cop bloggers wrote on inventive ways of handling a tense situation.
In the PawPaw's House installment of 7NOV2007, a veteran recalls the resolution of a would-be brawl with a formidable fighting drunk by application of the “Work Smart, Not Hard” paradigm.
And in a blog entry eititled “Wakey, wakey!” MattG tells of how an inventive officer managed to awake a proven violent individual safely and defuse a potentially lethal situation.
The latter tale produced a rush of memory from 'way back when - - -
One early evening in the late 1980s, I met a new lady friend for drinks before dinner. Our drinks were ordered but hadn't arrived when my pager went off. I returned the call to a sergeant at a nearby small town police department. Seems they had red hot information on a major drug case pending and needed help moving on it RAT NOW. Their chief of police was seriously ill and literally couldn't leave his bed, their (only) investigator was out of state, and they literally had no one who could draw a search-and-arrest warrant affidavit. The sick chief and I were old pals and he said to ask me to lend a hand.
I explained to the lady friend that duty called and she could take her choice of a rain check on dinner, or she could tag along while I interviewed a couple of guys and wrote up an affidavit. She was an enthusiastic new social worker and wanted to come meet some new cops.
This job should have taken an hour of so, but there are always delays. I needed to interview the informants before I'd write the affidavit for the lead cop. Such a tale of drugs, violence, weapons including a machine gun, and a couple of well known outlaws! Over TWO hours later, the affidavit was finished, submitted to the judge, and the warrant signed. I gathered my briefcase, and went to shaking hands and wishing them good hunting. The sergeant asked me to take a phone call. It was the sick-unto-death police chief who asked me to please, help out his troops - - Organize the raid and go with them. He was frankly worried that he'd lose someone if things heated up.
Well, it's nice to be wanted, and to have a measure of respect. I offered my would-be girl friend my car keys to get home. She was a very good sport and insisted that she wanted to go along. Nope, sorry, impossible. Yeah, she was a public service employee, but no kind of peace officer. Can't do it. Okay, she'd stay in my car so that we could leave the scene as soon as things were secure.
The target residence was at one end of a mobile home park. We left the cars down the street and around a corner. One group went wide left and I took my three other guys round the corner and up the street in the dark. Shotguns, carbines, spare ammo - - It reminded me of the final reel of “The Wild Bunch.” One rookie cop was very eager to “kick the door.” "We'll see. Promise you won't until I give the word."
Perimeter secured, we went up on the front porch. I politely knocked on the door. “Who is it?”
“Aw, if you don't want my money, just forget it.” **scamper scamper** Door opens a crack, cautiously.
“Who - - “
“NOW, Rook!” The door opened rapidly, knocking the inner guy back, the young officer fell to the floor, the sergeant and I stepped over them, announced, “Police officers with a warrant!” and set about securing the premises. A quick scan of the living room and two young men and two, uh, female persons were set upon the floor to be watched by the eager rookie. I slung my shotgun and went into the front bedroom, saw a lot of pills and some marihuana, and called the designated property logger-and-gatherer.
I heard shouting from the living room and went to see why the excitement. Officers from the perimeter team had entered and the back door was standing open, immediately to the right of the closed back bedroom door. “What's up, Sarge?”
“Guy in there says he just rents that room and says we got no right to come in.”
“Oh. Did you mention that we have an order from a judge to enter and search the entire premises?”
“Uh, yeah, but he's got the door locked and says he wants to go back to sleep. Can we, uh, . . . .?”
“Let me try. Hey, in there - - We're county and city peace officers with a warrant. Open this door at once!” The occupant suggested I engage in an improbable physical act.
“I'm going to count three! One!” CRASH! I weighed about two-forty in those days. The hollow core interior door was no real obstacle to my 13-D black sharkskin Tony Lama boot. The door facing splintered, the top hinge came loose, and there was a good deal of noise.
Two officers with flashlights illuminated the man face down on the bed until the light switch was located. He was well covered with a blanket. His face and both hands were buried in the pillow. I told him, “Mister, don't move an inch until I tell you.” I asked one of the officers to remove the blanket. The fairly large guy wore cut-off jeans. He was bigger and rougher looking than any other occupant.
I told him, “Now listen. You make only the moves I tell you to, okay? Alright, turn your head to the left and look at me. Good. This is a Remington twelve gauge. The safety is off. [A lie, actually.] Good, face forward. That's the muzzle resting between your shoulder blades. Please don't twitch. Now, when I tell you to, you slowly move your right hand out into the open, palm up. Move.” He did so. We repeated it with the left hand. I asked two officers to stand him up.
I was thinking, Well, that was all pretty melodramatic. I reached and flipped the pillow to the floor. On the dirty bottom sheet was a revolver - - A German-made copy of a Colt Single Action, caliber .357 magnum. The hammer was at full cock. It was loaded with three magnum and three .38 cartridges. A magnum was in the top center chamber. I asked that the evidence guy come and take a couple of photos. I went outside to light my pipe. It took about six matches.
The lady I'd left in my car was standing across the street, about thirty yards away. She had my binoculars and had been looking right in the back door. Walking back to the car, she said, “Well, that was pretty exciting.”
This would be a better story if the guy had been some prison escapee or a wanted murderer. Nope. He had a lengthy misdemeanor record: Theft, drugs, assault, resist arrest – but no felonies. Or, if I'd thought to finish the count after crashing into the bedroom. Or if there was a proper celebration with the new girl friend. We just had a sandwich at a Jack-in-the-Box and went to our respective apartments. Oh, well.
Five to jail, a few pounds of weed, a few hundred pills, some white powder, and one gun logged in. No bloodshed, no shots fired, no uneasy calls to the boss, no interviews with the Rangers or the Grand Jury. Something to laugh about in times to come. Not a BAD evening's work, really.