Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Frequent Flyers for Beer and Chips

 

The following story has nothing to do with COVID-19. No surfers, beachgoers, parents playing in a park with their children, or hairdressers were harmed or arrested in this story. This is a story about a Midwatch shift on a summer evening. You never know what you’ll run into after roll call or, on this night, what will run into you.

The Midwatch shift started at 1800 hours and ended at 0400 hours. On a Friday night at 1800 hours, the rush hour is still in progress, and the payday drinkers who were paid at noon and didn’t return to work are still sitting in their local watering hole. When they get home, the domestic dispute calls pick up a bit. The slurred demand for dinner creates some marital tension after an afternoon of drinking away half a paycheck.

My partner was going to start the shift as the driver, so I would keep the books and handle the radio. We placed our bags in the trunk and began the preflight of our car. All the lights worked and there was no body damage to record.

My partner adjusted the driver’s seat and I placed the shotgun in the holder between the two front seats. I closed the clamp, and pushed four double-aught buckshot shells into the magazine — nine .32 caliber pellets are contained in each shell. You don’t chamber a round until you need one and the clamp on the holder prevents someone from chambering a round if you’ve left your car for any reason.

After we roll out of the precinct garage, I notified Radio that we were on duty.

Me: “484 is 10-11 (starting the shift)”
Dispatcher: “484 copy, have a good shift.”

Rush hour on the main drags was still bumper-to-bumper traffic so we headed for the side streets. Perhaps we’ll get lucky enough to catch a car clout in progress. You have to look for trouble as a cop. A well-developed sense of curiosity is a necessity for being a good police officer.

Sliding through neighborhoods that have seen better days between 1800 and 1900 hours isn’t producing too much action until another vehicle slams into our front left fender. My partner asks me if we were the car on the right at the uncontrolled intersection. I said we were, establishing the fact that we had the right of way. I told my partner; “By the way, thanks for asking if I was injured.” His reply was, “It’s a little early in the shift to start whining.”

We got out of the car and glanced at the damage, and we looked at the four individuals in the car that hit us. They had that deer-in-the-headlights look. They’re going to run, I thought to myself, and they did. The driver put the car in reverse, and hit the gas. We jumped back into our car and I got on the radio.

484
Dispatcher: “484 Go”
Our car was just hit at 29 and SE Taylor, they’re running.
Dispatcher: “484 copy.”

I held onto the mic as the chase started. I was going to call the chase as my partner drove.

484 westbound on Belmont passing SE 26th
Dispatcher” “484 westbound on Belmont passing SE 26th”

The suspension on our car had been damaged and we were losing some distance. The two-tone robbery alert sounded on the radio. We could no longer transmit until the dispatcher finished transmitting the robbery info.

Dispatcher: “Armed Robbery at the convenience store at 34 and Belmont. Four white males. Displayed knives, unknown if they had firearms.”

The dispatcher paused for a moment. I got on the radio and said we were going to be northbound on Morrison and 18th. The dispatcher told us to stay off the air for a moment. Another officer came on the air and said 484 is chasing the robbery suspects. He put the locations together, and he was right.

The driver of the getaway car panicked when he turned north onto a residential street. He high-centered his car on the sloped front yard of a house. All four doors were opened, the engine was still running when we turned north on the same side street. I called radio with the location. The dispatcher told me a K-9 car was on the way. I did remember a K-9 officer telling the dispatcher he was responding, and the dog barking in the background when he hit the siren. The dog knows he’s going to work when his car accelerates.

The dog found one suspect about two blocks away from the abandoned car. He zeroed in on an elevated front porch. Barking, growling, and straining on the lead held by his partner. The owner of the house walked onto the front porch. He asked four police officers what was going on.

A plaintive voice from underneath the porch said; “Bob, don’t let them do this to me.” The homeowner looked at us and said; “My name isn’t Bob.”

The K-9 officer asked the homeowner to go back into the house. He told our suspect that he was going to let the dog off his lead if wouldn’t crawl out from beneath the porch. “I’m not moving,” was the reply. The dog got him out.

My partner and I put our suspect in the back seat of our car and drove back to the convenience store so the clerk could identify him. He said: “That’s one of them and this was the third time this week they robbed me.” I asked him if he was held at knifepoint each time. He said he was.

Three felony armed robberies, menacing, and kidnapping charges, instead of three misdemeanor shoplifts if they had just taken the beer and chips and run out the door. Some criminals swing for the fences and hit it out of the ballpark.

A good arrest made even better because we caught the person that hit our car. I never found out if the other three were ever caught. My partner had to fill out the DMV report. The sergeant asked us if we were okay. We told him we’re just getting started. He said, “Don’t wreck another car, we’re short on cars.”

Published in Policing
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  1. Titus Techera Contributor

    Just read this to the wife, Doug, she thinks you’re funny!

    Thanks for the stories–hope you’re doing alright in these crazy times.

    • #1
    • May 21, 2020, at 1:06 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Just read this to the wife, Doug, she thinks you’re funny!

    Thanks for the stories–hope you’re doing alright in these crazy times.

    Thanks Titus. Karen and I, as well the rest of the family are fine. I hope you, your wife, and your families are doing well.

    • #2
    • May 21, 2020, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. Blondie Thatcher

    Doug, I love your stories. You really can’t make this crap up. 

    • #3
    • May 21, 2020, at 1:32 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  4. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt

    Blondie (View Comment):

    Doug, I love your stories. You really can’t make this crap up.

    Thanks. Not only is truth stranger than fiction, it can be more humorous.

     

    • #4
    • May 21, 2020, at 1:56 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Doug Watt: His reply was; “it’s a little early in the shift to start whining.”

    Gold.

    • #5
    • May 21, 2020, at 2:06 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Doug Watt: Three felony armed robberies, menacing, and kidnapping charges, instead of three misdemeanor shoplifts if they had just taken the beer and chips and run out the door

    I can understand taking a gamble on a high risk/high reward proposition, but risking years in jail for a can of Bud Light and a bag of Fritos?

    • #6
    • May 21, 2020, at 4:02 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I love the image of the dog going after the guy under the porch. I suspect he didn’t chew him up too badly. Too bad. Great story as always.

    • #7
    • May 21, 2020, at 4:14 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt

    We had to fill out a DMV report just like anyone else had to in the event of an accident. You can end up pulling desk duty if your drivers license received an administrative suspension for failing to submit an accident report to the DMV. Until DMV gets that report you’re off the road. Desk duty can also be assigned when you are recovering from an injury.

    Desk duty means dealing with walk-ins, and telephone calls from the perpetually aggrieved. One desk officer made a sign for the precinct copy machine that stated:

    Yes, We Know It’s Broken
    No, We Don’t Want You To Fix It
    Yes, We’ve Called Someone To Fix It

    • #8
    • May 21, 2020, at 4:18 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Doug Watt: You have to look for trouble as a cop. A well developed sense of curiosity is a necessity to being a good police officer.

    I once went on a ride along. Two things stayed with me. One was the observational acuity of the officer. She saw everything. It was tremendous to behold. She also told me that her job was to “help people solve their problems.”

    Doug Watt: The dog knows he’s going to work when his car accelerates.

    I love this. Animals are amazing.

    • #9
    • May 21, 2020, at 6:05 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  10. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: You have to look for trouble as a cop. A well developed sense of curiosity is a necessity to being a good police officer.

    I once went on a ride along. Two things stayed with me. One was the observational acuity of the officer. She saw everything. It was tremendous to behold. She also told me that her job was to “help people solve their problems.”

    A long time ago I asked my dad why he became a cop. Now there are obviously many reasons that apply, but without hesitation his answer was that he liked working with people and helping them.

    • #10
    • May 22, 2020, at 4:01 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Quietpi Member

    Lots of fun.

    Heh, in my last job of this sort, 10-11 was a request for backup. In my various situations, I had to learn three different 10- codes, and three very distinct phonetic alphabets. Now it’s all clear – text. Well, mostly. Is it Broward County, FL, that uses Q- codes? Now that’s just weird.

    • #11
    • May 22, 2020, at 6:33 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    Lots of fun.

    Heh, in my last job of this sort, 10-11 was a request for backup. In my various situations, I had to learn three different 10- codes, and three very distinct phonetic alphabets. Now it’s all clear – text. Well, mostly. Is it Broward County, FL, that uses Q- codes? Now that’s just weird.

    The 10 codes have been disappearing. MDT’s (Mobile Data Terminals), everything has to have an acronym, basically a laptop, are installed in the cars. This allows an officer to sign in to begin a shift, and to end one with Radio. The officer can access criminal history, and DMV history from the car rather than having to have a dispatcher do that.

    Radio transmissions are still used to callout traffic stops, chases. Dispatchers still use the radio to ask for cover cars, or to call off cover cars. Some agencies assign a cell phone to each officer. The phone allows the officer to contact a supervisor for sensitive incidents, sexual abuse, rape, child abuse,..etc.

    • #12
    • May 22, 2020, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  13. Arahant Member

    Doug Watt: I did remember a K-9 officer telling the dispatcher he was responding, and the dog barking in the background when he hit the siren. The dog knows he’s going to work when his car accelerates.

    That is nifty.

    • #13
    • May 22, 2020, at 8:42 AM PDT
    • 3 likes