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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.
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