So last night, because we got pounded with a serious snow storm that darn near shut our roads down, I was paired up with my sergeant in one of our 4WD SUV's. All was pretty dull until just before midnight, when we happened to spot one of those pesky 4x4 ATV's riding on the bike path in one of the local parks. The ATV operator saw us and turned his headlight off, but apparently forgot that when he brakes, the brake light comes on. So we could still see him as we drove on past, then doused our own lights, u-turned without braking, and coasted back into the park to have a talk with him.
Now as luck would have it, my sergeant was driving. Had it been me, I'd have snared that ATV in a heartbeat. But with Grandpaw Sarge driving... Well we'd see.
Sure enough, he pulled into the park entrance just as the ATV was trying to sneak out. Sarge actually thought that the ATV would stop for him just because he was blocking the drive, but the little 4x4 jumped the curb and shot past us.
Now my sergeant is a great guy, but sometimes he's not the most motivated person. He probably wouldn't even have been messing with the ATV in the first place had I not been sitting there in the passenger seat saying "get it, get it, get it!" But now the ATV operator had just blatantly defied his authority, and now I was yelling "Oh, I know that you ain't gonna let him punk you like that..." So with a shift into reverse gear, it was on.
The ATV left our park and crossed the highway into a pretty upscale neighborhood, and we were right on it. Sarge turned the lights and siren on, but the ATV operator wasn't stopping. Instead, he kept going, right down the middle of the snow-covered street, with a passenger hanging on the back. He ran a few stop signs as he twisted and turned through the neighborhood, and had we been in a cruiser instead of a 4WD SUV, we'd probably not have been able to keep up with him like we did, but we stuck on him.
Of course I was offering motivational comments like "If you can't catch him, you're a pussy!"
Sarge reminded me that he was still my sergeant, and I replied that he could be both, especially if he let that ATV get away.
We hung on the ATV for a few minutes, and finally he ran up a cul-de-sac. As he tried to turn around and pass us again, we popped the doors open and jumped out. I was all set to tackle at least one of those riders off the machine if it tried to get past me, but at this point it stopped and the operator turned out to be a 40 year old with his wife on the back. He tried to tell us that it was just all in fun and that he wasn't doing anything really wrong besides playing with his new ATV in the snow. He readily admitted that he'd been trying to lose us and that he knew that he wasn't supposed to have the ATV out on the streets or in the park. He also smelled strongly of alcoholic beverages and when I pointed that out, he got huffy, told me that yes, he had been drinking but that he wasn't drunk, and then started trying to berate us into letting them go by explaining again that he was "just having fun" and "not doing anything really wrong".
Now had he just stopped for us the first time, he'd have probably got sent home with a warning, just like we'd given some other kids on dirt bikes earlier in the night. But now he'd fled from us and was admitting it while throwing attitude at us and with alcohol on his breath to boot. Not too bright. And then as my sergeant and I discussed how to handle this (I was in favor of summary execution and he was inclined to go with something a bit less), the guy's wife kept coming over to us and interrupting to tell us how her husband has a security clearance and doesn't need this trouble, again implying that it's all our fault, not theirs. She also kept asking "Is this going to take much longer?" every few minutes, as if the only ones with anything better to do at midnight was them. And finally, when I asked the operator to consent to field sobriety tests, he told me that he'd rather wait for his lawyer.
Well once again, we arrived at a point where attitude decided how a close decision was going to go. Had there been any suggestion of remorse or an attempt at an apology, things might have gone a bit different, but now we were catching flack from these two after they caused this whole mess by breaking numerous laws. So the operator wound up getting issued Mandatory Appearance citations for Reckless Driving, Fleeing to Elude Police, Unregistered Vehicle, and a few other traffic violations. He finally did consent to a breath test via our RBT and came in at a rather low 0.05 so we didn't take him to jail for DUI, but we did impound the ATV (and we'll be holding it at his expense until the court case is resolved) and unless he's got a really good lawyer and draws our one rather weak-sentencing judge, he'll likely draw a few days in jail when he appears in court.
Oh--and that security clearance? If true, sucks to be him. This mess will likely cost him that.
And because we released him at the scene instead of trucking him back to our department for fingerprinting and photographing, we were clear in under an hour from the moment that we first saw the ATV's lights in the park. Not bad.
About an hour or so later, we headed into a nearby town to get some food. As we rolled through the still-hopping bar district (mere snow emergencies don't stop the party set from getting trashed), we were flagged down by a cab driver and a maitre d'from one of the restuarants.
Well "flagged down" is a bit mild. The cabbie threw himself in front of us, forcing us to stop or run him down.
They pointed out three guys walking away who had broke the cabbie's mirror off and slugged the maitre d'. Well this wasn't really our area, but what the hell--we U-turned and went after the three, who were now about a block away and walking with a purpose along the sidewalk.
We pulled up alongside the three and I rolled down my window and told them to stop. And the three of them looked at the police officer in the marked police vehicle and just kept walking. So I jumped out and grabbed one, and sarge shot up ahead of the group and cut the other two off with the truck. All three had been drinking, and as my luck would have it, I grabbed a lawyer. (a drunk lawyer as it turned out, but in his mind, he was Perry-fucking-Mason.)
When I put the Habeus Grabbus on Matlock, he started to spin to face my so I shoved him back up against the wall and yelled "POLICE! I SAID STOP!" very loudly. This not only told him that I was serious, but it let any of the bystanders know that this guy was being noncompliant and not just getting rousted for my amusement. I told him to give me his ID, and he started in with "What did I do?" "I SAID GIVE ME YOUR ID!" I repeated. He came up with it, and then he said that he was offended that I had grabbed him and was yelling at him. I told him that I didn't really care and that I was offended that he wasn't listening to a police officer who was trying to stop him, and that trumped his being offended over being stopped as far as I was concerned. About this time, my sergeant was walking the other two back to me and the cabbie and the maitre d' were running up screaming "That's them, that's them!" So sarge took the victims aside and I started to run the three stooges names over the radio. And I'm right in the middle of running the lawyer's ID when he interrupts me and asks when he can get it back. Apparently I'm inconveniencing another upstanding citizen now...
It turns out that it's one of the other two that actually damaged the cab and hit the maitre d' so he's the one we're focusing on, but the lawyer keeps dipping in, telling his friends over and over not to say anything and asking me if he's being detained.
"Yes, you're being detained," I tell him.
"So you're saying that I'm not free to leave then?"
"So you're detaining me why?"
"Because. Now shut up."
About this time, the local police who were actually called to this show up in a bunch, and we turn it all over to them. They can sort this mess out better, and we still want food. They wind up kicking the lawyer and the other guy loose and telling them to move along while they wrap things up with the main perpetrator. Of course Matlock wants to stand around anyway and yell "Don't say anything to them! Nothing! I'll fix it all in the morning!" Then he hands a card to one of the local officers and says "I'm his attorney and you can talk to me."
The local looks at the card and disdainfully flips it into the gutter. Turns out that the wanna-be defense attorney is really a patent lawyer from New York City. We're nowhere close to New York City.
Anyway, with the arrival of a quantity the local officers, our job is done and we clear to go get some wings. The best arrests are truly those that someone else has to do all of the writing on.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas.... Again....
3 weeks ago