So yesterday, I get a call from our undercover unit supervisor, asking if I can provide a jump-out squad to help snag a group of people that they would like to arrest after observing a number of them engaging in drug sales transactions. Now I like requests like this, because it gives me a chance to put a number of my less-experienced and/or less-motivated officers to work. I walk through the station and corral several of the ones that I want, than call for a few others to meet me at a specific corner a few blocks away from the park where the suspects are loitering around under observation. A quick call to the lead detective gets me the descriptions of the ones he wants, and so armed, we convoy up to the park, split into two wings—one for the north end and one for the south end—and sweep into the park to isolate the group and help the detective grab the suspects.
Predictably, as we swoop into the park, several people suddenly get up from the benches and tables in one corner of the park and begin to rapidly scatter. We all split up and began putting the Habeus Grabbus on the ones we wanted. I drove after two guys who started to run off, pulling ahead of them with my cruiser and jumping out to nab one. I sent the rookie riding with me after another one. Typical rook: “Which one should I get?”
“The guilty-looking one! The one RUNNING! Sic him!”
So charged, my rook ran off and grabbed the alleged crack-head in question. Other officers and detectives also went after various and sundry other mopes—uh…”alleged” mopes—and when the dust had settled, we had nine detained.
I lucked out; mine was a guy that I’d been locking up from time to time for a few years, so at least we had our shared history to talk about while I searched him.
Now picture this scene: A park. In the park—a ring of police vehicles, all with lights flashing. Inside that ring, there are groups of uniformed police officers who have several people in handcuffs that they are searching. And into the middle of all of this rides Miss Oblivious on her bicycle.
I see her as she rides around my cruiser. I yell at her to stop and go around, but she’s listening to her ipod and doesn’t even bother looking at me. I have my hands full of crack-head so I can’t go after her, so I yell to my rookie to stop her. My rook, having just handed his crack-head over to a detective, steps into her path and yells “HALT!” so loud that people a block away reflexively stop doing stuff. Bike Gal startles out of her stupid zone, tries to swerve around my officer, strikes a decorative chain barrier about two feet high that borders the sidewalks, and topples off of her bike into a muddy flower bed. She’s not injured, but by the time she gets to her feet, even the crack-heads are laughing at her. I hand my detainee off to a detective and walk over to make sure that she understands the error of her ways. But she’s not feeling sheepish or apologetic at all; she’s furious and immediately launches into me about my rookie “knocking” her off of her bike for no reason. She wants his name, and my name, and starts telling me that she’ll be going to her doctor to get checked out and that…”
I cut her off before she can get to the lawsuit threat that I know is coming. I point out the police vehicles and police officers that she was riding around and between, and I let her know that she’s right on the edge of being locked up for interfering in a police operation. I tell her that if she’s injured, I will arrange for a medical evaluation, but it’ll be subsequent to her arrest for disobeying my lawful order to stop. Only slightly cowed (because her father knows a city councilman in a nearby municipality that has nothing to do with our jurisdiction), she argues that she, as a citizen, has the right to go wherever she wants to go and that we have an obligation to protect her right, not interfere with it. She then demanded my name and badge number again.
She didn’t get arrested, mainly because we had all these crack-heads to deal with, but she got my name and badge number written down for her on the mandatory appearance citation that my rook issued her. Maybe she can bring her daddy’s friend to court with her.
As the day wrapped up, we had seven arrests for possession, possession with intent to distribute, and/or possession of narcotics paraphernalia. We also seized all the cash that the “alleged” sellers had on them.
The icing on the cake: A fairly new but undeniably lazy female officer from another squad tried to sneak back early from an overtime beat and when I saw her in the station half an hour earlier than she was supposed to be, I assigned her to do the strip searches on our two female arrestees, both of whom were morbidly obese homeless women who stank to high heaven. I'm sure that she'll try to lodge some sort of a grievance for that, but since she was on the clock on my shift, she'll doubtless find out that I can assign work to whomever I choose, even slaps from lesser squads.
Sometimes, work’s just fun in spite of itself.
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