Last night I was parked watching traffic on a road that comes away from the nightclub district. (Yes, we CAN do that, and I encourage my officers to scope out those roads and stop as many people for minor traffic violations as they can. Inevitably, each will get at least one DWI a night that way.)
As I was sitting there, I saw a car turn off onto a parking lot across from me and park. It's lights went off, and I decided to give it about a minute or so and then go check it out.
A minute later, I rolled up behind it with my lights still off, and when I was right up on it's back bumper, I lit everything up. Putting the location and tag out on the radio, I got out of my cruiser and walked up on what I honestly expected to be two drunks hurriedly getting re-dressed. Instead, I found a sheepish-looking guy driver with a semi-conscious female passenger who was covered in vomit and clutching a plastic shopping bag which turned out to be filled with more vomit. (I guess that she was going to save some for later.)
I started out by pulling him out of the car and putting him on my front bumper while I checked her out. Yep. She's still alive. Just drunk as hell. So I went back to talk to him and after determining that he's not drunk, started with the usual questions:
Q. What's your name?
A. Steve Xxxxxx.
Q. What's her name?
Q. How do you know Robin?
A. I met her in this club we were both in.
Q. When? Tonight?
Q. Where are you going now?
A. I'm taking her back to her place. She's had a bit too much to drink.
"Well aren't you the gentleman," I said. "Stay here."
Then I went up to talk to "Robin".
Q. What's your name?
A. Stacy Xxxxxx.
Q. Who's that guy?
A. That's Dillon.
Q. How do you know Dillon?
A. I met him at the club. He's taking me back to my place because I'm not feeling good.
Q. Yeah, Alcohol'll do that to you. Do you think that it makes sense going home with a guy you don't even know? And just to let you know, his name's not Dillon.
A. Yeah, he's ok. I'm safe with him. He's gay.
Q. And how do you know that?
A. He told me.
Yeah. OK. Nice try, "Stillon". I've only known him for five minutes by this time, but even I know that he's not gay. And I also know that he's not taking this gal anywhere, much less back to her own apartment.
"Stacy, You're not going anywhere with that guy. It's just not smart or safe. I'll get you a cab, but he's not taking you anywhere tonight. She started to say something but then began to heave as her stomach began rejecting more alcohol and whatever else she'd consumed. I quickly closed the door lest she get any on my nice clean parking lot and she turned her head and barfed on the center console.
Aw, hell with it. I called an ambulance. Even if she's not danger-drunk, (and she might well be at this point), a ride in an ambulance and a spell in the Emergency Department will sober her up and hopefully drive home the point that drinking that much is dangerous and expensive. Plus while she's in the hospital, Dileve or whatever his name is can't show up and talk his way inside. The I went back and explained the facts of life to Romeo, who was still sitting on my bumper. I impressed up on him my belief that picking up drunk girls in bars and taking them home is probably not a smart thing to be doing. I also got his driver's license and ran his name, documenting it in case it turns out that someone drugged her in this bar. By the time the ambulance showed up, Steve had a pretty clear understanding of where I was coming from and what I thought that he was up to, and he had a car that was going to remind him of Stacy for a long time. (Hell, I could smell the puke ten feet away from it as the EMT's got her out of the car.)
Now I could have let him just go on and take her home, especially since she wanted him to, but if I did, I'd be just as culpable for whatever happened to her later as him, and that just wasn't going to happen. At that point, I don't care what a drunk girl tells me she wants. My job is to protect and serve, emphasis here on "protect" and sometimes that means intervening and making the right decisions for people who can't make them for themselves. If Stacy still wants a date tomorrow when she's sober, she can always go back to the bar and ask around for "Dillon". Hopefully by then, he'll have gotten his car detailed and bought a few pine tree air fresheners for it. But until she's competent to make that call, my job is to make sure that no one else makes it for her. THAT is what being the police is all about.