Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Looking at the Moon

I posted a short piece yesterday about an experience I had while working the Jail Division, “He Stole My Story”. I got a comment back from Evey that referred to yet another of my police experiences, although not mentioned in that article, throwing a rookie’s slurppee out the window while he was learning pursuit driving. It’s hard enough learning proper pursuit procedures without starting off with bad habits.

While I was explaining the mindset of that training moment I remembered one that was considerably more illustrative of my point. It happened back when I was on 3 wheelers in the Point Control Division working downtown evening shift. For the life of me I could never understand why they would assign untrained rookies in that particular division; patrol was where these younger officers needed to learn the basics. I had an inexperienced rookie placed under my wing to teach and train, except he also had to accomplish handling that POS 3 wheeler. ( Police Observation S…., you know what it means )

We were set up on an intersection to catch a red light violation around 9pm. A car busted one good, several car lengths made it a “no doubt about” it kind of red light as we took off after him. I approached from the driver side while my rookie stayed back to observe. I saw the glint of metallic reflection, not a seat belt, and recognized a cheap “Saturday Night Special” near the driver’s waistband as he got up. Before he could complete getting out of the vehicle I had him wedged against the car, handcuffed and removed the pistol.

I walked the suspect back to where my partner was supposed to be backing me up; instead he was looking up at the moon, a child’s look of appreciation for the “beauty all around” on his face. He’d not seen anything; never saw me jump on the guy, never saw me handcuff him and when I handed him the pistol so I could do a thorough search, “Rookie” looked at it and asked, “What’s this for?”

I hope he learned something from the experience, traffic stops are never routine. When I hear the news media report about a “routine traffic stop” that went sour, turning into a high speed chase or any number of extended criminal activities, I want to slap someone.
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