Friday, July 01, 2005
I had my share of night shift duty on the 4th of July and all the fireworks complaints associated with that holiday. New Years Eve is about the same only with much more heavy drinking; maybe with the cold they had to warm things up with a little “Jack” or “Wild Turkey”.
I had enough sense to know not all those loud popping sounds were fireworks; some were 12 gauge, some were 45 caliber or 9mm. In any event the air was dangerously filled with falling objects during the time between 10pm and midnight when most of these “yea-whose” had downed several long necks. I would listen to the police radio for almost any kind of call that would require a report to be filled out; burglary, a domestic disturbance or anything as long as it would give me the opportunity to get inside and undercover. Once I had a legitimate reason, such as filling in a required form, I could wait out the insanity and listen to the lead falling through the leafy canopy outside.
One 4th of July we had a “rookie” sergeant just sewed on his stripes. He’d spent his entire time working in one of the Traffic Divisions and had no real understanding of how things were done on the street, let alone in Patrol. He called several of us to meet him around 10:30pm a block from one of the major apartment complex areas where several fireworks complaints had already been received. It was his intention to have several marked patrol units drive through the complex in order to cut down on some of the “flagrant disregard for City Ordinances”.
I had 18 years of street experience going through my mind when I raised my hand to offer a better plan. I explained that most of the complaints that he was referring to were, in actuality, firearms being discharged into the air as opposed to simple fireworks. I then explained that last year one of the security guards had been shot, supposedly by accident, while checking out similar fireworks complaints. I further suggested that it might be wise to wait until after midnight and let them get it out of their system without putting any more blue shirted targets out in the parking lot.
“Thank you, Officer Stern, for your input. I’m in charge here and I think the citizens deserve a show of force.” He had no sooner finished his macho speech when from off towards that apartment complex we could hear the clear and distinct sound of a fully automatic weapon, likely an Uzi, being discharged into the air followed by several shot gun blasts. There was a stand of large trees next to the staging area in which we all had gathered and we could hear the pellets zipping downward through the leaves. Sergeant let out a few expletives, “Son of a ….”, some reference to mothers and a request for divine intervention phrased in a rather crude, yet familiar tone, as his shoulders came together. He then decided that maybe it was time for all of us to get back out on patrol and wait until an actual complaint came in. “Y’all be careful out there, ya’ hear.”
I included a sampling of night shift activities in Chapter 3 of Pecaw’s Gift. I then took some liberties with a factual occurrence to create an injury, which never happened in reality, thank goodness. I invite you to enjoy some of my creative writing by following the link provided in the title bar. ( the tool that I depend on to hide URL links is giving me fits, sometimes it works, today it's not )
Posted by T. F. Stern at 12:23 PM