03 May 2012
Let's do it the "Smart Way" not the .....
From the Cop side: I’ll apologize to my 2 readers for not writing more often….I’ve had a few ideas that I thought were great, then when I sat down to write I thought they were kind of boring. I started to write about what happened 20 years ago- when my old California Army National Guard unit sort of called us in for the Rodney King Riots (RKR). We were scheduled to have a 2 day training drill that weekend, but we got called early Friday morning and told we needed to come in Friday and make it a 3 day drill. Oh boy. Like we didn't have a norrmal job to go to.
All I did for 3 days was train National Guard Soldiers how to do crowd control and search people detained. I was given the Army Field Manual on the subject but after a quick review I decided that I couldn’t teach something that was 20 years out of date- so I taught them proper civilian police methods.
Other National Guard units got there and got things under control for LAPD and we never left the armory…so all said- it was boring so I decided not to write about that. The major problem for the CA Nat Guard was the only place we could have gotten ammo for our weapons in the state...the guys working there just went home at the end of the day and there was NO AMMO. Guard units responding had to stop and buy ammo on the way to the riots.
How about a Cop story? One of the things I must have done a thousand times was search a home or building looking for bad guys. I got pretty good at it and always took it seriously because if a bad guy was really waiting inside with a gun, we were at a big disadvantage.
One evening several years ago, we had one of the Admin Pogues (AP) filling in for the Patrol Sergeant. When we had an AP filling in, we would just tell them to stay in the office and we’d call if we really needed any help. On this night, we had the absolute worst cop AP in the world as our supervisor. This guy had been in police work for over 30 years, but had never figured out tactics and things like that because early in his career he was given command of a desk. You can’t get a desk hurt unless you spill your coffee on it.
We got a call from a woman who was out of the state and said somebody was in her house in our city. How did she know this (before the computer video stuff was so common)? Because the suspect was on the phone talking to her…the suspect was her crazy nephew and he wanted to know if he could live in her home since she was gone. She didn’t want him there, so we got called to evict him.
So, in a small police department there are many times when there are only a few cops…there were only 2 of us that night and the AP weenie. My partner and I got to the house within a few minutes (remember, the cops are only minutes away when you need them in seconds) and “surrounded” the place. (OK, we couldn’t really surround the place, but if the media was there, I guess that’s what they’d said.) The house was not a perfect square or rectangle, it was all kinds of shapes, so you couldn’t look down one side and see the other side…it had been added onto so many times that it looked like many houses that had been stuck together and it was impossible to really put a perimeter around it with 2 guys.
So, since I was the “senior” copper, I said let’s find an open door where the suspect went in…then the AP guy showed up and “took over.” He was lost, so I “suggested” that we find an open door where the suspect must have entered. He was pondering this and trying to think up something different because I later found out, he never listened to any suggestions from officers.
Since our safety was more important than actually catching the suspect, I told my partner that we were staying together as we went around the house….as we walked around, the AP guy walked behind us.
Lucky for us, that night we had one of the best police dispatchers working. She said she was going to call back the RP (Reporting Party) and see if a neighbor had a key to the house because she knew we were going to have to go in and find the guy. A minute later, we found an open window. The AP guy said: “Climb through the window and come around and unlock the door.”
I thought that was a bad idea…when you have to climb through a window, you are totally venerable to anybody on the other side--- never go through windows if you can avoid it. And my plan was that my partner and I were going to stick together. I tried to be as diplomatic as possible and said: “why don’t we wait a minute and see if a neighbor has a key to the front door!”
The AP didn’t like that I had not just done what he told me to do. I didn’t care, I wasn’t going to get hurt because he was a retard. A minute later the dispatcher told us the neighbor had a key and we ran over and got it. As we got to the front door, I explained to my partner that I was going in first and he would “stack” behind me…I had to take the AP in with us, but I was afraid with our guns out that he might get excited and shoot one of us in the back. (yes, he was that messed up).
We got through the front door and cleared most of the house. We were at the last room—the master bed room. The door was old and narrow and it was hard to get 2 cops through at the same time, so I went in.
The suspect was trying to hide in the closet when I saw him. He had something black in his hand…it was either a gun, or a cordless phone. I backed up to the door jam and told him to throw whatever was in his hand onto the bed. He did….it was a black cordless phone.
He came out of the closet and was cooperative and totally nuts. I didn’t take him to jail, but to the county mental health unit where they counted his marbles and wound up his little spring and let him go after 72 hours on a 5150 hold. He never knew how close he came to getting a 147 grain 9MM HP round into his center mass.