06 December 2012

Not worth dying (or killing) for

From the Cop side: It’s funny what jars my memory these days.  I had to attend some training the other day for my new job.  It was targeted towards hospitals…which I have nothing to do with unless I have to see a doctor or something.  But the training was about Active Shooters. 
It was OK training…but for a semi retired cop who used to train other cops how to do this stuff it was hard to stay awake for 8 hours.  Over 200 Power Point slides and lots of talking…lots of talking...but not much action.  Did I mention there was lots of talking and lots of Power Point slides?  
But, somewhere in the fog around slide #180 or 190, it jarred my memory of a copper call I went on many years ago. 
It was back in the 1980’s.  This was before all the high speed toys cops now have.  No pepper spray, no taser, no bean bags guns, and no hostage negotiators.  Just cops with guns, sticks, hands and our ability to talk and think. 
The call:  I was working in a very quiet area of the county.  I was the only officer on duty from our agency.  There was a county deputy who covered the area down the street…and about a half a mile further was another small department with one officer on duty.  Usually on a Sunday that was all you’d need.  There were several other cops, deputies and the Highway Patrol on covering the rest of the county….miles away.
Just down the street was what I called the “insane asylum”.  I swear it looked like something you’d see in a Alfred Hitchcock movie from the 1950’s.  A dark and dreary place.  All the patients were very, very crazy and usually locked in a room alone with lots of medication…and I suspect a few  had been given a lobotomy or had shock therapy. 
The loony bin had a policy if cops had to take somebody inside, no weapons.  This was a good idea because I’m sure some of the patients could have easily eaten one of us if they had the chance…then used our guns to shoot out the door and escape. 
However…some rules need to be bent or broken in some cases. 
The deputy who’s jurisdiction the loony bin was in got a call: 
Zebra 21, we’re getting a report of a patient with a knife and a club in the “……” hospital.  Can you respond code 3 and I’ll see if we can get a cover.” 
Zebra 21: “I’m a block away and I have CI Roller Dude following me.” (we were parked bullshitting)
The deputy and I arrived and a few minutes later the cop down the street showed up.  We were thinking about what we had and the deputy looked at me (since I’d been a cop a whole 5 years longer than he had been at that time) and he asked: “should we go in with weapons?”
I looked at the deputy and said: “I’m not going in there without my stick and .45.”  (at that time I was packing a Colt 1911A1 .45)
The other copper who showed up had about one year of experience and had no idea what to do.  I suggested that we have the dispatcher call the loony bin before we went inside and tell them to lock all the other patients up in their rooms...because we were coming in with weapons. 
In a few minutes, we were advised by dispatch that the loony bin folks had everybody locked in their rooms except the nut job with the knife and club…who was barricaded in the kitchen. 
So we went in with sticks and guns (in our holsters) and proceeded towards the kitchen.  We found one of the hospital psyche nurses yelling at the guy with the knife and club.  As we entered the kitchen, we could see that the nut was a little guy, but very amped up for some reason.  He was very upset.  The nurse continued screaming at the dude and she was starting to annoy me. 
I told the nurse:”Mam, can you back out now, we’re the cops and we’re here.”  She finally shut up, then I asked her why the guy was so upset. 
About that time, the crazy dude said he was going to stab us all, so we pointed our guns at him and he backed into the corner and shut up. 
Since the nurse wasn’t helping, I suggested to the deputy that he talk to the crazy guy and see what he’s so upset about. 
He wanted another glass of orange juice.  The nurse told him he couldn't have anymore.  So, he broke off a table leg (for a club) and got into the cooking area and grabbed a big ass butcher knife.  
I asked the nurse if he could have another glass of OJ.  She said “NO.”
I looked at the deputy and said: “damn it’s shame we’re going to have to shoot this guy over a glass of orange juice.” 
The nurse got pissed off…but the nut heard what I said and threw down his knife and club. 
Problem taken care of and nobody hurt. 

….and the bitch nurse made a complaint because we entered the nut hospital with our weapons.