Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Idiocy is Staggering...

So, the other day, my partner and I are out in the field going to get some Home Visits in to start off the month. We're going to try and get one in for a fellow agent, who no one has been able to catch at home. He's a bit of a 'special' case, so we definitely need to get an Agent in the house at some point, just to have a look around, and make sure there's nothing illegal going on in the house. We figure that the best time to catch him would be early in the morning, so even though our job is nominally 8-5, we both are in early enough, that we're out the door and on the road at 7 AM.

Fortune is with us, and as we turn on to the destination street, I can see the subject out front at the end of his driveway, squatting down as if he is pulling weeds from around his mailbox. Partner whips it into the driveway, and I hop out and confront the subject. As I mentioned, he's kind of a 'special' case, in more ways than one, so what I'm doing when I confront him, is not putting on the big, bad, cop routine, but addressing him by name, reminding him that he knows me, that I sit next to the young lady who he reports to, etc. Not our normal procedure, but like I said, a 'special' case. Anyway, I start seeing the light of recognition in his eyes, and his posture relaxes, so I move on to the fact that we're out in the field doing Home Visits today, and his agent asked if we would stop in, check on him, and take a look around the place.

He acquiesces, and turns to start walking up his driveway towards the house. Partner gets back in the car, to pull it in a little further, and I turn to follow the subject up the drive, when our first visit of the day, takes a turn down Freak-Out Street. First off, I'm not thinking about any kind of fight or anything. I'm about 6'2"-6'3", and 200+ pounds, wearing a Glock and my Tac vest, which means not only am I armored, but I have batons and sprays and various nasties scattered about my torso. Not concealed, but right out there so everyone can see exactly how things are going to go down if it gets ugly. This particular subject is maybe 5'7, and 100 pounds soaking wet, so I'm not feeling any sort of threat from this guy.

Remember, complacency gets you killed. There are no 'routine' stops.

So this little fella, out of the blue, takes off running. Straight up the driveway towards the house. I'm literally flat-footed for about a second, mouth hanging open, thinking WTH? Then I take off after him. Now I may be getting old and out of shape, but that's mostly an endurance thing, I can still sprint with the best of them. It's just that my sprint has gone down from a couple of hundred yards, to about ten to fifteen yards, twenty, tops, before I remember that I'm not twenty-three anymore. So I take off after this guy, and catch up to him as he's dashing into his house through the entrance in the carport.

I catch the storm door with my left hand, as I place a foot on the step, and realize that the subject has not dashed further into his house, but is in fact standing right there, reaching behind the door for something. Luckily, we train for things like this, whether at the academy, in our yearly re-certifications, or just in-house training, so I can go into automatic pilot mode, instead of crapping myself. Adrenaline flushes through my system like a tidal wave, and I'm suddenly wired tight. The storm door is a faint memory, as my left arm is out in front, palm spread in a 'stop' gesture, I'm ordering him to stop whatever he's doing, and my right hand is in it's favorite place, wrapped around my Glock, and on the draw.

This is where my adrenaline high plays into the subject's favor. Everything is heightened for me right now, and I hear the clink, of glass on glass coming from behind the door. That's when it clicks, that the day before, the agent mentioned to use that this particular subject is , as part of his orders, prohibited from consuming any alcoholic beverages while under supervision, and that if he's been drinking, he'll try to hide the bottles from us. So, instead of continuing with my draw, I instead, stay about halfway out of the holster, step forward, and push the subject back a step. I look behind the door, and what should I see, but a plastic bag, in which are two , 40 oz. malt liquor bottles, empty of course.

This absolute idiot, just about got shot, because he was worried about us seeing his empty beer bottles. By this point, partner is in the house, I'm holstered, and discussing things with the subject, when the after effects of the adrenaline dump hit, and I end up with a small case of the shakes. I wouldn't notice I don't think, but for the fact that I'm trying to write down on the ubiquitous note pad all cops carry, exactly what it is we've found. Number, size, brand, etc., and I notice that my hand is shaking, just enough to be noticeable, which makes me notice the drain I feel in my body, as if I'd just run a marathon or something.

I'm sure the idiot doesn't realize how close things came to being a lot uglier for him that morning. I'm sure the only thing going through his head was the fact that he had to get those beer bottles out of sight. It truly amazes me that people just don't seem to grasp the realities of the situation they find themselves in when they interact with a law enforcement officer. You see it all the time on reality cop shows, people mouthing off or bucking up to a cop, drunk or not, they just don't seem to realize what's really going on. They just don't seem to realize that there are lines that shouldn't be crossed, because once they are, there's often no going back.

Ah well, all's well that ends well, and we've already laughed about it in the office. The rest of the visit was uneventful, as was the rest of the day.

The lesson reinforced here, should be remembered by all, not just law enforcement, because it applies to everyone. You may not go into as many dangerous situations as a beat cop, I know I don't, but doing what I do, I know that I go into a lot more dangerous situations than people realize, just going to the store. Keep it in mind always, complacency will get you killed.

Enjoy the holiday,


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