Sunday, June 22, 2008
#57 - Police Ride-Along
Just got home from a 12 hour police ride-along (4pm-4am) with the Vancouver Police. We were in district 2, which is roughly Gastown south to
Broadway, east to Boundary, and west to Granville.
I went out with two officers who are about my age, and who are about five times my size. I was very excited and hoping for some serious action. Guns, car chases, sirens, etc. No such luck. However, it was an evening full of a variety of things. Here's the breakdown:
4 pm: Our first call is to a 7-11 on Hastings that has been ripped off by a guy who took $74 worth of beef jerky. I *&#! you not. Beef jerky. The clerks seem pretty casual about it, and the constable just tells them to print off a pic of the perp (or suspect) and put it on the wall. He'll no longer be welcome at that particular store for jerky or slurpees or anything else.
4:30 pm: we pull a u-turn and floor it back up East 1st to pull over a guy in a sports car with tinted front windows. Yawn. Whatever. He was totally compliant and we just got back into the cruiser to spend ten minutes filling out paper work.
4:50 pm: Another traffic infraction about five minutes later - this time a woman who knew not the rules of the road. Driving erratically earned her a verbal warning.
5:10 pm: call comes in about a dude in Oppenheimer Park who is drunk and being disruptive. 10-4. ("Roger that") When we get there and see about twenty-odd drunk people I'm wondering which particular individual they want us to interrogate. We find a man best fitting the description lying on the ground and talk to him for a bit. He's very sweet actually, and tells all of us (three cops and me) that we are all cute. One of the officers thanks him for his compliment and asks him how he cut his arm, which is bleeding, and whether he would like to go to jail or detox. He wisely chooses detox and is helped into the detox van when it arrives. Very easy case, although very sad to see.
5:45 pm: while standing around chatting about hockey, the weather, policing, and other such mundane stereotypical "cop talk" we are asked for directions to Nanaimo (lost much?) and then later for transit directions. I guess to some people 911 and 411 are pretty much the same thing.
5:55 - 7:30 pm: various other calls taken while driving around. The two officers run checks on several suspicious license plates as we go. A couple of drivers are pulled over and questioned. Many, many j-walkers get away scott-free.
7:30 - 8:30 pm: lunch break. We drive back to the station and I hang out in the lounge doing Sodoku and reading the paper while the guys go to the gym to pump iron.
8:30 pm: lunch break #2 - we drive to a Subway in East Burnaby for some subs before heading off to another call.
9:00 pm - 9:50 pm: domestic dispute. (which was a "priority 1" so we got to speed there, with lights flashing!) We go into an apartment building where a man and a woman are totally drunk and the man has become disruptive. He has drunk three bottles of rubbing alcohol. I can't believe people drink rubbing alcohol to get drunk, but it's true, they do. I see the bottle on the table. He had been throwing furniture around and supposedly made threats, so he gets cuffed and is taken downstairs to be questioned and assessed by the paramedics when they arrive. He has crapped his pants somewhere between the time we arrived and the medics got there and he stinks. We wait by the ambulance while he is treated for low blood sugar and whatever else. And we wait and wait. It is finally determined that he needs to go to hospital so we leave.
9:50 - 11:45 pm: lots of paper work and writing on the computer while we drive around. Another call about a rifle observed under a bush outside an apartment complex in East Vancouver. We're closest, so we take the call. One officer has to hop the fence to get into the garden area to retrieve the gun. Turns out to be a an old wooden toy gun that's half rotten. There is also a fake pirate knife and a bottle of unmarked pills. We take these items in to be tagged. Yay, more paper work.
11:45 - 12:20: We drive through the downtown east side and Gastown and meet a man known to the cops as "Chains". He says his back hurts, so he carries about 100 lbs. of chains around his shoulders everywhere he goes. I would guess he's about 50 years old. He wears a beat up baseball cap and dangles an unlit cigarette from his mouth when he talks. He is clearly mentally unwell but is very respectful and friendly. Noticing me in the back of the cab, he says, "oh, a queen... good evening to you goddess." Wow. Wasn't expecting to be charmed tonight by a guy I would, under any other circumstances, avoid like the plague. But there we go. People will surprise you.
12:20 pm: a good looking couple is arguing in Gastown. We notice them. They notice us noticing them. They ignore us and keep up their heated argument. We pull over and get out of the car. I try to look as assertive as the other two but to no avail. Both drunk and sober clubbers and other fashionables give me the evil eye. I hear someone call out, "I smelly piggy!" and wonder whether or not to get back into the car. But then I realize it's locked, and that I'm obviously not a "piggy" in my jeans and sweater. Also, these two guys here are the only ones clearly on my side - and they have guns. So I stand as close as possible to the couple without being too conspicuous and watch as they are told to calm down and move along. Issue solved. Turns out the girl was with the guy but she was flirting with another guy in a club and now this guy is upset with her about that guy and she's upset that this guy is not the other guy because now she maybe likes the other guy better but now the other guy's gone and why can't this guy just be fine about the other guy? This guy doesn't like the idea of another guy at all though. Hence, the argument. They'll be ok. We move on.
12:20: a call comes in about a house party. A noise complaint. Yippy. We arrive to find five pacifists sitting on their porch with their adorable and yet simultaneously ugly dog doing a whole heck of a lot of nothing. They're talking and are completely sober. They suggest that their neighbours are insane (and I for one believe these nice hippies) and we suggest that they are likely right and so simply request that they please just make sure they continue to do their best to be neighbourly. Next!
12:40 - ?: in the back seat I try to stay awake but fail and wake up about twenty minutes later (I think) to hear the guys still talking about their pet peeves regarding this or that policy or this or that sergeant. I am distinctly disappointed that we have not turned on the siren or arrested anyone yet. Everyone has been so damn polite and compliant. It's Saturday night people! Do something bad! I want some action! Even the drunkards have been relatively angelic. It's ridiculous. I'm running out of time here.
2:00 am: Tim Hortons. We meet the rest of the team (about four other officers) and have hot choc and coffee. We chat about this and that and have a few good laughs. They are a great bunch of guys and girls and I am refreshingly surprised by their lack of arrogance, sexism, or elitism. These folks are clearly professionals with a good sense of humour and respect for each other.
2:30 am: we are making our way back towards the station but are told to cruise through Gastown. I am silently praying for a call to a shooting or a B&E, hoping for a big ending to the shift. I am fully awake again. In Gastown my prayers are answered.
There is a call put out about a (what else?) drunk guy who won't leave a club. When we get there about a thousand people are hanging out in their super-hoochy best. I get out of the car with my two best friends and go up to this guy outside the club to talk to him. He's already got a cut eye, a big goose egg, and a bloody nose. The bouncers have had a word. Clearly he doesn't speak their language, and still refuses to leave and wants back in to see his friend. The constables talk to him, then he gets aggressive and they cuff him. Then he kicks one of them and the other takes him down. HARD. He's now on the sidewalk French kissing the cobblestones of Gastown and still yelling about wanting to get back into the club. What an idiot. A few other cops show up along with the paddy wagon. He has refused detox and welcomes prison. Again, what an idiot. Eventually he is picked up and carted off, the rain starts, and the milling crowd gives me the evil eye, which I offer right back at them. I am staring hard and trying to look like I'm a cop. Ha! No badge, no uniform, I am unsuccessful. This time...
Well. I got some action at last, but it was intense. The blood on the sidewalk was perhaps a bit too real. However, it did cap off the end of the shift for me. A bit of an adrenaline rush. I was RIGHT THERE beside this drunken monkey who was swiftly captured and sent off to the zoo. The cops did not yell at me to "back off!" or "get out of the way!" I was there with them and even encouraged to get up close and personal.
3:45 am: finally back to the station after the last of the reports are written. I am so frakin tired. I need a coffee and a doughnut.