“The boot” – An affectionate term used to refer to a recruit or a rookie. The term has roots in the military and policing, as the recruit is expected to maintain a pristine uniform including well polished and shined uniform boots.
Day shift #1
Right out of briefing we had a third party 911 call that a female was being choked by her boyfriend at a house in Delta. I arrived first on scene with limited information. I could see the screen to a window laying beside the house and heard faint voices inside. While waiting for cover I approached the open basement window to look and listen to what was going on. I heard faint sobbing and some movement. Upon taking a look I saw a male and female on a bed, the female’s face and hands covered in blood and the males hands covered in blood. With the information I had at hand, the young man was given some very direct verbal commands, which I’m sure came as quite a surprise. He cooperated and as my backup arrived, they gained entry into the home and took the young man into custody. The next unit on scene was our recruit (who has become affectionately referred to as “The boot”) and her field trainer. With both people separated and safe, I cleared the rest of the floor to make sure no one else was inside and let our recruit take over the investigation. I left the scene with our recruit and her field trainer working through the investigation.
Later in the day one of a K9 officers came across a stolen vehicle that was mobile with a couple people inside. Stolen vehicles are quite concerning to us. On one hand realistically it’s just stolen property. I say “just” with some hesitation, I realize the vehicle represents a significant amount of value to it’s owner. There’s no threat or harm to a person. On the other hand stolen vehicles are occupied by people that are breaking the law and are typically used to commit more crime. We know just trying to conduct a traffic stop on a stolen vehicle tends to create a pursuit and increase the risk to the public. It’s a balance to recover stolen property and prevent further crime with avoiding the creation of further risk to the public. In this case we had the resources to setup surveillance and come up with a high risk arrest plan when it was safe to do so. Our recruit was clear as well so it worked out perfect to provide her a chance to participate in a high risk take down. We tasked her with running verbal commands to the suspects once the take down was initiated. It was a great experience for her and as a team we recovered a stolen vehicle, 2 individuals with warrants for their arrests and stolen credit cards and identities. Overall a great team effort and great experience for the boot!
Day shift #2
Again, out of briefing we were dispatched to a domestic assault in progress. I was on scene first, one of the parties was already outside. I separated them and we began a thorough investigation into assault. We don’t take domestic assaults lightly. It can be hard to determine the actual facts when parties are emotional, intoxicated and each trying to protect themselves. I spent a good part of the shift dealing with the file and both parties.
Night shift #1
For the most part it was a quiet night. We all had a few routine calls and were able to work on some reports. Nearing the end of the night I was dispatched to assist EHS with a male who called in requesting help but then bacame irrational and belligerant on the phone. I arrived and found a middle aged man dealing with severe schizophrenia who had a past of extensive drug use and violence. The conversation was really unlike any most people could imagine. In talking to the gentleman, I’m certain I had a conversation with 2 different people that included several others in the room, though physically it was he and I. The conversation rolled through hysterical, emotional, angry and horrific. He’d stopped taking his medication and needed help. With his history of violence, I rode with EHS to take him into the hospital and stood by waiting for psychiatric staff to assess and admit him. Once he was admitted it was nearing the end of shift, a platoon mate picked me up and we headed back to get my police car. You can’t help but wonder at times if the mental health condition is brought on by drug use or if the drug use is a coping method for the illness, or both.
Night shift #2
I usually make a habit of grabbing my radio and keys before getting changed and listen to what the shift is coming off of as I get dressed and geared up. Instead of hearing what day shift was clearing, I heard about a suicidal young man who was weilding a knife in a house and his family had been cleared out. I expedited getting gear and setup and headed straight to the call to assist and hopefully relieve some day shift members. When we have a high risk person, in a house we have a very well practiced and established protocol. It’s very resource intensive but it’s designed to ensure the safest outcome possible. My job for the duration of the call was to provide lethal overwatch for the team at the rear of the house.
I say a lot of good things about our training and our equipment and this call was a perfect example. Our Emergency Response Team (ERT) was deployed along with negotiators and patrol members. We all play a part in crisis intervention and de-escalation. Knowing the young man had only really threatened himself, we know he’s in crisis and we know that people in crisis can be unpredictable. While we have police officers well trained in deploying less lethal tools (Tasers, Bean Bag shotguns, Tear gas, etc) they do need to be safe. As lethal over watch, my job was to keep the less lethal operators safe. The equipment we have allows us more options to create a safe outcome and our training keeps us proficient and able to adapt and deal effectively with the situations.
Just as I wrote in my last post, the last thing a person in crisis needs is a gun pointed at them however, my job wasn’t to point a gun at them, my job was to be there and be prepared to keep my team safe. It’s a necessary evil as we don’t know what a person, who we don’t know, in crisis may be prepared to do. I know that through our training, through practice and ensuring we’re proficient with these tools, we all only desire the safest outcome possible. Sometimes when you see a dozen police officers in loaded vests, helmets and carrying long guns that may be hard to believe. When we can create the safest environment possible for our officers, we effectively reduce the likelyhood of injury to everyone involved.
After several hours of negotiation and more than half our shift past we had the best possible outcome with the young male coming out on his own and surrendering. With all of our platoon attending this call we spent the rest of the shift catching up and clearing calls that had been waiting for us.