That’s not your ID

Weapon-6Day shift #1

The shift revolved around a single call. In the morning I was dispatched to a report of an aggressive panhandler outside of a business. As I got out to speak with him, he became very nervous. Much to the bystanders surprise, my approach with him went from calm and professional to hands on and very direct in a split second.

As I asked him for some ID he turned around slightly trying to conceal what he was reaching into his inner jacket pocket for. I could just see the end of a knife that he was actually reaching for from over his shoulder. There was no way that he was going to be allowed to get the knife out of his jacket, for his safety and mine.

I know the general public very rarely has to consider these things. In a social setting or in the majority of workplaces you never have to worry about someone spontaneously pulling a weapon on you. As a police officer, like the rest of my profession, I do things a very specific way for a reason. If I’m talking to you and ask you to keep your hands out of your pockets it’s not because I don’t trust you as a person, it’s because I don’t know you and can’t trust you for our safety (yours and mine). I’m very specific above to mention his safety and mine, I don’t want to allow a situation to unfold where I have no choice but to use force.

Once the male was safely in handcuffs and searched it became obvious why he was nervous. He was on probation and had conditions not to possess knives and had 3 of them concealed. It also became very apparent that he suffered from a mental illness. He was not acting rationally, he admitted to not taking his prescribed medications and self-medicating with street drugs. Before he could be taken to cells he had to be assessed by medical staff.

I took him to the hospital where we waited in the queue for our turn to be assessed. After several hours we were off to cells to complete the booking process and arrest report.

This call seemed very benign at the outset but in the end the potential for tragedy existed if an innocent bystander crossed paths with this person at the wrong time or if he’d gotten the knife out of his jacket in front of me.

Day shift #2

The majority of the morning I caught up on paper work and follow ups. Mid-way through the afternoon we were notified that another jurisdiction had a Break & Enter suspect of ours in custody. I drove out to meet the officers from another jurisdiction and take custody of him, transport him to our cells and book him in on our charges.

A fairly quiet and routine day.

Night shift #1

I didn’t make it to briefing as I was called out to cover day shift with a domestic in progress. We determined there was no assault and helped cool things down in the home. As I left there I came across a very intoxicated gentleman wandering in traffic. I got him off the road and arranged for him to attend a sobering centre for the night.

I was the dispatched to a residential break & enter where a family was on vacation and the friend that was looking after their garden while away found their home ransacked. Just as I got on scene a tone alert came over the radio, I had to apologize to the two gentlemen waiting for me at the house so that I could clear for a robbery at a bank in progress.

We all swarmed the area for a report of a male that had just robbed a customer at an ATM inside a bank. With it being early evening there was a fair amount of people and cars in the area making our job to lock it down and contain the area very difficult. We spent a fair bit of time working with K9 handlers and many police officers looking for the suspect but he’d had a decent head start on us. Once we shut down containment and another officer began working with bank staff to obtain video surveillance I went back to the break and enter.

The family home had been ransacked. Whoever broke in had a fair amount of time inside and went through drawers and closets in most rooms. I had our Forensic Identification Section attend and take photos and fingerprints. Having had my own home broken into I can appreciate the sense of violation that one experiences. We take break-ins to homes very seriously.

Later into the evening we had reports of a male screaming and throwing property off his apartment balcony into the parking lot below. Once we made contact with the male it was very obvious his actions were related to the amount of alcohol he’d consumed. His demeanour and mood were very volatile as I spoke with him and would change in an instant. At one point he ended up making a poor choice and our discussion became physical. He found himself on his apartment floor handcuffed just prior to going to jail.

I transported him to cells and booked him in completing the arrest report for the rest of shift.

Night shift #2

The night began with another domestic disturbance. On arrival we learned that the argument actually stemmed from a dispute over drugs and all parties were intoxicated. I spent a fair amount of time trying to get the whole story from multiple intoxicated participants. In the end there was no assault and no evidence for drug charges so we found places for the participants to go and cleared.

The remainder of the night was fairly routine and allowed us to catch up on some paperwork.

5 thoughts on “That’s not your ID”

  1. I can see why a pan handling patient with mental illness is not the highest priority for hospital staff. I also understand that a police officer must be present with him until checked out. From the outside this seems like a waste of Police resources. Is there any way to minimize the damage, or is it absolutely necessary to do it this way? Perhaps by bringing the patient to the cells so the arresting officer back on the street is an alternative. I’m not sure which is why I pose the question.
    Keep up the good work!

    Curt Appleby

    1. Curt,

      I don’t think it’s any secret that our Mental Health system has some holes and this would be one of them.

      Our authority to apprehend in an emergency circumstance under the Mental Health Act is derived from s.28 and it states very specifically that the person, once apprehended, is to be delivered to a Doctor. We don’t have access to a Doctor (or the tools they require) in cells so the hospital is the best place.

      The unfortunate reality is that these people can not be assessed psychiatrically while high or intoxicated and at times are at medical risk based on the substance itself or the amount of the substance ingested and need to be in a hospital monitored by medical staff.

      The shortcoming we deal with is the sobering time and the time required to be properly triaged (most critical patients first). There’s no one in the hospital facilities to hand off to before our patient is either admitted or released.

      In a perfect world hospital emergency wards would be outfitted with an appropriate number of holding cells and properly trained guards to hand off to. The reality is that when looking at limited budgets there’s always something more critical.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Hi Cst. Ingram. You have a really awesome site, it must be difficult with the work you have (and paperwork…lots of paperwork) to update it with interesting stories. I think it does inspire others to pursue a career in law enforcement when reading about the job. I have a odd question for you, how do you and other officers feel about LPO’s? I have met a few, some are great, some not so much. Does it bother Police to work with them or are they alright? I am not in law enforcement so I was just curious what officers thought. Is it annoying to go to shoplifting calls? Let me know, Thanks.

    1. David,

      Thanks for the feedback. As for LPO’s they are just other people doing their job. As with any profession some are more thorough and/or experienced, others are new and learning. It doesn’t bother me at all to work with them, we all have a job to do. I can’t say shoplifting calls are my favourite but they’re a part of the job. Recently we’ve been able to identify a couple prolific shoplifters that repeatedly get away without being caught. Being able to find them and arrest them still provides a sense of satisfaction that we’ve done our work well.

      I hope that helps answer your question?

  3. That part about trying to interview intoxicated participants gave me a good laugh! Thanks for a great addition to my presentation. (I’m in a Police Foundations program.) (Not that I don’t feel your pain! What an absurd challenge.)

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