Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Law Lessons Unleashed...

Thursday evening, the last hands-on CPA (Citizen’s Police Academy) class, found us pulling up in front of a local Jr High school.
I was on high alert.

Our mission was to think like a law enforcement officer…to take what we’d learned and try it on for size in two different scenarios.
First, I must say the school parking lot was a bit scary. A cruiser, an officer in full gear, and dozens of concert goers who filed by as they worked their way to the other side of the school. Unbeknownst to them, they could’ve been in danger. But, we were on the scene instilling peace and a sense of calm.

Our tasks for the night. As teams we would take on an unknown number of assailants who had broken into the school and were possibly hiding in the darkened multi-room school wing. Our goal, to make it out alive, and apprehend the criminals. The second assignment, equally challenging, enter an unknown situation where there had been a report of an intense fight. Goal. Assess the scene and secure it (Make sure all weapons are out of the reach of out of control suspects.) Determine if an assault occurred, if it was between domestic partners and to apprehend the primary aggressor. Cake. Right? Ha. Ha. Not so much little Grasshopper.

My Domestic Violence scenario ended with me making a false arrest. The man was a complete jerk, controlling his wife, intimidating her, throwing out sickly sweet excuses, while she cowered in the corner. They were married. One of three criteria met, found out through questioning the suspects. My partner and I each took a party and questioned them. Then we switched. We were told to keep an eye on our partner and try to minimize eye contact between the parties (this is really important cuz controllers is going to control...and they use whatever means they have, and it's really difficult to pull off, too). This is where my partner and I started to slide south. The woman had a bruise on the side of her face. The story was that she slipped and fell hitting her face on the floor. When I got her turned so she faced me, not him, she told me she was afraid…that she’d never be able to get away from him. He acted super concerned and just wanted to take care of his sweet, clumsy wife. Based on the evidence we arrested him. And then the actors, who were cops, asked us why we made the decision to arrest.

Because he was a controlling, abusive, jerk I told the detective who had played the controlling, abusive jerk. (I may actually have said he was a jackass). It was a J-word. Wrong. She never once told either of us that he’d hit her. She told the same story about falling. Lie? Yes. Jerk? Yes. Danger? Yes. But, we had nothing to go on. Frustrating? Yes. Based on a real scenario? Yes. The comic relief scenario was the couple who were loudly celebrating their anniversary by playing quarters. She had dropped one and fell off the chair retrieving it. When the officers arrived she was a mess. But there was no abuse going on, just a “good” time. I’m guessing til the morning anyway.

Then we were taken to the hallway where, two by two we entered a dark bank of offices. While waiting we heard a lot of screaming from classmates who were trying out their investigative knowledge. A lot of screaming. We were the third group in. When we entered we had to choose left or right. As we did so, way back in the dark, dark hallway a man screamed. “Come on! Come and get me!” He threw a knife at us and disappeared into the darkest room I’ve ever seen. While we decided whether to move forward to capture him, or back to look for other bad guys another man jumped us from behind and stabbed us. Apparently we did some screaming, or so the officer who was our tour guide hooted, several times.

Since we’d barely gotten through the door, the overseeing police officer, after laughing hysterically for several moments, resurrected us so we could apprehend ourselves a crazy bad guy. Yeah. Thanks, Officer Ron. So we stealthily checked each room. High and low. In and under. Finally. No one else jumped out at us, and faced the last room. The darkest room had to be the place the crazy guy hid. We opened cupboards, looked under the table, crept around the outside parameter. Finally, we faced the midnight black double door closet. One door yawned open spilling the inky darkness that nibbled up all the light from our feeble flashlights. I looked carefully over my shoulder and gripped my rubber gun a bit tighter. A clang rang out from the silence followed immediately by a couple of blood curdling screams and snickers. Glad someone was having fun. I took charge and motioned my partner right and I went left and tried to jerk the door open. Locked. She screamed, “Come out with your hands up!” More clanging and the closet spilled the knife throwing monster. “Get down! Down on the floor!” Thankfully, he complied. I shrieked “Is that a knife hanging out of his pants?!?” The helpful Officer Ron, AKA Officer Giggle, said, "Secure the suspect, search him for weapons!"

Poor & started patting him down. After removing the obvious large knife in his jeans she found a switchblade. Finally, when the suspect groaned. “I’m not a bongo.” she stopped. Success…except for the unfortunate knifing early in the incident…and the screaming like little least I didn’t wet my pants. I can hold my head up.

So, citizen’s of my city and the surrounding ones. Be very grateful that I am not one of the city’s finest, and be grateful for the ones you have.