Back in the early ‘80s I was fresh out of the academy and working as a reserve Deputy Sheriff. One Sunday night I was training on a dispatch radio with my mentor, a reserve sergeant who helped me a lot with my law enforcement career. Another reserve officer, who was trained on Road Patrol (which I wanted), was ready for patrol and he couldn’t wait.

About a half-hour later we received a call from a trailer park about a domestic disturbance. He responded to the call since it was close by. The sergeant told my rookie friend to be sure to wait for back-up, like in the training procedures, stressing that this was “an order.” But the rookie officer answered the call and decided not to wait. Back-up was three minutes out and the deputy went to the mobile home door, which on most trailers sat three to four feet above the ground.

The officer knocked on the door announcing, “Sheriff’s Department, what is the problem here?” A small man answered the door with a double-barreled 12 gauge shotgun, aimed the shotgun in the officer’s face and yelled, “What the f*** do you want?!” My deputy friend later told me the shotgun was less than a foot from his eyes. The deputy answered, “I don’t want anything at all—ok, please.” Our rookie deputy then got into his vehicle and drove back to the “radio shack.”

We directed more units to the trailer and the man surrendered without a scene when surrounded by four experienced deputies. After arriving at the dispatch shack, our rookie deputy proceeded to yell at the top of his lungs, “I don’t need this s***! I could have been killed—my damn head blown off!” He then took his I.D., badge, and gun and threw them on the desk. At this point the sergeant said, “I ordered you to wait for back up.”
The deputy started crying then bawling. He got up and ran out of the shack. We tried to talk to him to calm him down, and he wasn’t hearing us. He raced away into the night at a high rate speed. We were all stunned to witness this, and never saw him again. He left his Sheriff’s I.D., weapon, and that was it—he was gone. I often think of that night and imagine what could have happened… and I always wait for back up. — KK, KS

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ROOKIE MISTAKE Back in the early ‘80s I was fresh out of the academy…