Early one morning we were called regarding a prowler in an apartment building. The person reporting only saw the prowler’s shadow through her shaded window, which wasn’t much to go on. My partner covered the front and I covered the rear of the security building, to which we had no key access. I saw the rear gate slightly ajar and pulled on it. As the gate opened, a plastic water tumbler clattered to the pavement. That was the individual’s alarm, as the noise could be heard over to the next block.
I hid in the shadows and after a couple of minutes I saw an individual, appearing to be intoxicated, stagger out of the garage. I advised Dispatch that I was checking a possible subject and my partner quickly joined me.
At this point I did not know if this person was a subject out for a stroll or my suspect… and at that point he was not under arrest. I started to pat him down and felt a hard object in his right sock. I quickly handcuffed him (hands behind the back, backs together, and handcuff wrist-tight and double lock the handcuffs). Now I could search in a much safer environment and retrieved a 10-inch butcher knife from the right ankle. I continued my search and in his left sock I recovered an even larger butcher knife. Further into the search I also recovered some “kinky” items. I believe our actions prevented a sexual assault that night.
Some years later at about 0600-hour we received a radio call of a suspicious individual who tossed a bicycle over a 6-foot chain-link fence into the city park and hopped over the fence after the bicycle. I entered the area from the park entrance, saw the individual and challenged him. Mike, my beat-partner joined me. As this point I had a low-grade misdemeanor (trespassing/prowling) and I elected to search first as I was not sure if I was going to arrest him. I had him put his hands behind his back, back of the hands together and I controlled both hands by squeezing the fingers. With my right hand I started a pat-down frisk for weapons. At the front of his waistband I felt the outline of a pistol and conveyed this fact to my partner, who “screwed” his .40-caliber service pistol into the subject’s left ear. I retrieved a very realistic plastic replica of a Beretta from his waistband and the remainder of the search recovered an illegal knife and some illicit substances. As the man was wearing two complete sets of clothing I assume we interrupted him committing a robbery.
There are some lessons to be learned. We had an office worker who went to work for us in Dispatch. “Marilyn,” a single mother, caught the “fever” and wanted to become a cop. My beat-partner and another supervisor took her under our wings and when she graduated the academy, I became her Field Training Officer. Marilyn completed the Field Training and was on her own, however, the rest of the watch still watched over her.
One warm spring night, we were parking our cruisers at the end of our shift when a radio call of a bicycle theft in progress was broadcast. Marilyn and I jumped back into our cruisers and headed towards the location. I went wide, in case the suspect elected to run. I heard Marilyn broadcast that she was out with the suspect and she sounded stressed.
I raced over to Marilyn’s location and she was wailing on the suspect with her PR-24 baton with seemingly little effect. The suspect seemed calm and I told him he was under arrest and to placed his hands behind the back of his head. He started to comply and to this day, I don’t know if something in his body language, or if I was angry at getting some unwanted overtime. I grabbed his neck and attempted to use a neck-restraint (carotid hold). The suspect was wearing several layers of clothes, including a hooded parka and sweatshirt. All the extra clothing made it difficult to put him out and I “rode” him like a bucking bronco for several minutes, finally driving him to his knees and prone on the ground. Marilyn got a handcuff on his left wrist, however, either a training screw-up or somebody playing locker-room games, the other side of the handcuffs was double-locked. Now I had to release my hold, drag my handcuffs out and complete the handcuffing. After getting the individual into custody and booked, I changed out of my uniform and saw a huge bruise on my thigh where the suspect attempted to grab my genitals.
Lesson learned: Marilyn came upon to the suspect who was attempting to cut the lock on a bicycle. Marilyn “drew-down” on the thief, who seemed to comply and she holstered her Colt Trooper. The guy threw the cutters at Marilyn, who then withdrew her PR-24 side-handle baton and used two-handed power strikes. As the individual was high on PCP, the baton strikes were ineffectual. Her inexperience caused her to re-holster her revolver, where it may have been more prudent to detain the thief at gunpoint. On the other hand if this “duster” had charged her and disarmed her…it might have ended in tragedy. Marilyn also learned to check her equipment prior to going on duty. This incident occurred almost 30-years ago, when revolvers were common tools of law enforcement. Also at that time PCP was a popular drug, a drug that gives the user superhuman strength. Marilyn continued on to a distinguished career with a major law enforcement agency.
— JB, CA