I got a call last night for a disturbance, as we roll up on scene and get to the apartment we can hear the male and female inside arguing. (It is funny how when you deal with situations on a daily basis you develop instincts) When your a rookie, its always rock n roll forward, always biting at the bit to charge the hill. When you get older and more seasoned, you take that extra second to stop and listen at the door. You can pick up a lot of useful information by just taking the extra second, and gathering intel before reacting.
Almost like the story that Robert Duval tells Sean Penn about the daddy bull and the son bull (the kid bull wants to run down the hill and bang one of the cows in the valley, the father says “son lets walk down and bang em all”) from the movie Colors. As you get older you begin to understand the knowledge Duvall was imparting on his partner. It is fun to watch as the newer guys actually begin to understand it.
I’m sure it was fun for the guys who trained me back in the day when I actually got it. My big thing was kicking doors, for the longest time, if there was a chance to “take the door” it was me who begged to be the guy. I realized that they always let me do it. A few of them would make a show of it but then quickly relent and let me do the booting. I then realized that when you kick the door in, you have to write the report. A door kick always requires a report and the ranking officer would just kick back and say, well seeing as you are writing anyway, then you write up the incident as well. Now I let any rookie who wants to kick, kick away.
Getting back to the story though, another instinct you tend to develop is a keen insight to what is just an average argument and what is a prelude to a domestic assault. This one was most definitely just an argument, but boyfriend decided that he was a lawyer without a degree.
We listen, then knock, boyfriend and girlfriend come to the door still arguing. We separate them and attempt to get their individual stories.
But boyfriend (who I had) comes down the stairs (as I said) still arguing with girlfriend and now us and he has his hands in his jacket pockets. A good cop is always aware of potential suspects hands, and a situation like this a police officer absolutely has probable cause PC to pat frisk for safety.
I’m trying to diffuse the situation so I do this as non confrontational as I can. I pat the guys shoulder and advise him “hey buddy, just gotta check you for my safety” and I patfrisk around his jacket and pants pockets. He takes offense and pulls away telling me “you arent supposed to touch me I got rights”
I enlighten him to the fact that, This is for MY safety as well as HIS safety. (I’m going home at the end of my shift as uninjured and alive as when I started my shift and I’ll do what I need to do to facilitate this. Also, if I don’t have to guess if he has a weapon in his pocket, then I won’t be more likely react with force if he moves quickly for some reason)
Having listened to my explanation the guy relents and understands, but lets me know that he learned from the cop shows on TV that I can’t touch him without a warrant. Uhmmmmmm, have I told y’all how much I hate the combination of unrealistic cop shows and people who are ignorant of the law? Well I do.
Story ends with girlfriend leaving the apartment and going home to her house, boyfriend going back inside for the night and Enforcer continuing to patrol in a freezing cold rainy thunderstormy night.