Monday, June 1, 2009

All In A Days Work

Chapter One

I promised my boys that I would ride bikes with them as soon as I finished edging and mowing the backyard lawn with my wife. They played in the backyard and let me work while anxiously waiting for me to finish.

I just finished edging the backyard when I received a phone call from Reggie. Reggie, a fellow SWAT team member, does not call me much, so I knew it meant we were getting a call out.

I helped my wife move the trampoline so she could finish mowing the lawn, then I called Freeman; my bike, carpool, and SWAT partner. I called to see if he got the text message for the call out. He had and was on his way to pick me up.

I gathered my equipment and told my boys that Dad was getting called to work to get a bad guy. My oldest boy told me that I can get bad guys anytime as his eyes swelled up with tears. He reminded me of my promise to take him on a bike ride as soon as I finished the yard. He pointed out the completion of my first task.

I patted my boys on the head and told them I was sorry, I gave my wife a kiss, and gave the little one a kiss on her forehead as I headed out the door. I promised I would be home first thing in the morning to do whatever they wanted.

Freeman arrived at my home on cue and I clambered into his truck and headed to the South Station.

At the station we gathered our gear from the lockers (vest, helmet, goggles, rifle, ammo, gloves, radio, flash bangs, zip tie hand cuffs, knee pads, ear protection, boots, pants, and shirt) and headed to the briefing room.

Every SWAT member did their part to prepare the armored car with plenty of water for the scorching Arizona morning. We got dressed with our equipment and made sure the rifles were well oiled. We started hydrating in preparation for the long afternoon.

We sat through briefing and were advised of the reason for the callout. On 5-28-2009 at about 2353 hours our suspect found the later fatally wounded victim he had been looking for. With one close range shot gun blast to the upper chest, the victim bled out on the doorstep of the witness.

The suspect was identified by several witnesses and it was later learned that he was hanging out at his girlfriend’s apartment in the projects: hence the SWAT callout.

The briefing concluded as two neighboring SWAT teams arrived to assist. They brought their far superior armored vehicles known as the Bear and the Bear Cat. Our assignment was to extract the well armed homicide suspect from the government project housing.

With several contingency plans in place we arrived on scene and quickly surrounded the duplex apartment. I was the first operator off of the Bear armored vehicle and took a position of cover in front. I covered down on the front door to the apartment.
Our sniper was positioned just south of me in an open field. He had equal cover on the front and side doors. Freeman was in the second armored vehicle and immediately contacted the occupants of the attached apartment (duplex) and extracted the family to safety.

I moved the small red dot from my AR15 rifle EOTech around the front door and expected it to open at any moment.

With all the SWAT operators in place, the driver of the Bear got on the bull horn and told the suspect that his residence was surrounded. He told everyone to exit the residence through the front door with their hands in the air.

Within moments the front door opened. My heart skipped a beat as my little red dot found it’s way to the bridge of the suspects nose. I immediately recognized the suspect from his picture as I told him to place his hands high in the air. My little red dot moved from the bridge of his nose to the center of his chest and back again as I coached him on how to exit the residence.

To most everyone’s surprise, the suspect complied with every order without a fight. He was quickly taken into custody by the arrest team and hauled off to jail for processing. We finished clearing the residence of any additional suspects and turned the home over to detectives for the completion of their search warrant.

After hours of preparation and a surprisingly speedy execution, we were done. Freeman and I made it back to the station in time to eat a quick lunch and start our bike patrol shift.

We changed out of our SWAT garb and put on the patrol gear. After hydrating for a brief moment, we left out the back gate.

Chapter Two

Right out the gate, Freeman and I made some quick stops. We spoke to some suspicious characters but had nothing major. The sun began to set and the scorching heat dwindled to a sweltering heat.

We rounded the corner at Hill and Central and saw two bicyclists at Madden Dr and Central.

We had some civil bike infractions and had every intention of stopping the two bike riders at the corner. As we told them to stop, however, the younger Hispanic male, riding a small BMX style bike, failed to make eye contact and started to turn north down the center of Central Ave.

I followed the young Hispanic male as every bit of my five years of experience told me he was about to flee.

Just as the suspect started peddling faster I knew why I recognized him.

At the beginning of my workweek the detectives sent out a press release photo and synopsis regarding a known armed robber and burglar known as Shawn. Everyone in the department was looking for the squirrelly thief. A verity of complete squads held special details in his honor with no avail. I had studied the photo, even kept it in my pocket, and knew I would recognize the Dumbo size ears anywhere.

Freeman zoomed past me to follow Shawn as I grabbed my radio and told dispatch that Bike-11 was in pursuit.

Though I could not remember his name, I wanted everyone to know that it was Shawn we were chasing.

I told dispatch, “We are in pursuit northbound on Central Ave from Madden Dr with…..I don’t remember his name but the detectives are looking for him.”

With that exceptionally long statement out of the way I refocused on the chase. Freeman and I followed Shawn down an unpaved alley where he luckily escaped a crash into a block wall.

We came out of the alley and Shawn chose to head down a dead end street. Shawn, having peddled his little tired legs as fast as he could, attempted to dismount his bike to flee on foot. As his feet connected with the pavement his legs turned to rubber. Shawn threw his hands in the air and appeared to be attempting an Olympic dive as he slammed head first into the hardened dirt of the unkept front yard. He let out an exasperated grunt as his body collided with the dirt floor.

Shawn tried to leap back up to his feet but his rubber legs gave way again, causing him to do another swan dive into the dirt. Freeman, who had somehow dismounted his bike and run to the far side of Shawn before the Olympic flop, now had his knee at the middle of Shawn’s back.

I came to a screeching halt and nearly ran over Shawn’s midsection with my front tire. I dismounted my bike and grabbed Shawn’s arm with a hard twist before we were able to get him into custody. I thought to myself, “You don’t run from the Bike Squad,” as I told dispatch our current location.

To add a twist of irony to the story, I remembered that Shawn is Bubba’s step brother (See previous Blog “You Don’t Run from the Bike Squad!”).
I had to muster the strength to keep a strait face as I told Shawn, “When you get to prison with Bubba, tell him that the same people who caught him, caught you.”

Shawn was turned over to the first arriving unit and we continued our bike patrol.

Chapter Three

Freeman and I, still glowing with excitement from the last catch, turned a corner or two in time to catch up to four juveniles walking down the road. As we caught up with them, and before we could get any words out, we could smell a strong odor of marijuana.

With a few, “we know one of you has weed, hand it over,” phrases, one of them handed over a bag of marijuana with a glass pipe.

After calling mom, completing an interview, and collecting all evidence, we were off in search of another.

We rode down the street and into a Mobile home park. As we turned past the front office we found a group of teens drinking alcohol. Four arrests later, with at least two angry parents (angry with the kids not us), we rolled into the station.

After impounding the evidence and securing our paperwork, we dressed down and headed home for the night.

With smiles on our faces we reflected on the day. Not everyone can say that they detained a homicide suspect, chased down a robbery suspect (on a bike), caught and arrested a group of preteens with drugs, and busted a group of teens drinking beer, all in one day.

I still have a smile on my face. I enjoy what I do and though small, I make a difference. You can say it's all in a days work.


Jim & Emily Zierse said...

Now take your kids on that Bike Ride!!!!

Good job we could use a cop like you in Vegas you know?

Jim Z

Lyenna said...

One day your kids will understand the responsibilities of a parent, especially the one that is a cop;) What a productive day! I'm so glad you are safe. If the guy resisted in Chapter one, would you have had to shoot him? How do you keep it together? I have to say though, chasing down bad guys would be such a rush:)

Missy said...

What you do is pretty awsome.
I'm glad you caught those little ferrets!
We need a bike squad in my neighborhood, we have a ferret infestation.
There's these two kids in particular I really want to be rid of. One is a tall skinny kid with a vampire main down to his shoulders and his little fat buddy. They both live just down the street from me. They're always haveing these little "meetings" with strangers in cars. Every time I see them I wanna run them over with MY car.
Anyway, did you ever get to go ride bikes with your boys?

Missy said...

One more thing; I love the face you're making in the picture at the top of your blog. It's very Bruce Willis. :)

Diane said...

Next time I'm thirsty, I'm going to say that I want to hydrate myself!

Whew! What a day! Stay safe as well as hydrated!! Love ya!

Tina said...

Wow, chapters 1 and 2 are great....busy day for you though eh? Kudos to Megan and the kids. It would be hard to be married to someone that does what you do.

Angela said...

Another great story, I love this blog!

Kimberly said...

My palms are still sweaty! I don't know how Megan does are both amazing! Thank goodness for good, hardworking men like you who keep our cities safe.

The Carney Family said...

I love that you record all of this down. Freeman never gives me that much detail of your adventures, so thank you. Great stories, I caught myself holding my breath a few times while reading. I love the comment to Shawn to tell his cuz Bubba. Great work!

pzierse said...

You really are my son!!! I tell all my friends about you being a great cop, but never tell them the stories, Now I can. I am grateful for a son who does his job and does it well!! I'm proud of you as a son, father and a law enforcement officer. I'll try to keep up with your blog now that I know how to get to it.
I love you Kelly,