Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nothing Better to Do.



It was getting late and I was a little disappointed with myself. I was working one of the worst neighborhoods in Arizona in the middle of the night and I had still not found anything to do. At this point I was willing to stop anyone for any simple violation I could explore.

I turned west from 111 Ave and passed an ordinary looking minivan. There was nothing suspicious but I was willing to stop it if I found a quick violation. As is customary for me to do at this time of night, I glanced in my side mirror as the van passed to see if the it had a license plate light. It did not.

After viewing the traffic violation, I nonchalantly gave my patrol car a u-turn to make a traffic stop.

Before I completed the turn, I heard the van’s tires squeal as I watched the driver quickly round the corner at the end of the street.

With a little more aggression, I fish tailed out of my u-turn to advance to the corner as quickly as possible.


The van was gone.

I made a guess as to which street the van went down and I guessed right.

I saw the van, now blacked out, speeding down Cocopah St.

(They teach you in the academy to not get “tunnel vision”. They want you to stay aware of your surroundings and not become fully focused on only one thing in order to keep you, and those around you, safe.)

My training went out the window.

My right foot became heavy and the engine roared all the way down Cocopah St. I slid around the corner and made a sharp left at the next street to follow the van.

I flew around the next turn in time to see the minivan turn up Mohave St.

With my engine temperature rising and brakes smoking, I was glad to see the van decelerate to a slow roll.

All of a sudden the driver door flew open. A skinny male suspect hit the ground sprinting.

He dashed down the street and whipped around the corner down a dark alleyway.

I quickly learned that a car can (but shouldn’t) be put into park while still rolling.

I flew out of the patrol car and ran full speed toward the alleyway. As I ran I helplessly watched the van continue to roll down the street and crash into a house.


I whipped around the corner into the alley and watched the suspect run from a distance as I quickly gained ground.

I had to dart around trash cans, overgrown weeds, large boulders, telephone poles, and the occasional barking dog as I continued the pursuit.

After trailing the suspect for a complete block he must have thought he lost me, or was extremely tired, because he started to slow.

I rounded the last corner in time to tell the suspect to “Stop!”

I was almost caught off guard when he did. He put his hands in the air and went down to his knees.

I slapped cuffs on the kid and escorted him back to where I left my patrol car.

I was somewhat relieved when I saw that my smoking overheated patrol car was not missing. In my excited departure I left the door open, keys in the ignition and the engine running.

I tossed the kid in the back of the vehicle and started to put the pieces of the puzzle back together, now I had to figure out why he ran……

It turned out that the minivan did not run into the side of a house, it rammed a chain link fence (not much damage). The vehicle had no license plate so I checked the VIN number. The car did not come back as stolen. As a matter of fact, there was a key in the ignition.

Would a snot nose kid flee from the cops because he was driving without a license?

The vehicle registration came back to a car dealer out of phoenix. The car dealer address did not exist and there were no valid phone numbers.

How could I know if the van was stolen?

I slid my tape recorder into my pocket and spoke to the juvenile, or as we call them, "J". I had to read him his rights but he was still willing to talk.

Though I was clueless thus far about the true nature of the case, I continued the interrogation. Using a ruse, I told the J that I knew he stole the car.

I told him that the vehicle was under surveillance by under cover officers and they had trailed him. I told him that I had his photo from the hidden cameras inside the passenger compartment. I lead him to understand that I already knew anything he was going to tell me so he should be honest.

I knew very well that the ruse was either going to blow up in my face, or the J would buy every word.

He caved.

Almost in tears the J told me everything. He told me that he saw the parked van and found the door unlocked. He told me the key was in the ashtray and the engine started so he took it.

While I finished up the interview and daylight broke, I saw that people began to gather around the scene. Most onlookers were just curious neighbors. But one J in the crowd stood out. He was wearing a baggie shirt, like my suspect, and was about the same age. I also noted that his shirt was little dirty.

Most people, especially kids, do not wake up at the crack of dawn to put on a dirty shirt to see what happened to the distant neighbor’s fence.

I separated the J from the crowd and asked him, using a ruse (because I had no inkling of an idea that someone else was in the car), why he jumped out of the car to run then decide to come back.
The J said he did not know what I was talking about as he looked down and to left. With the signs of a true liar, I pushed the issue and told him not to lie to me because I already knew the truth. (When I lied…I mean used a ruse…., I did not look down and to the left).

This J caved too.

After he admitted to being in the stolen car with his buddy I slapped some shinny bracelets on his fragile wrists and hauled him off to jail with his friend.

I have heard many people ask, many times, "Do you have nothing better to do then stop me for that!?" To be honest, sometimes I don't and cases like this are the reason why.
So the next time I stop “you” for some silly traffic violation, please know that I do it because I am in the process of keeping “your” neighborhood safe.

7 comments:

JOLENE said...

THANK YOU.

Jim & Emily Zierse said...

This story is a ruse. j/k. You are the worlds best cop!

pzierse said...

AWSOME!! What a great story!! I am glad the police are out there. I am so glad you have great intuition!! You are a great Cop.

Angela said...

It's nice to know that you can lie so easily and effectively. ;)

POLICE DIVER said...

Brother Z:
Holy crap Batman, you better get over to my blog asap to pick up some training tips and pointers from this old guy. I thought for sure we were going to hear an 11-99 coming out of you for a flipped squad over a 10 cent Juvie bust. Hey no matter how bored you are YOUR life is a hell of a lot more valuable than a juvie on a joy ride!!
Okay you got another notch on your arrest belt, the squad survived, but Arizona would be at a great loss if you had gotten hurt or worse.
Good thing your Sgt. or FTO isn't reading this, or it may be pursuit driving 101 refresher lessons for you. LOL!!
Any how man, glad you got your bust, kid's are stupid, but you did mirandize him so it's fair game after that, but I'm even happier that you are alive and safe!!!

Missy said...

I can't believe they both caved like that. I would've caved too. I suck at "rusing."
But I guess now I know I don't have to be a good liar to get away with something... Next time I knock over a bank or steal a car I am so not going to tell the truth no matter what the officer says to me! :)

Lyenna said...

Sheesh! I love it. Your life is so fun. But I gotta say I like living the adventure through you.