Police Work is Like A Box of Chocolates….

Police Work is Like A Box of Chocolates….

By Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D

You never know what you’re going to get.

One of the things cops like about the job is the variety. It may seem that the days are filled with traffic stops, theft reports, and resolving disputes, but an ordinary call can become unique in a split second. Then there are some calls that start out weird.

While working campus law enforcement we had a report of a blowgun attack. It was a drive-by, random knucklehead who thought that spitting darts at unsuspecting bystanders would make his weekend more exciting. The fear in his eyes when he was caught never matched the terror in the girl’s eyes waiting for the paramedics to take the dart from her arm.

Also in the random attacks by sharp objects department, a Texas woman was driving in San Antonio recently when a spear pierced her windshield which, fortunately, was stopped by her steering wheel just inches away from her. The investigation continues.

In Florida, a date over drinks turned to attempted murder after a man ended up in the hospital from drinking cocktails spiked with Raid roach spray. The woman invited the man to her home in DeLeon Springs. Experts say that insecticides like Raid contain poisons that can restrict breathing, induce seizures, cause vomiting, and result in victims going into a coma. The woman fled from police but was found by a police K9 where she was hiding in bushes near the home. She was charged with a felony.

As an example of attacks with other unconventional weapons, a man with a history of assaults on law enforcement charged a Connecticut detective in an unprovoked attack. Detective Kari Travis suffered several blows resulting in stitches and bruises after the man struck her, knocked her down, and continued the attack even after being shot by the detective.

While a veteran Miami, FL detective was interrupting a carjacking at an accident scene, she was intentionally struck and pinned against a vehicle by Andrew Wardell, 49. Wardell was charged with attempted murder after using a stolen vehicle to assault Detective Marvalyn Lee Chin, a 19-year veteran officer, against a parked vehicle, then striking another officer as he attempted to flee. Lee Chin suffered serious injuries in the attack.

A police officer chose to use his patrol car as a weapon to stop an active shooter. The Nassau County police officer came across a female “waving the gun around at innocent people, putting them in fear for their lives” and ended the threat with the most immediate means available by striking the woman down with his vehicle.

In a more conventional use of a patrol car to stop a crime, a Georgia Trooper stopped a truck that had struck several onlookers after doing donuts in the street and driving toward a crowd of people. The trooper used a tactical intervention to ram the truck and stop the reckless driver.

In Kentucky, police rescued a woman who had been chained to the floor of a house after attacking her with a machete then leaving her alone in the residence. The woman managed to get close to a window that she was able to break and yell for help. Firefighters and police had to break into the barricaded home using a ladder to reach her on the second floor of the home, then used bolt cutters to free her.

In Denver, CO an officer was cut by his own badge that was ripped from his shirt and used as a weapon in a surprise attack during a routine wellness check at an apartment complex. Being called to check on someone’s well-being is a routine police call, but one where the outcome is never known. While the officer was talking to the caller, the suspect came out of the building and began assaulting the officer, including ripping off his badge to inflict a six-inch gash on the officer’s neck, then attempting to gain control of the officer’s gun and a second officer’s TASER.

An officer cannot afford to make assumptions about what will greet them even during the most routine of activities. Any officer that says they’ve seen it all won’t know if that’s true until the next call.