“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Friday, July 11, 2008

What to do....

Pretty much everyone who knows and works with me knows that I have no problem arresting someone and making that ride... Don't get me wrong - I don't make bad or frivolous arrests, but I will take your ass to jail in a heartbeat if you've done something that needs it, and I won't feel a bit of guilt afterwards for "ruining your life/family/night/whatever" when I do so.

This week was one of those rare occasions I felt bad putting the cuffs on someone.

Like a lot of areas, we tend to get the summer thunderstorms at night - lots of heavy rain over a couple of hours, hot & humid. It can either shut things down with everyone heading inside, or flare up tempers and cause more calls along with the typical accidents and other traffic drama. This past week we had that every night, which didn't help my mood any since I felt like working and having some fun.

Then, a call comes in... maybe something fun... until I get the details. The gentleman in question literally called up saying "I'm wet. I'm drunk. Come take me to jail." I already had a feeling I wasn't going to be thrilled, but it wasn't what I expected.

I pull up to the convenience store, the sky pouring rain like the proverbial horse on a flat rock... An older man is standing at the payphone and as soon as my lights hit him he turns around, leans against the wall with his feet spread and says "I won't give you any trouble officer." I tell him to relax as I watch his hands, trying to start a conversation as I sort out how he really is. It's obvious from his clothes he hasn't been able to change them or shower in quite a while, much less get out of the summer sun or the nightly rains. His eyes have that glaze of the career alcoholic who is in his comfort zone, and he sways slightly as we talk.

"How much have you had to drink tonight?"

"Oh, I've been drinking all day sir, got a deal on some 40s."

*sigh* so much for not being drunk & me having that excuse.

"Are you SURE you want to go to jail? Can't I help you find a shelter or something? Don't you have some friends to stay with?"

"Nope. Been out on the street for about six months now. I don't feel like getting cold tonight, and I know they'll give me some dry clothes and a hot meal. What time do they serve breakfast?"

"You're not going to give me any trouble, are you?" I ask, positioning myself just in case he decides he wants to act up - drunks can be a bit unpredictable when the cuffs go on after all.

"No sir, I just need a ride down there." he responds without a bit of hesitation as he puts his hands behind his back.

This guy ended up being one of the most courteous, nicest arrests I've made over the years - heck the only way it could have been easier is if he had his own handcuffs on when I pulled up. He honestly just needed a warm, dry place to sleep and a hot meal - and this was his only choice.

Like I said it was one of the few times I felt bad taking someone to jail - he has a family out there we talked about, used to have a decent job & over the years it just all gradually fell apart. Now instead of spending his golden years with the joys of his grandchildren in his lap, or seeing his children succeed and help him in return, he is making it day by day; his only worries are his next drink and where to sleep. And when it gets too bad he wants to spend those times behind bars as opposed to walking free, just because he knows he will be taken care of. And unfortunately, every option I have to help him by this point ends in the same place.

Sometimes doing the right thing isn't that fun, even when it's right...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your story made me cry and I am not a crier. Sometimes doing the right thing is hard, yet at the exact same time it is almost always for the best. It's kind of like the suicide story you told a few weeks back...what in the world makes people just give up on life? Obviously he hasn't physically given up on life like your friend, but mentally he has. I hope the thought of his grandkids in his lap brings him around sooner rather than later or worse yet never. Life is just so darn precious and I hate it when I see people throwing it away.....makes me feel sad.