998- That's the radio code for an officer-involved shooting (where an officer shoots a suspect). This is the second most urgent transmission next to 999 (officer needs urgent assistence -usually means he/she has been shot).
I heard my first 998 radio call yesterday as a solo officer (the other one came while I was training). The radio crackles a distinctive emergency tone and the dispatcher's voice announces, "998, repeat 998" and then gives the location. I was just finishing up a traffic stop when the emergencey call was broadcast. An undescribable sensation came over me as I realized I was just a few miles away.
I threw the citations to the driver, ran back to my car and drove code 3 (lights and sirens) to the scene. The anticipation was intense as I did not know if the incident was still in progress. Would I come upon a gunfight? Where and How should I park my car?? Which direction should I approach from to not be downrange?? How many suspects and what kind of guns are there?? All the way there I planned my approach: Locate adequate cover, remember the proper grip and target-sighting of my weapon. Be aware of bystanders. Scan the surroundings to avoid tunnel vision. Focus on my radio (auditory exclusion is common in times of stress). Most of all: Don't panic -it clouds judgement and ruins proper tactics.
All these things raced in my mind. As I rounded the corner, I spotted several other police cars already surrounding the scene. Apparently a man shot a woman outside a convenience store and then engaged in a gunfight with officers. The woman was transported to the hospital and should be all right; the man was killed. I learned the officer was not injured and felt a great sense of relief. There were plenty of other officers at the scene so I only stayed for a few minutes before returning to my patrol area. It's reassuring to see the immediate and immense response when an officer needs help. I'm glad to work in a city with so many dedicated and honorable colleagues.
The hunt continues for the serial killer. An enormous amount of resources are being poured into catching this guy. The reward for his capture has been raised to $100,000 and we're doing all we can to put and end to him.