Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My new trainee and I pulled into the restaurant parking lot and were just about to start dinner when a domestic violence hot call was broadcast. Our Sergeant was en route to the call so we answered up for backup with another training unit.

We arrived to find our Sergeant waiting outside the front door of an apartment. A grandmother with 3 grandchildren were outside telling us her daughter and son-in-law were in the bedroom fighting. She heard things breaking in the bedroom and thought the fight was physical.

The other training unit arrived and the 5 of us entered the apartment. The living room and kitchen were empty and we heard noised coming from the bedroom. We approached it down a short hallway when a woman came out and closed the door behind her. "We're fighting." she stated calmly and walked past us. "And, he has a knife", she added.

Four of us drew our handguns while Sarge stood back to direct us. The two trainees and I approached the closed bedroom door with guns up. They threw the door open and stepped back. A man in his 20's was standing in the middle of the room with a three-foot Conan the Barbarian sword raised above his head. He wielded the sword with both hands holding it over his right shoulder. He was shaking the sword slightly like a baseball player in the batter's box anxiously awaiting the pitcher's throw. I shouted, "DROP THE SWORD!"
"DROP THE SWORD NOW!" I commanded again.

I advised the other two officers to keep their guns ready and I transitioned to my Taser. I engaged the power switch and aimed the red laser dot in the center of his chest. I commanded one more time, "DROP THE WEAPON!"

His third refusal was also his last. I announced Taser deployment and pulled the trigger. I heard a small popping noise as the Taser cartridge was activated and two metal darts were launched forward. One probe penetrated his left nipple and the other punctured his upper left thigh. The sword instantly dropped to the ground. As 50,000 volts of electricity repeatedly cycled through his body, his body became rigid. With fists clenched and arms at his sides, his paralyzed body fell backwards like a Douglas Fir in December. If a lumberjack was present, I would not have been surprised to hear, "Tiiiiimber!".

With the suspect immobilized on the ground, the training officers holstered their guns and placed him in handcuffs. He was totally compliant and apologetic. He went from mighty dragonslayer to frightened schoolboy in 5 seconds. He looked up at me and whimpered, "Oh my God........That hurt soooo bad."

He then told us he had been drinking and was upset because his wife "wouldn't leave him alone." him. He grabbed the sword and started slicing through household items. When we arrived, he was hoping we would shoot and kill him in front of his wife as "payback" for her nagging. This genius believed his violent death would teach his wife a lesson.

(Taser vs. Sword)
I've heard and read many things about the safety of Tasers. I know they have been blamed for deaths. Without them, our only option would have been the lethal force of our handguns. I don't know for sure if Tasers actually cause deaths but I'm certain they have saved countless lives where police would have been forced to use guns instead.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Close Call

I knew becoming a cop would subject me to a more unpredicatable and dangerous lifestyle. I am reminded of the potential for violence each day I put on my ballistic vest. On Tuesday night, I had my closest brush with disaster yet.

I sat in the police station break room with a dozen other officers watching the election results come in. I was surrounded by the very traffic officers that escorted Senator McCain and Governor Palin to the nearby rally headquarters. The other officers watched with growing dismay as Sen. Obama's electoral vote count continued to rise.

Shouts of anger, disgust, and panic arose in chorus. Then it happened: The network 'called' the election and announced Barak Obama as the next president of the United States.

The officers jumped to thier feet, cursing and fuming with defeat. Although my fellow Arizonans overwhelmingly voted for the hometown Senator McCain, it was no use as the election was over.

One of the officers noted my calm smile and upbeat demeanor and asked, "Aren't you upset about this?"

Keeping the same grin, I looked back at him and answered by saying nothing at all.

Understanding my position, he and the others gave a look of utter contempt and disbelief. As they stormed out of the room I heard such words as, "damn liberal", "traitor", "muslim communist" and "country's going to shit". I felt like my uniform was the only thing keeping me from getting lynched on the spot.

I was left alone to watch the television feed of the celebration in Chicago. Thousands of Obama supports danced and cried tears of joy. I felt what they did and was letting it all soak in when another officer stormed in and slammed the television power button. He let out a long and winded wail of frustration. With fists cleched tightly in fury he repeatedly told me, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I had to turn it off."

He stomped back out of the room.
I turned the T.V. back on.

I felt strange belonging to a family of brothers who felt so differently than I did. I understand and even respect other's opinions about who they believe would make a better leader. But why the anger and disgust? Do they all really believe the slanderous lies about Barak being a muslim terrorist, socialist, or foreing policy pushover? I know we cops have a reputation for being closed-minded and intolerant homophobes, but witnessing my comrades' behavior was sickening.

Some of you who read this might be surprised to find out I voted for Obama. You'll be even more shocked, then, to learn I'm also a tree-hugging, bleeding-heart, liberal.

"What kind of an American are you?", I can hear some people saying.
"A proud one." is my answer.