Saturday Story

Cops are getting a lot of press, mostly bad, especially by people that have no idea of what it is really like “on the job”.

They Just Knew

Cop wives have a tough time. Just the usual stress of the job does in high percentages of marriages. Sometimes the wife and in some cases now the husband, develops a 6th sense for when something is wrong. They can’t say what it is, but they just know. Batman and Robin they called us. As foot patrolman we took the escapades of two New York cops, called “The Supercops”, and adapted them to our Waikiki Patrol zone. Besides, Batman and Robin sound better than Jim and Ray. We even had name tags made. Yes, we heard about that later.

Day after day, night after night, we chased, searched, and generally rousted the drug dealers and customers at and near an apartment building located at 351 Seaside. The drug center of Waikiki. If it was for sale, you could find it at “three five one”.

We made dozens of busts. Many were just dumped because of illegal search and seizures but we got names and took a lot of drugs off the street. That was our main goal; take the drugs off the streets. And have some fun.

Like the night we got chewed out by the watch commander. We had brought in three suspects in an “on view” robbery arrest. “On view” means we had actually observed them in the course of the robbery. Actually we had been hiding in an empty garbage dumpster, with cardboard boxes cut with eye slits over our heads. The suspects had strong armed (Robbery By Force) two teenage boys out of about $17.00. So we jumped out of the dumpster and arrested them.

But the Watch Commander was not impressed because we were wearing sneakers instead of regulation shoes. We had forgotten to change back when we came into the station like we had been doing for several weeks. He didn’t think it was funny. He and I crossed paths, and swords, for years.

One night we were just walking around when we observed one of our favorite dope dealers doing a little business. We observed the action “going down”. Grabbing both men we shoved them onto the wall in the “position”. The dealer went without trouble, he was getting used to it. It happened on a regular basis. But his customer, a medium height but very well built young black man, took a swing at Ray.

Ray ducked the first punch and cracked the suspect on the side of the head with a big 5 cell flashlight, a Kel-light. This didn’t even shake the suspect who promptly kicked Ray in the crotch. As he went down I was cuffing the dealer, whom I then shoved to the ground. I spun around and struck the suspect in the middle of the forehead with my flashlight.

I hit him so hard I bent the front of the light, shattering the lens and sending batteries everywhere.

Imagine my surprise when the suspect, face covered with blood, didn’t go down but tried kicking me in the crotch. I took most of the impact on my thigh, but it still knocked me down. By then Ray was up and swinging a blackjack but the suspect managed a punch to the throat that put my partner down again.

The suspect took off like a gazelle with me in pursuit. As I started running I saw Ray grabbing the dealer, who was trying to get to his feet. Knowing that end was covered I centered my attention on the fleeing buyer. Bad move. In hot pursuit either foot or auto, you have a tendency to create “tunnel vision”. This is not a good idea. As the suspect and I ran across an empty parking lot, I failed to see we were passing right down the back side of “351”. We were in full view from the building lanais.

The sound of the shot, the ping of the slug slamming off the ground in front of me, and my face first dive to the pavement at full speed were all pretty close together. Doing a face first dive in a blacktop parking lot, while drawing a gun is a good trick, even on the best of days, but doing it while trying to locate someone shooting at you is damn near a circus stunt. I’ve never been in the circus. I lost a lot of knee, and elbow skin, not to mention my suspect. There I lay; uniform torn, knees and elbows bloody, and gun in hand searching the night. I was waiting for the next muzzle flash.

It didn’t come. In fact, even with a lot of “creative questioning” by beat partners and other officers, the shooter wasn’t found. Nor was our fleeing suspect, he never even slowed down.

The dealer, who didn’t know the name of his customer, was turned loose because we had no evidence without the buyer. He walked away, laughing.

Due to my slide on the pavement, and the injuries received in the fight, Ray and I went to the medical annex to get patched up. There we were interviewed by “Detectives” who informed us the television news crew had picked up my partners “SHOTS FIRED; OFFICER DOWN” radio call. The news had already been on TV, “Waikiki Police Officer Shot. Details at ten”.

When Ray had heard the shot and had seen me hit the ground, he thought I had been shot and had put the appropriate call on the radio.  He had reacted properly but was sure surprised when I stood up and walked, well limped, back to where it had all started. So surprised he forgot to make a second radio call advising everyone that nobody was shot. One of the sector sergeants made the call.

The television station was called and a new news bulletin put on the air. But it was a little late.

We finally were told to go on home for the night. I didn’t feel much like driving so Ray drove me on home. Imagine our surprise when we saw his wife’s car parked next to my apartment building.

Both wives were sitting together when we walked in the door. They came off the couch like sprinters. We were then smothered with hugs, kisses, and tears. They both heard the first news bulletin, and despite there being no names used, that sixth sense told them one of us was involved.

Ray’s wife had driven straight to my home to await the call they were sure was coming. That call asking one or the other to go to the hospital, or the chapel. No names were mentioned. They just knew.

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