This is a sordid tale of misery, mystery and humour detailing one women's (me) journey as a ride-along passenger with a dear friend of mine who happens to be a police officer, on a Monday night, night shift in the roughest district in Calgary...if you want to read about my night of 6 hours as being an "Observer" with the Calgary Police Service then settled in for such an adventure that I just had to write my story and share it with you all...over the next few blog posts....
Everything started out just like on a "cops" show on TV. My life long interest in this occupation was to be a detective - I want to solve crimes...so meeting my constable friend at the station for this adventure of a life time (for me anyway) in her police car was so exciting. I got to wear a special jacket that read Observer and I also got a radio that clipped to my collar so I could hear dispatch, so very official.
We did what they call "parade" this is where the crew that is about to take to the streets approx 12 of us for this night shift starting at 7pm, sit class room style, I sat behind a rather funny cop who was signing tickets from the night before to submit, and there was several tickets for one person. A well known prostitute. He gave her tickets for everything, being drunk in a public place, loitering, etc etc and these tickets were quite high some were around $175 dollars.
So, this is how this works, they give them tickets for every wrong move if they are being rude or obnoxious - to get them off the streets - they don't or most don't pay the tickets and they fail to appear in court - they their tickets become outstanding so they have an arrest warrant. Again if they fail to appear in the court for this they will be sent to prison to work off the time and the amount of the tickets.
Almost always these people (prostitutes) are re-offenders.
We listen to the Staff Sargents go through the previous shifts take-aways - there was a roudy, I believe it was a code 12 which is intoxication in a public place several men got out of control -- our district had to call for backup and it became quite the scene . Then they go through the top interests for the day. This includes people that have been released from prison known offenders that are back on the street, thefts in the area like a couple of expensive guitars that have been stolen - they have pictures of the perps. Pictures of young men that have been caught steeling kids cell phones, new half-way houses that have just opened in a new area as these locations cause the crime in the area to increase as well as known drug dealers. They show pictures of the people they have, their vehicles and whatever they can provide to us before we go out.
A stop at Tim Hortons proved to solidify the cop stigma of stopping for coffee. Tim Hortons loves that the cops stop in to have coffee as it creates a safer environment around the Tim's for other establishments as well as people who live in the area. They just sat and talked about their families, sports, and just regular life stuff - these are just normal people, did you know that?
Once getting settled in the car, which by the way is rather sparce, no carpet, it's quite large inside with a laptop mounted to the dash, control panel between the driver and the passenger as well as just your bare bones basic needs. It was a rather cool night that night for April 30th but a nice night...
So we check the log for the outstanding calls to see if there is any code 3 or 4's these are the ones that need to be addressed immediately, we were in area 2-4. Each car gets an area within the district. There was only level 1 and 2's which are low on the priority list but still need attention.
Call comes in from 911 but it's hung up. Every call that connects to 911 and hangs up get's cops to visit their premise no matter what. In this case dispatch calls the house back - sends the call to us in the meantime and we head over there - dispatch connects back to us and lets us know that a child was playing with the phone - we visit anyway. We get to the house, it's a philipino family, we step right into the front door, this women greets us with her 10 month old boy and a dad come walking down the hall as well as a young girl. You can get a pretty good sense of the situation from here - everything seems calm and fine and safe.
We leave, clear the call and carry one.
Driving around for a few minutes, we run a couple of liscence plates - which they run as many liscence plates as they can - they are looking for stolen vehicles and known offenders. My partner (let's just say I'm a cop for one night of my life) she is quick with driving and multi-tasking, plugging in liscence plates and checking on the driver. a) does the plate match the vehicle? b) does the driver match the plate name (mail, female etc) location fit where we are? d) look up the registered person - some of these people were arrested for guns, drugs, and other crazy things...so if there was an outstand warrant and this person was in the vehicle in front of us - we would have done something I'm sure of it!
We come to an area where there is known loitering and prostitues...my partner spots a women wondering about, we pull over and ask a few questions. She's plesant enough, give my partner her name and address - checks out. She's supposedly waiting for her "friend" to fix the window in his truck...he's no where to be seen, but she carries on with this elaborate story about how he's fixing the window of his truck. She's speaking about a million miles a second - I can't quite make out what she's saying except a few words...fixing a broken window, needs a thingy, honest. My partner asks her if she's high and when was the last time she did crack? Yep the real world people - the P was honest and said like 10 minutes prior...she didn't have any outstanding warrants or anything, we made sure she was okay, and carried on to our next stop...
Intrigued about my adventure...more to come.