Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back to the Road

Master Police Officer Chuck Grist went to the police department today to draw some of the equipment turned in before reporting for active duty. I picked up my patrol car, my handgun, my taser and some other gear and it felt good to walk back into the headquarters.

Monday, February 2, is my first day back at work. The first week will be used for makeup training in firearms, defensive tactics, computers, CPR and wellness testing (PT test for you Army people). My department has a mandatory test twice a year just like the Army does.

My first day back on the road will be the 11th and I have been assigned to day shift. Between now and then, I will complete the above training and also familiarize myself with any legal changes since I went on active duty.

The American Ranger blog will continue to support veterans, warriors on active duty and all causes related to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines - and their families. I am proud of my fellow warriors and my retirement from military service (which is effective on February 28) is bittersweet. Still, it is time to pass the sword to the next generation.

I will also spend some time talking about cops and police issues as well. I may even talk about some of the more interesting calls I find myself dispatched to.

Thanks once again to all of you for your support for me and for my fellow service members, whether we are at war or at home. This old Vietnam veteran remembers how it was a generation ago and it's nice to see the current troops get the support from their fellow citizens that they deserve.

After I returned from Iraq in 2004, I was assigned to night shift patrol. It was fun to get back in the groove again. Cops and soldiers have a lot in common, especially the dedication they have for each other.

Naturally, I responded to a lot of interesting calls back then, but I did write about my first good arrest after my tour in Baghdad:

* * * *

Winter, 2004

"The convoys were over and I didn’t have to worry about mortars, rockets, ambushes, or improvised explosive devices any more, but my survival instinct was still fully engaged.

One morning at 0300, or three a.m., I was moving slowly on foot through the shadows outside a darkened apartment building. Like all hunters of men, my senses were at their peak – sight, hearing, even the sense of smell. Skulking about in the wee hours of the morning is one way a guy like me finds society’s thieves, robbers and other neighborhood “insurgents”. Someone’s got to do it; it might as well be those of us who love it.

Now I was easing my way through a concrete, steel and stucco jungle looking for what the police dispatcher described as a “suspicious person”. The biggest challenge was to find this human shadow before he saw me. As we used to say in Vietnam, "Whoever sees the other guy first wins."

Then I saw him.

The dark figure sitting in the car appeared to bob up and down, disappearing below the dashboard for a moment and then reappearing. With a flashlight and my nine millimeter Glock at the ready, I surprised the guy with a sudden burst of illumination. The light revealed a shattered driver’s window and a now-terrified thief.

I yelled the standard "Police, freeze!" and the car burglar gave me a "deer in the headlights" look. With dark, 'Mahdi Army' type clothes and a black knit cap pulled down over his ears, this wide-eyed moron was sitting in the driver’s seat, wearing gloves, holding the car’s stereo in one hand and grasping a screwdriver in the other.

The guy panicked and made a quick move toward the passenger door, but the old soldier’s command voice convinced him to stop. His shoulders drooped in defeat, he dropped the radio and then the screwdriver. He had no choice but to raise his hands in surrender.

I smiled and thought to myself, "I’m back."

* * * *

Am I looking forward to police work? You bet I am.....

Charles M. Grist

1 comment: