It was my first week back in Detective Bureau. I was getting a slice with some of the guys when I got a call from my lieutenant. “Yeah, Boss?” “You better check on Wheaten and Milner; they requested uniformed back-up,” he said. Day two in DB and I hadn’t even programmed all the investigators’ numbers into my phone. Figured. “Right away, Boss.”
Just before lunch, Wheaten told me he and Milner were going to interview and arrest a grand theft suspect for whom he had probable cause at a particular nursing home. At least I knew where they were. I reached Milner on the phone. “All good?” She said, “We got in a fight, but have just a few scrapes.” “Okay, see me back in the Bay.”
I spent seven years as a plain-clothed detective. It never escaped me that I had traded in a ballistic vest for a silk tie. As a dick, you arrest the same bad people, but have fewer tools at your disposal than a road officer. Your empty hand techniques and officer safety awareness need to be better than average. Good training and mindset are critical.
I met my folks back at the office to write up some injury reports. Fortunately, we could joke because the damage was minor–an abrasion to Milner’s neck and shoulder and a contusion to Wheaten’s forehead. Milner was scratched during the scuffle with the felony suspect. Wheaten’s noggin got slammed into some drywall.
I had supervised both of these new detectives as patrol officers when we were on Midnight Shift. I like them, respect them, and was glad that their injuries were slight. Still, it is akin to sending your kids out to play in traffic every day. I worry about their safety.
Having transitioned from the road to detectives to the road and back again, I have a greater appreciation for the officer safety challenges facing the new generation of gumshoes. (That seemed antithetical.) I advocate our guys and gals be alert, decisive, and harsh in confrontations while wearing “business casual attire.” Without all the tools of a police duty belt, your options during a collar are reduced, as is your margin for error. Train smart and stay safe.