Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Just Call The Cops.

I recently got notification from the District Attorney's office that I didn't need to come in to testify on a Stalking case that I filed last year.

The victim had called 911 and met me at the police department. I arrived to find a distraught woman, who wanted to go inside the locked P.D. very quickly. I interviewed her, and learned that her baby's daddy, Jimmy Joe Bob, had called and threatened to kill her, and her family. He was very specific about how he was going to do it, and what tool he was going to use, and what members of her family he was going to kill. He made special mention of her new boyfriend. She knew that he would do it, she said, because she had been with him for a long time, and he was a very violent man. I checked his criminal history, and found that there was evidence to support this. While we talked, her phone blew up with voicemail messages. He left message after message, saying that he was en route from his distant town, coming to kill her and her family and her boyfriend. You could hear car noises in the background. He laughed with others, and sang little sing-song rhymes about how he was going to do this thing.

Eventually, after I had her statement, I answered one of the calls, and I talked to Jimmy Joe Bob. I explained who I was, and asked him why he had said these things. He laughed, and said he was just joking, but went on to malign her boyfriend and parents. As we talked, I could hear his vehicle slow, stop, accelerate, and continue like it had been going. I asked him where he was going, and he told me that he was going back home. He'd decided to cut his 300 mile trip short, just 40 miles from his destination: her house. She went home, alerted the family, and they set in vigil. I did some close patrols on their house. Of course, he never showed up that night.

I gathered the evidence, and put together a case and a warrant for Stalking (a State Jail felony). He was picked up, and made bond. The D.A. dropped the charge down to Terroristic Threat (Class A misdemeanor), but still continued on with the case. At the last minute, he plead for 9 months and fines. Not too bad, considering a Class A is only good for up to a year in jail, and no one ever gets that much.

This case was an unusually strong one, because Jimmy Joe Bob got talkative when he was drunk and tweaking, and he told me a lot that hurt his defense. He also left those damning voicemail messages. I don't always get such good evidence to work with.

_ _ _ _
I thought about that case, as I read my friend Don Gwinn's response to the New York Times editorial: "The Hard Work of Gun Control."

Apparently, it's ludicrous, in the mind of a N.Y.T. editor, to conceive of a situation when an armed family member would be a more effective response to a real threat than calling a police officer to your location, away from the thousand-odd other persons that he's charged with protecting.

There are 13,400 sworn police officers in Chicago. Sounds like a LOT, doesn't it? But then consider that the population of Chicago proper is 2.8 million people (greater Chicago metropolitan area is 9.7M.). Then, too, realize that only about a quarter of those officers are on duty at any given time, and you end up with a ratio of one officer for every 836 people. Then consider that a lot of those sworn officers are detectives and supervisors who don't patrol. But if we ignore that, and pretend that the chief and the captains and the deputy chiefs and the superintendents all get out and patrol, you get about a 1 : 836 ratio of cops to citizens.

Here's the fact, coming from a patrol officer who's given this some study to get a graduate degree in criminal justice: Police VERY RARELY interrupt crimes in progress. Police are out patrolling mostly so that they can see things developing, and so that they can be in the neighborhood to respond when something does happen. That is, we are reactive. Laughing it off and telling Mom to just call the cops on a situation that may very well never happen, but which is likely enough to make her scared about it, is the kind of insensitivity that makes me wonder if the author of such a comment ever had a mother. As the officer who must make the decision between trying to justify his camping out at this ONE house for more than a few minutes longer, or patrolling for the other 835 people on my beat*, I can tell you that it would seem like the best idea is to make sure that someone in the house could take care of Mama.
*FWIW, Chicago has one of the best ratios of cops. I'm at 1:4000 here.

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At Monday, July 12, 2010 2:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chicago may have a better ratio citizen to cop, but you won't catch me packing my bags to move there. When you factor in that nearly all of the 800+ are potentional victims are unarmed and the bad guys know it, I feel much safer right where I'm at.

At Monday, July 12, 2010 5:15:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Excellent post Matt, and it will send the libitards up the wall... They don't want to admit what you've just pointed out. Fact is, we ARE responsible for our own defense, if that defense becomes necessary. Period, end of subject...

At Tuesday, July 13, 2010 9:33:00 AM, Blogger Ted said...

Great post, but let me play devil's advocate for a minute.

My understanding is that a gun owner is more likely to shoot himself or a member of his family than to use the gun to stop a bona-fide goon, such as a burglar or attacker.

Further, I have heard that a gun owner is more likely to shoot himself or a member of his family than he is to BE INVOLVED in a bona fide violent event, such as a burglary or assault.

Statistically, it may be safer not to own a firearm.

At Tuesday, July 13, 2010 12:11:00 PM, Blogger Crucis said...

Add this, Oakland, CA PD Chief says he won't respond to Grand Theft, car wrecks and other felonies. "Contact the police on-line." They are forcing folks to fend for themselves all the while prohibiting those same people the means to do so.

Link is here:

At Tuesday, July 13, 2010 1:35:00 PM, Blogger SpeakerTweaker said...

I have great respect for law enforcement. Even more so for LEOs I've met who have given me ample opportunity to respect them not only for the job they do, but for the quality they possess as an individual. The people that live on your beat can rest assured that they are getting some of the best that law enforcement has to offer.

That said, if I lived on your beat, I would still be armed. Sumdood isn't going to wait for the police to arrive. Why should I?


At Wednesday, July 14, 2010 5:04:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

"Further, I have heard that a gun owner is more likely to shoot himself or a member of his family than he is to BE INVOLVED in a bona fide violent event, such as a burglary or assault."
Funny thing, Ted-- those stats on bad shootings? They round in the good shoots, too. Meaning, any justifiable shooting is a murder investigation, so it must have been a bad shoot, right? It gets rounded in. Then, too, there is a HUGE dark shadow of crime that is fended off with firearms, but never reported, and never includes a shot fired. I know of several instances where such things happened in my jurisdiction, but I have never worked an accidental shooting. Lots of people refuse to call the police after fending off bad guys, because they don't know how it's going to turn out.

But finally, to paraphrase our most recent McDonald judgement, since when has this nation decided to violate human rights just because it was safer?

People are far more likely to die in personal vehicles than in public mass transit. Shall we then ban private personal vehicles?

At Wednesday, July 14, 2010 9:49:00 AM, Blogger charlotte g said...

As your mama, I appreciate this a lot. And you know, let's follow through on that target practice we were discussing. Only can we do it in the early part of the day?

At Wednesday, July 14, 2010 3:09:00 PM, Blogger John B said...

I'm more likely to meet Jimmy Joe Bob, than one of Spokane's Finest. If you take into account that the cops are usually looking for me. For advice if nothing else.

Despite the fact that I started out an aspiring criminal mastermind, I'm usually more law abiding than the cops.

I used to rekey locks after domestic violence episodes. One time the perp showed back up, armed with knife, and demanded a key. while he tried the key in the lock, I brained him. Well, I hit him hard in the head. Zombies would starve on him. The cops showed up and asked me, politely, to stop standing over him with a hammer. I desisted, and complemented the officer on his polished manners.

He thanked me and expressed disbelief that I subdued the idiot with a vicious minimum of 100MPH tape. Wrists and ankles.

Ironically that was used as leverage to make me turn that charitable venture over to a group of extreme feminists, who later damn near beat a guy to death.

Pity he turned out to be the DV Victim.

At Thursday, July 15, 2010 2:26:00 AM, Blogger Justthisguy said...

Dammit, Matt, I know I left a comment on this post! You could have replaced it with something like, "For OPSEC reasons, I have chosen not to post the comment left by Jtg." You just never let it appear, instead.


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