Wednesday, February 08, 2006

1st cop job

In 1970 I had been out of the Navy for 2 years, married for 3 years, had a one year old baby, lived in a new FHA 235 house, worked for my father at his sawmill making 5cents an hour above minimum wage and all of this was in my hometown in South Dakota. There was an opening on the local Police Department and I jumped at it. There were no fingerprints taken, no photo’s and no background investigation. I was given 2 sets of pants [wool], one dress jacket [wool] and 4 shirts. A gun belt complete with handcuffs and holder, can of mace and holder, 12 bullet holders and one holster.
The firearm issued was a Colt Python, 357magnum. I was given (image placeholder)1 box of practice ammunition, 1 box of Super Vel’s 180grain hollow points and 2 rounds of some type of armor piercing ammunition. I was told to get familiar with the gun but only shoot a few rounds of the Super Vel’s to get use to the kick and the noise and none of the armor piercing. Those two rounds went into the ammo holder on the belt along with Super Vel’s. Another officer gave me a couple of extra boxes of practice rounds and I headed out to the range that was a dry creek bed outside of town. Big rocks for lots of ricochet dodging practice. My wife joined me and we spent the afternoon practicing. Now I had spent most of my life shooting something but I couldn’t shoot a pistol. Started with my BB gun, next my Remington .22 single shot rifle, had a colt .22 single six revolver, 16 gauge shotgun, 12 gauge shotgun, 10 gauge lever action goose gun. Still couldn’t shoot worth a damn with a pistol. I could drop 20 or 30 targets in a row thrown in the air with my rifle, qualified through all of the NRA badges for rifle before I was 16, could shoot skeet with the best. Hunted for years for pheasants, duck, geese but I couldn’t shoot worth a damn with a pistol. I tried and every time my wife got to shoot she would out shoot me. We would keep this as our very own little secret because I was off to be a Policeman.

My partner Wayne taught me everything else I needed to know. Pursuit driving, felony takedowns, all of the law I needed to know. Choke holds, which were still allowed I think. The typical training shift was 8 at night till 4 in the morning so we could get in on all of the action. On my third night we got into a chase with a broken down 56 Chevy that was running lights and driving erratic. 2 AM it was and Wayne and I were in hot pursuit all over town. The car went up on the interstate headed for Rapid City about 25 miles away. It was a really slow chase as 60 mph was all his car would go. I was really disappointed because I didn’t get to hear and feel the acceleration as those 4 barrels kicked in. We ran used Highway Patrol cars. When we pulled alongside he would try and ram us, forcing us off the road so Wayne devised a plan. He would pull up behind, shift to the left lane and I would shoot the rear end out??? Now that seemed like the most cockeyed plan I had ever heard of, especially when you take my shooting prowess with a pistol into consideration. I had no desire to be shooting at cars and people at 2 in the morning for traffic offenses. I told Wayne I wouldn’t do it especially since I had no (image placeholder)experience with my pistol. Wayne then pulled his pistol out, [he was a lefty] slid to the right with the car, told me to take the wheel and took a shot at the rear end. Flames jumped out of that .357 about 6 feet and it scared the bejevies out of me. He missed, as we could see the sparks and the bullet hit the pavement below the rear end. Didn’t make much difference as the car soon slowed down and then stopped with a mighty puff of smoke. We got everyone rounded up and in cuffs after a major battle and ½ can of Mace. Then I noticed that one of the kids had a fresh cut on his arm. Said he got scared and was down on the floor and he must of cut himself down there. It wasn’t a cut it was a sear and tear mark made by a .357 bullet that had bounced off the pavement through the floorboards, slightly tearing his arm as it went by, through the firewall and through a radiator hose, and lodged in the radiator, which quickened the slow death of the car. That was almost the end of my Police career. After about a month I was well trained and got my own shifts. (to be continued)


Mr. Completely said...

Sounds like a wild ride! GReat story!

......Mr. C.

T. F. Stern said...

This sounds like the old line, "Yesterday I couldn't spell policeman, today I are one".

Thanks for the story. TF

Denise said...

Oh my gosh. *L* What a great story! Who would have thought you'd have such action in your little town, right?

By the way, I've added a new post on the whole "front seat" comment from my last post, you can read the full story.