Behind the Badge

Do I look like I'm bluffing?

The best bluff I remember was by the Officer who trained me. On Hilton Head there is a big public parking lot at the entrance to the public beach. We had received many complaints of teenagers playing loud music and drinking at night in the parking lot. This evening we received a report of a large crowd disturbing the peace.

Upon our arrival we found about fifty people in the parking lot. We got out of the patrol car and my partner announced that everyone would have to leave because we had received complaints about the noise. The group had been drinking and they crowded around our car. They asked what we were going to do if they didn't leave. My partner calmly told them that we would put them in jail.

They all started laughing and one wise guy said, "You don't really think you two can take us all to jail do you?"

My partner reached into our patrol car and pulled out the riot 12 gage shotgun. He chambered a round and laid it on the hood of the car. He calmly stated, "Of course not. I don't plan to take all of you to jail just those who are still standing when we run out of ammunition!"

Everyone looked at my partner, then at me, then at everyone else and then they started leaving one by one, until we were alone.

Common sense says that they had to know we could not just start shooting into a crowd, so why did it work? Because no one was sure, or at least one hundred percent sure. Besides that, we gave them all something to tell their friends about.

Another reason this worked was that they thought we would back down because our plight seemed hopeless. When we didn't it threw them off guard so that they did not know what to expect next.

by R.L. Dettwiler

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