Behind the Badge

Get out of my way, Stupid!

One night at about 3 a. m. another Deputy found a pickup truck on the beach in Hilton Head. The truck had been rolled over and had a lot of damage to it. It was sitting upside down and no one was around it, the keys were still in the ignition. The Highway Patrol's policy on one vehicle accidents like this, especially at night when they would have to call someone out, was that they would work the accident only if a driver was present at the scene.

We were sure very soon the owner of the truck would call and report it as being stolen. It was not unusual for someone to get drunk, have an accident then try to report their vehicle as being stolen. Sure enough, in a few minutes the dispatcher notified us that they had the owner of the truck on the phone reporting it as stolen.

I was the supervisor of the shift, so I told the dispatcher to have the owner meet us at the public parking lot at the beach. In a couple minutes he showed up. He had not even bothered changing cloths, he was wet and covered with sand from head to toe. He was also very highly intoxicated.

We started asking him questions about where his truck was stolen from and when, etc... We also asked him how he got all wet and sandy. He became very nervous and at this point we asked him if he realized that if he had been driving he could be charged with filing a false police report.

He said, "Just forget the whole thing if you don't believe me." He tried to go around me to walk off. I put my hand against his chest to stop him and told him he would have to wait because we had called the Highway Patrol since we believed he had been the driver.

He slapped my hand away and said, "Get out of my way, Stupid!"

He quickly found that he had just done two things which you just don't do to Police Officers at 3 a.m., or any other time for that matter. Those two things were slap at them and call them names.

He also found out why this 'stupid' Corporal was nicknamed "The Choker." I reached out with my right hand and grabbed him by the throat. I had found this to be an effective hold early in my career and had used it a lot. People do exactly what you want them to do, if you control their breathing, it does not matter how big or bad you are, you've got to have air to fight.

The only thing I hadn't counted on was the quick reaction of the other Deputy, who was standing behind the man. At the same time that I grabbed the guy by the throat the other Deputy grabbed him by the arm and tried to spin him around. We finally got our act together and got him arrested for public disorderly conduct and put him in my patrol car.

While I went to close the door he yelled, "I want to talk to whoever is in charge!" I told him he was talking to the person who was in charge. At that point he calmed down and asked, "Would it help if I apologized?"

It didn't help, after the Highway Patrolman was finished I took him to jail.

by R.L. Dettwiler

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