"A man finds joy in giving an apt reply-- and how good is a timely word!"
We received many prowler calls. Usually the person calling has heard something or sometimes seen something that they think is someone prowling around their house.
This call came in the same as most calls, complainant reports a prowler at such and such an address. Two of us responded. The area was a subdivision, so the neighborhood was all houses next to each other. When we arrived, the other Officer told me, "You take the back and I'll take the front."
I went around back between two houses and ran into a man with a rifle. He was pointing it at another man who was at the fence between his house and the neighbor's. The first thing I did was to make sure they both knew that I was the Police. I then told the man with the rifle to put it away. He explained that he had caught the other man prowling around and he didn't want him to get away. I told the man that was fine, but he could put up the weapon now because I would take over. He went back into his house to put the gun away.
I walked up to the suspect and told him to keep his hands on the fence. He saw that I did not have my weapon out and that the rifle was no longer pointed at his back and decided now was the time to jump that four foot fence and beat feet. Needless to say I had different thoughts on the subject, so I grabbed him and we started fighting against the fence.
During all this neither one of us made much noise. I did not call out loud for the other Officer because I knew when he had checked the front he would continue around to meet me, and at that point I would have help. Well, anyway that's the way it's supposed to work. However, as I said before, we got a lot of these calls and never found anybody. Most often we were able to calm the person who called down and just keep the area on extra patrol.
Both of us that responded thought that this would be the same type of situation. I had found out differently but the other Officer still didn't know. He was still out front, he was talking to a neighbor who had come out to see what was going on. The man's wife had also come outside. She decided that it was safe to check her backyard, after all there were Police Officers on the scene. She came around and saw me struggling with the prowler. It didn't upset her at all, she just walked back up front and asked the other Officer, "Aren't you going to help your partner?"
He said, "Oh he's just checking the backyard, he'll be around in a minute."
She said, "Okay, I just wondered cause he's fighting with a guy back there by the fence."
All I heard from where I was, in the back yard, was, "Oh Crap!!!" I looked up just in time to see the other Officer jump the fence coming to me. He didn't even break stride coming over. By this time I had the handcuffs on the suspect, so I let my partner walk him to the car.
by R.L. Dettwiler