NOTES FROM A RIDE-ALONG WITH SERGENT ERIC GARDNER
For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting my notes from a ride-along with Sergent Eric Gardner, which I took in July, July 6th, to be exact. During a research stint for my latest work-in-progress novel, MOON SPYER, I knew details would be stronger if I did some face-to-face interviewing and take a ride-along in a cop car to understand what really happens, on any given night, 4P to midnight, to our men and women in uniform. As it turned out, quite a lot happens.
But after reviewing my notes, it will take several posts. I have nearly twenty pages to decipher. Scribbles in some cases on scraps of paper but most on 8.5×11 letter-sized pages. So, here you go…
INSTALLMENT ONE: NOTES FROM A RIDE-ALONG WITH SERGENT ERIC GARDNER
Date: 7/6/18, Time: 16:00 hours, approx.
Entered secure front area.
Scene: Sheriff Krebs talking to a male citizen approximate age 53, short, shaggy salt & pepper hair, unkempt but not dirty. Citizen was telling Krebs about an irresponsible pedestrian—a woman with a child in a caboose on her back who jay-walked at a busy intersection. Citizen says, “she should be arrested for that.” Krebs suggests he talk with town council. Citizen leaves.
Dispatch buzzes me in and tells me to wait. The deputy who will be my ride-along is busy feeding inmates and freshening water.
I get a learning curve sort of run-down: the lingo, the layout of the building, devices and equipment, and an understanding how incredibly busy these dispatchers, Kitty and Nick, are.
Kitty says, #105-1559, as she speaks with someone in her headset, then #105-1601.
#105 is a deputy. 1559 and 1601 are timestamps.
Six security/surveillance cameras sit high above the front dispatcher’s desk on the wall, each with a scene of the following:
- The marina
- The county map,
- Separate video surveillance for holding cells 1, 2, and 3, and
- Holding cell 4—the rubber room.
Four people wearing orange jumpsuits move around in three of the cameras, two men in separate cells, and two women in the same cell. One of the men is in the rubber room.
Surveillance of the marina zooms to the dock where some guy moored his dingy. There are speakers and as Kitty says, “all this guy’s earthly possessions.” They seem to have been expecting him. Say he’s come from Anacortes, nearly 20 miles away in a dingy. Quite a jaunt.
The druggy guy paces, leans, screams, paces more inside the rubber room. He crumples to the floor. “Excited delirium,” Nick says, then, “comes about when someone mixes heroin (an opiate) with weed. The two don’t mix,” he says. Then Kitty adds, “but weed and meth go.” I think back to my days of seedless pot called, Sensimillan*, pot laced with an opiate. I thought they went well together back then. Things must have changed.
The holding cells are concrete with molded furniture. There’s a drain in the floor. The floor drain is used to piss into, and whatever. A thrumming stirs in my stomach. I can feel it. The druggy guy’s going to piss in front of me. Well, not in front of me. I get to experience the whole thing close-caption, on screen. It hasn’t happened yet.
Inside dispatch office, I notice a Ouija board in an Easter basket. The irony.
Nick states that only direct family are allowed visits to inmates. Twice Nick he says to someone on the phone, “I can confirm in custody but that’s all I can say.”
A woman (from somewhere else inside the county courthouse) says something about an NJA, a “non-jurisdictional agreement” (a medical statement that imminent death is expected) and my mind whirls back to my mother, when the doctor signed the same order for her condition.
After that, things got real, real fast.
*Sensimilla — From the Spanish meaning “without seed,” this term has mostly fallen out of use in the modern day, but refers to the top grade of cannabis which has no seeds, as opposed to seeded schwag or mids. • “The people said everybody wants to get some They want the Sensimilla And everybody wants to get some “Give me my Sensimilla” –Slightly Stoopid, requisite stoner band
Thank you for reading, NOTES FROM A RIDE-ALONG WITH SERGENT ERIC GARDNER. The next installment will be either Thursday or Friday this week.
Susan Wingate is a #1 Amazon bestseller and an award-winning author of books that span the genres of mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal, inspirational and Christian fiction, fantasy, memoir, and writing how-to’s. Susan Wingate’s novels are recommended for teenagers, young adults, and for older adults who are young at heart! Learn more about her novels at: www.susanwingate.com.
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