Last night I spent four hours in a police car with Officer Morris, driving through the streets of Sherwood keeping an eye out for bad guys… and mischievous animals (but more on that later.) Sherwood is divided into three sections: South, Central, and North. We were assigned to Central, which just happens to be my stomping grounds. There weren’t a lot of calls coming in (perhaps everyone was being on their best behavior for Mother’s Day), so we drove in and out of neighborhoods keeping an eye out for anything that looked suspicious, watching for speeders, and calling in occasional license plates. After we stopped to help a guy on Kiehl who had spilled a bunch of junk from the back of his truck onto the road, we assisted with a minor accident at 107 and Brockington, and then Officer Morris asked me if there was anywhere in particular I wanted to go.
“We could go down my road,” I suggested. “Ooh! I could text my husband and have him tell the kids to look out the window so they can see me driving by in a cop car and looking cool!”
Officer Morris was totally on board with my dorky request, and he said we could even stop for a few minutes to give the kids sticker badges and let them play with the blinky blue lights. I suddenly had this weird sense that he had somehow seen my facebook post from earlier that day. I had posted about getting ready for my ride-along, and my exact words were: “Think they’ll give me a badge to wear for the evening? Or let me press the buttons to turn on the flashing blue lights?” I was amused that he was offering these options for my kids. I guess he thought I was too mature to want to press the buttons myself. So we stopped by the house, and the kids got to climb into the car and try out the lights and even the siren, very briefly.
They thought it was so cool. Score one for Mom!
I gave the kids hugs and kisses and told them good night, then we set off on our next adventure. A couple calls came in: one was a medical emergency in a home, and the other was something about a crazy guy in the grass. Not sure what that was all about. The next call was the one we responded to, and it was about a big, mean raccoon hanging out on a balcony at an apartment complex. Officer Morris knew exactly where to go. He had dealt with this same call and same raccoon previously. Basically, this repeat offender has claimed a certain apartment building as his home. For some reason, animal control hasn’t been able to catch him yet, and for some reason, animal control likes to have an officer presence when tenants call about the raccoon.
We pulled into the apartment complex, and sure enough, the raccoon was exactly where Officer Morris said he would be. We parked and shined the spotlight on him. Moments later, another officer pulled in, so we all got out and stared at the raccoon for awhile. I actually think raccoons are pretty adorable, but this one was really large and feisty, and he had his eyes on us. He was sitting on a ledge just outside of one apartment where a visitor and his dog were stuck because they didn’t want to come outside with the raccoon only steps away hissing at them. So the other officer decided to take matters into his own hands and see if he could get the raccoon to leave. He grabbed a broom and walked up to the second floor balcony and poked at the perpetrator. The raccoon ROARED. That’s the only way I can describe it. I’ve never heard an animal make a noise like that. The officer scurried back down to where we were, and we continued staring at the beast from below.
A few minutes later, another officer showed up–this time, a female. She admitted she came because she was bored and wanted to see the raccoon. When she heard that the other officer had tried unsuccessfully to get it to come down, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She walked up to the second floor balcony, grabbed the broom, and nudged the raccoon until it took a flying leap toward the ground. I had a brief moment of wondering if the raccoon might come straight for us (is this why they told me to wear close-toed shoes?) but instead he landed in the bushes and scurried away. We all patted ourselves on the backs for showing another Sherwood ruffian who’s the boss, and we informed the trapped citizen that it was safe for him to come out now. The raccoon will be back, I’m sure, but it’ll be a problem for animal control some other day.
While we were tied up with the raccoon, another incident occurred in a church parking lot. A car was sitting in the shadows in the back of the lot, and another officer on duty just happened to see the car and decided to go check it out. There was a guy in the car doing who knows what, and the car was full of drugs. Needless to say, he got arrested, and we made our way over to see if there was anything fun left for us to do. Most of the excitement had died down by then. The car was still there waiting to be towed, so we waved goodbye to the other officer and continued on our way.
My time was almost up, but we assisted a lady on Brockington who had run out of gas (another officer pushed her car to a nearby gas station while we provided some traffic control/protection for them), and then we escorted a tow truck to the previously mentioned drug car because he had been given the wrong location and was sitting in another church parking lot wondering where everyone was.
I couldn’t believe that my four hours were already up. I wasn’t quite ready to leave! I had peppered Officer Morris with questions all evening and learned a lot about the job and how and why they do the things they do. Even though it was getting late, I felt wide awake and wouldn’t have minded going on a high-speed car chase or two. But alas, it seemed that most of Sherwood was tucked safely and innocently into their beds, and it was time for me to do the same. I thanked Officer Morris for having me along for the ride, and I made sure to drive the speed limit the whole way home.