Well it has been a steady week and we are staying up with calls so far. The number of call’s for service have increased both in the county and in the city. It is very important to remember that even though your call is important, all calls have to be prioritized as to when they came in and what type of call it is. I have seen it very slow here and I have seen officers as many as three or four calls down, so please bear with us.
Sunday I nearly got smacked by a small compact car and I am real glad that it wasn’t at night and that my flashlight was not in my hand. It was partly my fault, for not wearing my orange vest, but when the driver is turned around in the seat trying to see what the ambulance is doing, well that is never good. Traffic at any scene is dangerous, but we are asking everyone to be safe and watch out for those who are directing traffic. Even those TxDOT workers who have to flag traffic, slow down and follow directions, they are there for your safety so please slow down and watch for those giving directions.
Trooper Mark Owens made another good pop in the ongoing fight against illegal narcotics this past week. Trooper Owens stopped a vehicle for speeding and the male suspect had ecstacy and marijuana in his possession. Trooper Owens leads, in San Saba County, in DWI arrests and Felony narcotics cases so far this year, but not for long. I don’t know about the rest of you but we tend to forget that Texas DPS Troopers don’t only write tickets for speeding and seatbelts, but do a world of other things as well. Get on the DPS website and take a look at all the things that your Department of Public Safety does for the people of this great state. When you see one, be sure and thank a Trooper. Their job is not always a pleasant one.
Last week we were talking about traffic stops and we were covering the stop and the contact. We were talking about how important it is to get the traffic stop off to a good start. We discussed not making furtive gestures like reaching across the vehicle and or moving around alot inside the vehicle. This will put the officer more at ease. The next step is the contact, more than likely the officer will approach the drivers side, but we are seeing more and more of the passenger side approaches to vehicles. One thing to remember is that we are not only worried about you, but about that vehicle coming up behind us rubber necking, speeding and or intoxicated. Numerous officers around the country are struck by vehicles and are seriously injured and/or killed, so you can see why we are nervous. Work with us by keeping your hands where we can see them and wait for directions from the officer before doing anything.
Now take into account about whether this is a daylight contact or a night time contact, because believe me it does make a difference. A daylight contact is just as dangerous, but can and will be a lot smoother because of the ability of the officer to see more clearly. The officer will generally introduce himself and then ask for several things. It is usually a drivers license, an insurance card and sometimes a vehicle registration or a lease agreement. Have these things within reach before the stop and let the officer know where you are reaching before you do so. These first few seconds of contact are very important in making sure that this is a safe and friendly contact. There are a few things that you can bring to the officers attention at the start. The first is "Officer I want to let you know that I have a pistol inside the console right here beside me and my wallet with my license is in there as well." That is very important information and really sets a good tone for us. You have warned us of a danger and explained your actions before you even moved. It lets us know that in no way do you want us to think that you are intending to hurt us. Now on the other hand, if you start mouthing at the officer and then you snapped open that console and we then see a pistol there and you are reaching in there, do you think we will see your wallet or the gun lying there? Now what do you think our reaction will be, a friendly positive one or a different one altogether. I would be willing to bet it could be anything from the officer retreating and ordering you out of the vehicle, to you being sucked out of the window of your vehicle in a rapid and firm manor, like a twister hitting your vehicle. There are a lot of different actions that could occur between these two different reactions from officers, but you get the picture. No officer wants this type of stop, too much paper work all the way around.
Now this gets even more touchy feely at night when we can't see as well and oncoming vehicles can blind us. Yes sometimes our flashlights blind you as well, but once we realize that they are in your eyes we will move them. Slower is better at night, keep every movement slow and smooth and make sure the officer is prepared for your actions to his questions and that he knows exactly what you are doing. Weapons are our biggest concern and they come in all shapes and sizes, from rifles and shotguns, to pistols of all shapes and sizes. Do you know that they have cell phone guns and pens that are guns and knives as well? Get on the internet and you will see some of these things and you will understand why we react the way we do. Just give us a little time and we will get you safely back on the road and heading to your destination. Next week we will cover why we (the police) ask all those nosey questions and the information we check and the time it takes to do that.
Oh yeah, and on the lighter side. One more thing, one of our city officers, Jimmy Hill fancies himself a bass fisherman and as usual I have a thought on fishing. Jimmy Hill and Larry Shivener could team up and start a new business called "Guppy Adventures" as guides or something. Jimmy would have to hook them and Larry could handle the net.
- Well it’s been a productive week and we are really excited about the summer, except for the heat. We will be out and about and if you notice a lot of unusual traffic in your area, especially at night please call it in. We will do our best to put a unit in the area as soon as possible. Thank you for your support and keep us in your prayers. You can contact us at 325-372-5551 or 325-372-5432 or in case of an emergency call 911.