April 21, 2011
In the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to ride along with the Pinehurst and Aberdeen police departments. The first trip came courtesy of the Pinehurst PD. A 12-hour shift (actually I cut it about 90 minutes short) from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. I'll discuss more of that trip in an upcoming column in May that will accompany a story (possibly a series of stories) about DWIs in the Village. Going to devote this entry to that second ride along, a 12-hour shift (minus about 3 hours for another assignment) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on a Saturday. I will not mention names of those involved, but otherwise, the details of the two incidents that happened during the shift are true and retold to the best of my recollection. I suppose you could title this, Out of the mouth of Babes and Adults. The first call came in just before 10:30 a.m. It was a domestic issue. A husband had called the police because his wife threatened to harm herself after she left the home following an argument. To cut a lengthy story short, The woman told police she wasn't going to harm herself, but she did decide to leave the home and go live with her family, who live outside North Carolina. She returned to the home and gathered up some clothing and other necessities and took the couple's two children, ages 7 and 4, as I remember. The older child, a boy, seemed particularly attached to his father. The two shared a long embrace as the boy's mom loaded the car. Before we left the home, the father was sitting on his front step when his son came from around the side of the house. The boy, called to his father, telling him he had to give him something before he left. He produced two quarter-sized blue rocks, one in each hand. He gently placed one in his father's hand. The father politely told him to keep the rock, saying he had plenty just like it that his son had given him. The boy insisted he take it, calling it a "special" rock. "Any time you want to talk to me, speak into the rock and I will hear it," the boy told his father. I was speechless. Later in the day, I was riding with another officer and we rolled to Walmart a a backup for a shoplifting call. Again, in the interest of brevity, I'll cut to the chase... The accused had purchased some items and allegedly shoplifted others. The officer I was riding with was working with one of the women to match her receipt with items in her shopping cart. After the items where checked against the receipt, the woman placed a young child (I'd guess 7 or 8 years old) back into the cart, shoving all the bags of purchased items until the back of the cart near a blanket that was balled up at the bottom of the cart. After the woman hastily moved the items, she knocked an item out from under the blanket. The officer noticed the item as he was standing on the other side of the cart, and pulled the item out, asking the woman where the item came from. She said she didn't know. As you probably have figured out now, the blanket was covering more items that were not on the receipts. All the while the girl sat in the cart silently eating chicken from the deli. Despite the officer trying to be kind and speak with the child, she didn't say a word to him. The mother thought otherwise. She raised her voice to the child, telling her very forcefully not to talk to anyone unless she is given permission. Yet again, I was speechless. And this time, it was probably a good thing.