I could hear the whirring sound in my brain begin to lessen as the blanket swallowed me up in the soft embrace of the mattress. I had been awake 26 1/2 hours and my brain had been running at 6000 rpms for the last 3 of them. The day had started for me at 7:00AM; Memorial Day. My family had visited the grave of my grandfather at Fort Snelling, followed by a fabulous spread of food at my parents house with the extended family. I was able to grab a thirty minute nap on the way home before starting my 12 hour shift at 6:00PM.
For it being a holiday weekend the night had been slow. As our team approached the last thirty minutes of the shift my anticipation for allowing sleep to wash over me was growing, but that would not happen for another few hours. My partner was dispatched to a suspicious vehicle in a neighborhood. The caller saw an unfamiliar vehicle parked outside her house and two people walking through her yard. I began responding to help him out as well and a minute before I got into the area he said that the two males were running away from him as he pulled up.
A block away from that house was a local bar called The Rustic Inn. The establishment is a local watering hole for all sorts of characters and attracts a large amount of bikers. I had responded to several burglaries there within the last two years. As I arrived into the neighborhood our dispatch said they had just received an alarm at the bar. I pulled my squad car into the parking lot and noticed three things very quickly: an open door on one side of the building, a broken window on another side, and a safe lying near a dumpster. I waited for another one of my partners to back me and we then entered the building with guns drawn.
I moved through the dining area and into the kitchen. Looking down a long hallway I could see papers and file folders strewn throughout the floor. We cleared the entirety of the building, upstairs and down, not knowing what may be around each corner. It is what a cop lives for in this job. My brain had started the whirring motion as soon as I had made my first observations and I could feel it begin to crescendo as the adrenaline started pulsing through my system. We did not find anyone inside which meant our two suspects had fled on foot. The next phase of the call was to establish a perimeter.
The next twenty minutes were spent trying to make sense of a slew of information. My partner last saw them running east. A neighbor saw them running north. Another neighbor thought he saw one of the suspects run across his yard and into a nearby house. During the initial stages of a dynamic call a lot of information can be bad information, false information or half-truth information. We tried making sense of everything that was getting thrown our way. The crime scene had to be secured, neighbors had to be interviewed for information, other squads had to be coordinated to set up a perimeter for containment, investigations had to be contacted to process the bar and a K9 had to be located to begin the track.
We determined that information about the suspect going into a house was not reliable, and thought the most credible information we had was that they had been last seen running north. A deputy with a K9 arrived from a neighboring county and we quickly gave him the gist of what had happened and where the suspects were last seen. As we were about the begin a track, dispatch advised us that they had received a call from a resident a mile south of our location who had seen two males in dark clothing walking through his backyard. If that information was related to the guys we were trying to find, it would mean they had double-backed from the last point we saw them.
We quickly had all our squads move the perimeter down to where they had last been seen. The day shift had just come on providing us double the amount of cars we would usually have. We got the area locked down within minutes and it was time to let the dog go to work. Within 30 minutes the dog had located them after tracking through thick woods and muddy swamps. The two burglars were soaked in water, caked in dirt and sand, and covered in mosquito bites providing us with a visible sign of street justice.
The two were brothers and had a reputation that proceeded them. They had been involved in numerous burglaries which involved breaking into bars, cutting out safes and leaving before we would be notified about the alarm. Thanks to an alert neighbor, tenacious cops and the nose of a German Shepherd we sent two guys back to jail. One of them had been released just three weeks prior.
Sleep came over me almost instantly as I was ushered into unconsciousness amidst the sweet embrace of victory.