I opened the door to the backseat of my squad car and what I saw required every ounce of restraint I had to remain professional.
It all started with a response to a trailer park for an argument between a boyfriend and girlfriend. It was the average, run-of-the-mill, everyday back and forth that cops deal with so frequently. We respond, break up the argument, try to mediate a solution, leave, and return again later that night. Sometimes it’s the next day, sometimes it’s the following week, but we inevitably go back. We can count on it like the afternoon delivery of the mail to our houses.
Two hours later we received a call from a neighbor saying that these two were arguing again in the street. It was around 12:30AM on a warm, summer night. These are times when the beer flows freely, the heart acts boldly, the lips speak freely- and people go to jail for it. I was less than a mile away from the call and told dispatch I’d respond to it. I navigated my squad car through the trailer park and as I came around the corner, I found what I was looking for.
The boyfriend was walking down the middle of the road in cartoon, fleece pajama pants while sporting off his skinny chest and torso. A smattering of people were standing in the yard watching the drama unfold. The price of admission was free. As I got out of my car, my sense of smell was hit with the pungent odor of burned out rubber. I could see a haze of smoke wafting across the road, as if I had just stepped into a five car pile up at Talladega.
Not knowing what had happened, I quickly patted the pajama man for any weapons, and put him in the backseat of my car. I began speaking to his girlfriend and bystanders to get the full picture of what had happened. The lovers had revivied the argument that night, with alcohol and stubbornness being the kindling for their spat. He finally decided to hit the eject button and leave, while she realized he was in no condition to be driving a 5,000 pound object on wheels. However, he would have none of her objections to him leaving in his truck.
He had jumped into his truck while she jumped into his way. As she was standing in front of the truck he thought it a good idea to put a little fear of a Ford F150 engine into her soul. With the brake depressed he pushed the gas pedal down causing the tires to do a brake stand. As smoke began churning underneath his rear tires they were not able to withstand the force of the message pajama man was trying to send to his girlfriend. The rear tires blew out. His plan to leave was now as deflated as his back tires which had just given up the ghost. Chunks of tire were scattered throughout yards in the area.
After gathering the story I went back to my squad to place pajama man under arrest for domestic assault and driving while intoxicated. I opened the backseat of my squad and found a very sweaty and dirty man wearing my sheriff’s office jacket. As anger swept over my face I saw fear come over his. I yelled, “What do you think you’re doing?” Apparently going from the climate of a warm summer night, to the cool air conditioned back seat of a squad car was too much for him. He had found my jacket in the backseat and naturally put it on for warmth. The combination of a smelly, dirty, sweaty suspect wearing my sheriff’s office jacket put me over the top.
After yelling at him I paused. I took a breath and collected my faculties. After composing myself I removed the jacket from him and replaced it with a set of handcuffs and off to jail we went.