Last night we were a little short due to a few guys off on military leave (these dedicated guys not only serve their city, but also their country). I had talked to the night watch commander the night before and mentioned I wanted to help out, as long as I could work district 26. 26 is the patrol district that covers Canal Park, Downtown and the Central Hillside. It is by far the busiest police district in the City and where I spent most of my time as an officer and sergeant.
Working in 26 with me last night was a couple of bike officers and one other patrol squad. The night started off fairly slow. I was able to make a few traffic stops and connect with a couple of old friends in the neighborhood that I had not seen in a while. One traffic stop I made involved a guy who didn't move when the light turned green on north bound Lake Avenue over I-35. After a few seconds I noticed his head pop up as though he was texting and then he moved forward. He was caught by the red light again at Lake and Superior Street where I pulled along side of him. His head had dropped again and I could see him looking at the glow of his phone. I got out of the fully marked black and white and walked the 7 or so feet to his car. He was so engrossed in looking at his phone he didn't even notice me standing in full uniform looking at him through the passenger window. The way he was holding the smart phone I could clearly see what he was looking at. To my amazement he was looking at porn while he was driving! I knocked on the window and he fumbled with his phone and put the window down. I told him when the light turned green to pull across the street and over to the curb, which he did.
Once stopped across the street and out of traffic I approached him and told him I saw him looking at porn on the phone. To my surprise he denied it. He looked and acted embarrassed. I thought he was likely married or at least in a relationship, so I reassured him I would not be calling his wife or anything - to which I saw relief in his face and he kind of nodded his head in a manner of "okay you caught me." I told him I was going to cite him for the violation.
I reviewed the statute for the violation with my sharp partner, Officer Dan Rendulich, who had just stopped by to offer any assistance. It was clear-looking at porn on your phone while driving is illegal. Here is the law.
I wrote the ticket out for the violation and returned to the driver. I explained the ticket to him to which I found he had a pleasant demeanor. When we were done talking he said, "that's a good law" and extended his hand to shake. I shook his hand and away he went, hopefully no longer driving and looking at porn.....or his phone.
Other highlights from the night included;
A very intoxicated 33 year old from Brainerd who could not quite find his hotel room at a Canal Park hotel and decided to pass out in the middle of the hallway at the hotel.
Took a nice guy to jail who can't stay away from his girl friend's residence where he was trespassed from due to many police calls. He readily admitted his wrong doing and took ownership which was rather refreshing. We were called to the apartment because of the reason he was trespassed in the first place-disturbing the other tenants.
A call to a party where things got out of hand.
Couple of fights.
Rolling into bed at 6 this morning I again drifted off thinking what a great group of quality officers we have at DPD (and how much I miss working directly with them)....