“What If” Part #4

I cannot express the fear I felt at this point. I knew he did not know I was right there. I knew if I did not take action that I would not be safe because he would see me eventually if not immediately. I took action and yelled, “PUT YOUR HANDS UP!!!” The Suspect then turned his body towards me instantly and fast. At this point he had the Handgun in his right hand. He was holding the gun just above the door where the window comes up. He pointed it at me.

    Now, I cannot explain to anyone the quantity and the speed with which my mind processed the information and happenings. I also knew the Captain was somewhere behind me and was in danger as well. I cannot express accurately in words the thoughts and feeling that went through my mind and body.  The best way I can describe it is that it reminds me of being tased. I have been tased twice in my Law Enforcement Training. I still have a vivid memory of the pain that it causes. I mean IT HURTS!! Well, when the gun was pointed at me it was if I could feel the bullets coming from the gun. I could feel it as if it ran from my neck down my back. I like to think I am a tough guy, but I must admit I was in fear for my life and the life of the Captain.

    I will reiterate that I cannot explain how fast my mind processed all this information because that is the short version of what went thought my mind. I made an instant decision that my life and the life of at least the Captain was in imminent danger of Death and Serious Bodily Injury if I did not act. My training took over. I know my Patrol Rifle was on Safety. I do not remember taking it off Safety. However, Muscle Memory from my training took over. The Safety came off. I do remember firing two rounds at the Suspect to stop the threat. The suspect fell back into the Truck. I did not know, but I thought the threat may have been stopped and I feared he had been killed. I say feared because yes, I wanted to stop the threat of my and the Captains death. Yet at the same time I have never wanted to take another’s life. Just at that point the suspect popped back up and the truck took off to the west.

    I do not remember putting my rifle back on safety, but it was on Safety when I handed it over for the investigation. The truck had sped off to the west and Deputy Greenwell, whom had containment on the south end, was (what seemed like immediately) behind me in his patrol vehicle. The Captain jumped in with him and they pursued the suspect. I immediately radioed “SHOTS FIRED all officers are OK” to Richfield Dispatch. I also relayed to them that Sanpete County was 10-80 (pursuing) with the suspect.

    I began walking west toward the pursuit and met up with the Sergeant and Ephraim Officer. The Sergeant asked who fired. I relayed to them both that it was me. By this point we were all headed west. Several vehicles passed me. About 300 yards to the west the suspect gave up and the Sanpete Sheriff Office Captain and Deputy had the suspect in custody and on the ground lying on his back behind the stolen truck. It seemed as though the Ephraim Officer rendered aid until they could get him on a back board and up to the ambulance that had started down the road. They took the suspect on a backboard in the back of a patrol vehicle SUV to the ambulance because the road was too rough for the ambulance.  I remember at one point the suspect was being assisted onto the backboard by an EMT.  She grabbed his right arm to help him and he screamed, that’s where they “F”ing Shot Me!!!!  She didn’t skip a beat, she just kept doing what she needed to do.

    I noticed the owner of the Stolen vehicle coming up the road from the west towards the scene. No other officer seemed to see him or be concerned with the fact he was coming into what was now a crime scene. I took it upon myself to tell him that I meant no offense, but he should and could not come any closer until the scene was no longer a crime scene.

    The suspect was transported to the hospital with many severe self-inflicted wounds and a gunshot wound to the right arm. He was later transported to a hospital on the Wasatch front for further care. I had my Patrol Rifle taken as evidence and had an Officer assigned to me to insure no one tried to talk to me about what happened or question me.

    Emotions? Yup they set in. I had plenty. I called my wife to let her know that I was OK and that no one was fatally wounded. I also called to let my parents know as I knew the news would be reporting something before long. I then contacted a lawyer to protect my rights. After all I had just used potentially deadly force and knew there would be an investigation. After a short while I was escorted to my home. I made my family Breakfast Burritos. We decided to go to Wal-Mart. We needed supplies because we had been asked to make dinner for a family that had just got home from having a baby.

    While at the store my sergeant called and stated they were on the way to my house to do a round count on my hand gun and ammo magazines. They also downloaded my dash cam video. Up until this time I did not know if the gunshot wound to the suspect was self-inflicted or from me. My LT stated that the gunshot wound was from me and that part of the shrapnel was going to be left in the suspects arm.

    These events then started a long 5 weeks of waiting and not knowing for sure what was going to happen. The following Thursday was a good day. I was feeling really good. Then I got a phone call from the investigator for Sanpete County handling the use of force incident. He asked if I could meet the following day for an interview. I contacted my Lawyer and we set up the interview for noon the following day.  This set into motion a whirl wheel of emotions and nerves. On the morning of the interview I can honestly say that even though my children where around and I was not physically alone, I felt utterly and completely alone. To this point in my life I cannot say I had ever felt that alone.

“What If” Part 3

Was I the only one Nervous?  I do not rightly know but I’m hoping not.  I do not remember but at some time I called my wife and told her that I could not talk long but to please say a prayer because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen at work. 

    While en-route to the location I notified Richfield dispatch of these happenings. I had a feeling I needed to let my Sergeant know of what I was doing. I radioed Richfield and asked them to notify him. The whole time I was en-route to the scene I notified Richfield dispatch of any radio traffic and information that was coming across from Sanpete County. This would turn out to be very important to me later. Finally, I arrived at the area where Spring City Canyon Rd turns from an Oiled road to a Dirt Rd.

    When I arrived, I met with the Deputy Jeff Greenwell. He relayed to me that the suspect was in the stolen truck about 25 yards east and 100 Yards north of our location. We had parked behind some trees to provide some concealment until the others arrived. Another Sgt for the Utah Highway Patrol checked on duty and Richfield made him aware of the situation. As he lives in the area he headed our way to assist. I exited my vehicle, put on my safety glasses and readied my Patrol Rifle. I failed to mention that I had said several prayers at this point that things would go safely. However, deep inside I had a feeling this was not going to end without incident

    The Sergeant with the UHP stationed on the north end of the dirt road that the Suspect was on but out of site. He also prepared his spike strips in case the suspect became mobile and headed north.  It was also where the vehicle owner had stationed himself and I believe was watching through binoculars. It was believed that the vehicle owner’s brother had stationed himself somewhere west of the stolen vehicle and was laying in the sagebrush also watching through binoculars. The Sergeant, Captain, Detective and Ephraim officer had arrived. We then began formulating a plan. During this planning stage a white ford Pickup with a utility bed came flying up the road. I stopped the truck. It was a spring city worker that stated one of his employees was further up the canyon at the hydroelectric plant and was wondering what to do. We decided he should stay there as it was far up the road and would be safer than trying to drive out of the canyon at that point.

    The Ephraim officer had brought his sniper rifle and had walked 25 yards up the road to see if he could look through the binoculars and see the vehicle and suspect. He shortly returned to relay that he believed the back window was broken out because he could see the individual too clear for there to be a window. He also told us that he could see the individual waving around what he believed to be a handgun.

    The Sanpete County Deputy got on the radio or phone I cannot remember but asked for an Ambulance and Life Flight be put on standby. During the planning it was mentioned that maybe we should call in a S.W.A.T team. It was decided by the Sanpete County Sheriff Office Captain that there was not time to do so. He felt that time was critical and that we needed to act. It was decided that the original responding deputy would station himself and his vehicle to contain the south end in case the suspect became mobile to the south. The Detective would stay on the oiled road to keep the public form coming into the scene.

    Many people since these events have and will second guess and criticize our decisions. I say our decisions because we all made a decision to be there. We all made a decision to take action to keep the public safe and enforce the laws we had all taken an oath to uphold. Monday Morning Quarterbacking is easy to do. However, I feel the actions we took were appropriate and necessary.

    Myself, Sheriff Office Captain, Sergeant, and Ephraim Officer decided to spread out and walk across the field to assess the situation and apprehend the offender. We walked some 75 yds across the sagebrush foothill and I could see the Stolen Vehicle another 40 yds or so to our northeast on the dirt road that T intersects with the Spring City Canyon Road and heads North on the far east was myself. Then to the left of me the Captain, Sergeant, then Ephraim Officer. I took cover behind a Cedar tree, as we were in open country and it was the best cover I could use. The captain took concealment behind some large sagebrush. He relayed to me he could not see but only the top of the truck.

    About this time, you could hear him (the Suspect) talking on the phone to his mother. She had come on scene where we had left our cars. She had met up with the Detective. I could hear her telling him (the Suspect) to give himself up. At this point I do not believe he knew we were there. He continued to talk to his mother on the phone. She continued to ask him to, JUST GIVE UP!!!! His reply was steadily the same… JUST TAKE CARE OF MY BOY!!! Around this time, it appeared that the Detective had begun talking to the Suspect on the phone. The Suspect wanted to talk to his wife and the detective kept telling him that could not happen at that point and to give himself up. Again, the suspects reply was the same…. TAKE CARE OF MY BOY!!

    This conversation continued, and the suspect exited the vehicle. I could see him step out and stand by the bed of the truck. He was very uneasy and restless. He again got back into the truck. Shortly thereafter he exited the truck and stood on the floor board and looked back toward the paved portion of the canyon road, I believe to see if he could see his mother and the detective. Again, he got back into the truck and shut the door. During this time, he was still on the phone with the detective. I believe he also stated that if he could see his wife no one would get hurt. At a later time, the Sergeant with the Sheriff Office relayed to me that he heard the suspect say that if he did not get to talk to his wife, he was going shoot someone.

    It seemed that this would go on for a while on the phone, but I was wrong. It was shortly after that that he started the truck and put it in drive. I radioed to the UHP Sergeant that the suspect was headed Northbound. The suspect drove the truck about another 100 yds north from our location. He then hit the brakes did a U Turn and headed southbound. I got back on the radio and informed the UHP Sergeant the Suspect was now Southbound back toward our location. This was important for me to do because it also informed Richfield Dispatch what was going on. Around this time my cell phone began to ring. OF COURSE, I DID NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO ANSWER IT!

    The Captain ran behind me to the east to head off the suspect because he believed the suspect was probably going to continue southbound and go past us. I did not know what the suspects intentions were, and I felt it prudent to stay in my location with cover behind the cedar tree. Just at that point the Suspect, still mobile in the stolen vehicle, jerked the wheel and turned west down a dirt road I did not know was there. He stopped right in front of me just 14 yds to the north.

    I am not exactly a small individual.  So, you can see that me taking cover behind a small cedar tree was not going to last long.  If he looked to his left, he would surly see me.  My training took over.  I raised my rifle, and with a loud voice yelled police and gave him a command to put his hands up.  In one way I guess he did as I told him.  He did in fact put his hands up.  The only problem was that his right hand contained a silver and black handgun pointed at me.  Yes, a silver and black handgun pointed directly at me.  The barrel of the handgun at that very minute looked like I was looking down the barrel of a cannon.

“What If” Part #2

How would I react?   As officers we undergo what I call stress inoculation.  Training to create muscle memory.  Training to create safe habits so that we can hopefully predict with a minute amount of certainty how we may react.  However, without ever actually facing a critical situation do we really ever know how we will react? 

    I would then and still do run scenarios through my head.  Even on the way to a call I use the available information to run possible outcomes that may come upon my arrival to try and prepare myself for possible threats or emergency events.  I feel this is an important skill to utilize and I believe not enough officers function in this way.  You may wonder what kind of person would purposely think of things we face and what actions we may have to take to protect the innocent public and ourselves. 

    The next few days of work seemed normal and uneventful.  Sgt. Kirkham of the Sanpete County Sheriff office was putting on a very valuable training at Manti High School in rural Utah.  He invited me to attend. This training would bring together several law enforcement agencies from throughout the county.  This training was incorporating school shooting scenarios and would be vital for as many agencies to attend as possible.  In rural Utah multiple agencies provide support for each other as resources are scares.  He had coordinated this training and I was looking forward to it.

    We had planned on meeting the following morning of September 25th at 1000 hours to do a walk through and get acquainted with the layout of the high school.  I ended my normal shift on the 24th anticipating the opportunity to meet with other Law Enforcement Officers and grow as a team together.

    Little did I know that while my family and I were having these conversations and feelings there were events about to unfold. 

    September 25, 2013 was to be just another day at work, yet it turned out to be not so average.  I began my shift by checking on at 0600 hours. At that point dispatch acknowledge me and stated she would give me a 21(phone call) regarding a 10-99 vehicle (stolen vehicle).  The Dispatcher relayed to me that Sanpete County was looking for a stolen truck that had been taken out of Spring City, Utah. Dispatch also gave me a description of the individual that was believed to have stolen the vehicle.

    The Dispatcher and I continued to talk for a minute and she very kindly and respectfully reminded and requested me to wear my body armor or ballistics vest. I thanked her for her caring thoughts and told her I always do. I firmly believe that the day I do not where my vest will be the day, I need it. In fact, my kids ask me often if I have found out if the vest works. I chuckle and say no. However, I hope that day never comes.

    I got into my patrol vehicle and headed north. Some of the descriptions were that the stolen vehicle had a full tank of gas, an undisclosed amount of cash in the jockey box, and two firearms.  I thought that the vehicle will most assuredly be out of Sanpete County by now. I thought I would drive up to the divide (SR-132 between Fountain Green and Nephi). I thought maybe I might see something. As I thought about the situation and the description given of the suspect, I felt that Sanpete County Sheriff Office must know who the suspect is or at least believe who it may be. I called Sanpete County’s Dispatch and stated to them that based on the description that I had received from Richfield Dispatch that they must know who they believed the suspect to be. The dispatcher relayed to me whom they believed the individual to be.

    At first, I recognized the name but could not picture in my mind who it was. I got on my computer and searched the name in booking photos of Sanpete County Sheriff Office. I recognized the picture of this individual.  I recognized the individual from about an incident about a month earlier. In August I had been assisting a Spring City Officer and we had dealt with the same individual. It was reported that he had been trying to kiss on his mother. He believed his wife was cheating on him and that people were out to kill him. The report came in that he was running and hiding from these people in the foothills of Spring City Canyon. This individual had been reported as being out of control and at that time he was later found back at his mother’s. We made contact with him and his mother.  He was later arrested for disorderly conduct and internal possession of Meth.

    I knew in my heart at that point that the individual and the truck where most likely still in the county. It was about this same time I had arrived at the Divide and was looking for anything out of the ordinary. Shortly thereafter I received a phone call from the Deputy Greenwell handling the case for the County. He relayed to me that the suspect had been seen at a local Gas station/convenience store. He purchased gas and went inside the store. The Clerk stated that the suspect had an open jacket on with no shirt. Also, that he was bloody and had a large handgun tucked in his waist band. The clerk further stated that the suspect stated, “I’m going to die today!” The Deputy stated he was going to head home quickly as he could in order to finish getting ready for the day as he had been out since 3 A.M. when the vehicle had been reported stolen.  He had already contacted the owners and had made a lot of progress on the case.

    I continued to patrol the divide until I got another phone call. It was Deputy Greenwell again. He stated he had been in contact with the reporting party again. He then told me the vehicle had been located by the owners and that they were keeping their distance waiting for law enforcement to arrive. It was reported that he was in the Rabbit Gulch area of Spring City Canyon. I asked Deputy Greenwell to give me further info because I did not recognize the name or area.

    It was thus planned that we meet on the road to Spring City Canyon. I turned around and headed to area of the Spring City Canyon Road. On my way there I notified Richfield Dispatch of the new information and which deputy I would be assisting. An Ephraim City officer was on his way and a Sergeant, Captain, and Detective from Sanpete County headed to the location as well.

    I remember a sitting in my charger rolling with a good amount of speed down of propane hill on state route 132 headed to the scene.  My gut started to swirl.  My heart and my brain at the same time seemed to be telling me same thing.  This was not going to end well.  I knew this was not going to end well, did the other officers feel the same way?  Sure, I am nervous, maybe even a little scared.  Yet, we were all going anyway.  Was I the only one that is nervous? 

“What If” Part #1

    I got into law enforcement almost 10 years ago in another couple of months.  I graduated from the police academy in April of 2010.  I was on the job by May 11, 2010.  I did so maybe a little blindly.  I did so with grandiose thoughts that things were black and white.  That there were clear cut lines.  After all this time those thoughts have been changed and molded from some really great experiences and also some experiences that may not have been so great.

    I have never claimed to be perfect.  In fact, most officers I know may not be.  However, they are all well meaning women and men who would give their life for their families and yours.  This being said, of course, none of us ever wishes this to happen.  Rather we undergo rigorous training both physical and psychological in an attempt to keep you and ourselves safe.

    One of those experiences happened September 25, 2013.  I will never forget this date for it is engraved upon my mind forever.  That morning would change my life in many ways forever.  The most important thing is that it changed me in ways I could never fully explain.

    This experience changed me in ways that those who have never been faced with making the ultimate sacrifice might not be able to understand fully.  Some do not want to even try to understand.  Others want to but can’t seem to wrap their heads around it.  I did not have to make the ultimate sacrifice that day thank goodness.  However, there are many that have had to and my love goes out to them, their families, and their co-workers.

    You see, this experience also changed me spiritually.  I do not want to offend and hope none of you are offended.  Yet, for me to deny this would be a blasphemous event in my life.  One I surely cannot make.  For those of you who do not know.  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  No, I do not wear that as a badge, but it is what I am.  I am an imperfect, sinning, member of a religious organization like many of you.  The only thing I may be perfect at is trying to repent as often and as fast as I can.  Please know I do not judge anyone that may believe differently than me.  This being said please don’t judge me for believing differently than you.

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    Many months prior to September 25, 2013 I had feelings or impressions you might say.  Maybe you have had feelings or impressions that you needed to do something in your life.  Maybe you followed them and maybe you did not.  Those impressions might have made a drastic change in your life or perhaps you simply never saw the why.  I too have had impressions that I felt strongly to follow and may never know the why.  Then there is this experience.  This particular experience I believe I found out the why.

    My wife at the time was pregnant with our 4th and last child.  Life seemed normal for preparing to welcome another precious family member into our home.  As time and the pregnancy went on feelings and thoughts would come often to my mind.  Some I may share and others to personal to share here.  This gist is that I felt a personal need to increase my personal prayers.  This also increased a desire to more fully search and ponder scripture.  As I did, these feelings only became stronger. 

    I mentioned several times to my wife that I could not understand why.  I wondered if it was in preparation for the birth of our daughter.  Somehow that day came and went and the feelings only increases.  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints, after the birth of a child, after a few months they are brought to church building and given a blessing. This is given to them in what is referred to as Sacrament Meeting.  I wondered if these feelings, these promptings, had been in preparation for this day.

    This day also came and went.  Again, the feeling continued and increased.  My wife commented one day and ask if I was dying.  I laughingly told her I surely was not planning on dying.  When I inquired of her why she would ask that she simply stated that I was different lately but that it was a good different.  This made me wonder, was I being prepared for something. 

    On a particular Sunday my wife and I had a discussion.  It seemed to be a normal Sunday but my wife tells me she remembers we may have been having a disagreement.  The thing I do remember is that the question came to my mind so I asked it of her.  What If?  She asked me what I was talking about.  I asked her what if the day came that I am faced with shooting someone at work.  What if the day comes that I have to take a life to save a life at work?  This is not an easy question.  I expressed to her that I do not know how I would react or what I would do for sure.  My wife told me that in the event that day might come I would just do what I had to do.

    I did not feel she or I quite knew what that meant for sure.  Though we talked a short time more about it I always had wondered in the back of my mind on this subject.  Would I be able to, pull the trigger, if that day ever came?  Would I be fast enough?  If that day came what would I do.  I, like most officers, had attended and participated in numerous trainings over the years in order to prepare for such a day.  I prepared for such a day hoping it never came.   I may have even prepared thinking it may never come.  I still wondered in the back of my mind; if that day ever comes would I be able to pull the trigger.  How would I react?

Violence or Strength of Emotion

I sit her with tears in my eyes, with gratitude in my heart, wondering if I have helped anyone in need.  The lyrics to a hymn run through my mind.  Have I helped anyone in the world today, Have I helped anyone in need. Have I cheered up the sad made someone feel glad, If not I have failed in deed. 

I think of all those I have worked with and hope they know how much I care.  I think of those I have had the opportunity to have as a part of my crew and hope they left knowing I care.  Did my family as they walked out the door know that they are my number one?  As I kiss their cheek, and tell them goodbye do they know I will always be there when they truly need. 

I love my life.  I am in a great place.  I have not always been here though.  Do we sometimes forget what we have, in pursuit of what we think we need?  Only to find out we were already there.  Life has a way, if we will let it, of refining us, of tempering us.  Will we allow the kindness, the compassion, the tender feelings of our hearts raise another up from the despair of theirs?  Even if it is our own?

I often think of the violence that is in the world and that I see in my career.  Through the midst of it all are we brave enough to be the light?  Are we brave enough to embrace the lonely with a hug even if it is not politically correct?

Violence is a word that I see as sometimes misunderstood.  Violence is always used in a negative connotation.  And normally violence is or brings about a negative result.  However, have we ever stopped to think about violence as a tool for good?  You may think this as an oxymoron.  How would violence ever bring about good?

Richard Grenier in 1993 wrote in a newspaper about a body of work penned by George Orwell, stating that Orwell pointed out, people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Do we not realize that this violence (strength of emotion) is a mere exercise of physical force brought about with the intent to neutralize or stop the acts of evil?  Do we not realize that the men and women who selflessly bring about this violence against evil are not rough at all, but are most often human beings who love and kiss their families’ goodbye each shift before they walk out the door?

This violence, this strength of emotion, may seem rough to most but lying beneath it all is a caring, kind, gentle heart wishing for peace and a little understanding.  Beneath it all is a king and gentle soul battling with thought of themselves and wondering are they normal. 

I have dealt violence (strength of emotion) against another Human Being.  The one solace I found in that situation is that there was no malice, no hate, and no anger in my heart in that moment.  It was simply my training.  It was simply a desire to go home safe. It was simply a desire and will to keep those around me safe.  Yet, how often after the fact I found myself with thoughts and feeling wondering…. Am I normal? Through the midst of it all let us be kind.  Let us be patient with each other.  Let us seek first to hear and then be heard.  In the days that seem so violent, for they are surely to come, may we please choose to be as our Savior with stretched out hands and lift up those that so badly need it.  Let us show strength of emotion and stand ready to carry not only ours but the burdens of those who need help.

The Day I didn’t need a Gun

I have had a concealed carry permit long before I became a cop. I would often carry a firearm when I would go places. But one day after becoming a cop something changed.

Carrying a gun became a need. It became a have to, a burden. I could not leave the house without my firearm. It created such anxiety that if I forgot my firearm I would turn around and go home to get it.

This was not always a want. It felt as though I had to have it. I would actually worry about, “What If”. What if something happened and I was not prepared. It had became a burden. I would be going somewhere and I did not want to carry it. It felt like a cannon at times on my hip or ankle. But deep inside my mind would tell me, Eric you better have it.

I guess at times it must have been an out of tune ego. I felt as if I had to protect the world. But what was I protecting myself, my family, or the world from? At this time I was on call 24/7. I covered the major crimes, and criminal interdiction investigations for 10 of the 29 counties in Utah. I was also 1 of 4 detectives with a drug task force in west central Utah. There were times that I would have to request and use a day off to have my normal day off. I would do this because I was constantly being called out on my days off. I think I was constantly mentally on duty even when I wasn’t. This took a toll on me and my loved ones. There were weeks I was actually working 15 to 20 hour days just to have my head hit the pillow and the phone would ring again. I carried a gun always and everywhere.

In September of 2018 I received a promotion and transferred to the Salt Lake area for work. This was a busy and stressful time, but my sweetheart and I finally were able to sell our home and move into a new home some 2 and a half hours from where we had spent the last 8+ years of our lives.

I found myself holding my wife’s hand as we walked down the isle of a local store. As we walked together it finally dawned on me. I was unarmed. Well, I had a knife in my pocket but I was missing something. My firearm was home in the gun safe on the shelf. I know this did not mean much to my wife and may not mean anything to anyone but me. However, somewhere along the way the need, the have to, the burden just seemed to vanish. It had been weeks that I had been going out of the house, yes even to the big city of Salt Lake, and there was nothing on my hip. I had not even noticed the change.

I often wonder if our loved ones, our friends, or the general public has an understanding of the mental and emotional toll this line of work can have on those who espouse it as a career. I may have entered into it a little blindly. However, over the last 10 years there have been innocents lost and perspectives gained.

I will never be able to look at the world in the ways I used to. This being said I also don’t have to look at the world how I had been. I have gained a perspective that hopefully has made me a little softer, a little kinder, a little more empathetic.

Just some of this cops random thoughts.

Taser Taser Taser

As I said before I’m not a writer. I mean I can’t even make 3 separate journal entries in the same year.  So this blog is an attempt to do a better job at recording my thoughts.   I read a Facebook post from my wife’s forever friend.   The title of the article she shared read something like, Lockdown at hospital lifted after knife threat.  This caption reminded me of a case I investigated.

A year or so ago I was called to Wayne County Utah for an investigation.  Local Law Enforcement had made an arrest of a California man that had shot at a couple other motorist while traveling on a Utah Highway.  The report from the victims was that there was a truck that was driving erratically in front of them.  They were nervous to be behind this individual so when the opportunity presented itself they passed and drove on.

The victim thought they had avoided a potentially dangerous situation.  What they did not know was that they had avoided nothing.  A short time after passing this pickup, the victim could see it in his rear view mirror.  In fact he described it as gaining on them at a high rate of speed.  This pickup did not only gain on them but would match them speed for speed as they sped up to try and stay ahead or away from their pursuer.

As this seemed to go on for a few miles the victim became increasingly worried as no matter how fast they sped up they just could not seem to shake this other vehicle.  In fact at one point the vehicle rams there vehicle and then shoots at them.  Later reports led me to other motorist along the route that had their vehicles shot from some of the stray bullets. 

The victim continues to speed away but their efforts seemed in vane until they were able to pull into a local business off the highway and run inside.  In fact male driver was so fast you can see in the surveillance video that he left his wife behind.  I wish I could have been a fly on that wall when that was brought up later….lol.  The suspect, however, realizing they had ran in the business then fled off in the direction they had come from and was later stopped and arrest by the local Sheriff’s Department.

The suspect was transported to an area hospital for medical treatment.  I arrived later has I first responded to the Sheriff Office and gathered statements and evidence.  I arrived at the hospital to find a very submissive suspect.  He was kneeling down and very subdued.  The ER that night had been very busy and had not been able to see him before I arrived.  There were several other officers present in the ER as well. 

Sorry for the long intro but I’ll now get to my point.  This individual had sat for hours being quiet, submissive, and somber.  The medical staff after working tirelessly was able to get him into an ER room for evaluation.  There came the need to draw blood.  In order to better facilitate the blood draw the officer un-cuffed the suspect.  At this point the officer believed the suspect to be fully compliant as it had been hours and the suspect had not uttered so much as a peep. 

As soon as the suspect was un-cuffed the nurse came to draw blood.  As the nurse attempted to insert the needle to draw a sample the suspect went into a frenzy.  He quickly grabbed the needled from the nurse and attacked him and the officer.  The officer acted very quick and extricated the nurse from the small exam room.  The suspect continued to attack and the officer was forced to retreat from the room into the hallway.  As with many incidents I’ve been involved in this one seemed to last quit awhile.  I remember every officer forming a protective perimeter for the hospital staff.  As an investigator at the time I was usually in a polo shirt and slacks.  I would normally just be armed with my handgun, and extra magazine, and handcuffs.  I had to make my way past a few people to get in the mix.  I was wondering how on earth we were going to protect the hospital staff and arrest this suspect again without getting stabbed.

One officer deployed his baton to no avail.  This seemed to go back and forth forever, I eventually came to the conclusion that this suspect was only going to give up after serious bodily injury to the officers and innocent hospital staff and patients.  At this point I drew my handgun and was beginning to take the slack out of the trigger as I raised it to the suspect.  Just then I heard a sound that brought instant relief to me.  The funny thing is normally this sound brought feelings of pain and misery but not tonight.  It was the sound of an X26 Taser.

Finally one of the officers had deployed his Taser and tased the suspect.  We all jumped on him and were able to get him into custody.  I still remember the immediate feeling of relief rush over me at the sound of the Taser. 

In finalizing the investigation for charges on the suspect I had occasion to retrieve and review the security cam footage from the hospitals ER.  This camera showed pretty much everything as the officer retreated out of the exam room with the suspect attacking.  It showed everything that occurred in the hall from that time until he was again safely taken into custody.  That moment that seemed to last forever was actually over in a few brief seconds.  I am grateful for the Nurses and Doctors that actually treat everyone that comes in and in many instances put themselves in harm’s way without knowing it just to help some troubled soul.

You just never know what’s going to happen next.

Is this normal, Super heroes

First Things First, I am not a writer!!! Yet, I have had a desire for some time to share some of the things I have experienced.  I’m coming up on a decade of experience in law enforcement.  These years have had some low lows and extremely high, highs.  This week has been an interesting one for me and so I thought I would give it a go

In the early part of my career I would have dreams.  The settings of these dreams would always be in a work setting.  There would be a perpetrator of some sort of crime trying to hurt or cause serious bodily injury on myself or some innocent person.  In these dreams it required me to use deadly force to stop the criminal and save someone’s life.  These dreams always ended in an open ended manor.  They always ended with me waking up after trying to stop the threat yet for some reason all attempts failed.  The bullets just would not stop the threat.

The frequency of the dreams varied.  They happened every so often until the day they stopped. They stopped September 25th 2013.  They stopped when it became more than a dream.  They stopped when in the line of duty I had to put into use the skills and tactics I had trained on so many times.  They stopped when I had to put to use the very skills and tactics that seemed to never work in my dreams. 

September 25, 2013 while trying to apprehend an armed meth addict in a stolen truck, with self-inflicted box cutter wounds to his neck, arms and abdomen, pointed his 40 caliber pistol at me.  The details of this can wait until another post.  For this post let it suffice that I fired my weapon in the line of duty to protect myself, 4 fellow officers, and the general public.  An arrest was effected on this known criminal.  A man who through much of his life had committed crimes with complete disregard to the life and liberty of others.   This was an individual who had an extensive criminal history that had led him to previous stints and several years of time spent in state prison.

To this day those recurring dreams have stopped.  This leads to another discussion in and of its self.  However, this week a new dream emerged.  This dream I find myself responding to the scene of a train vs automobile accident.  As I arrive on scene I find a man still belted in his severely damaged pickup.  He tells me he is ok aside from a possible broken arm.  Then from the peripherals I see a white passenger car with a female laying on the ground and a man standing next to her that I assume to be her significant other.  As I strive to render aid she stares deep into my eyes as if seeing through me.  I begin to ask her significant other what had happened and as he began to speak she latches on to me and will not let me go.  At some point in the dream he presents a gun.  I give him commands to drop the weapon and he won’t.  Repeatedly I ask him to drop the weapon and every plea goes unanswered.  He begins to fire off rounds.  After a lengthy retreat and repeated attempts to get him to drop the weapon I am forced to return fire to stop the threat and save the lives that had become endangered.  In this dream the attempts to stop the life threatening acts of another are successful and I wake up from the dream.  This created a large amount of anxiety in me for a good part of the next couple hours.

Tonight I found myself watching the new Super Hero Movie with my kids and their cousins and friend.  I watch the struggle as an immerging super hero grapples with what he wants for his life and what the world needs from him.  These experiences caused me to think about the millions of dollars we spend in celebration of these make believe heroes.

 In the last 6 month I have been directly or indirectly involved with 4 critical incidents or shootings.  One of the incidents involved an officer who has also served our country as a soldier.  I have also watched as everyday citizens have rendered aid to victims of serious accidents with mangled masses of metal that were once cars.

I wonder is it normal?  Is it normal for everyday people to leave their homes with no regard for their own welfare and risk their lives for others?  Is it normal for normal everyday individuals to run into danger in your very neighborhood or in foreign lands to save others, and even maybe save us from our own bad choices? 

No, it is not normal.  These men and women are not normal.  These, Ladies and Gentlemen, are the true heroes of a real world in which they too often struggle with desires that they want but give up because a life of service is not something they do. It is something they are.

A Cops thoughts

I am apprehensive about posting random thoughts I have in a public forum. My thoughts are just that… Random. I had a mentor once describe me as someone that says the most brilliant things and then then next thing out of my mouth makes you wonder where I have been the last 20 years….LOL!!!

I am not a writer, and I will never be one. However, In the last decade as a Husband, Father, Son, Brother, and COP I have had some experiences that have changed me. Some for the best, and some maybe not for the best.

My name is Eric, I have spent parts of my life in Japan, and Utah. I currently live in Utah. Maybe that’s why I am so random…LOL

So please feel free to laugh at my random thoughts and know that I am laughing right along with you even if its through the tears.

#randomthoughts#acopsthoughts#lawenforcment

#policefamily#mormoncop

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