Preventable crime

by Jay Bender

In police work, not every task is exciting or even interesting. Still, every job has a chance to help you look at things in new ways.

For example, I was recently tasked with reviewing and scanning tickets and test forms into the computer from out BAC Datamaster. The Datamaster is commonly referred to as a “breathalyzer,” which, as you know, is used to the determine the percentage of alcohol in a person’s system after they have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

As I went through the records, I started to think about how a drunk driving arrest can completely derail a life, any life. One of the aspects I noticed is that there was really no common denominator among the suspects. Ages ranged from the early 20s to the late 70s. Some suspects came from very affluent neighborhoods, and some did not. Some offenders registered blood alcohol contents just above the legal limit of .08, and many blew two or event three times that limit. Some were so intoxicated you might wonder how they could walk, let alone drive.

And even if that OVI offense injured nobody, the impact on the suspect will be immediate and costly. They will have to post bond to be released from jail, and they will have to appear in court, which will likely be only the first of many court appearances. For some, the court costs and fines are insignificant. For some, they will be insurmountable. For still others, it will be the embarrassment that hurts the most. Regardless, an arrest will affect you, and be assured that it can happen to you…it is not always somebody else from somewhere else!

What these arrests do have in common is that the crime in question is completely preventable with a simple formula: Don’t drink and drive. Even in extreme moderation, you are taking an unnecessary risk. In 24 years of police work, I’ve never met anybody who regretted NOT drinking.

Suiting up

by Jay Bender

What is all that stuff you carry? Doesn’t it get heavy?

These are probably two of the most common questions police officers are asked when we get the opportunity to participate in a community relations event. Usually, it’s the kids who want to know what is in all those mysterious pouches on our belts or vests. The grownups want to know about the weight.

In Solon, each patrol officer is required to wear body armor, pepper spray, an expandable baton, a radio, at least one pair of handcuffs, (most officers carry two,) and our duty sidearm, a Glock 22, .40 caliber with two spare magazines.

The rest of our loadout is optional, but some items are so ubiquitous they may as well be required. For example, no officer I know would even consider going on patrol without at least one pair of latex or nitrile gloves. Protective gloves can help us preserve evidence without contamination, and more importantly can help protect officers from bloodborne pathogens and dangerous illegal drugs that can be absorbed through the skin.

Most officers also carry some type of trauma packet that includes clotting sponge and tourniquet. A flashlight and a multi-tool or utility knife are also a good idea. My gear weighs in at approximately 17 pounds, which is probably about the average for our officers.

How often do we use what we carry? Like anybody who carries tools at work, we certainly don’t use every tool on every day. Many of these items will rest quietly in their pouch for weeks, months or even years before they are needed. But we carry them with us because when we need them, we need them RIGHT NOW! If we are very fortunate, there are some we will never need.

And yes, it gets heavy!

 

 

 

 

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