261 in progress….
One of my last calls on a particular Labor Day morning before leaving work for my weekend was one in which a woman was being assaulted, and as the call and the minutes progressed in which the officers were driving to the location of the distress, the man ended-up raping the woman. I cannot express how bizarre it was to listen to the play-by-play commentary by the caller as he told us what the man was doing to the woman. He was really thrashing her, and then he had her down on the ground, and then he was lying on top of her and was appearing to strangle her, and then the caller said that he was moving up and down on top of her. And the caller just kept on talking, letting us know what was happening. I wonder how a person could be an observer to an act of this nature and not jump in to stop the man from continuing his assault. I cannot imagine just standing there watching it occur. It is beyond me how an able bodied person could allow it.
I couldn’t stop my tears or rid myself from the choking feeling in my throat as I recounted the call details to my wife that afternoon. The hopelessness that I felt was in a way overwhelming. The observer did his part (?) by letting us know what was happening in that quiet morning parking lot of those apartments. He did, in fact, dial 9-1-1 and start the help that would eventually interrupt the bastard and bring the 15-year-old victim to that state of having been rescued. It took too long though. When I put out the call to the Cactus Park Precinct, or 900 area, there was no reason for me to have picked up the Maryvale Precinct, or 800 area as well. The location was an easy mile from the precinct boundary, so I couldn’t have been found at fault for not requesting more aid initially. The 900 units were coming from the station, but there was no way of knowing if that meant that they had already fueled and loaded their cars or if they were just answering for the call from the actual inside of the station. To me, all it meant was that they were coming from at least six, and maybe seven miles away while this girl was getting beaten and eventually raped. It meant that we got to listen to the caller tell us how the man was continuing to strike and choke her while she continued to scream and fight back in that secluded parking lot that was a bit too unpopulated on that Monday, holiday morning. After about five or several minutes, I went back out on 800 and asked if there was anybody closer than the 900 units who were coming from their station. I explained in urgent radio-ese that the woman was being raped and we needed someone to get there soon. “Anyone responding, switch to Channel One, frequency clear at zero-six-forty-eight hours.” My status list suddenly had three extra units from the 800 area, along with the four units who had initially answered from 900 and were coming from the station.
I drove past the apartments on my way home after the shift was over. I thought it was strange that only 45 minutes to an hour earlier it was the scene of a violent assault and rape. At the particular hour that I was there, roughly 7:45 to 8:00 in the morning, it was a very quiet little place. It was the kind of apartment complex parking lot that was tucked in between a small cluster of buildings that were adorned or accented with more than a few plants, bushes, and trees, or whatever they were. The morning’s sun was still pretty low in the sky, so there was that delicate softness that the trees and the low apartment buildings affected by shutting out part of the sun. It would have been a nice place to sit and read the paper on that morning. It would have been an ideal place to leisurely stroll with one’s dog, or to sit in the grass and play with the neighborhood’s stray cat. But instead, it was the perfect place to first beat and then subdue and rape a young girl.
Nine-fifteen-David, the first unit on scene, initially cleared on the radio and said to roll Fire for a possible 261, or rape. Within minutes of that coming over the air, he asked for his supervisor to respond because it was a valid 261. After a few minutes more, he cleared again saying that the scene was secure with one in-custody and that we could go ahead and clear Chase, which we did. “Nine-fifteen-David is advising that we have one in-custody and it’s Code-4 at 3734 West Camelback and Chase is clear of the traffic at zero-six-fifty-seven hours, K-O-A-seven-eighty-nine.” And then I unplugged my headset, tucked it into its black corduroy bag with the little ducks embroidered on the front, and then placed into my workbag. I turned to my relief who was also my Chase or Tactical-channel partner, said ‘Good Night,’ and then headed down the hall and out the building…with the caller’s voice in my ear and the computer screen showing the call and incident details in my mind. And it was all over. “Code four, clear it.”