Suffering from intense heat this summer I recall the Arctic Express slamming the South last year. I was with Lilburn Police Sgt. Tim Haxton patrolling at night, checking out businesses, looking for thieves, sledge-hammering doors and determined copper collectors.
We spot-lighted parking areas, service stations, warehouses and apartment complexes watching cars wondering why so many were out late at night. Night brings out those of a different mindset; a car at night can possibly harbor danger.
“We arrest people for lots of reasons at night; driving under the influence, defective lights, drug transactions, assault, home invasions, random shootings.”
“I wonder why so many people ruin their lives by deviant behavior.” I said.
“It beats me, rebellion, belligerence, drugs, alcohol; we just try to slow the rate of increase.”
I said “I’m curious as to why anyone is out this late unless they’re on your way to or from a night shift. Cars cruising around at 3:00 AM are suspicious.”
The progression; a guy drives drunk, is arrested. His insurance goes up. Can’t afford insurance, drives without coverage, speeds, is arrested, has a record, loses his job; business is hesitant to hire anybody with a police record; it shows erratic behavior. Cannot pay rent, is evicted, wife divorces him; he loses everything because of driving when intoxicated. The man destroyed his life with bad decisions.
After running the data of a speeder, the car must be approached with caution because the person driving is unknown. The car could’ve been stolen by a thug, driven by addicts or any number of possibilities.
Tinted windows are of concern when stopping a speeder.
“Weekends are usually active; breaking and entering, false alarms, failure to yield. Protecting the sleeping population is our responsibility,” he said.
And then there are the children out late at night. Checking cars in empty parking lots is a duty at night. Why are they there?
The time was 2:30 AM, the automobile driven by a woman with an outstanding arrest warrant. Eight in the car; three adults and five children….who should have been home in bed; fractured English, tears as a woman is handcuffed.
“Please don take Momma….Can we pay and Momma go home?” That is the way it is done in certain cultures.
Sad; I wanted to take them home for hot chocolate, cuddle them, read them bedtime stories.
The arresting officer explained the procedure. “She will be booked into the Gwinnett County Detention center. You can bond her out later.”
“How much bond cost? We pay you bond, yes?”
“How long take?”
“Three, maybe four hours,” the officer explained.
“How much is bond?” Hands folded in prayer, more crying, shivering.
Even though the weather was frigid my jacket was warm. I could hear ice crunching underfoot. It was a 3-dog-night. I thought about my family tucked in bed, where these children should be.
“Everybody respected the police when I was a kid. We have a tsunami of lawlessness sweeping across the country right now. Without you guys we’d have anarchy. Thanks for being a cop.”
I asked Sgt. Haxton to drop me off at my car. “I have had enough night-life, I want to go home.”
York is a WW II navy veteran and retired President of York Furs in Buckhead. You can contact him by email at: Sioux2222@gmail.com