Monday, September 20, 2010
“Close Call on the Cold Floor”
Spring is always a pleasant time of the year, not necessarily my favorite,
but close. Sundays, however, were one of my favorite days to be on patrol in Colville and maybe the other cities I would later work for as well. People seem to get along better on Sundays. Usually it required no more than driving around and waving at the taxpayers as you cruised through the city streets. However, there was one Sunday where my life could have come to an abrupt end. During my nineteen years as a cop, this was the closest I came to being on the receiving end of the medical examiner’s gloved hand.
It started out pretty normal for a Sunday morning. I stopped at a restaurant to have coffee and while I sat sipping away and enjoying the sun through the window, I was interrupted by the dispatcher. I was advised that the custodian at the Stevens County Courthouse, which was an old, large two-story brick building located in the middle of Colville, had seen and heard someone inside as she unlocked and opened the door. On a Sunday? Of course my thoughts turned to the possibility that what she had seen was a ghost which would be pretty cool and wouldn’t require any paperwork. It was wishful thinking as I left my seat at the restaurant and drove to the courthouse.
The custodian met me outside one of the doors and appeared to be shaken up. A Stevens County deputy was just leaving his house and advised me that he would be there shortly to assist in doing a building check. As I asked questions of the young lady, I saw movement at the end of a hallway. Okay, so it wasn’t a ghost. I advised the deputy that I was going to have to enter the building without him and did so with my .45 Colt Commander in hand. Moving quickly down the long corridor, it became apparent just how noisy my feet were on the cold, hard floor. No matter how hard I tried to soften my steps, there was a loud echo throughout the building. It worked both ways, as I also heard the steps of the person who was trying to avoid
me, while the sound of both of our footsteps bounced around the hollow hallways.
I repeatedly went up the stairs and back down on the other side of the building for what seemed like an eternity. I decided to see what would happen if I doubled back and waited on the second floor at the top of the stairs. I took a low position and sure enough, the idiot taking two stairs at a time bounded near the top just as I brought my 45 around the corner and into his face. He dropped to his knees and I saw for a terrifying moment that he also was armed with Colt .45 automatic that was within inches of my nose. I would have been well within my rights to pull the trigger, but I didn’t and to this day I don’t know why I didn’t. If it happened right now, I would send that massive hollow point round into that young man without hesitation. He could have done the same thing, but for some reason he lowered his weapon and his head onto the cold floor.
That was without a doubt the closest I came to getting myself killed while on duty. The young man was taken into custody without further incident. As it turned out, he was trying to find the records office so he
could destroy his criminal file. The deputy arrived just in time to help me get the cuffs on the bonehead.
I spent the next few hours completing my report and then returned to the sunlight in the window of the restaurant, enjoyed another cup of coffee and the rest of my Sunday shift.