Oklahoma City police ridealong: Springlake Division
The man apologizes sheepishly to Sgt. Adam Rogers.
“I didn't mean to cause all this,” he says.
“It's OK. We're going to get you some help,” Rogers replies while jotting down details from the man's concealed carry license at the admissions counter to St. Anthony Hospital.
An hour before, just outside the building, the man had faced Rogers' drawn service weapon.
The man had admitted to his psychiatrist he was feeling suicidal, and the doctor apparently questioned him about taking his medication. He became upset and pulled a pistol from his backpack, pointing it at his own head and threatening to pull the trigger.
When he walks outside, he is met by officers. The gun has been returned to the backpack.
The man's father rushes up and tears the satchel from his back before police take him into custody.
His biggest concern is letting his employer know he won't make it to work that day. Polite and well-spoken, he seems embarrassed by the trouble he's caused so many people this morning.
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Once the man has made it through intake, Rogers begs off the call and heads for a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex near NE 23 and Kelley Avenue.
The Springlake division in northeast Oklahoma City fields fewer calls for service than other divisions. Church and community leaders work with police to improve the area, but street gangs and the culture they breed do not look kindly upon cop-callers or snitches.
Dispatch updates the call. A man and woman are getting physical and a shot has been fired.
Firefighters are already on the scene in case there's a shooting victim, but the couple can't be found.
Rogers drives the apartment complex perimeter. Behind a building in the rear of the complex, he finds two people wearing the clothing the reporting party described.
Rogers accelerates quickly toward them, then slams on his brakes. His seat belt is off before the vehicle comes to a stop and he's out of the car and bridging the gap between them almost before they notice him.
He handcuffs the man and puts him in the back seat. He hears over the radio that the man's car and a pistol with one fired round have been found just outside the metal gates of the complex.
None of the witnesses saw him fire the shot, and neither the man nor the woman have any visible wounds.
“I should have just left. Now I'm going to be late for work,” he tells Rogers.
The man has no criminal record or warrants and the woman has no desire to have him arrested, so officers ask the man if he will surrender his gun for safekeeping and he can pick it up later.
“Man, you can have it,” he tells them.
The man is freed from cuffs and the cage in the back of the scout car, climbs into his own vehicle and leaves.
It's decided that Rogers will book the handgun into the Oklahoma City police property room.
Strictly speaking, the man could follow the officer to the property room and reclaim the weapon. The hope is that disarming those involved in disputes will allow tempers to cool, so officers won't return to the scene an hour later to find a shooting victim.
The smell of fresh marijuana pummels nostrils inside the property room. Behind a glass divider, employees help check in sealed envelopes containing recovered items and contraband.
Rogers places the weapon inside an envelope and the item is cataloged. Another officer brings in a large amount of marijuana and the room is a reunion of officers from divisions and offices within the department.
Once the item is booked in, Rogers realizes he has a backlog of paperwork from the morning calls. He breaks up an argument between a woman and a known drug dealer near NW 14 and Indiana Avenue, then crosses NW 16 and parks about 30 yards from a stop sign that is frequently run by motorists. He continues writing his reports.
He divides his attention between his computer and the intersection, giving a couple of drivers who make slow, rolling stops a pass.
But one driver doesn't even pause as he blasts through the four-way stop. Rogers is on him in seconds, following him a few blocks and letting him get through a busy intersection before lighting him up.
The man explains to Rogers that he is late for something. He's five minutes later after the detainment. And a bit poorer too.
And for Rogers, that paperwork is delayed by another five minutes.