Just the Facts, Ma'am

Thonie Hevron; bringing you the stories behind the badge

Aw, Crap!


By Gerry Goldshine

Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder is to have said that, “…no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”  People are adaptive, innovative and unpredictable. As police officers, we train to expect the unexpected but at the same time it is human nature to rely on patterns of behavior. We think it likely that when we turn on our patrol car’s emergency lights to make a traffic stop, the driver is going to pull over and most do just that. When we hand a driver our pen to sign the citation, we anticipate they will comply rather that subject themselves to arrest. As an officer gains field experience, they develop skill in reading body language, watching facial expressions and listening to vocal inflections using them cues for when a person isn’t going along with “the plan”. However, even the most veteran officer can find there are times when they have done everything right and yet still be wrong.

I was helping another officer search a house for a woman, well known to us, who had a no-bail warrant for her arrest. In past encounters with her, usually involving public intoxication or possession of minor amounts of drugs, she had always been cooperative. After about thirty minutes, we found her in one of the bedrooms hidden beneath a four-foot high pile of dirty laundry. I offered to take her to the station and book her, because the other officer had a mountain of reports to complete. As I walked the

Woman in Handcuffs photo courtesy of newsone.com

Woman in Handcuffs
photo courtesy of newsone.com

woman out to my patrol car, I kept one hand firmly gripped around the links of the handcuffs she wore behind her back. We chatted amicably about her situation; she talked about having difficulty getting into a rehab program. When we got to my car, I did another pat down search for any weapons and finding none, I opened the back door for her get inside. Standing next to the rear of the door, I let go of the cuffs and raised my other arm so that I could shield the top of her head from hitting the door frame, as I had done on countless other arrests. She had just about planted her derriere on the seat when she suddenly sprang back up. She was just small and flexible enough to duck under my arm and take off running with her arms still handcuffed behind her back.

Staring at her in disbelief, the first thought that went through my mind was, “Aw crap!” At the same time, I wondered how in the hell a 40 year-old man, in reasonably good shape but with two bad knees and wearing a cumbersome ballistic vest plus least 10 pounds of police gear, was going to catch this lithe twenty-something year old woman, sprinting as though she had just left the chocks at the Olympics. I took off after her, letting dispatch know that I was in foot pursuit in between gasps for breath. I rounded a corner just in time to see her execute a perfect Fosbury Flop” into the back of a passing Chevy El Camino pickup. Fortunately, at least for me, the driver saw what was happening in his side mirror and immediately slammed on the brakes. I caught up before she was able to get completely out of the pickup bed, that task made difficult because her hands were still handcuffed behind her back. She apologized profusely for being “stupid” all the way back to my patrol car, while I tried to raise my oxygen levels back to some semblance of normalcy as nonchalantly as possible. I knew that I was in store for not only considerable ribbing from my fellow officers but more than likely, an ass-chewing from my bosses as well.

No sooner had I arrived at the station then I received the expected call, over the station’s public address system, to report to the sergeant’s office after I finished booking the prisoner. His first question to me was a simple, “Well?” I told him what had happened and after he digested it for a bit, he suggested we go out to my car so that he could better visualize what had happened. Along the way, the Lieutenant joined us and almost immediately began yelling at me about losing control of my prisoner. My sergeant cut in and explained the situation and we went going to see what I could do to prevent it from reoccurring. That seemed to mollify the Lieutenant for the moment.

I showed them how I got her into the back seat and the way in which she had made her escape. The Lieutenant proceeded to put me through a variety of different stances in front of the open door, most far removed from common practice and many more out of the realm of practicality. When it became apparent there was no simplistic solution, the Lieutenant glared at me and warned, “Don’t let this happen again or I’ll be writing you a reprimand!” With those sage words of wisdom, the Lieutenant stormed off back to the Watch Commander’s office.

My sergeant offered a more insightful analysis. He told me that while a larger person more than likely would not have gotten past me, perhaps my past experience with the woman caused me to anticipate one set of behaviors, missing the body language cues signaling a new set, namely that she was going to bolt. Then, with a slight grin, he added, “…but sometimes, despite our best efforts, shit happens.”

To coin another saying, “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.”


One comment on “Aw, Crap!

  1. Arletta Dawdy's Blog
    July 28, 2013

    Makes a great story!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Cop Talk

For all things about cop culture-the work, the family, the days off.

The purpose of this page is to educate writers of all genres to be accurate in their portrayal of law enforcement professionals. This includes meter maids (I was a "lovely Rita" many years ago), dispatcher, patrol officers, detectives, and administrators.

I have many resources in my 35 year career in California law enforcement. I index and explain common errors that found in all media. Guests will also post about police professionalism today and tomorrow as well as historical articles about the way things used to be, "back in the day".

Examples of police media myths: missing persons cannot be reported by anyone but the family; missing persons reports can't be taken until the subject has been missing 24 hours; all cops eat donuts.

You get my drift.



Just the Facts, Ma'am posts Sundays and Fridays. Sundays scheduled writers Hal Collier, Ed Meckle, Mikey, and John Schick take us through the days and nights of those who protect and serve.
Friday postings feature authors sharing their thoughts about this journey we call authorship.
Extra postings will include California 'Officer Down' notices or something special. I will update progress of my current literary project as they develop.
--Thonie Hevron

Just the Facts, Ma’am copyright

© Thonie Hevron, Just the Facts, Ma'am 2010-present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thonie Hevron with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Thank you.


Ed A. Murray

On reading. On writing. On life.


Fiction reviews, Bookblogger, Fiction book reviews, books, crime fiction, author interviews, mystery series, cover, love, bookish thoughts...

Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

Logical Quotes

Logical and Inspirational Quotes


Just a redheaded woman who is obsessed with books

Stories by The Spotlight on Medium

Thonie Hevron; bringing you the stories behind the badge

So you wanna be a cop?

Real world information for those looking for employment in Law Enforcement and Corrections and advice and stories from a veteran cop.

Donut County Cop

Random thoughts of a suburban cop at a department right outside a major US city...because blogging is cheaper than therapy.

Cop Musings

Thoughts From Behind the Badge


Author of Crime Mysteries & Suspense

NW Fire Blog

"Fire News in the NW and Beyond"

The author's Blog

Discussions, Interviews, Suggestions for Writers

Hook'em and Book'em

Thonie Hevron; bringing you the stories behind the badge


#1 International Bestselling Author of true crime.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Thonie Hevron; bringing you the stories behind the badge

Horse Listening

Horses. Riding. Life.

%d bloggers like this: