Monday, June 15, 2009

Party Time

Saturday night I worked patrol and was dispatched to a loud party call. It's graduation time and there are lots of teenagers and young adults having parties now. They often play loud music, but in my city they generally are good kids and not much of a problem. Four of us arrived, two two-officer units and we spoke to the owner and they agreed to shut down the party. A typical three bedroom stucco house, but with 250 to 300 people in the backyard!

We did not realize it when we arrived that so many people could be stuffed into the backyard. It was quite a shock to see people exiting the party in such large numbers. Many had been drinking and if they had started throwing bottles or fighting we would have been hard pressed to get them back under control for a while. The young people in our city are mostly good kids and the first time we went there they exited rapidly and there were no problems, many even wished us goodnight and apologized for the noise.

About an hour later we got a return call to the party. This is the learning point here. Never "pre-dispo" a call. Don't think because you have been there before and there was no problem last time, that there will be no problem on subsequent trips. Treat every response like a new one, because each circumstance is new. When we arrived the second time while there were only about 50 people there, they were very confrontational and in the end two were detained and two others were taken to jail. We ended up having to call for Code 3 back up and it was tense for a while. I think our rapid intervention and arrival of the helicopter and other ground units prevented this from becoming a major incident.

As it was, no one was hurt, the crowd dispersed and all but two went home for the night. It could have been much worse if we had 300 people there the second time. Don't assume that subsequent calls at the same location will be the same. Each call is unique and should be handled fresh, that's what the SGT Says.


Protect_and_Serve said...

On a similar call I and three other Officers found ourselves breaking up a party of about 200 in a back yard. The four of us were white and all the party goers happened to be black. We were grossly outnumbered and when one rowdy trouble maker shouted "Where are the black Cops" I replied "They're breaking up a white party across town" The crowd burst into laughter and slowly dispersed without incident.

When being tough won't help, you might try being funny.

Bunkermeister said...

Humor can be very helpful.