This is an itinerary of my Monday this week:
2:25p Arrive at the PD. I notice it is pretty quiet and deserted, but since I start my shift in between the officer’s shifts it is not uncommon for me to not see much when I arrive for work.
2:28p Log on to computer to check my email and the status of the upcoming 9/1 paycheck. I see that I am short my 70+ hours of overtime on the coming check. That’s disappointing but not the end of the world. Email sent to payroll to sort it out.
2:40p Begin gearing up for my shift. Duty belt, keys, flashlight, cuffs, etc. I turn on my radio and put in my earpiece (yah, I use an earpiece, probably has something to do with me wanting to feel super cool like the secret service…)
2:41p As soon as I put in my earpiece I hear all kinds of traffic on the radio. “Be sure to secure all the doors to the building. Nobody in.” “We’re setting up our command post on the west side of the building.” “Can anyone confirm the 4th floor was cleared out?”
2:42p Holy Smoke! What is going on?! My mind is racing……active shooter……bomb threat…..real bomb…..hostages…..?
2:43p I don’t want to jump on the radio during the middle of all this to get an explanation from the sergeant, there are more pressing needs for the radio. I run over to dispatch to get brought up to speed.
2:45p At dispatch I learn there was a “big fire” at the building that I patrol from 3-11p. Great. The only time anything has happened in the past 2 months there, and I wasn’t on duty.
2:48p The Fire Department has already cleared out their trucks, but they want to keep the building closed til 4p to let the fumes die down. The building has a lot of labs in it with all kinds of chemicals that don’t react so well to fire…
2:55p I arrive on scene with signs that we will post on the doors to let people know the building is closed til 4p. We also station an officer or guard at each entrance to be sure that no one comes in anyways. I take the main entrance (it’s my building after all).
Sidebar: If you walk up to a building with police cars all around it, a crowd of people outside, and signs on the doors that read: “BUILDING CLOSED TIL 4PM. NO ENTRY.” That should all add up in your brain right? Apparently some people just don’t get it. There were 4 types of people:
- The person that walks up to the door, doesn’s notice anything out of the ordinary, and walks in. They are shocked when met by a uniform that tells them to wait outside.
- The person that walks up to the door, reads the sign, and then looks in, sees me, and asks, “Does this apply to me?” “Yes sir, everyone is being kept out of the building.” “But, I have a meeting.” “No you don’t, the building is closed.” “It’s important though….” “Sir, the building is on fire, you have to wait outside.” At that point I just shut the door and walk off.
- My favorite – The person that walks up, reads the sign that says the building is closed til 4p, looks at their watch, sees that it is 3:40p, and opens the door and walks in anyways. Seriously?!
- The person that walks up, sees the patrol cars, crowd of people, and signs, and realizes that they aren’t special and they have to wait outside like everyone else. No attempt to enter. Thank you.
3:45p By this time, I have a crowd of about 75 people waiting outside this door. They continue to look at their watches and phones counting down til 4p. I am also told over the radio that 4p may not be correct, it may take longer. Great. I have been telling these people 4p. They are waiting outside, in 95 degree heat for 4p to get here. This could get ugly.
3:55p Still no word on when to open the doors. Now I am going through my strategy for holding back an angry mob of 75 sweaty, impatient, frustrated people wanting to come back in the building. This is gonna be fun…
3:57p Hallelujah. We get the call from the fire department that it’s all clear inside the building. I walk to the door, take down one sign and it is like Wal-Mart during December. All 75 people stream through that one door in what seemed like 7 seconds.
4:05p All the signs on the building have been taken down. Business as usual.
7:15p Back on patrol.
11:15p Done. Go home.
You’ll notice that after the first hour or so of my shift, it slowed down just a bit…
Oh yah, the fire was started by a roofer’s propane torch. Apparently he didn’t know that open flame and electrical wires don’t mix. Hopefully Tuesday has some action to it as well.