Friday, May 28, 2010

An Important Lesson I Learned on a Police Ridealong

Over thirty years ago, I went on a police ridealong with a Columbus police officer named Ron Larimer, whose sister I was dating at the time. That particular Sunday, Ron was delivering warrants, as in “knock, knock, you’re busted!” I’ll never forget that at one house, Ron asked for Mr. Jones, to which the young man answering the door replied, “That’s my brother. He’s not here.” He then went on to run a check and got the information that the young man had both a misdemeanor and a felony warrant and we left that neighborhood with young Mr. Jones in the back seat of Ron’s squad car.

Later that day, I asked Ron, “Why on Earth would that guy ask you to run a warrant check on him? If he had kept his mouth shut, he wouldn’t be in jail with me.”

Ron shared a bit of wisdom: “People do really stupid things ALL THE TIME.”

I was reminded of that incident just yesterday when I tried to help a young man get a stalking order in municipal court. He told me his ex-girlfriend was acting like a Kipling-eque woman scorned (not his words) and was threatening him. As I drove him home to the courthouse, my client informed me that he was going to college and intended to study criminal justice and ultimately hoped to become a homicide investigator. When we arrived outside the courtroom to go before the judge, four Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputies showed up and arrested my client on a charge of failing to provide a change of address. (He already had a sexually oriented felony conviction in New York for endangering the welfare of a child.) My client managed to change his address without notifying the Sheriff’s Department, and now he is looking at a possible second felony conviction. I seriously doubt he is ever going to realize his ambition of becoming a police officer, let alone a homicide investigator. Some things haven’t changed in thirty years: people do really stupid things ALL THE TIME.

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