A foot-beat assignment is the quintessential best and worst job in my business.
You make hundreds of contacts that help you, amuse you, and make your life productive and fun.
However, the downside is, you get to arrest the same 87 drunks, idiots, and petty criminals over and over, every day, every night, rain or shine.
Going to the “Chapel”
One afternoon, my partner Mark and I got called into the “Chapel” at Mission Station to see the senior lieutenant.
It was known as the Chapel, because while you were standing inside, you’d always be praying silently under your breath, not knowing if you had screwed up big time, were getting a no-win assignment, or were being tasked to “run an errand” for the District Command Staff.
Almost nothing good ever came out of these audiences.
Today, it wasn’t too bad a gig: We got an order to flush out a local watering hole on our beat called “The Clock,” because they found a dead body in the bar’s dumpster that morning.
“Flush” was a pretty exact definition of what we had to do. And yes, it WAS that kind of neighborhood
We grabbed the biggest paddy wagon that we had in the parking lot, (literally an old Langendorf Bread Truck painted black) and drove down to 17th and Mission.
Partner Mark boldly went in the front door, while I waited at the back door where the wagon was parked, holding my heavy wooden night stick in my right hand.
As quick as you could say, “Oh-shit-it’s-the-cops” about eight guys had staggered into our little flytrap. With only a quick pat search, while removing the usual large “folding pocketknives,” I jammed the bar’s former clients into the solid sheet metal holding pen that was our wagon.
I had the Wagon-Masters collection of old handcuffs to work with but ran out quickly.
Not a bad haul if I say so myself.
Then Mark got himself a resistor, and I had to run and help.
What to do, what to do?
This is a true Tuue Tuue story
The biggest regular inebriate that I had in the wagon at that moment was a Samoan Hulk named “Tuue Tuue Feta Feta.”
He was a nice guy when sober, (which wasn’t very often), was polite and not terribly hard to reason with otherwise.
I looked at his glazed eyes, refrigerator sized torso, and at his hub-cap sized hands, and spoke.
“Tuue, I am deputizing you as an assistant wagon master. Hold these guys here until I get back.”
With a gapped tooth smile he said, “Okay Little Boss Man,” and off I went to help Mark.
Ten minutes, (and three sets of handcuffs later), we had the primary knucklehead subdued, and for good measure cuffed up his two buddies.
Mark was out the door first, and he began laughing as soon as he cleared the doorway.
When I hit the sunlight, I could see why:
My “deputy” was literally SITTING on top of a couple of drunks and had another stretched out on the alleyway holding him by his pants belt.
Tuue was at least 6 foot 15 inches, and weighed in at over 350, so we got him off the dog pile of drunks immediately, and checked to see if they were hopefully still breathing.
(Thank God they all were, because I was NOT going to do CPR on any of THOSE guys!)
Mark very politely asked Tuue for help getting the three fighters we had over the armor plate bumper step into the wagon.
When these formerly combative nitwits saw our new helper, they climbed in the van quite rapidly, looking at the floor, trying to not draw any unwanted individual attention.
I shook Tuue’s hand, thanked him, decided that the wagon was over-limit for weight already, and released him into his own custody.
I stuck a fresh Lincoln in his shirt pocket for good measure.
– Dave Oberhoffer, retired, San Francisco Police Department