Three drunks a-fighting, two wild parties and a woman whose hip popped out of joint. For police officers who see a lot, all is not-so-calm and, frankly, people often are not so bright -- even at the holidays.
From State Patrol officers minding bustling freeways to the shadowy streets of cities to lonely stretches of rural highways, Christmas, and days leading up to it, are just like any other day of keeping the peace. It's the same in the east metro suburb of Oakdale, where the night before the night before Christmas offered one more slice of life.
"Generally, we see a lot more domestics approaching the holidays," said Michelle Stark, community affairs officer with the Oakdale Police Department. "And prior to, and surrounding the new year, we seem to see more break-ins of vehicles."
Like other agencies, the Oakdale department gets by with minimal staffing 24/7, and that doesn't change for the holiday. In fact, some officers seek the holiday shifts (for the excitement and the overtime pay).
So if you think shopping malls are a jungle, step with us into a few patrol cars for a few hours before Christmas Eve. Words are those from officers' own reports. As Joe Friday would say, this ... is the city:
1:37 a.m. Saturday: Responded to report of red car in a ditch, occupied by two people. The 20-year-old driver was passed out in the driver's seat, keys in the ignition. He failed a sobriety test and blew a .19. Vehicle towed, pair cited and booked. (That took about 3 1/2 hours.)
1:59 a.m.: Alarm check at a business. (Most are nothing, but you never know. This was nothing.)
2:18 a.m.: While transporting the arrested driver in the red car to Washington County jail, saw car weaving over the center line, and pulled it over on Hwy. 5 under the Interstate 694 bridge. The bloodshot eyes and alcohol odor were unmistakable. Washington County deputy called for backup, and driver of the vehicle was arrested for drunken driving.
5:40 a.m.: Called to a house where a woman had fallen, was unhurt, but couldn't get up. Spoke with woman through the window, and was told that daughter had a key. Daughter responded, but didn't have the right key. Made entry through a window, and woman was helped to her feet. Family provided suggestions for emergency entry by police/fire.
5:44 a.m.: Suspicious person banging on apartment door; determined that intoxicated person thought No. 321 was No. 331.
9:02 a.m.: Took report of theft of an ice fishing sled.
12:16 p.m.: Domestic. Two women moving out of apartment reported third woman wasn't giving them their personal belongings. Dispute referred to civil court.
12:22 p.m.: Responded to report of woman yelling in an apartment building. Found no problem.
12:58 p.m.: Vehicle fire.
1:04 p.m.: Burglary reported and investigated.
1:28 p.m.: Two-vehicle accident involving nearly an hour of work.
1:48 p.m.: Another medical call, this one involving a 74-year-old woman whose hip had popped out of joint.
The day includes several of these types of calls.
2:48 p.m.: Detained and cited a shoplifter accused of stealing a sweatshirt and pair of gloves at Fleet Farm.
6:03 p.m.: Threatening calls report. Contacted woman's ex-husband in Texas and warned him against calling, and told her how to get a restraining order.
10:30 p.m.: A long night of disturbances and domestic disputes begins. Some are minor, involving loud music and the like. One, at an apartment building, involved a large party at 1:30 a.m., which was broken up. About an hour later, a couple of people were arrested and others were cited.
2:20 a.m. Sunday: Officer flagged down by a cab driver, who said a man had given him $20 for a $35 fare, then ran inside his home and locked the door. When confronted by the officer, the man decided paying his bill would be better than getting arrested. The driver was "happy with the outcome."
4:07 a.m. Sunday: This window of time ended about as it began. Officer responded to report of another "slumper," a man with a revoked driver's license sleeping in the driver's seat of his car on the side of the road with the engine running. He blew a .17, and was booked for drunken driving.
And to all, a good night.
Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @StribJAnderson