Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It Isn't Easy Being Camo Green

The famous unmentionable sergeant and I were busy working at the River War Haus organizing and loading a trailer full of junk for our dump run when the call came into our cell phones, almost simultaneously. It was December of 2010.

It seemed a high and drunk girl was holding herself hostage with a firearm at an apartment complex on the west side of town. We were being requested as hostage negotiators.

Being 30 miles away, we hustled, after shoveling our lunch down our throats, to the scene in the Gold Beast only to find SWAT and several agencies were already there and communications had been futile. In fact, the female was downright pissed at everyone, including herself. Top that with still drinking. It was a great combination. And not a happy drunk was she.

Telephone communications were not existent. Bullhorns didn't work nor were they effective for this type of negotiation. There was no other choice.

I was about to become Raphael. Not the archangel. The green one...

Photo credit: Nickelodeon
The SERGEANTWHONOWHATESME took me to the back of the Negotiations Suburban (black like the spy type-duh) and dug into a locked box. Out came a new outfit.
ME: Uh. That is not my color or my size.
SWNHM: (giggle) Yes, you are wearing this.
ME: How am I supposed to be stealth and sneaky or move around in that? I am going to be a sitting duck.
SWNHM: You have no choice. Undersheriff rules.
ME: I hate rules.
It didn't take long to for me to feel the weight of the heaviest armored suit man could have made. I was 120 pounds soaking wet at this time...a far cry from my fat farm girl status now. Add another person and I was a contestant on the Biggest Loser because of my height and weight comparison.
Picture this. A small blond in a big turtle suit equipped with neck armor and a helmet, head to toe plated outfit...in camo green. I could see ahead, but had no peripheral vision unless I moved my head that direction. I walked in slow motion similar to a robot. I was a real live Robocop. Imagine my surprise when no one thought I was funny imitating Peter Weller's great lines from the movie.
ME: Come quietly or there will be... trouble.
SWNHM: Stop it. This is serious.
ME: Dead or alive, you're coming with me.
SWNHM: The Undersheriff is going to hear you.
ME: He has a sense of humor. Not like you.
SWNHM: Hold still. I have to secure this vest.
ME:  Your move, creep.
SWNHM: You are impossible.
ME: Pekew...Pekeww..POw..pOW..Pekew. Thank you for not smoking.
I was suited up and ready for bear. What does that mean anyway? Another negotiator was suited up as well and we were led to the main entrance area where SWAT was holding their positions.

The whole day was written in my journal with conversations and more "atmosphere", but I have posted that before for your reading enjoyment. I didn't post all of it, so here is the stuff behind the scenes that for some reason at that time in December, I was too embarrassed to post to this blog.

SWAT members came to lead us to the front door of the scene and talked me through the arrival into the hallway which was a funnel of fire. The other negotiator was going to stay further back.

There really was no good cover for anyone. I was it. A human shield. My right hand SWAT man was the best one to have from the force. He was huge, mean, and had been Soldier of the Year when he was in the Army. My favorite backup plan.
Negotiating with her was next to impossible so we had to devise a plan. I was to lure her outside with my smooth talking so the guys could capture her. She really hated me, but she hated the guys worse. I thought of her as the Bitch From Hell. We could only see shadows of movement through a crack in the front door which she propped open to speak through. It was being held open by SWAT even if she attempted to close it. We hoped she wouldn't because then she would know we had made moves to enter and tackle her. This was not our usual process and was the first time I had donned this suit other than training. I had done many face to face negotiations but never where I had no cover. To be honest, it was kind of unnerving but my adrenaline kicked in before I reached the front door (which opened up to stairs) to the complex. Once we got through the door, we held our position at the top of the stairs.  SWAT was not keen on our idea as negotiators to move closer. But they did it. Woman rules.
My BACKUPPLAN and I entered and moved slowly up the stairs. He had a less lethal shotgun as the first initial plan of action.  I had to yell at her which seemed very impersonal but it was what worked at the time. Before too long, she was tired of the yelling and came to the door. After more longer exhausting minutes, she opened the door a few inches. I was sweating in that suit. It was heavy. I was a whiny piny pansy pants. Only in my mind. I wouldn't let the guys know that.
At some point she came out into the top of the landing and BACKUPPLAN took his chance and shot at her with less lethal. He missed her, but hit the wall. He rushed past me along with his entourage and they tackled her drunk self.
I had an inkling of what was going to happen with her position change and I also started to move to do the habeas grabbus. However, I was two persons in one green suit of armor. And big. In the SWAT stampede, I was knocked down.
In turtle fashion, I tried to upright myself only to flail around and spin on my back. I could have possibly rolled which would have sent me down the stairs so I could upright myself, but I couldn't get that initial boost. I watched as SWAT carried out the suspect by her legs and arms, putting a spit mask on her and carrying her like a kabob to a Cannibal BBQ. She had enough time to turn to me and call me a bitch. My work was done.
In my mind, I was researching turtle survival videos and turtle behavior that I learned as a kid in order to figure out how to get out of my dilemma. As the attempts continued and I flailed around, one of the SWAT guys reached down and grabbed the vest and yanked me up on my feet, setting me down like a toy Lego figure.
BORTON: You ok, Fargo? Good job.
ME: Thanks. Turtle POWER!
BORTON: Yeah. No shit. Let's get that thing off.

NEGO D: Good job.
They were all very gracious to me even though I must have looked like a nincompoop. Perhaps it was the danger of the whole operation and I went forward without hesitation. I didn't even pee my pants. Stuff like that never bothered me. But put me in a haunted house and watch me freak out. I was a little embarrassed for falling down and not being able to right myself. It was funny at the time, but had it been in a battle, I would have been turtle soup.

I decided that day forward that I was not going to play Ninja turtles anymore. Well, unless my friends made me.
So here is the best pic I could find because the paper has archived it.
Photo credit: Casper Star Tribune


Paxford said...

My Hero in a Half-shell! :)

... and that tale of the corn maze - no flipping way would you even get me into the car park of one of those. So you win big time points from me-the-wussy-scream-like-a-girlie


Allenspark Lodge said...

So, what is the protocol for requesting assistance in that circumstance?

"Officer down", or "I've fallen and I can't get up"?


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure The Casper Star would want credit for a photo that fuzzy LOL!
You are a rockstar, and SWNHM needs to chill. Tell you what, if I'm ever being held hostage I want you to come get me.... and the next time you're at a haunted house, I'll be your armor; sans turtle shell. No pee pee pants on my watch!

Bob G. said...

Momma Fargo:
...And to think that CAMO is the new fashion "paisley"!
(not to be confused with BRAD Paisley)

Roll safe out there.