VC: A Day in the Life of an Officer, Part 2

(Blogger’s Note: This is the second of four installments of “A day in the life,” which chronicles the December 19, 2005 patrol shift of Bremerton Officer David Sherman)

3:30 p.m.

Like any job, officers can’t help but find certain crimes that bother them more than others. Sherman says he is particularly passionate about finding drivers who don’t wear seat belts or don’t have insurance, because when they get into accidents, it is likely that the person whom they hit will have to deal with many more problems due to their own negligence.

Officers aren’t limited to their coverage areas on a given shift, however. Sherman and I will venture into downtown many times to chase calls, as well as file police reports at the central downtown office on Fourth Street. They can also take their “lunch” breaks in any area of the city.

While traveling down Warren, we find a woman driving what looks like an older model Ford Taurus, turning near 11th Street. Sherman, and all officers, must multi-task and look for as many things as possible while patroling. He notices the woman has an enormous crack on her windshield that impedes her view of the road.

He decides to stop her. Where a radio face is on most cars, Sherman has a panel of red-lit buttons. There is also a switch to turn on his overhead lights and sirens on three settings. The first turns the overhead lights on. The second keep the lights on and sound the sirens. And the third will even change traffic signals to expedite his traverse to an emergency situation.

The woman pulls to the side of the road and Sherman gets out to talk with her. He tells her that her windshield is far too cracked and it’s against the law to have one so severely damaged on the road. She tells him that she’s actually preparing to fix it. After running a records check on car and driver, he tells her that because she’s already preparing to fix it, he’ll let her go without a ticket.

We then follow up a non-urgent call from a credit union in East Bremerton that has received a fradulent check. Like any stop we’ll make throughout the day, we park the car so it is visable to drivers on the road — illuminating to all a police presence in the area — and cars are always backed in to parking spots so police can make a quick jump to an incoming urgent call.

Sherman and I go to the union and follow up with store employees. We receive names of those involved and Sherman will later forward a report to detectives to try and track down the fraudulent party.

Sherman patrols to Riddell — the edge of city limits — and then goes beyond. But what good does an officer’s vehicle patrolling past the edge of town do?

Plenty, he replies. Sherman is a big believer in letting the public — both potential criminals and overall residents alike — that the police are there: that “they’re looking out for the good guys,” and “always watching the bad guys.” By going beyond the city’s limits, he believes he’s debunking a belief that Bremerton police stop at city limits, and there’s a hole in the coverage between them and the next jurisdiction, the Kitsap County Sheriff’ Office, who patrol the county’s large unincorporated

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