VC: A Day in the Life of an Officer, Part 1

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

Dec. 19, 2 p.m.

It’s a rainy Monday afternoon as “swing shift” officers of the Bremerton Police Department file into their west office headquarters.

Given the weather, the officers are predicting they’ll be assisting residents and reporting on many fender benders and car accidents. Generally, the criminal element is more limited on rainy days, they say, just as others might be less inclined to go for a jog or do yard work.


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

Dec. 19, 2 p.m.

It’s a rainy Monday afternoon as “swing shift” officers of the Bremerton Police Department file into their west office headquarters.

Given the weather, the officers are predicting they’ll be assisting residents and reporting on many fender benders and car accidents. Generally, the criminal element is more limited on rainy days, they say, just as others might be less inclined to go for a jog or do yard work.

Officers and their patrol sergeant meet for “line-up,” where the incoming officers get up to speed on what earlier shifts were tracking, including recent crimes whose perpetrators are still at large and descriptions of recently stolen cars.

Immediately following, Officer Dave Sherman prepares his car, which includes an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle. Bremerton, due in part to its high violent crime rate, is one of the few jurisdictions in the state of Washington where every officer carries the rifle, known for its range.

Sherman, a former veteran of the Washington State Patrol, is known as “467,” and on the shift, he’s assigned to the “Edward,” area, which encompasses much of East Bremerton.

Sherman signs in on his on-board computer and checks in by radio with Central Communications, or “CenCom” for short. He lets them know that he’s on duty and can track 911 calls. Officers have access to hundreds of resources while on duty through both their computers and CenCom. They can run license plates, search criminal histories, and keep tabs on incoming calls from residents who dialed 911.

He cracks the back windows. This, he says, helps him to hear any surrounding conversations and patrol by ear, not just his own sight.

He tests, with a piece of vibrating metal, his radar detector. Officers must do so daily, Sherman says, to make sure it’s accurate. If it goes without the test, any ticket he writes for the day can be thrown out of court.

Soon, we’re headed down Kitsap Way toward downtown. Sherman is going 45 miles per hour in a 35 miles-an-hour zone. A police officer setting a bad example?

Hardly, he explains. Sherman says that if police lag behind a pack of cars because they’re “going the speed limit,” they’ll be doing residents here an injustice by not looking for criminals among that pack. Once we’re caught up to the cars, he glances at each of them, looking at the drivers and passengers and examining them for any suspicious activity they may exhibit, whether they’re wearing seat-belts, their tabs are expired and many other possible offenses.

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