Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Cop in the Yard

           You never know when drama is going to find you, or where it will come from. As a writer I kind of look forward to it. As a person who’s had more than my share, I could do without.

            So, I’m pulling into the driveway on Thursday after work. I’ve got my mother on the Bluetooth and I see a package tied to the gate. Christmas deliveries have begun. I get out of the car to fetch the goods before someone comes along and snags them. As I cross behind the vehicle my neighbor walks over from his yard. 

            “Hey,” he says. “A gun was drawn on your dogs today.” Okay, so he has my attention.

            “I’ve gotta go, Mom. I’ll call you back.” I turn to the neighbor. “A gun?”

            Apparently the neighbor had gotten a ticket for running a red light. Only it turned out he hadn’t run the light, or there was something else wrong with the ticket, and the cop that gave him the ticket…a young guy about twenty four….realized he’d made a mistake. So, in an attempt to fix things, the officer drove to our cul-de-sac to come get the ticket back (what cop does that?). Only he didn’t actually know the neighbor’s address or he confused the neighbor’s address with ours. Let’s just say something went wrong.

            The cop came through the gate onto our property, and walked the driveway toward the carport where he found himself face to face with our thirteen-year-old mid-sized dog. This was Chloe, the one that’s like my baby. Chloe was taken aback by the uniform at her door and started to bark. The uniform was taken aback by the dog in front of him and did what any of us would do. He drew a gun. The gun was a Glock—police issued; ready to handle big situations. It was now pointing at my Little Miss’s head. All kinds of good vibes were swirling around.

            So Chloe bit the officer.  

            Predictably, her barking brought our other two dogs to the scene. Both of them are considerably larger than Chloe and their barks are much bigger and scarier. So they jumped into the fray. One dog had now turned into a pack of dogs and the cop was backed into a corner. His gun was aimed and he was ready to kill all three of my babies. In my own yard. Just outside the kitchen.

            The neighbor came out his front door just about then and saw the cop, the gun and the dogs. He yelled. “Whoa. Wait. What are you doing?” He hurdled the fence between our two yards and jumped between the freaked-out rookie, his gun and our dogs—the ones that sleep on the bed with us at night.

            The neighbor defused the situation. Let’s call him the hero. I’m good with that.

            Out by the gate later, I’m hearing about all this, picturing my dogs’ brains splattered and my heart broken, and I am a tad upset. My first reaction is to crucify the cop—he was on my property without any reason to be there other than his own mistake, which was brought about by his previous mistake. He drew a gun on my dogs. He was about to kill them all.

            When I told people the story, every one of them had the same reaction and asked if I was going to file a complaint. At first, that was my inclination, but then I took a different view.

            The cop wasn’t thinking about property rights, or whether he was there on official business or actually just trespassing. He was confronted by three dogs. Then he got bitten and was thrown off. He was inexperienced and he had a gun.

            Luckily, my neighbor leaped through the bushes and saved the situation. So, I don’t know if the cop would have actually pulled the trigger. If he had, one or more of my dogs would be dead. I would be more distraught than words might depict and the police department would find itself as the party defendant in a very large law suit.

            But that didn’t happen.

            The young man was confronted with a volatile situation. He might have pulled the trigger and thought about it all later. He did not. Instead, he used restraint. I called to thank him and to make sure he was okay.   

            To tell the truth our little mishap almost doesn’t seem worth telling now compared to the horrific shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. Families involved in that tragedy will be scarred for life. Our three dogs will continue to crawl onto the bed with us and we will carry on.


  1. Wonderful post. Very frightening situation that could have turned out much worse. Glad you contacted the young cop to see if he's all right. I bet that's the first time anyone took the time to do something like that. As for the tragedy in CT, there are 27 families grieving, a town grieving and a nation sobered. And 300,000,000 guns in private hands. 'Nuff said.

  2. Ah, perspective. Wisdom and good judgement all around.