Last night, as most weekend nights are, was a busy one on the Police radio. There were 2 events that struck me in particular.
#1. A lady was spotted leaning out over the river outside the railing on the Centennial Bridge. Rock Island and Davenport PD cooperated in closing the bridge, and the Davenport Fire Department deployed several vehicles and got the rescue boat in the water very quickly. DPD officers were able to communicate directly with DFD personnel in the boat. The police worked quickly to find out who the potential jumper was, and contact people that could help them talk her down. After less than an hour's time, the woman got off the railing and the incident was ended safely.
#2. Word comes out on the radio that Scott County Sheriff's Deputies and Clinton officers (Sheriff or Clinton PD, I don't know which) are pursuing a drunk driver into Davenport. The chase had already reached speeds over 100+mph according to the dispatcher, and they were coming in on Welcome Way towards 53rd. A Davenport officer asked his supervisor something very similar to, "Should we get ahead of them and block off side streets so they don't crash into anyone?" That's definitely a leading question, as it is very much directed at a yes answer. The response was, "We're not going to get involved." The officers weren't able to easily communicate directly with the other departments, although I believe several DPD units saw the chase go past them, as it was called out when they went through a few intersections. It had to be frustrating for all agencies involved to have Davenport units (who know the city best) forced to sit by and do nothing. It would have been nice if they'd been able to deploy stop sticks, considering that the chase stayed on 61 South for several miles. The last thing I heard was that the chase continued east on Kirkwood. I don't know what the resolution was.
So in the first case, we have an example of everything and everyone working together for the best outcome possible, and succeeding. It also provided a glimpse into how well consolidate dispatching could work, in theory. In the second case, the other departments were basically on their own, probably due to Davenport's misguided chase policy. If the drunk driver had waved a gun around and jumped into a car, DPD would probably have been able to pursue. Yet driving 100+ miles an hour in a small SUV isn't dangerous enough to warrant chasing? What happens when officers keep letting these criminals get away, and later they kill someone? Will that be safer than chasing? When did we get to the point where all you have to do to get away from the police is try?
This is priority #1 for me when choosing a new police chief. After all, in order to fight crime, you actually have to catch the criminals.