Rapid City Police Department
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING PT. 3
As we begin our morning, our days, our week, some are just getting off work. They’re finishing a long night to make the rest of our week a little safer. These are the people we’re focusing on. NewsCenter1’s Megan Murat gives us a look at what goes on while you’re sleeping.
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Police keep the peace and enforce the law – day or night. Officer Josh Russell with the Rapid City Police Department showed NewsCenter1’s Megan Murat that dealing with crashes and finding drug offenders isn’t all police do.
Every night begins with a meeting at 9 p.m. sharp to keep officers up-to-date with the latest Rapid City happenings. Then, it’s out to the unit.
“You want to check the back seat to make sure no one’s stuffed any drugs or weapons back there,” said Russell.
Then, it’s time to hit the streets and get to work. But for a Friday night with a full moon – it was pretty slow compared to a regular night.
Russell typically sees anywhere from 10 to 30-something calls a night.
“When you’re not on a call, you’re trying to do proactive policing, whether that’s traffic or you’re watching a house,” he said.
The peace of the night doesn’t always last.
Russell was dispatched to Haines Avenue and Mall Drive to control traffic while other officers and firefighters cleaned up a car accident.
A brand new car was totaled, and a man was on his way to jail after allegedly driving drunk and t-boning another vehicle.
“This shift, pretty much all your calls are in progress,” said Russell. “This shift, things are happening as they call.”
Next call – suspicious people at a local car dealership.
“There’s a city statute that says you can’t be on business property after business hours unless you have written notice from the business owner,” said Russell. “We have this guy in a vehicle on the lot, and the business is closed, so that gives me reasonable suspicion to go and talk to the guy.”
As Russell arrived, he met another officer who already had one woman in custody and another being questioned.
“So do you want to come clean with me right now and tell me what’s really going on?” Russell asked. “What kind of drugs am I going to find in that car? What kind of paraphernalia am I going to find in that car?”
Then a K-9 unit was on the way to check the exterior of one of the cars for the scent of drugs.
“When he indicates, we’re going to search it on probable cause, so do you want to come clean with me right now and tell me what’s really going on?” he asked again.
The K-9 did “alert” to the presence of drugs in the truck and then in the girl’s purse. “There were drugs in there recently, and she had money in her purse. So more than likely, she sold this girl dope with the money in her purse.”
Past the crashes and drug stops, the rest of the night showed that police officers do more than look for criminals. They help people.
A search for an assault victim turned into a domestic violence arrest. The arrest itself was filled with screams, echoing in the night. Between the home and the jail – the situation took a complete turn. The woman arrested was thanking Russell for bringing her in.
“Sometimes it takes an arrest to help people,” said Russell. “In this case, it was good that she was arrested to pull her out of the path she was on. You feel pretty good when you can walk away from a citation or arrest and the person actually says thank you.”
This isn’t the first time Russell has arrested the woman. They each remembered each other and talked about her past to help her better her future.
“I wanted to make sure that I recognize that with her and reassure her that everything’s going to be okay,” he said. “She’s got to keep doing good before she falls back and we end up dealing with her again like we did when she was on the run.”
Other run-ins overnight highlighted the homeless population in Rapid City.
One man was nearly passed out drunk at a bus stop. A woman, 2 months pregnant, had a blood alcohol level of 0.19. Both of them were homeless.
“We’re going to take you to detox for you to talk to people and get you the help you need,” said Russell.
Overall, it was a relatively slow night, except for the people whose lives were changed overnight. “It’s slowing down,” said Russell. “I usually park someplace where I can watch some traffic, have my radar running while I type my reports. Knock out my reports and that should pretty much be end of shift. Now it’s almost 4 a.m. and most of everybody has gone to sleep for the night.”
Tuesday, Oct. 9 – Logistics Readiness Squadron, Ellsworth AFB
Wednesday, Oct. 10 – Rapid City Fire Department
Thursday, Oct. 11 – Rapid City Police Department
Friday, Oct. 12 – National Weather Service, Rapid City office