Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Seward Cases/ 7-20-2011

Bill Says: During the 4th of July celebrations in Seward, things used to get down right rowdy. Public drinking was allowed in 1985 and an estimated 15,000 people had come down from Anchorage for the celebrated Mount Marathon Race. Along with the normal type citizens were Alaska's three chapters of Hell's Angels. They would be accompanied by their "prospects", who were hoping to join the Angels and then there were the independent bikers who road with them. But an independent would not wear the Angels' "colors", which was the leather vest, with the winged skull on the back. And of course, there would be a dozen or so wanna-be Angels, but would actually never be allowed to join because they were thought to be mostly worthless. But the Angels would use them, almost like servants or runners to go buy more booze.

Now the Angels were mostly businessmen; some owned bars or massage parlors/escort services. While others were used as enforcers by strip club and bar owners. So, to keep their businesses and liquor licenses, the angels tried very hard not to have problems with law enforcement. But the wanna-be bikers were just the opposite and they caused a lot of problems. And just about every cop in Alaska knew the Angels were producing Meth on one of the island in Prince William Sound and in Matsu-Valley.

During the 4th, the Angels set-up their camp outside of town so they could party hard and avoid trouble. The troopers would drive by, but they were pretty much left alone. But on one night, 30 bikers roared into the downtown area of Seward and hit Tony's Bar. We had a lot of bikes parked out on the street and one of the wanna-be dudes was left outside to watch over them. This was the night before the race and I was on foot patrol in the downtown area. I spent 12-hours walking up three blocks on one side of the street and down three blocks on the opposite side of the street. I was accompanied by my best friend Officer Doug Packa. We had become friends right off, learning we were the only two Christians on the department sort of threw us together and our families became friends and we attended the same church.

The street was nearly elbow to elbow as people milled about. If we made an arrest on the street, which we did often, a patrol car would come by and pick-up the prisoner and haul them off to jail. We'd do the paperwork at end of shift, getting some overtime to do the reports and fill out the complaints for arraignment.

It was upon entering Tony's Bar that I knew that Doug and I had walked right in to a major problem. Bikers were squaring off against locals and gun play was imminent. I knew most of the bikers were probably caring firearms and so were the locals and the odds were about 80 of them against Doug and I.

I was about to call for back-up when the head bartender, a man I'd problems with in the past as a troublemaker, had entered into a shoving match with the Angel's Anchorage Chapter President over some lady. The President didn't want to go to jail and was trying to calm things down when he saw me, but the bartender, who was intoxicated, didn't want to back-off and this forced the President to take action to show his boys he was still worthy of the title. That's when I moved in and left Doug with the job of calling for help. I got right between the two men and we had words. I explained how I didn't want Dodge City on Saturday night breaking out and how I'd hold both of them responsible if anyone got hurt. I also explained how I suspected how many concealed weapons were being carried and if I and my responding back-up officer decided to do some searches, how a lot of them would be going to jail. I knew Doug was standing behind me, covering my back and I continued to talk these two men down. Now some of these Angels looked as if they could've played offensive line for the Rams and everyone of them was in black leather. Two of them were wearing police patches, which meant they had beaten up a cop and taken the patch off him. I didn't recognize the departments and figured they were from the Lower 48, but I was going to keep a good eye on them. One was also wearing a particular patch which said he'd killed someone, not a nice guy.

I finally got things calmed down and the bikers left the bar without killing anyone. That's when I noticed that Doug was standing at the door to the bar. He hadn't come inside and it turned out he had never called for assistance. I knew Doug was no coward, so I was stumped. He explained, "Bill, I just don't know how to deal with these people and you were doing great!" I wanted to throttle him, but he was serious and having gotten into several fights with him  I knew he didn't have any fear of getting into it. He just thought I could handle it and was keeping anyone else from entering the bar. All I can say was that the Lord's angels were really working overtime that evening. Later, the obnoxious bartender came up to me and thanked me for saving his life. I never had another problem with him. The angels left and that was about the last time they came to Seward enforce. I met up with a few of them later while in Whittier and invited them to a city barbecue. One of them was the son of a local businessmen. I would also deal with the Fairbanks chapter when I became a state investigator and they were being used as enforcers to keep the strippers in line for two of the local strip clubs.

Early the next morning, after the bars were closed and the town was quiet, I was driving a patrol car with Doug as my rider when we found this guy standing up against a fence in the alley behind one of the bars. He was my size, but I noticed he was behaving really strangely and wanted to check him out. We were only a few minutes from getting off shift and Doug was not too overjoyed by my decision, but he finally agreed with me and I stopped near this man. I immediatly saw his eyes were glassed over and asked him for his ID. He said, "Sure got it right here," and pulled out a bag of magic mushrooms. Not the smartest of things to do to a cop. I knew I would have to test them, but by his eyes I was pretty sure they were the illegal ones. We had a lot of them show up that summer of 1985. Most of them were coming in from Canada. When I got him to the station, the mushrooms tested out positive for the illegal ones. He also had a forged Arizona ID. Sadly, he was an Arizona State football player and this felony bust was really going to hurt him. His father was a lawyer too.
People do stupid things.

All for now, but more to follow. Seward was an interesting place to work.

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