Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Friday, August 5, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Whittier Cases-8/4/2011

Bill Says: I had a good chat with our son, John Leroy on the phone today. He was calling from Dillingham and letting me know what was going on there this summer and his heavy workload. It brought back so many memories of 30-years ago, when we lived in Dillingham and I worked for my first civilian police department. So many thing have changed there, yet all too many things haven't. It is still the wild and woolly west and cops there are more or less simple town tamers.

But on to Whittier- ( first off I might point out how so different my blog entries are than my wife's. You get the more intelligent, medical, a touch of philosophy and a dash of mental illness awareness, Christian and parenthood values from her and from me, you get police stories, humor and whatever else is left in the bag).

In Whittier was had our fair share of town characters and this multiplied by 10 with the oil spill. Whittier was suddenly booming with people wanting to go to work on the spill. VECO had set up a boat clean-up station in our harbor and Exxon wanted to use the town's huge waste furnace to burn oily rags from the beach clean-up.  But along the way, someone forgot to close the gate to the looney bin and they made a mad dash for our little town.

I had this one gentlemen come in to my office, a real friendly guy and he asked me if he could use the fire station's shower room. He'd already applied for a beach job and was awaiting word from Exxon/VECO to see if he landed one. I told him to go ahead and take a shower, not knowing he planned to be in it for 4-hours. I was busy and forgot all about him until the VECO employee brought me his application, with a look of dire concern written all over her face. I then noticed the man was still in the shower, draining my hot water tank and steaming up the back area of the fire hall. Not to mention adding to my limited utility budget.

Now this guy was my size, but several years younger than I and on his application he had applied for the not listed position of gravedigger. I knew right then I was going to have a problem with this man and ordered him out of the shower room. While I had one of my officers keep an eye on him, I went and ran him for warrants and didn't find anything. But after a brief conversation with him, where he advised me he thought all the Exxon employees should be put on a barge and then sunk in the Prince William Sound. I asked him to move along and kicked him out of the fire hall and told him Exxon and VECO had no future job opportunities for him and he should think about returning to Anchorage on the next train.

He stayed around town though and began to create a series of problems for me and my men. He never went so far as to break a law, so I couldn't arrest him and he never got drunk so I couldn't place him under welfare hold. But he began to frighten people by his bizarre statements and actions. The City Manager demanded I throw him out of town, but explained this man was the type of character to cause real serious legal issues for the city if I didn't handle it right. But then he made a real stupid mistake, he upset my wife!

Mona was working at the Whittier Clinic as receptionist and he showed up. He wanted to know where all the spare body parts were kept, or maybe it was bodies. I can't quite recall now, but she telephoned me and I was up there pretty quick. Officer Mark came along to ensure I didn't go ballistic on the man, because he could see how upset I was. No one messed with my wife!

I calmly escorted him out of the clinic, walked him to the elevator, ( we were inside Begich Towers), and once the doors were closed I not too gently placed him in handcuffs and placed him under a police officer's 72-hour mental hold. I drove him to Anchorage, which at this point in time meant driving my patrol car onto an Alaska Rail Road flat car for the shuttle out to the highway and then on to Anchorage about 50 some miles away. Officer Mark accompanied me to ensure this dude didn't go rowdy on my and force me to lose control of the car. We didn't have cages in our car back then. Along the way he entertained us with numerous stories, which completely displayed his severe mental problems. He wanted to kill me and talked about all the different ways he was going to do it. He also talked about posing for Play Girl or something like that and was really upset with Joe Namath for wearing nylons.

Now I had called the Anchorage mental unit to find out if they had ever heard of this guy and they advised me they hadn't. He had come to Alaska from Wisconsin to work and that's all we knew. But when I drove up to the hospital and pulled him out- it was old home week for him and all the patients standing around outside. I was not happy! Had I known he was a former patient, I could've talked with his doctor and might not have had to place him into custody. But no, they claimed ignorance.

I marched him inside and explained to the nurse and then another nurse and finally after an hour with a doctor, what this man had been doing in my town. I also explained I was placing a 72-hour hold on him. By the time I left, the doctors explained they would hold him for 30-days to get him back on his medications. They told me he was quite charming when medicated and I said great- then I left.

30-days later, I looked up from my desk and guess who I see standing across the street glaring at me with outright hatred in those pupils. Oh yes, he was back. I warned the officers, I had four of them now, to keep an eye on him and this lasted about 34 hours. I got an early morning call that our man had caused some problems in one of our two bars and got himself beat up by several locals. They heard him bragging about how he was going to kill me and believe it or not, several of my local hoodlums actually liked me. Anyway, the man was now walking in circles, wearing a trench coat and talking to himself down by the water's edge. He had really spooked my officer and he needed back-up. But like I said, the man was my size.

When I drove up, I found him sure enough walking in circles, hands shoved down deep into his coat pockets and refusing to acknowledge me or my officer's existence. Seeing how he was behaving and how I couldn't see his hands, and remembering his threats, I pulled out my pistol and ordered him to withdraw his hands. He refused and began to glare at me. So, while my officer held his pistol on him, I approached him, whipped him around so that I was behind him and stuck my pistol in his right ear. I ordered him to his knees and again ordered him to pull his hands out. He refused. I holstered my pistol and quickly tripped him to the ground, and one at a time brought his hands out of his pockets, while my officer held his pistol about three inches from the man's nose. We were not going to take any chances with this guy. Too many cops get killed by mentally disturbed people who are off their medications. On their medications they are normal like anyone else, but off their medications they can be just plain dangerous.

Turns out he was holding a black comb. He he whipped that comb out too fast, I probably would have shot him. Had he told me all he had was a comb, I would've allowed him to bring it out real slowly. But he didn't. So, I placed him in handcuffs and under another 72-hour mental hold and promptly transported him to Anchorage on the first train. This time he didn't speak at all, but hummed a lot. When I took him to the doctor, I explained that if this man showed up in my town again this summer, I would bring him back to Anchorage and arrest him, the doctor, and ensure that he and his patient would share the same cell in the Anchorage jail.

After 90-days of treatment, the doctor called me to let me know the man was being flown back to Wisconsin for long term treatment. I was so pleased.

But there were others and I'll probably get to them later. God Bless and keep John Leroy in your prayers.

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