Ride Along

Thoughts (not necessarily well written) by
Robert Newton

A Report for Mr. Stevenson

By Robert W. Newton

On Tuesday, November 5, 1985, I had the pleasure of being a participant of a ride along, having been prompted (should read "required") by my Criminal Investigation teacher, Mr. Stevenson. The following is a written representation of the events and occurrences of that evening.

Note: Be advised, all names have been changed and exact locations excluded except the deputies and my own, as suggested by Deputy Fiege, re: liability.

The ride along was from 1610 hours to 2345 hours, a total of seven hours, 35 minutes, even though I was advised it would only last three or four hours.

At 1613 hours, Unit 63, containing Deputy Fiege, Deputy Saporito, and I, went 10-8, on duty. I was afraid it was going to be a slow evening, so attempting to stir up some conversation I began asking questions.

Question: Do you have a call yet, or are you on an assigned route?

Answer: No call yet, Deputy Saporito explained - Unit 63 covers a large area, from Canyon Country to the edge of Acton. During a normal work period, measured from 12:00 am to 12:00 am the following day, the Santa Clarita station receives approximately 80 - 100 calls; all of which are given "tag numbers" the order in which the call was received and dispatched by the S.R.C., sheriff radio center. And, that this day was slow, as the station was only working on tag # 35.

With that both officers nodded with agreement that we would soon make our first and most important stop for the day. No, it was not Winchells (donuts), it was Fosters Donuts! By this time it was all ready 1630 hours, we'd been on the road for 20 minutes and nothing had happened yet. I was so bored, I was writing down every street and the direction we traveled on.

By 1631 we were on the road again; the deputies had a firm latch on a hot cup of coffee. Deputy Fiege explained that it might be the last chance to get some coffee before things got busy. Unit 63 then proceeded to "The Sizzler (a steak house)." Here a personal visit of one of the deputies transpired.

During this time the remaining deputy explained the procedure by which each unit obtained specialty weapons. In this station there is an "Armory Deputy" that is responsible for maintenance, cleaning and storing of weaponry such as tear gas, AR-14, shotguns, etc. The final responsibility, though, rests on the deputy that checks the weapon out. After all, if the weapon isn't loaded or functioning properly, it could mean his or her life and or the life of someone else.

The first call came at 1641 hours - 920F, found child, MW5, tag 39. We arrived at the scene at 1656 hours and found 2 FWA (female, white, adult) on horseback, 1 FWA on foot, Stephanie, and one male child, approximately five years, Jonathan, with a dog.

The deputies stepped from the patrol vehicle and began an investigation which revealed that Stephanie discovered Jonathan walking in the wash with the dog. She stated, she approached the child and asked him where his parents were. The child responded by stating that "his father was painting, and was that way," pointing north along the road. She decided the child was lost and attempted accompany him to his home. He became confused and resisted her efforts by running onto a high speed roadway. At that point she felt it necessary to restrain the child, and to seek assistance in the locating his home. Two FWA on horseback passed by at that time, and were requested to restrain the child while Stephanie went home and phoned the sheriff station.

The deputies decided to make an immediate search of the surrounding area in the direction in which the child pointed. Deputy Fiege on foot, hand in hand with the child, and dog on a ready made leash, began walking north along the road side. Deputy Saporito and I drove ahead approximately one half mile in the patrol vehicle and located what appeared to be a frantic father searching for his lost child.

Questioning the man revealed he was painting along the roadside and didn't realize his son Jonathan had walked off. The father was advised to drive down the road to where officer Fiege was still walking. The father and child appeared elated at the reunion.

As a follow up, the father was questioned about his and his son's full name, address, age, etc. It was learned Jonathan was only three years old. It was then suggested by the deputies that the child be made to wear some form of identification, such as a dog-tag with name, address, and phone number, in order to facilitate his quick return in possible future occurrences. Stephanie was contacted again and advised that the child's father had been located. With that, Unit 63 gave tag 39 a Code 4, okay.

It was now 1722 hours, Unit 63 was patrolling the streets again. Driving in random directions found Unit 63 patrolling areas by Canyon High School and later by Pinetree, a housing tract located next to the intersection of Soledad and Flowerpark. Both deputies concurred that this area was a trouble spot, usually centered around adolescents, possibly stemming from inadequate parental supervision. Ideas and viewpoints on this subject were discussed.

At 1745 hours, Unit 61 and 63 were called on a 459A, tag 44. Unit 61 responded stating they would handle it alone and would advise if help was required. With that, Unit 63 requested C7 (lunch) at Cocos, corner of Soledad and Sand Canyon. Granted at 1800 hours, we sat down to eat, relax, and converse on various subjects for forty minutes. By the time we were on the road again, they knew everything about my present hopes, future aspirations, and past failures.

Unit 63 was again 10-8 at 1840 hours. By this time it was dark, and at times it became difficult to take notes; so please bear this in mind if this report becomes sketchy.

Our next call came at 1852 hours, a 925A (suspicious person) at a well-known chain grocery store. Upon arrival, we were met by an anxious store manager and box boy who advised us they were holding a shoplifting suspect inside the store. The expressed, though, immediate concern over two male Negros driving a cream, green and primered vehicle in and out of the parking lot, which they suspected as being the "get away car."

Unit 63 began an immediate search for the vehicle and was later advised by another person (off duty police officer) that the vehicle, was in fact, a gold Oldsmobile. We had no success locating the multicolored vehicle and by 1908 hours, Unit 63 had another call, tag 51. The manager was advised we'd by back as soon as possible for the shoplifting suspect.

It was discovered when we arrived at the next location at 1914 hours, that "Bobby" MW18, 5'10", 140 lbs., brown shoulder length hair, wearing gray cutoff sweatshirt, white pants, with prior record of arrest, and sister FW16 blue and white sweater, white pants, were having a family dispute in the parking lot of a convenience store. Bobby was requested to leave by the owner and refused. Officers Fiege and Saporito question the two separately. During this time it was also discovered that Bobby was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. It was decided to let Bobby go on foot with just a warning, "If we see you on the street again tonight, we're going to arrest you for being drunk in public." Bobby departed without further argument and a few minutes later his sister was left to go on her way. Code 4 called at 1920 hours.

By 1927 hours, Unit 63 was again at the location of the shoplifting incident. We were directed to a room at the rear of the store where a FB (female black), no I.D., 40, 5'4", 130 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, wearing a black leather jacket over a print blouse, with light brown pants and white sneakers, was being held.

On a table directly in front of the suspect were four bottles of Christian Brothers Brandy, Three 1-liter bottles, One 2-liter bottle), which she allegedly attempted to remove from the store by placing said merchandise in a "burglary bag" (as described by deputy Fiege). While the subject's bag was searched for some form of I.D., she was questioned by the officers.

When questioned as to her home address, she responded she was "visiting her brother, who just moved her two weeks ago." When questioned what was her brother's name and where he lives, she replied, "Clifford. He lives on the next street over." The street address was not remembered. She explained, "I'm from San Diego, and my brother picked me up, and it was dark."

Searching the purse revealed business cards from several different locations. She explained, "I've lived everywhere." When asked for her name, she replied, "Marjorie." When asked to spell it, she spelled it four different ways. At that point she exclaimed, "I didn't take anything out of the store." With that the store manager was removed from the room in order to take his statement. Further questioning of the suspect revealed a mailing address in San Diego - her mother's house. Deputy Fiege then observed track marks on the hands and arms of the suspect, who explained, "I'm an ex-hype." When questioned about her date of birth, she gave two birthdates and several different ages.

At this point, Deputy Fiege explained it would be in her best interest to "tell the truth," and that if she had some I.D. she could be let go with "just a citation." But, he stated, as it "looks right now, you're going to jail, and even if someone shows up to bail you out, we won't let you go without positive I.D." The suspect then stated, "I'm not lying," and the reason she didn't have I.D. is her "purse got snatched." The suspect, now crying, stated, "I just had a baby three months ago." At this, a comment was made as to how wise a choice it was that she steal liquor instead of baby food. The tracks were mentioned again, and she replied, "Just tracks, I haven't been in trouble for ten years."

After a social security number was obtained from the suspect, Deputy Fiege called for a file number for his report. During this time the suspect stated, "I went up to the check stand, but I never got out of the store. I was stopped before I got outside." With this she was accompanied outside the room, and the manager was brought in.

He was questioned, and it was learned that "no, she did not get out of the store." After hearing that, Deputy Fiege advised the store manager that in actuality no crime had been committed. Deputy Fiege then counseled the manager as to the legalities and liabilities of a false arrest and illegal detainment, but advised he would run a warrant check on the suspect before letting her go.

During the call for a warrant check, he had the file number "busted." Deputy Fiege was advised - No wants, No warrants. He was also advised that the name given did not exist, even though the suspect stated she had a California Driver's License.

The suspect was allowed to leave, and Unit 63 was 10-8 again at 2020 hours. By 2024 hours, Unit 63 was rolling on a call again, tag 55.

Driving to the next location, we met Linda, a working mother. Her statements were jumbled, and she appeared greatly agitated. She explained that one of her daughters, Kim, 15 years, had been taken to a neighbor's house, because she was intoxicated and suspected to be under the influence of Codeine and Adavon (tranquilizer). She continued that she was looking for her other daughter Ticia, 14 years, who had left home with two boys after an argument. Linda requested the assistance of Unit 63 in locating Ticia. When asked what she wanted done, she replied, "What do you think we should do with them?" One of the officers suggested that the two children be separated and that Linda "blister their asses."

Ticia was described as wearing all black, 5'8", dark hair, 125 pounds. Linda then confided that she and her husband were experiencing marital difficulties, and that soon it wouldn't matter, because she was "getting out" of the situation, and the children didn't want to go with her.

Unit 63 proceeded to the neighbor's house after the location was recorded and Linda was advised we would soon return.

The neighbor's house, Bob's, was close by and we were soon checking on Kim's condition. Kim appeared to be unconscious, her complexion was very pale, her breathing was shallow and raspy, her eyes were unresponsive and dilated, and her pulse was weak and irregular. Bob stated that Kim was brought in the house after she was observed staggering and falling face first repeatedly in the street.

Officer Saporito continued checking Kim, while attempting to revive her. Officer Fiege meanwhile, contacted the paramedics and advised of possible overdose. Kim then became conscious and was helped to sit up. The officers immediately attempted to determine if she was coherent by asking her questions. How old are you? The reply, "nine years old." What did you drink? "Drink about three hits of everything, anything." When questioned again, she replied, "don't know what I took."

The paramedics began arriving by 2044 hours, and when they assumed responsibility for Kim, Unit 63 began searching for Ticia. Knowing now the possible severity of the situation, the officers began requesting additional help to be put on stand-by, including a canine unit, if Ticia was not located soon.

Spotlighting the surrounding areas while calling for Ticia over the loudspeaker, Unit 63 again encountered Linda. It was then learned that Ticia was probably with Greg, and that there was a shortcut through the wash to the house. Directions to Greg's house were obtained, and minutes later we were talking with Greg's sister.

She explained that the parents were out of town for the week, and that Greg had been uncontrollable. When asked where Greg was now, she stated, "Greg has been sleeping in a tent at the side of the house, and is probably there now." Inspection o f the tent and surrounding area, revealed no one. Unit 63 then decided to return to check on Kim's condition. But, before going, Greg's sister requested the officers to "rough him up when you find him, or arrest him."

2108 hours found Unit 63 at Bob's house. By this time there appeared to be at least eight paramedics on location. Entering Bob's house we encountered Dave, Kim's father. Dave was questioned by the officers as to Kim's full name, age, address, school, etc. I'm not sure what was said, because the father did not appear to be happy that I was there. In addition, I was so engrossed with the work the paramedics were doing, I wasn't listening.

Kim was still conscious and sitting up, but now there was an I.V. hooked to her arm, and they were attempting to administer an emetic. After Kim regurgitated the contents of her stomach into a plastic trash bag, we were advised she would be taken to the hospital.

After attempting to question Kim again as to the location of her sister, Unit 63 returned to Greg's house. Greg's sister advised that he had not been seen. She was given Bob's number, and was instructed to contact him if Greg returned. Unit 63 then proceeded to Linda's house.

When Linda was located, she was questioned again about the incident. She stated that seven or eight Atrivin (her spelling) tranquilizers and some codeine were missing from her room. When asked to start from the beginning she stated, "I came home about five o'clock. Mike and Greg were at the house with the girls. Kim was acting weird. I made them all some grilled cheese sandwiches, so they could eat. I went to my room and checked my pills. Some were missing. I went back and told the boys to leave. They said no. I got in a fight with my daughters when I told them the boys had to leave. They started swearing at me. I tried to call my psychologist. He wasn't there. I turned around and they were gone."

The officers then conducted a small investigation of possible entry and exit points, as Linda alleged that the children broke into her room. Unit 63 began looking for Ticia again when the investigation was over, and requested assistance from the canine unit, but was advised of an extended E.T.A. of 30 minutes or more, as it was coming from Gorman.

Unit 63 continued searching with spotlight, driving between Greg's and Bob's houses. During one drive by of Greg's house, we were informed that Ticia was just spotted by Greg's sister a few moments earlier. The officers were visibly annoyed that no attempt had been made to hold Ticia for questioning.

The search ended at 2149 hours when Linda was observed dragging Ticia to her car. It was then learned that Mike, an adolescent, 15 years old, questioned earlier, had known where Ticia was all the time. There were certain statements made at this point that I will not include in this report. Mike was escorted home after Linda refused to press charges against him.

At 2152 hours Unit 63 10-22'd (cancelled) the canine unit, and by 2155 hours we were talking to Mike's mother. She was advised that Mike was intoxicated, may be under the influence of Atrivin, and of the evening's events. She did not appear overtly concerned, and said she would watch him for any symptoms of overdose.

By the time Unit 63 called Code 4 it had another call, 415, tag 58. We were advised it was a family disturbance and that guns were involved. Arriving at the location at approximately 2215 hours, it was observed that another unit had already responded. I was requested to remain by the car, and was happy to do so, as they didn't bring a bullet proof vest for me. The officers returned a few minutes later and called a Code 4.

By 2222 hours Unit 63 was 10-97 at another call. Both officers were attempting to calm down a distraught father who complained, "he already got away." When questioned further, it was learned that when he came home from work he found his daughter and a boy smoking marijuana. The boy already left the premises and the father did not know his name. When asked if he wanted the officers to talk to his daughter, he stated, "I want you to arrest that guy." When advised that both individuals would have to be arrested, and that the court might consider it a problem of supervision, he advised he would take care of it himself. Code 4 called at 2238 hours.

2241 hours found us once again at Foster's. Coffee and donuts obtained, we were rolling again by 2250 hours. It was quiet for awhile and they asked me if I wanted to go back to the station. I told them that I wouldn't mind staying with them, but I had advised my wife I would be home by 2030 hours. They suggested I remain with them for the last hour and that they would stop by my house, so I could tell my wife. I agreed and by 2320 hours I had advised my wife I would be home soon.

We drove around for a little while, slowly making our way back to the station. No more calls were received and after filling the gas tank at the station, I was left to go on my way at 2345 hours.

Note to teacher at end of report:

I would like to say thank you for making it mandatory that I go on the ride along. I thoroughly enjoyed myself the entire evening, and was sad to have to go home. I would like, also, to commend both deputies Fiege and Saporito. They exemplified all that I have been lead to believe a peace officer stands for. They earned my respect immediately, they accepted my presence graciously, and allowed me to believe I was one of the "good guys" even if it was only for a short while.