Wednesday, September 2, 2015 – End of Watch – Officer Down
My goal for Here’s What I’m Thinking is to make readers smile and/or think. I do not often post such emotional and serious posts, but today in light of recent events, I felt compelled to post a memory from 2004.
End of Watch – October 31, 2004 – Badge 683 – Austin Police Department
In 2004 I attended the Austin Police Citizens Academy. After twelve weeks of class, it was time to ride with an officer. I was excited. Here are the remembrances from that night.
It was Halloween, October 31 and it was the time change. I chose to ride the 6:00 PM shift. I rode out of the North Austin PD station.
Early hours – routine traffic stops; cruzing around; a fender bender; just keeping a presence.
“Lunch” about 10:30 PM; remembered it was at a Chinese place; another officer joined us; best Jalapeno chicken. Fun time talking to officers.
But then the night turned.
Return to cars: As we walked to the patrol car, the other officer pulls alongside “our” patrol car and said “seen the screen?”
As soon as we get into car and turn on screen we see “accident, officer involved” Then we get a call.
This one is serious. A domestic disturbance at an apartment complex. Other officers are called in. I am told to move away from an exit in the event of an attempted escape. An arrest is made and we are to transport the person to the Travis County Jail.
As we drive south on I-35 the screen comes on again. It reads “Captain and Chaplin headed to Brack” (Brackenridge Hospital). My officer looks at me and asks “Do you know what that means?” I answer “I think so.”
We arrived at the jail, but I was to stay in police car while he took the prisoner inside for booking. It proved to be most interesting observing the other police officers bringing in their Saturday night, Halloween pick-ups for booking.
It is 2:15 AM by this time. My officer returns and says “we’re going to the downtown police station and I will file my reports so far from the night.” It was on the way to the police station when the screen read: “Officer Amy Donovan died shortly after 2:00 AM. Prepare badges.”
While my officer wrote his reports, I watched other officers come in, write their reports and put the black band around their badge. There was complete silence.
Upon completion of his reports and his addition of the black band on his badge, we set off to another call. This time to the Motel 6 on North I-35. Given the possible danger, I had to wait in the car again. Seems as though the two ladies of the evening were with a gentleman, but the ladies stole all of his money and then ran off with two men in a car.
As I sat waiting in the patrol car, all I could think of was my classmates who were riding from the South station. Many of them were with attending officers at the scene.
My officer’s shift ended about 5 o’clock and we returned to the station. We had little to say on the last two calls.
The following Monday’s class was to be the debriefing about our rides. Counselors from APD were brought in for us because they knew we were riding with officers and had been witness to the night. I have never had such an experience. After we told our stories, we all held hands and cried.
When an officer goes down, I am sick to my stomach, my throat closes and when I am alone, I cry – just like I did that night for Amy. Just as I do in light of recent events.
Never take the service and dedication of law enforcement officials for granted. They are indeed there to serve and protect. And they put their lives on the line every day and night for our protection. Bless them all.
Amy Lynn Donovan was 37 years old and left a husband and four children.