Here's another in an occasional series of "what would you do" columns. All incidents but one are taken from Shelbyville Police Department reports.
*Not so tough: A witness sees a man hit his small child in the back of the head so hard he falls. Police are called. The father admits the hit, saying he wrestles and is "trying to make his kids tough."
You're the officer. How do you respond?
A) Arrest him for child abuse. B) Give him a good chewing out. C) Fearfully get away from Tough Guy. D) Congratulate him for teaching his kids survival skills in a tough world.
--- An officer told Tough Guy he had no excuse for hitting his kids and reported him to the state Department of Children's Services. Tough Guy probably won't listen. Too bad for his children, who should be taught that strength for life doesn't come from physical attacks.
*Just hangin' around: A man is stalking the grounds of an apartment complex naked, yelling at women, eating grass and biting himself. It's his second incident within two months. He bit a police officer on the previous occasion.
Should Yeller be: A) Taken into custody? B) Sent to a mental health facility? C) Left at the complex with hopes he'll go away? D) Shot?
-- Yeller was charged with disorderly conduct. Is it possible that the management of the apartment complex could evict problem residents?
* I can do anything I want! But, unfortunately for Paris Hilton, it's not a belief that she can achieve anything. It's an arrogant attitude that rules and laws only apply to others. After being caught driving on a suspended license following a previous alcohol-related driving arrest, she goes to jail.
You're Paris Hilton (some of you are shuddering at that thought!). Do you: A) Finally learn a few lessons and grow up? B) Pout. C) Call your handlers and cry, "Get me out of trouble!" D) Accept the fact that you're in jail.
-- She ended up doing A (sort of, she claims), B, C and D. And if there were an E she'd probably do that, too.
* Not HIM again!! A woman arrives home from work about 3 a.m. to find her ex-boyfriend asleep in her bed. She wakes him up, tells him to leave and calls the police. He leaves after pointing out the stereo system he's intentionally damaged. By 10:30 a.m. he's back, loudly cursing and kicking the front door as an arriving police officer orders him to stop.
Mr. Ex ignores the cop, grabs a tire jack and throws it through a window of his ex's car.
You're the cop. What's your next move?
-- Mr. Ex tried to run, but stopped and hit the ground when the officer said he'd otherwise shoot. The man surrendered peacefully except for cursing the officers involved.
* President Bush likes our party: At least 10 people outside a home are enjoying fireworks with their beer late July 4 and into the early hours of July 5 -- but each time sleep-deprived neighbors call police, the fireworks stop until the cops leave. One man, whom we'll call Mr. Patriot, says he's an American, he knows his rights, all the partiers are property owners and he's going to call President Bush.
Your job as a cop, after repeat visits: Tell them to stop without appearing unpatriotic. How?
-- Mr. Patriot was charged by police the next night with disorderly conduct for "actions that hinder our job" and disturbing the peace.
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David Melson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.