Saturday, May 4, 2013

Charlie Sector, cold and quiet

It was quiet all night.  A may evening when the cops in Charlie Sector and I should have been wearing short sleeves. Instead, the car's heater was on and the cold wind seemed to have swept people from the streets.

Even at 12th and Chicon, where the dealers and buyers meet for huddled sales conferences, where the girls looking for Johns hang off the sidewalk in the hope of business, even on this busiest of east Austin corners, all was quiet.

We set up in an alley and saw little more than trash cart-wheeling in front of us. One man, his head down, waved a gloved hand as he passed, perhaps mocking or perhaps in sympathy. We bided our time but finally moved to a stretch of MLK where Nick, my officer for the evening, promised we'd catch people blowing away the 35mph limit. But fifteen minutes with the laser-gun gave us nothing, even the traffic was slow and lumbering, not happy about being out in the cold.

Then, at 9pm, a hot shot call. A disturbance, violence, people at risk. Nick hit lights and sirens and I checked the map on his computer. We were on the wrong side of Charlie but what caught my attention was the mass of units heading to the call from every direction, electronic bugs swarming to only light in the dark, like nerds spotting a hot girl at a Star Trek convention.

The call was downgraded soon enough, so we peeled off hoping to find something somewhere else. The best we could manage was a trip to the A&E at St. Davids to get the name of a woman injured in a car crash. When we got there, she'd gone.

Nick apologized several times for the quiet night but it wasn't his fault. I told him that, said he'd done such a great job the criminals were scared to come out and play.

And, for the first time since I started riding out, I actually wondered, "Should we go get donuts?"

We didn't.

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