Police officers often have to make tough decisions when they're on the job, and not every case they deal with is necessarily black and white.
That was theme behind today's burning question from Redditor DarkAura777, who asked the online community: "Cops of Reddit: What was your biggest, "I truly am sorry I have to arrest you moment" and why?"
Officers and others in the field had plenty to say.
"The lady drove 3 miles..."
I draw the blood for DWI arrests so not a cop but... I was sitting in the assistant district attorney's office when an officer calls in and he stated that he felt horrible arresting this lady for drunk driving (even though she was plastered) because she was at her boyfriends house and they all were drinking and the boyfriends friend started trying to assault her and her boyfriend did nothing about it. so she hit the friend in the head and got in her car and fled from danger.
Another driver called her into 911 for swerving. The lady drove 3 miles and made it to a gas station where she was found trying to call her friends on her phone for help. He felt bad that he had to bring her in but the ADA didn't accept any charges on her and the officer took her to her friends house. Two other officers went back to the boyfriends house and they got arrested with existing warrants and the assault.
Seeing that woman sitting in the jail for the few minutes she was there was heartbreaking. She was covered in scratches and her clothes were torn. I'm so glad they didn't charge her.
"As a probation agent..."
As a probation agent, I was supervising Tim, early 20s on probation for Possession of Narcotics.
Tim lived in assisted living apartments due to severe mental health. Great person who just needed help learning more about his mental health.
I received a report that Tim started to like one of the staff members, Stacy. She worked 3rd shift at their main house and often handed out medication. I talked to Tim about healthy boundaries between client and staff.
Well, fast forward a couple days, Tim checked himself in the hospital because he tried to make a few advances with Stacy but it was denied. Stacy described it as "scary" as she was working in the main house and he followed her in a room and shut the door. Another staff member intervened. She then proceeds to make a report about other behaviors like he stares at her and tries to be around her. He was arrested and had a short term jail hold (4 days) and we placed a no contact.
Fast forward a few weeks, I received another report from Stacy stating Tim continues to linger around the main building when she's there at night. The night before, she was on med duty and he went to pick up his medication. She asked him to leave multiple times but he never did. He continued to try to make advances towards her. Finally, a staff member walked in and told him to leave. Which he then left. She feels extremely unsafe.
I issue a warrant and go to his apartment. I am waiting for police to arrive and I ask him about that contact. He kept repeated, "I shouldn't have listened to her" However, he wouldn't go in much depth. Police arrive and he goes to jail.
I staff with my supervisor if we should revoke his probation as Tim is engaging in stalking behavior. I was finishing up my investigation and Tim adamantly denied Stacy ever telling him to leave that night. Finally, he breaks down and said they've been having a relationship for the past few months. Sure, checked his Facebook account, and it is apparent they were dating. She assured him no one will find out. Arranging times to meet. Extremely flirty and sexual messages were sent between them.
Stacy told me he was stalking her so she wouldn't lose her job. She reported the gestures as unwanted because other staff members caught them together.
I was pissed that he went to jail let alone we almost proceeded with revocation. I felt awful and apologized for the time he spent in jail.
This was reported to the supervisor. But she didn't lose her job. Anyone else would have their social work listened revoked or face criminal charges. She just kept on working there. The county moved Tim to a different program.
TLDR: Client was accused of stalking a staff member of his assisted living program. Turns out staff and client were in a relationship and staff made a false report so she wouldn't get fired.
"I once got a call for domestic violence."
I once got a call for domestic violence. Another officer and I park are cars halfway up the block (for safety reasons) and start walking up to the house when we're approached by a man. He tells us that we're there to arrest him, but he refuses to give a statement, he just says he's sorry. We put him in handcuffs pending the investigation, and I go inside.
Short end is that dad was drunk, didn't like the way the son #1 was talking to him, and started beating him. Mom tried to step in and got pushed down, son #2 tries to help, but dad attacks him and chases him out of the house. Mom and son lock themselves in the bathroom and daughter, who was frightened, runs to a neighbor's house. Mom and two sons agree on what happened, so it's an easy arrest.
But inside the house there was a door with a bunch of locks on it that piqued my curiosity. It was obviously used to lock someone inside. Mom and sons wouldn't tell me what it was for, so I asked dad. He said that the door was thier daughter's room. His sons would assault her at night so they locked her in to protect her. He said son # 1 had been arrested for it, but he wasn't given any jail time and a judge said it was okay as long as they locked the daughter in her room at night. He told me that when he drank he would get angry at his sons, but felt guilty that he did.
When I asked dad about it, he said that he had a hard time dealing with it at the time and left everything up to his wife.
CPS ended up doing an emergency removal on the daughter and another small child. I still had to arrest dad for attacking his family, but I felt bad for it. I have no idea what happened to any of them after that.
"Not sure how the guy ended up here..."
Just happened. Not sure how the guy ended up here but he had no phone, no family to call. Wasn't welcome at the homeless shelter because he was caught drinking there. Very cold outside. Mental health evaluated him and kicked him free saying they couldn't help. Didn't have any vouchers or money to stay at a motel. He asked to go to jail. I warned him of trespassing at the police department for the next 24 hours. He refused to leave. Arrested for trespassing. Was the best worst option.
"It was Christmas Eve..."
It was Christmas Eve at a super fancy hotel downtown in my city. Lady drove her vehicle into a parking barrier and hotel security called it in. Got out there and she had her daughter in the car with her. Mom had recently bought her a Christmas puppy, a tiny little corgi. So anyways, I called for one of our DWI units to do the test because it's a a felony for the child passenger. Mom fails and we have to handcuff her. She tried to run and my partner takes her to the ground as he falls slipping all in front of daughter and Christmas puppy.
Mom goes to jail and I had to stay with the little girl until her aunt arrived. Learned dad walked out on them earlier in month and mom was having a tough time dealing with it. Mom needed to go to jail, she was drunk but I felt for her and her daughter.
"I'm no longer a cop..."
I'm no longer a cop but my first ever DUI arrest was a guy I went to a very small college with and we graduated together. I knew his family, his dog's name; we were friends.
He was weaving all over both lanes and running onto the shoulder on both sides of the road. He cried and begged me to just let him go and he'd walk home and that he was sorry.
He had to go to jail.
"Had a patient..."
Not a cop but a paramedic. Had a patient that was driving on a Freeway at 100km/h when she started having a seizure. A man also driving on the Freeway noticed her slumped at the wheel so he sped up, pulled in front of her then used his car to slow hers down.
I rock up, assess and go to transport the lady to hospital. Cops rock up as they do and find the man had warrants out for his arrest. Slightly awkward, but he had to leave his car on the Freeway and go off to the cells.
"She was called to a shoplifting incident..."
I've told this story here before but I used to live with a cop.
She was called to a shoplifting incident and found a young, totally emaciated looking boy (couldn't have been older than 12) who the shopkeeper had pinched stealing some bare essential, a loaf of bread or a can of beans or something.
She and her partner did everything they could to talk him out of pressing charges on the kid but the shop keeper insisted and unfortunately her partner that day happened to be a superior or something and whether or not to follow through with the arrest was out of her hands. She had to take this crying, scared, starving boy to juvenile prison with teenagers who had committed real crimes.
She did everything she could to ensure he got immediate social services attention and lobbied to keep the charges from appearing on his record at all. But she still felt broken having to do that to a kid who needed help.
My mother told me about a case she had. She didn't make the arrest but was the investigator. So basically the woman was stalked by her ex and constantly harassed. She tried to go to the police about it, 17 times, with proof and everything and they didn't do shit.
So she and her friends kidnapped him, beat him up and threw him naked in a ditch.
"So I'm finishing up some preliminary paperwork..."
So I'm finishing up some preliminary paperwork in the Dollar General parking lot in reference to a shoplifting when I see a pickup go passed me at a high rate of speed. I didn't have the opportunity to radar or pace it, but it was highway speeds in a 35. So I get on him after the 7 or 8 blocks to catch up he turns into the cemetery. I activate lights and here we goooooooo...
Get out, signs of an obvious DUI. I begin Standardized Field Sobriety Tests when he starts bawling. Gotta play the nice guy, tell him to take his time and collect himself. Well he asks, through his tears, if we can move to a different area. This is an issue, because the cemetery isn't very flat and the area we were was more optimal than any other area nearby. Well then I look behind him and see a tombstone with a familiar name. This guy was doing SFSTs in front of his dead mother.
Within the past two years, this guy had is house burn down, his mother died, and his wife divorced. And I knew all of this.
I didn't feel bad or guilty making the arrest, it definitely had to happen. However, I did feel for the person. I can only hope he's working to better himself now. This was about four months ago.
"Friend of mine..."
Friend of mine who is a cop woke me at 3 in the morning to tell me this story. I completely understand why, I would be bawling my eyes out at making an arrest he did.
He was called in to deal with a domestic dispute and arrested the woman because she beat the ever loving sh!t out of the man. He told me he probably had a broken nose and wouldn't be shocked if he had vision problems one of his eyes for the rest of his life. My friend brought the woman in and she had some fresh marks as well, a couple cuts and a solid bruise on her arm. She also had a couple wounds that had clearly been there for a couple days and a couple that looked like they had just healed.
My friend thinks that the man was abusing her for the longest time and she just snapped and defended herself.
Thing is...my friends mother was also abused by his father, so arresting who seemed to be the overall victim broke his heart.
Legal limit in our state for drink driving is .05.
Setup a random site on a straight stretch of road, could probably see us for 2km in every direction.
This guy comes through, with his 2 kids in the back. He's returning home from a mates birthday.
Blows .06. Just over. He lived 3 houses down from where we setup the site... he could've gone backstreets or dodged us 50 different ways, but he was too honest / thought he was okay.
Felt bad then!
"I was in law school..."
Not a cop but a prosecutor. I was in law school working as a prosecutor for my summer job under the supervision of an assistant DA. I'm getting ready for my first trial of the summer. It's a fairly bad one. This guy was drunk and lit a random car on fire. The fire spread to the house because it was under a connected structure. An elderly man was inside and barely escaped and is messed up from smoke inhalation.
So it's my first week in the office (but my second summer, so I'm comfortable just stepping in and doing the work). My job is going to be jury selection and nothing else to get me back in the groove. In walks the defendant through the jail door into the courtroom, shackled at the wrists and ankle. I instantly recognize him. It's a guy who I used to work with/had some classes with who was constantly trying to convince my college girlfriend to date him instead of me.
I told my boss I needed to recuse myself from the case, but I stuck around and watched him get convicted. Ended up talking my boss into a lighter sentence recommendation though by vouching for his character/potential before he became an alcoholic. Ended up recommending, and getting, jail time plus rehab. I assume he's out by now.
"I got a call to a barber shop..."
I got a call to a barber shop at like 4 AM for a women outside who wanted her boyfriend, who she stated was on the inside, to give her her house key back. She initially told me that she had no way to get into her house because her boyfriend, now Ex, had the key and so she needed it back. She also decided it was a good time to tell me he had a felony warrant. I ran him and sure enough he had one.
I felt bad for her so I started to pound on the front door of this barbershop. I knew he probably wasn't going to answer so I yelled something about if he didn't open up I would report the barbershop to our problem properties unit for having someone sleeping overnight in the business.
Sure enough he comes to the door and opens it up. I immediately recognize him as a Janitor at one of the grocery stores I frequented while working midnight's, as it was the only thing open to get food. He was always really cool with me and seemed like a really hard working guy. He explains to me he has no key of hers and the only reason she is there is because she knows he has a warrant and she just wants him to go to jail. He said he planned on turning himself in soon but just wanted to get some things straightened out first with his kids.
Unfortunately I had already run his information on my car computer so I had no choice but to arrest him for the warrant. I felt so terrible but he was very understanding. I sit him in my patrol car and while another officer watches him I go and speak with her again. I tell her I wasn't able to get a key so she would have to find another way to get inside the house. She tells me that's ok she has a spare key....
I ask her for her information now and go run her and am praying to whatever God is out there that she also has any type of warrant as I was going to arrest her too. But she does not and she gets to go on her merry way.
On the way down to intake I ask the guy why he had to come to the door. Said it was his friends barbershop and he didn't want him to get in trouble over his drama. I felt so bad because I had to tell him I was just bluffing and none of that would have happened. Still feel terrible to this day.