We now enter week three in our discussion of bias: implicit, preconceived beliefs; explicit, personal preference; or illicit, breaking standards.
Last week, I focused on the public’s experience with bias, and this week I will venture into the world of law enforcement.
Our everyday patrols consist of slow and/or foot patrol of various areas in the city. If we are familiar with the norm of an area, we are much better at picking out those things that do not fit within that realm. Teenagers hanging out in a senior park, open doors, U-Haul trucks being loaded up or items stashed in the bushes might cause the officer to take special interest. Our town is small, and many of the officers know what cars are usually parked where and when.
Part of our regular duties involve responding to calls for service by the public. These calls involve situations and suspects that will need investigation and follow-up. Our bias will be narrowed by the descriptions and situations that are present in each given call.
If we are looking for an armed robbery suspect that is male, tall, white, bald and dressed all in black, it would follow that people meeting the description would be of investigative interest. Our preconceived ideas might aid us in locating those subjects and prevent a delay by stopping and questioning those who obviously did not meet the criteria.
Times of crisis also will produce a period of confusion in most people, so officers take a general approach in their investigation, unless the victim knows the suspect personally. This information might help the general public in the quest to understand why one person is questioned (or becomes a suspect) over another.
Nov. 24. DUI: The vehicle parked partially in the street with two subjects passed out inside turns ugly for both when one gets a room at the crossbar hotel and the other is picked up by a less-than-happy spouse at 8:02 a.m. in the 1300 block of Dreamcatcher Drive.
Accident: The bighorn sheep comes out the loser during a collision at 2:08 p.m. in the area of U.S. Highway 93 and Ville Drive.
Thought for the day: Nothing says good morning better than a call from the police.
Nov. 25. Drugs: Officers get a workout with a foot pursuit and the suspect discarding narcotics along the way at 5:14 a.m. in the area of Georgia Avenue and Riviera Drive.
Juvenile disturbance: The barbecue is being fueled by dissected parts of a sofa at 9:53 a.m. in the 1500 block of Foothill Drive.
Thought for the day: They may eat well but end up sitting on the floor.
Nov. 26. DUI: The suspicious vehicle wandering the neighborhood is explained by the lost driver who needs to sleep it off at 12:36 a.m. in the area of Park Street and Nevada Way.
DUI with accident: This driver exits the vehicle with a face-plant that isn’t going to feel so good once the “anesthesia” wears off at 8:31 p.m. in the 800 block of Avenue A.
Thought for the day: Some folks’ pockets are going to be empty this holiday season after all those fines.
Nov. 27. Overdose: The unconscious man bolts from the scene once waking to find all sorts of help looking him over but is later located getting some refreshments at a local convenience store at 1:55 a.m. in the 800 block of Avenue A.
Theft: The caller reports speakers taken from the garage sale; the person returns to pay for them, however, after realizing he forgot to do so at 1:17 p.m. in the 800 block of Nevada Way.
Thought for the day: The value of an item to you as the seller is inversely proportional if you are the buyer.
Nov. 28. Theft/auto: The man states all the doors on his vehicle are open and numerous items have been taken at 6:11 a.m. in the 500 block of Avenue K.
Prowler: The caller would like to report seeing a person dressed all in black in a neighbor’s yard a week ago in the middle of the night at 12:41 p.m. in the 700 block of Elm Street.
Thought for the day: Please don’t wait a week to report a prowler.
Nov. 29. Recovered stolen vehicle: The caller believes an all-terrain vehicle parked behind the property covered in bushes is suspicious at 7:58 a.m. in the 300 block of La Plata Drive.
Accident: Callers report a severely injured bicyclist needing assistance at 3:17 p.m. in the area of U.S. Highway 93 and Saint Jude’s Street.
Thought for the day: Thanks for being our eyes and ears out there.
Nov. 30. See person: A subject is in the station to ask about putting Christmas lights on his vehicle and then driving with them on at 2:20 p.m. in the 1000 block of Arizona Street.
Drunk: An intoxicated subject at the location is throwing furniture and has left with his dog but not his phone and wallet at 8:05 p.m. in the 500 block of Nevada Way.
Thought for the day: You are not hard to find when you leave your identification behind.
Call of the week: Trespass: The caller states her relative is high on narcotics and is making threats and forcing her to crawl on the ground outside at 12:16 a.m. on Nov. 24 in the 600 block of California Avenue.
Tina Ransom is a dispatcher with Boulder City Police Department. She is coordinator of the Boulder City Citizen’s Academy.