From my Police Officer’s “Daily Field Activity Report”, log entry #5 a true Police story of being assigned to drive the ‘drunk wagon’ and getting myself into an embarrassing predicament.
My assignment for the next three months is day watch and I have the lovely task of driving around the city in what is called, the ‘drunk wagon’. Driving that big old truck around the city picking up passed out, smelly drunken people was a dirty assignment, but a necessary one. Keeping the city looking clean is important but taking care of the “down and out” is even more so. Alcoholism is a disease and I’m glad there are facilities and places you can drop off the people who need help. To be honest, I felt like I was truly doing a good thing.
The ‘drunk wagon’ looked like a big diaper truck or UPS truck, no windows, red and blue overhead light bar and “Police” written on it. You swung open the back door and could load as many as twelve drunken people inside where they could either sit on a small bench or on the floor.
After several weeks at this assignment, I was able to get to know quite a few of the regulars on a first name basis. That made it easy, as I could pull up to a group of drinkers, call them by name and they would just climb into the truck without any argument.
My partner called in sick so I was working by myself today. As I drove around the city, I saw a group of about ten drunken men and woman in a vacant lot standing around a fire they had made in a large trashcan. I pulled into the middle of the group, got out of the truck and met with hoots, hollers and happy greetings as if I was a long lost friend. “Hey, O-s-s-i-f-e-r Hallock, what’s happening, where you been?” said a man lying in the dirt. “Not much Tony, how you been lately, you doing alright? You look like you need a ride to the tank”. As I looked at the group, it looked like I was going to have to take about six of them so, I opened the back door of the truck. When I looked inside, I saw a book of matches on the floor, “I better get those before anyone gets inside” I thought to myself. I stepped inside the back of the truck to get the matches and all of a sudden, the spring-loaded door slammed shut behind me. “What the hell”, I am locked in the back of the ‘drunk wagon’ and there are ten drunks outside starting to laugh at me. “What in the world am I going to do now”, I said to myself. The only way out is if someone opens the door from the outside and I am not about to get on the Police radio and ask a Patrol unit to come and let me out, I would be the laughing stock of the Department. I started to pound on the door at yell out, “u-h-h, hey guys…can you open the door for me please”. “What Officer Hallock, w-e-e-e can’t hear you-u-u,” said one of the drunks laughing hysterically. “Stop laughing and just let me out” I said annoyed and humiliated. Luckily, I had the truck keys with me. I could only imagine one of the drunks driving the truck all over town with me in the back; the news channels would have had a hay day with that, my goodness was I embarrassed.
Finally, the door opened and it was Tony. “Thanks man, I owe you”, I stepped out of the back of the truck trying to look like I was still in charge. “Today all of you get a free pass… I’ll catch you all tomorrow,” I said laughing and shaking my head. “You all better keep quiet about this too,” I threatened. “O-h-h we will, we promise” a few snickered.
I climbed into the driver’s seat and started the engine, waved good-bye to the group and drove away slowly. “I’m such a klutz,” I thought to myself laughing aloud.