ASSIST OFFICER

10-50

All lives matter. Even cops. No, I’m not making a political point, it’s just common sense. In the real world we all have good and bad days but cops can’t afford for days to be bad. It’s a big boys and girls game out on the streets and if recent events are any indication, it’s not getting any easier. And good cops are cops no matter when or where, on duty or off.

From my first crime/detective novel, SINK RATE, due out next month:

“You are going to have the best veal sandwich in three states,” Sam said to Eileen. After Ken said goodbye, they turned toward Lancaster Avenue to go to City Line Avenue. “The place was just a pizza and hoagie shop, but then they built on a dining room. It’s always busy and the food is great. Just up from the Philadelphia barracks on Belmont Avenue. It’s only about twenty minutes or so from here.”

They were on a two lane street where the houses were a couple of hundred feet apart. The road curved and rose and dropped through the nice neighborhood. The trees looked like they had been there for a hundred years and many of the drives had fancy gates guarding them. They were about two miles from the school and Sam was enjoying the quiet conversation with Eileen. She was sharp and didn’t let much get by her. She liked Ken, too. Thought he was ‘a young gentleman.’

Sam started around a curve and caught the flash of lights ahead. As he crested a slight rise, he could see headlights facing him on the side of the road and the flashing red and blue lights of a police car behind it.

“Looks like someone’s getting a ticket,” Sam commented to Eileen. They were in Radnor Township. It was a good department and Sam new the chief and several of the officers from the task force days. It was hard to see because the cruiser’s headlights were also flashing, but as he got closer, Sam could make out the shape of a person standing between the cars.

He slowed a bit and started to pass by the two cars. When he got even with them he blurted, “Shit!” and punched the gas. Eileen’s eyes opened wide and before she could say anything Sam threw the Pathfinder into a hard tight turn to the left and hit the brakes.

“Cop’s fighting with the guy!” Sam said loudly. What he thought was one person was actually the police officer and a big man grappling with each other. The turn threw them to the right and Sam hit the gas again. As they closed the gap between them and the cars, Sam reached across with his left hand and released his seat belt. He roared up to the rear of the police car and hauled the Pathfinder to a sudden stop.

He reached for the door handle and as he started out, he said loudly, “Cell phone, 911, stay here!” then he was on the ground and trying to move fast without tripping over himself. He got three steps and instinctively reached to guard his gun. It wasn’t there. It flashed in his mind that his .45 automatic and his .22 magnum derringer were locked in the gun safe behind his seat in the Pathfinder.

He was covering ground quickly as he passed the police car. He saw that the fight had dropped to the ground and the cop was on the bottom. The man was holding the officer down and was over him hitting the cop hard in the face with his right fist. Sam could hear the blows thud against skin. The cop was trying to push the man off, but was only opening up his head and leaving it unprotected to receive more unblocked blows. Sam didn’t have time to decide how to enter the battle and used his full force and weight to throw a body tackle on the upper part of the attacker. Sam kept his feet under him and drove his right shoulder into the neck of the bad guy. Sam hooked his arms in front of his own chest and as his shoulder contacted the man’s neck his arms and chest met the left side of the attacker. The effect disengaged the man from over the cop and drove him sideways and into the shallow ditch beside the road. Sam didn’t know if it was him or the other guy who let out a loud, “Uhh!”

The problem was, Sam’s momentum and force wasn’t completely used up on the target. It had the desired effect of removing him from the cop, but Sam and the man continued on over without stopping until Sam found himself now under this big guy. They landed hard and Sam felt his right elbow take a lot of the impact. He thought he heard the crunch of bone, too. For just a part of a second, everything stopped and Sam could hear the loud hiss of the policeman’s portable radio with the squelch open and roaring.

The man looked right in to Sam’s eyes from above and as if he only paused to change targets, drew his big right hand back to punch Sam’s head. Sam’s hands grasped the man’s jacket and were now in front of Sam. He could see the blow coming and was able to roll his left forearm just enough to take most of the punch and deflect it to his left shoulder. It hurt. This guy knew how to fight. He immediately drew back again and got off another shorter punch and swung up and over Sam’s forearm. This one landed square into Sam’s forehead. It hurt worse. Sam again blocked the next shot and was shifting his legs trying to get leverage to move this maniac off him. He couldn’t get around under the knees of his foe and took two more punches, one to his left ear and one to the left cheek. He had to do something and fast. He was losing this fight before he could get in it. Where the hell is the cop?

The man’s left hand was gripping Sam’s collar and was in range. He rolled his head slightly to the right and bit the big thumb to the bone. Sam absorbed another shot to his left ear before the pain registered with his opponent and the right hand stopped hitting Sam and felt for the source. That shifted the big man’s weight just enough that Sam pivoted under and away and rolled him onto his side. As the man’s head hit the dirt in the ditch, Sam released his thumb and slammed his forehead onto the bridge of the man’s nose. He felt the grip on his collar loosen and Sam thrust his knee hard up into the man’s groin. He knew that one landed solid. He glanced over the top of the big fellow to see where the cop was and saw an arm rise up and slam back down. It wasn’t the cop’s arm. Sam pulled himself up and out from under the big man’s leg and saw a second guy was now pounding the cop and trying to get at the cop’s holster. Fists were one thing but if he got the gun they were both dead.

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