June 18 • 09:07 PM

Dedication outshines Blue Moon

Sheriff deputies sent scrambling New Year's Eve

January 13, 2010
Editor's note: This is the second of a two-part firsthand observation written by columnist Doug Hunter as he rode along with St. Clair County Sheriff's deputies on New Year's Eve 2009—a Blue Moon night.

The opinions expressed are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.

As part one left off, Deputy 256—with Hunter in tow—was en route to respond to a call about a house party in western St. Clair County.

What I am about to relate is an ongoing investigation involving alleged criminal sexual activities. Following is a very vague description of what was discovered. Alleged crimes such as this demand privacy for victims and under no circumstances would I risk a mistrial for the accused because of anything written in this column.

Heading west on this Blue Moon night the on board radio and computer continues to blare the incidents and actions of the night. Nostalgia has taken hold of me, thinking back 45 years or so I recall the road parties of my youth. I have mixed feelings about these type of calls. I'm not a hypocrite. In my youth I attended many "get togethers" and received a few MIPs (minor in possession).

Outstanding police officers like the late Glenn Burk and Kenny Teetzel were kind and understanding and were reluctant, it seemed, to even write a ticket. They would confiscate the beer or cheap wine and most times send you home—or if impaired, call your parents. There were never drugs or adults with a devious agenda. The people we relied on to purchase the alcohol would buy nothing but beer or Boone's Farm wine. They had no ulterior motive—not like this night and this host.

Coming back to the present I realize the normally talkative Deputy 256 is quiet. Something is on his mind.

"What are you thinking?" I quiz. He replies, "This address seems familiar to me for some reason."

The radio breaks up the conversation: "256 you will be supported by cars 244 and 253."

Deputy 256 makes contact with the others and sets up a rendezvous point.

"I got it," he says. He remembers this address because he's been there before on the same type of call in the summer. I say "I guess some people are slow learners."

His reply comes from years of experience dealing with the criminal mind. "No, there is more to this. Not even drunk kids are this dumb to use the same location," he says.

He reaches for his cell phone and calls Sgt. Jones to get his input and to form a strategy for what he thinks is going on at the rural home.

Meeting 244 at the predetermined location, they lay out the plan. 253 is being hindered by the icy roads. Realizing time was of the essence and much was at stake, we head immediately to the address.

The house in question is at the very end of a lonely road. There are few homes and it's concealed in a woods, a very secretive and secluded location. It is a place where any goings on could easily escape detection.

The winding 1/4 mile driveway is completely plugged with cars. Parking the two cruisers side by side to block any escape, we exit and start toward the home in the freezing drizzle.

Deputy 244 goes around back and 256 enters the open sliding door in front. Pandemonium ensues as teenagers try to find exits. Some go through windows, others run up the stairs. Realizing there is no escape, the human stampede finally stops.

The air smells of marijuana and everywhere you look are bottles of hard liquor, mixers and ice. On tables are piles of tobacco from hollowed out cheap cigars. Then the 'blunt,' as they are called, filled with marijuana or other substances.

The boys are dressed in t-shirts and jeans. The girls are in provocative 'Goth' black dresses. They are aged from 13-18 I'm guessing, most appear to be 15 and 16. Trying to get a count, I stop at about 100 as deputy 244 brings more down from upstairs. Deputy 253, just arriving, escorts more in from outside. The escapees want to come back in—the lightly clothed individuals cannot bear the weather.

Breathalyzer tests are given and then parents are called. Questions are asked, but few answered. Pictures and names are taken. The alcohol is dumped down the drains.

This was the domicile of a criminal sexual convict. The name of this individual is on the sex offender list published by the state of Michigan.

My anger rises, but I know that the sheriff, the prosecutor and the courts must correct this situation.

What went wrong in the 40 years since my youth, I wonder. This was not the way it used to be when I went to road parties. Years ago the local news used to end their 11:30 p.m. broadcast by saying "Do you know where your children are?" I want to know where the parents of these kids are. Wake up! Don't you think it's a little strange when your young daughter leaves home dressed provocatively? The world has taken a turn for the worse. Without your support and action, all the deputies and other police officers in the world can't stop this behavior by the deviants that prey upon your children.

Leaving the scene, the radio still blares nonstop. About 2 a.m. we manage to stop at a restaurant to get a bite to eat. Not tonight. Getting seated and ordering a coffee, the hand-held radio blasts out "256 report to ****. A man has stabbed himself in the heart with a butcher knife and is still alive. He called in himself."

Leaping from the booth I almost knock the waitress down as she carries coffee to our table. As I apologize, she says "There hasn't been an officer able to finish his meal all night."

Within minutes we are on the scene. The man is fine. It was a call for attention. His daughter arrives and he is taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Returning to the patrol car Deputy 256 calls in his clear status. A quick report comes back "Domestic violence assist," and away we go. Supper this night would be a submarine sandwich around 4 a.m.

Into the deadly hours the accidents begin just as Sgt. Jones predicted. They are scattered throughout the county.

The next Blue Moon on a New Year's Eve is in 2028. I can't or don't want to envision where society will be at that time. But I do know that it won't improve if parents are still negligent in their duties.

As I exit the patrol car the radio blasts out "256 man shot in Port Huron Township. Assist." Smiling, 256 says "Shall we?" My response is quicker than the radio.

"I've had enough of the Blue Moon. My next Blue Moon on New Year's Eve will be on a beach in Florida."

Deputy 256 races away into the darkness and begins his 14th hour on duty. I end the evening thanking God that we have dedication like that in St. Clair County.

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