Ryan Radiohead leans back in his chair during his 11 p.m. shift briefing. He hasn't gotten as much sleep as usual, so he's chugging coffee as his shift supervisor gives the cops the rundown on the local criminals' exploits. Ryan already knows about the rumored drug deals, latest round of business burglaries, and motorists trying to circumvent road washout barricades after last night's torrential thunderstorms. Not much new here.
With the briefing over, Ryan catches up with Jon, his partner for the past four months. They compare notes and map out a strategy for the night. As much as most people prefer to catch some Z's at 2 a.m., Ryan and Jon would rather cruise the city's streets. After all, Ryan reasons, unless someone is going to or from work or home from a club, they're probably up to no good.
After a head call and another round of joe, Ryan and Jon pull the patrol car out of the lot and head for the club district. A couple of bar owners have had some trouble lately, supposedly from out-of-towners trying to stir up the local boys. From Ryan's information, he doesn't think it's gang-related, but he won't know until he checks the place out for a couple of nights.
After sitting in the shadows near Puck’s Sports Bar for almost an hour, Ryan and Jon haven't seen any altercations; in fact, they've hardly seen anyone at all. A few minutes before closing time, however, the bar door bangs open and a 20-something guy staggers out. He weaves through the parking lot, finally finds his car, and manages to creep out to the road without hitting any other vehicles. In his inebriated state, however, he doesn't see the patrol car pull behind him, lights flashing and siren wailing. Show time.
After giving the driver a field sobriety test, which he fails in spectacular fashion, Ryan informs the guy that he's not going home that night. Instead, Ryan and Jon are giving him a lift to a nice, cozy jail cell so he can sleep it off. Oh, by the way, they tell him, he's also getting a DWI charge and his Miranda rights read to him. And his car is getting impounded. Score some revenue for the city.
Ryan and Jon drop the guy at the slammer, grab some more coffee, and check in with the dispatcher. A security alarm has just gone off at a dog grooming shop that shares a common wall with a bank. Ryan would bet money that the burglars aren't after doggie shampoo and canine cologne. Instead, the morons are probably trying to get to the bank through the common wall. They don't know that the flimsy-looking drywall hides a cinder-block wall filled with concrete, which means the burglars will be there for a while. That's what Ryan and Jon are counting on.
Arriving at the dog grooming shop, they don't see anything odd at the front door, so they head around back to the employees' entrance. They hit the jackpot, finding an idling SUV that looks like it's on its last legs. When the driver can't provide a coherent reason why he's in the alley at 2 a.m., Ryan and Jon lock him in the patrol car for safekeeping. Hopefully they can nab the rest of the crew and get them to identify the driver.
Creeping cautiously to the grooming shop back entrance, Ryan and Jon listen as two or three guys chisel and curse, bang and curse some more. They're probably starting to realize that they're not getting to the bank vault anytime soon. Frustrated, they throw their tools into a bag, grab their flashlights and run... right into Ryan and Jon. Too easy. The burglars smell like they've had a few drinks, and are a bit unsteady on their feet, which makes them easier to handcuff and search. Ryan radios for another patrol car to take the burglars to the city jail, after they identify the getaway driver, of course. He's going with them.
Time for a mid-shift dinner break. Ryan and Jon stop at their favorite all-night eatery, but limit themselves to a high-protein breakfast without much in the way of carbs. The restaurant's donuts and French toast are legendary, but the guys can't afford to fall asleep halfway through their shift. They chat with the night manager, grab some more coffee, and head back to the warmth of the patrol car. And yes, they pay for their own meal.
Two more hours to go. Next, the dispatcher sends Ryan and Jon to a domestic assault call across town. These calls often involve people who have been drinking and can put the cops in real danger. The guys have worked these calls before, and have developed a system that helps them investigate the incident while keeping themselves as safe as possible. This time, they get lucky. The suspect, who happens to be the victim's husband, has passed out on the floor by the time the cops arrive at the house. A mop and rolling pin lie a few feet away; surely they aren't the reported assault weapons?
Ryan and Jon spend half an hour calming the wife and getting details of the alleged assault (Note we said 'alleged' since the suspect hasn't yet been tried in a court of law.) Finally, the husband wakes up, gets his Miranda rights, and gets hauled off to the hoosegow. This call actually ended up much better than expected. The wife doesn't have any injuries, and the husband is getting some time to think about his screw-up.
With their shift almost over, Ryan and Jon head to their meeting room to complete the dreaded incident paperwork. Yes, they could do it after each case, but there's something about filling out forms on a clipboard at 2 a.m. that's just not right. Much better to use a real desk. With the incident reports and other paperwork finally behind them, Ryan and Jon slap each other on the back and head for their trucks. They've made it through another one.