It was 10 a.m. on a Saturday in Downtown Binghamton. As I walked into the Binghamton Police Department (BPD), a blue Off Campus College Transport bus stopped across the street, releasing a crowd of festively attired students heading toward State Street.
Unlike those students, my plans for the day didn’t involve drinks, music or holiday-themed fun. Instead, I was heading out for a ride along with Officer Colleen Weaver on the South Side of the city of Binghamton.
Once I was properly suited up in a bulletproof vest, we departed the BPD headquarters. Just a few minutes later, we were speeding down the street with lights and sirens blaring, on our way to a hang-up 911 call from Saratoga Avenue, where we arrived at 10:34 a.m. A woman had called the emergency line twice, but hung up both times. When dispatch attempted to call the number back, there was no answer. The caller assured Weaver the calls were a mistake, and that no emergency was occurring.
At 10:53 a.m., we were headed to another call. A manager at a grocery store on Conklin Avenue had contacted police after a 20-year-old male customer started yelling and refused to leave. When we arrived at the scene, the manager told us the customer had left. According to the manager, the customer became enraged when the manager refused to process a return for an item without a receipt. The manager said he told the customer to leave and not come back. Because the customer had already left, Weaver filed an incident report and told the manager that he should contact police if the man returned to the store.
Although much of Weaver’s time is spent responding to emergency and incident calls, she’s also responsible for conducting follow-ups on victims to ensure suspects have not approached them in regard to prior incidents. At 11:59 a.m., after taking a short break to grab a banana and granola bar from her bag in the trunk, Weaver headed to Felters Road to check in with a victim of a domestic abuse incident. She wanted to make sure the victim hadn’t seen or been approached by the suspect.
As we drove to the next incident at a dentist’s office, dispatch filled us in on what was going on. According to the caller, two suspects, a male and a female, had entered the dentist’s office and began arguing with staff, demanding they be given narcotics. After arriving, Weaver met with a female who said she just had a tooth pulled and needed narcotics for the pain. Weaver took the female’s ID and found that she had a history of narcotics possession. After speaking with the dentist, Weaver asked the female to leave the premises and not return.
While we handled the next several calls, I could tell things were heating up Downtown. Calls to other officers about the “Santa event” involving “Christmas-dressed SUNY students” steadily continued to come over the police scanner. But while other officers were busy handling the mass of students Downtown, Weaver and I responded to calls on the South Side ― and because of the business on State Street, there was a lot more for us to handle than earlier in the morning.
Finally, we arrived at our last call of the day: a mother-daughter dispute on Mill Street. According to dispatch, the 15-year-old daughter had punched the front door during an argument with her mother, and was standing on the side of the house refusing to talk to her family. According to the mother, she was arguing with her daughter about her friend choices when her daughter got upset and punched through a window on the front door of the house, breaking the glass. While interviewing the mother, the daughter overheard the mother’s discussion with Weaver and accused her of lying. After a short argument, the daughter screamed profanities at her mother and walked away. Weaver caught up with the daughter and convinced her to return home and resolve the dispute.
Following that call, we headed back to BPD, where paperwork awaited Weaver, and a ride back to campus awaited me. But emergencies do not stop for shift changes, and on the ride back to the station, calls continued to pour in.