A close friend of mine, Nate, had recently told me of a few of his experiences while doing some "ride alongs" with the local police. Nate is in the LEJA program at WIU and got offered a chance to come along for a few "ride alongs" with officers. He shared a few stories about doing bar walkthroughs and watching the underage patrons trying to leave unnoticed. He talked about being in those shoes when he grew up, using his older brother's ID to get into the bars at age 18 back in 1997. Nowadays it is still the same shenanigans and lies to get inside if only to look cool and dance. Only the bravest of them would attempt to buy a drink themselves - most were denied and escorted out.
Afterwards, he told me about having to ride in the back of the squad car with an unsub. They answered a call about an individual walking along the street edge and sometimes entering the traffic lane. There were apparently several concerned drivers and passersby that had called it in. When they arrived though, all was not as one would expect. Nate recounted the experience as follows.
"When we pulled up, the individual appeared to be intoxicated and was barely maintaining balance while walking along the westbound lane of Main St. He was dirty from falling down a few times before we arrived. His shirt was torn at the shoulder and there was some blood visible."
"After detaining the unsub on the sidewalk, the officers began asking procedural questions like:
"Where are you coming from?
"Do you have any ID?
"Do you know where you are?
"How did your shirt get torn?"
I told Nate that all these questions didn't seem unusual to me. I've been pulled over before and asked, "What are you doing out this late?" Of course I was 17 and on my way home from work and it was 10 mins after underage curfew but I knew the police would ask such information seeking question. It's routine, right?
"Yea, the questions were pretty much routine but the unsub's answers or lack of answers caught my attention more than anything. He said he was 'coming from the living room' and his wallet was 'on the lamp stand' and pointed towards a nearby fire hydrant."
When asked if he knew where he was, the unsub promptly answered, "In my damn house!"
"Who let you in here anyways?"
"Did Sissy call you again?"
"The second officer called in the stop, I heard him say 'Dispatch 10-22 the 10-56 we got a 10-96.' The officer then turned toward me and said, 'We are going to take him in with us. You may want to move your stuff over.' I went back to the car and grabbed my iPad, notebook and coat then waited for the officers to place the unsub in the car. All the while I was trying to figure out what a 10-22, 56 and 96 were; they weren't all that familiar to me. It was a time I wished I had brought my iPhone instead of the work phone"
I laughed at this point and said "I guess you were walking." As Nate continued, I googled *police 10 codes* and started scrolling.
Nate said, "They grabbed a D.A.R.E shirt from the trunk and placed it over the unsub's shoulder to help keep any blood from getting on the seat then placed him in the passenger side backseat. The second officer said, 'Be careful when you step around from the back of the cruiser.' I was like, 'Um, you want me to ride next to him?' He just smiled at me saying, 'You'll be fine - just keep to yourself until we get to the station.' I was thinking, are they playing a joke on me? I wanted to ask him what 10-56 and 10-96 were, but didn't want to be a total nub. I was pretty sure a 10-22 meant negative or something along those lines and 56 was an intoxicated person on foot"I replied, "Yea I had to look them up as soon as you said them." I didn't realize how many they used and for what. Then again I speak in a totally different type of code on a daily basis.
Nate continued "Lucky you, I had to endure the entire 18 minute ride back to the station sitting next to a bleeding guy that was mumbling the whole way. I didn't know if he was gonna flip out with me back there or puke on me or what. I held my stuff close to my chest and kept watching him without making eye contact. I just wanted out of there. I wasn't really scared but I had no idea what I was dealing with or how to react and what the hell was a 10-96?"
Was it really that bad? I mean yea, I know what 10-96 is now that I looked it up but it couldn't have been that bad. He was in cuffs, right?
Nate replied, "Yes, but because of the shoulder injury, he had his hands in his lap and they were handcuffed but still. I just really felt uneasy not knowing. You know what I mean?"Ok, I can relate as a person who hates not having all the information. When I go into a project or work or anything really, I like to know as much as everyone else and not be the "ill-informed" one in the room.
So as Nate finished telling me how he was finally able to look up the 10-96 and saw that it was code for "Mental Subject." The unsub was given medical treatment for his shoulder injury and transferred to a temporary holding cell. Awaiting an undetermined fate, as Nate wasn't sure what happened to him next. Its worth mentioning here that at least 29 percent of jails hold patients waiting for a hospital bed.*
Nate then said, "I can't believe they didn't call for another car to take him. He could have gone all psycho on me back there!"
I informed him that not all people that are mentally ill were dangerous and that about 1 in 4 adults suffer from mental illness of some sort. We said our goodbyes and well wishes, but not before getting permission to share this.
I know that what I shared with him will make him want to learn more and be better prepared. I know he will be reading this as well. (I hope I got it all right, tongue in cheek)
I'll even add this from the book Tweenky is currently reading (*Surviving Schizophrenia, Torrey 2006 5th edition):
1. There are at least as many individuals with schizophrenia homeless and living on the streets as there are in all hospitals and related facilities.
2. There are more individuals with schizophrenia in jails and prisons than there are in all the hospitals and related facilities.
3. There are increasing episodes of violence committed by individuals with schizophrenia who are not being treated.
8. At least 40 percent of all individuals with schizophrenia are receiving no treatment at any given time.
I hope you too will seek more information before jumping to conclusions and I am thankful that the 2 officers knew enough about mental illness to get the unsub some help and not just treat him as a drunk walking down the road.