I work at juvenile detention facility, which, IIRC, is the biggest in the state. My current assignment is in one of the maximum security units, so I get to work with all the little wanna-be gang members, rapists, child molesters, dope dealers, etc. But in light of the pop that we work with, we do tend to get lax at times and let our guard down. And today's last minute incident reminded us how quickly things can go south.
It was about 10:40 pm, when we heard the minor in cell #12 start to bang on his cell window and door. The unit senior, myself, and another staff went to his door to talk to him in order to find out what his malfunction was. Since he was a Spanish speaker, I was served as the translator. Seems that the black minor next door to him had called him a "scrapa," which is a derogatory term for those who are "sureno" gang members. After talking to him through the cell door for a couple of minutes, he asked if we could pop the door in order to speak directly to the unit senior, as the echo in the cell made it difficult to communicate with him. And since we've never had to be physical with the minor in question, the unit senior gave me the green light to open his cell door. That decision sure turned out to be a mistake.
I popped the door open and everything was going okay until the minor decided to "rush" the senior officer. The senior officer quickly pinned him against the wall and tried to push him back into his cell. But, it didn't quite work that way cause the son-of-gun was resisting like a madman. The second staff and I also grabbed him and all three of us took the minor to the ground. Even though the kid was only 17, he was pretty damn strong, but after a bit of scuffle we managed to handcuff him and shackle him.
So, what did we learn today? Just because it's the end of the shift and you want to go home doesn't mean you should change your SOP when dealing with a routine situation as this. Usually, we don't open the door in order to talk down an agitated mionr, but we were trying to be "nice guys" and tried to calm him down in order for the graveyard to have a good shift. Second, just because our little friend didn't have an assaultive history against staff, we shouldn't have ASSUMED that we could have talked him down with his cell door open without incident.
The unit senior was pissed because it turned out bad, but it could've been worse. Nobody got hurt and everyone went home. But I tell ya, that'll be the last time we deviate from the routine game plan when dealing with stuff just cause we're in hurry to deal with a problem!