I've been in Law Enforcement for almost 15 years now. I've served on SWAT for more then 6 years of this time. I teach at the local Basic Law Enforcement School and in general do alot in my chosen career.
BUT, in all my time I would have NEVER expected to be in the situation I found myself in last night. About a year ago I took a job in my new home county with the Sheriff's Office as a Federal Transport Officer. My partner and I are contracted to the US Marshal's Office as Special Deputy Marshals for our district of our state. We drive a large E350 Ford van with all the bells and whistles (including SIRUS Sat Radio hru
HOWEVER, last night while delivering two inmates back to state custody at a VERY OLD JAIL the world stopped. The jail is on the 5th and 6th floor of a courthouse build FOREVER AGO! The deputies there said they were moving into a new Shariff's office and Jail within the month that was being completed. The courts had long since moved out of this old building. We had to walk our inmates in full restraints up all 6 floors. The stairway was only 2 1/2 feet wide! Once we turned over our inmates the jailer ask why we didnt take the elevator? I told him it was broken the last time we were here and I just assumed since they were leaving it was still broken. He assured me it was running and called it up. The thing had the OLD accordian steel mesh type door and the doors to get into it were no more then regular doors with a safty latch to keep you from opening them unless the elevator was there. It was 3 feet deep and 4 feet wide, Little to say the least. As we started down it made a sudden drop, about 4-5 feet and stoped with a LOUD bang and a creeking sound! I nearly s**t myself. My partner, ten years my junior and usually a pretty upbeat guy, went pale. We looked around and very easily reached for the control panel. Nothing worked. We pressed the "Red Button" and only a bell rang. No phone except for our cel-phones. He dialed 911 and started yelling for help. We had not went far down and the jailers had heard the bell. After a stressful 45 minutes of listening to the thing "creek" and the "pop" the maintence guy made it in and opened the door 1/2 floor above us. We climbed out and after sitting in our truck for about 15 minutes to wind down we started the 2 hour drive back to our district office.
The thing that has bothered me all night is that thru everything I've had happen in 15 years of being a City Officer, Deputy Sheriff and SWAT Officer I found myself almost getting killed in a stupid elevator. Being a Christian I found peace in my salvation, but being a father of two I was amazed at how close my kids came to being fatherless this close to Christmas. It seems the maintence man found the breaks had failed and only a small safty latch was holding the thing up. Had we jumped up for the emergency trap door on top we could have broken the latch and fell 4 and 1/2 floors.
Some new officer's wives worry about every day of work and when they start SWAT the argument is "now your really asking for it". Well, I've always said that nothing is given, driving to work is as dangerious as anyting we do. In the time I was stuck in that box last night I realized just how true that statement was.
Be safe brothers...