It was going to be another busy night. Too busy. Every night was too busy.
We were crammed shoulder to shoulder in the armored personnel carrier. Every one of us carried an M-16 with a combat load – 60 rounds of 5.56 mm full metal jacket ammunition. An M-9 semi-automatic pistol was within easy reach on a drop down holster to keep it clear of the body armor. Our Kevlar helmets and our backs were clearly marked in large reflective letters, “NYPD SWAT.” We want to make sure that citizens knew we are the good guys. We protect people from dangers of all kinds.
I’d wanted to be a cop as long as I could remember, and not just any cop. No suit and detective badge for me. I wanted to be among the elite, Special Weapons And Tactics – S.W.A.T. I’d taken a degree in Criminal Justice, paid my dues as a street cop, wrote thousands of traffic tickets and broke up countless domestic squabbles before I finally made it three years ago. I spent the better part of a year undergoing intensive physical, mental and weapons training before I was officially assigned to a team.
At first it was exciting, but over time, after seeing the gritty underbelly of the big city it lost its luster. I now looked forward to the end of the shift and my days off far more than working. But, I had taken an oath, and no matter how dangerous, I would carry out my duties.
“Everybody ready?” the captain asked. He was met with a dozen thumbs up. I felt the vehicle decelerate rapidly. The rear door popped up.
“Go! Go! Go!” she shouted.
I thumbed the safety on my M-16 to full automatic and raced up the steps of the aging brownstone, hitting the glass of the front door with the butt of my rifle. A blizzard of glass fell and one of the other guys reached through and turned the door handle. Once the door was open, we all raced up the stairs to the third floor.
I could hear the police helicopter hovering overhead, always a reassuring sound.
I pointed my flashlight at the number by the door. “3-C.” This was the right place. I waved and Charlie came to the front with the short steel battering ram. When it came to breaking down doors, Charlie was an artist, and with one powerful blow the handle and lock separated from the rest of the door which swung inward. We rushed in like we’d done a thousand times before, each cop knowing just where to go. As one we raised our weapons, and a dozen laser gun sights quivered like red fireflies on the center of mass on the suspect.
“Put down the large soda!” yelled the captain. “Put it down, step away and keep your hands where I can see them!”
Jeannie sneeze, accidentally squeezing off about five rounds that knocked the perpetrator on the floor. The captain came over to Jeannie.
“Hey, we’re going to lose a few. Don’t feel bad. At least we saved him from all that high calorie corn fructose.”