On Friday, Aug. 30 Daily Register/Daily Journal contributor Jon Sternberg accompanied Carrier Mills Police Sergeant Bill Duncan on his Friday evening patrol. Joining Sergeant Duncan at 5:30 p.m. Sternberg rode along for five hours as Duncan patrolled the village as Labor Day weekend began.
After serving several court papers, Duncan commenced his standard patrol pattern with a surveillance of the handful of residences in the village suspected of drug activity. Duncan explained that these residences were inspected at least several times every day, more frequently as it grew later in the evening. The police monitor the foot and vehicle traffic at these residences in an attempt to find probable cause for stopping and searching suspected patrons.
Sergeant Duncan renewed his patrol explaining that the police basically followed a random pattern, using experience to dictate areas and times to watch particular or potential trouble spots. Local businesses, the grade and high schools, churches and Mike Lawrence Field are checked a number of times each shift.
Duncan explained the Carrier Mills departments’ policy on firearms carried by its officers. Unlike some departments, the village officers can chose the make and model of hand and shoulder arm they carried, dependent upon approval of the departments range master, who is Duncan.
In hand guns, Duncan requires a quality weapon in 9mm, .40 or .45 calibers. In an example, Duncan stated that he routinely carries a Glock semi-automatic in .40 caliber on patrol and carries a Kimber 1911 in .45 caliber for formal occasions or court appearances. In shoulder arms, the requirement is again a weapon of quality, in .223 caliber or 5.56 mm.
At about 7:15 p.m. Katie A. Clayton who is interning with the Carrier Mills police joined Duncan and Sternberg in the patrol car. Clayton, a native of the area, has completed her intern work with the Saline County Sheriff’s Department and is interning with Carrier Mills to observe different patrol procedures, activities and to get more time in a patrol vehicle.
Clayton has received an associate’s degree in pre-law and political science from SIC and hopes to join either the Carrier Mills or Harrisburg police departments. Clayton is also active in local political and plans to continue in that area of public service.
Later in the evening around dusk, Duncan observed a vehicle parked illegally in front of a suspected drug house and set up a stationary surveillance near the location. After some 20 minutes observing several individuals going from the car to the house, Duncan proceeded past the suspect vehicle, entering the license plate number of the suspect vehicle into the computer the village patrol cars are equipped with. The vehicle came back with no outstanding warrants or wants on the owner and Duncan reversed his direction of travel remarking, “Let’s see if they are moving.”
Page 2 of 2 - Upon approaching the location, the suspect vehicle was indeed in motion and Duncan followed, activating his overhead lights and executing a traffic stop for a loud muffler.
Duncan and Clayton approached the vehicle and, after a brief discussion with the driver, returned to the patrol car to run the driver’s license through the computer. When the driver came back as legal with no wants or warrants, Duncan asked Clayton if she had smelled anything suspicious on the driver or passenger. Clayton replied that she had not and Duncan stated that he had not either. Duncan and Clayton returned to the suspect vehicle and, after cautioning the driver to correct the muffler problem, returned the license to the driver and allowed him to depart.
After a brief stop at a local convenience store for a soda and a snack, Duncan and Clayton resumed patrol. Shortly before 10:00 p.m. Duncan was dispatched to a disturbance at a home in the village. After a half-hour spent mediating a dispute relating to guests and whether or not they were welcome, Duncan and Clayton returned to routine patrol.