by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--You've seen them on TV shows for years, but it isn't all high speed chases and shootouts. A typical night can go from one extreme to the other. In fact, officers on night patrol spend much of their time answering calls that don't end up on the evening news.
"More on midnights, you get the fights and disturbances. The busier nights are your Friday and Saturday nights," 18 year veteran, Cpl. D. Rayburn, with the Odessa Police Department, said.
It's the midnight shift on Odessa's West side. Less than ten minutes in, our first stop. A pick-up on the road without a headlight. Cpl. Rayburn runs a check on the driver and everything comes up clean, "He's a mechanic and that's a customer's vehicle. He was taking it around the block to make sure everything was working alright."
Back in service for a couple more stops, then, the officer gets a disturbing call. A three year old girl shows up at a neighbor's apartment without her parents. We're on scene for about an hour. When mom shows up, Cpl. Rayburn talks to her and other neighbors, but because of conflicting stories, this case is going to a higher authority. "I talked to 3 different apartments and I got almost 3 different stories. So what I have to do is, basically, write up a short little report and get the information over to CPS and let them investigate it from here," Rayburn explained.
But there's no rest for the weary. It's off to a medical call, requesting police assistance.
According to the Cpl., "It could be a variety of many things. It could be, the fire department thinks they may have to force entry and they want us on the scene or it could actually be a deceased person."
A young woman is escorted into an ambulance with some type of bandage on her arm. She claims she ran it through the window of their trailer as she and her boyfriend were wrestling. Officers on the scene think it's suspicious, since the boyfriend is nowhere to be found, to back up her story. "Why don't you ask her again, here in a minute, what happened. See if she gives you the same story," the Cpl. says to another officer on the scene.
The night rolls on. After checking on some local convenience stores and businesses, we find some unexpected visitors at OHS, but that's not all. A door to one of the buildings, has been left open. The Cpl. goes to investigate and calls for back up.
After investigating a hit and run, our night on the beat comes to an end. But there's still a few more hours to go for Cpl. Rayburn.
So, next time you're out on the road, remember, just because you can't see them, doesn't mean they're not out there. You'll also want to take extra care on weekend nights, since officers say, those tend to be their busiest nights on patrol.