A night out with law enforcement

Sheriff Adams and Major Knott of the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s department were kind enough to extend an opportunity to participate in a ride along Saturday night and my editor gave me his blessing to write a first person piece on my experience.

Saturday evening was serene in Dinwiddie. My ride with Deputy Moore to the first call of the night was filled with notions of nervousness and calmed by the natural beauty Dinwiddie has to offer. The sun was setting slowly and there was trouble out at the lake.

The first call we rode to concerned Cozy Cove Campground. A lot of the details are over my head about what the issue actually was, and the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Department resolved the situation with some help from Virginia State Police.

I learned that people are living on campgrounds year round in Dinwiddie. The Cozy Cove Campground has had similar situations come up in the past. Moore said the campground was at one time a fun place to visit and the former owners held concerts every weekend in the summer.

The campground management has presented the same problem to the Sheriff’s department time and time again. Moore said the confusion is a management issue that could easily be resolved by a lawyer and civil lawsuits.

The caller told the Sheriff’s office a camper had been stolen. Deputy Moore arrived on the scene to find a belligerent female that made the call. She was manager at the park, and told Deputy Moore a story about a family leaving the campground without paying their lot fees. She was later charged by Virginia State Police for abduction, along with a male that was charged with conspiracy in the same instance.

The scene was too pretty for the mess that unfolded. Fishing boats pulled off of the lake’s calm waters. Ducks floated along the painted water reflecting the setting sun and silhouettes of campers relaxed in the fair dry weather.

The situation was eventually resolved when the family accused of skipping fees paid up before leaving, or at least it seemed the situation had been resolved. After the sun fully set, Deputy Moore happened across a State Trooper with his lights on stopped on the road.

A member of the family accused of skipping fees said the wife of the man charged with conspiracy was blocking her father at the gas station. Upon arrival, Deputy Moore stepped in to keep the peace. No further charges were filed and the ride along continued.

Deputy Moore had a lot to say about his 10 years with the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Department. He is still in his first year working with a K-9. Moore is essentially working fulltime with his partner.

He is practically always on call, and days off require work with his dog. Moore looks after his partner’s health and diet. This means additional ordinance for him to carry and maintain, as well as making time for his partner’s business during his 12-hour shift.

The ride along took a bit of a departure after the first call. One minute Moore and I were chatting about his training and catching up with veteran Sergeant D.C. Williams, when another call came requiring the light show.

In an instant we were silent and flying down the road to make it to the scene. There were complaints of a large fight at an apartment complex. There were no obvious signs of peril on the scene, but residents looked on with interest as we pulled into the complex. The call did not produce any arrests, and the department would continue to deal with the situation as the night progressed.

I couldn’t tell you how many times the Sheriff’s Department returned to the complex that night, but investigations in my presence were fruitless. After initially arriving to the scene, I said goodnight to Deputy Moore and went to ride with Sergeant Williams.

Sergeant Williams was a pleasure to ride with. He told me about his history, and it turns out we had some common ground in Richmond. He worked narcotics investigations in the 90s. I was curious about what that was like. I had questions about neighborhoods I frequent as a resident, and had to know if the Devil’s Triangle was as rough as people said it was.

Sergeant Williams told me he has seen it all. “You end up with a lot of scars that hurt all the time,” he said. He has been in close combat with numerous foes and is still ready to engage when necessary.

I would describe his crew on the night shift as hyper-effective. They have 503 square miles to cover and jump when ever they are asked.

I didn’t have all night to ride with these men, but they are out 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It took some courage to get in a car with these men. I even said a little prayer while I waited at the station. In God we trust? You bet.

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