During the war there was a there was a shortage of cops in Zagreb. Cop courses worked nonstop, but those who finished them were usualy sent to the battlefield.
Cop story: The reservist
On 07.07.2010. someone started a blog titled "Police stories". Unknown author published his stories under a pen name "Good blogger". In less than a year he wrote multiple stories portraying police life in his country.
Then suddenly, without explanation he disappeared. Last post he published was a short one. "Because of personal problems, this week's story has been skipped. I hope the situation will be resolved by the next week. Greetings!"
What happened to him and why did he stop writing his blog was never revealed.
This is a third story he published.
Shortage of cops on the streets was solved by recruiting reserve police reserves. Police reservist was an unauthorized cop who passed a short course.
They wore different (grey) uniforms to distinguish themselves from authorized cops, but unlike regular police trainees, they were equipped with weapons. They weren’t authorise to work alone, they were considered as a backup for authorized cops. Usually, an authorized cop and a reservist worked together.
Reservists were usually older people who were not quite ready for the battlefield. One of them worked in our station. I've never met him in person, but I heard stories of him.
Anyway, this was the time when domestic violence was not specially regulated by the law. When fights broke out betwen married parents, we would show up, filed a report, and we would advise people to file a private complaint (except in rare cases of serious bodily injury).
On one occasion, our reservist went on an intervention after a woman called the police and reported her abusive husband. When they came to the address, husband was sitting in a chair in the yard, drinking beer and smoking a cigar. He was drunk, but smart enough not to quarrel with police. When they entered the house, they found a woman who was so beaten up that her entire body was blue. Hands, legs, back, stomach, chest – she was covered in bruises.
It’s terrible when you find yourself in such a situation, and you know that legally you can’t do nothing.
While the authorized colleague talked to the woman, the reservist came out, pulled the gun out of the holster and forced the husband to stand and lean back against the tree in the yard. He pressed the barrel of a pistol to his forehead and gave him a talking. For a half an hour he held him at gunpoint, explaining him that he mustn’t ever do that again, that he has to treat his wife with respect, that he should stop drinking… For the whole time, authorized colleague was begging him to leave the man alone and to give him the gun. Reservist looked like he was ready to kill.
He was completely serious, steadily holding a gun pressed to a man's forehead. At first, a man called for help, but all the neighbors (when they saw what was going on) fled to their homes.
When he realised that not even an authorized policeman can help him and that the reservist holding a gun to his head is probably crazy, he started crying and begging him to let him go. He even pissed his pants.
After half an hour of fear, he was sobbing, he was promising that violence would never happen again and was begging the reservist to let him go, saying that he can freely kill him if he ever lay a hand on his wife again.
After that, the reservist has left him.
That man has not hit a woman since then, and when he is drinking (less often than before), he does not go home to avoid problems. He comes home in the morning, after he has sobered up.
Reservist had one more incident similar to this one. While an the authorized colleague talked to the beaten wife, the reservist had handcuffed a drunken husband and threw him in a police car. The colleague thought that he wants to take him to the hospital to sober up, but half way there he turned to the woods. There he parked the car and pulled the man out of the car. He pulled out a gun and forced a man to kneel. He fired few shots in the ground next to the man, and then pressed a heated gun to his head. Man sobered up in a second. Authorized colleague just stood there in shock and disbelief. He literally froze up. When the reservist said to the man that he is going to kill him (no one will notice, it’s war anyway), man started to plea for his life, he was saying that he will give him his house, car, money, anything… just to let him live. Reservist gave him a talking for half an hour, how he mustn’t ever hit his wife and what will happen to him if he does. After that, they put him back in the car and drove him home. Needless to say, he was never again violent toward his wife. He has never again done anything stupid. The man bows to us when he sees us on the street.
Police brutality is not good and we should fight against it. That fact is indisputable. However, people often forget who we are dealing with. We are not dealing with normal people in normal situations.
We usually come after all the normal problem solving methods were unsuccessful and when there is no easy way out. We deal with angry and drunk people, people who are in a path of destruction. Perhaps, they haven’t yet come to the point where they will lay hands on themselves, but they are in a phase when they have no problems pointing their anger towards family members, neighbors, passers-by or policeman on an intervention. Now the laws are a bit more concrete, so there are legal methods of depriving the human rights of the perpetrator in order to punish and to prevent his future violence. Then there were different times, so the methods were different..
I can not deny that in some cases these methods were successful too.
A reservist from the story was taken out of the police after the war. He continued to work in the company where he previously worked, and now he is retired. At home he was never violent, and now he has found a hobby that fulfils him – he breeds dogs.
Sweetie of a man.