DES MOINES, Iowa — The term “All in a day’s work” took on new meaning Monday for Des Moines police officers on the day shift.
“The day shift patrol usually doesn’t get that busy but it took nearly 300 calls for service,” said Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek.
While some rain in the metro pulled a handful of the 22 officers into traffic duty with over 20 minor crashes, two major calls around 10:30 a.m. pulled most resources in opposite directions.
“An incident with a child getting a hold of a gun and then firing a gunshot or the hit and run crash that turned into a foot chase and getting into a fight with the police officer. Those can happen on any time of the day. They are very spontaneous events,” Parizek said.
The mother of the child who shot the gun was arrested at the home on 1516 Evergreen Avenue in Des Moines. The hit-and-run incident began with a crash at SW 9th and Bell Avenue. The suspect took off and foot from police and was eventually arrested at SW 8th and Park Avenue. Both spontaneous events thankfully ended without any serious injuries.
Parizek said, “A day like that is not just physically draining but emotionally draining because you just don’t know what is next.”
Making matters perhaps more impressive than the calm and steady hands behind the badges is that a good amount of them were new to the department. “We also had day one for a lot of the recruits that graduated on Friday so there were a lot of wide eyes in those police cars. I don’t think they knew it could get this busy,” Parizek said.
New to the job but supported by long-standing veterans you never see the telecommunicators. Parizek said, “They describe themselves as the first, first responders because they are the first voice you hear. They are the ones that are going to escalate that situation or de-escalate it for you in your crises and then they get the info we need to get you the right help.”
These telecommunicators were the calm behind the storm that helped keep safety the top priority in Des Moines. Parizek said, “If our telecommunicators in the dispatch center aren’t getting good information and not getting it to us in a timely manner we are not gonna get you the help you need.”
The police department’s shifts also overlap to minimize overtime for officers. The next shift was able to help ease the workload so the day shift could work on paperwork for both reports and go home