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10-8: Life on the Line
- Sponsored by Blauer

with Charles Remsberg

Ed Note: Charles Remsberg is the author of Blood Lessons: What Cops Learn From Life-Or-Death Encounters, available for purchase from PoliceOne Books by clicking here. Be sure to also check out the P1TV interview in which Chuck gives our own Dave Smith a peek at the making of Blood Lessons.

When was your last roll call teaching moment? That is, a street experience that unexpectedly turns into an object lesson for other officers.
For Mark Dahlsten, a Quay County patrol sergeant in Tucumcari, N.M., such a moment occurred one recent night when he was dispatched to a domestic-abuse complaint at a single-wide trailer house.
At that scene, he was "surprised as hell" at what a suspect was able to do-and his experience is something he thinks would make a good roll call reminder for other street warriors.
At about 21:45 that evening, Dahlsten, 41, a veteran of more than 16 years in law enforcement, was near the end of his shift when he took the call. He knew the family involved on a first-name basis; he'd been there before to help deal with a son who was an EDP.
A city patrolman who'd heard the dispatch, Ofcr. Lorenzo Emillio, volunteered to back him up. "I'd scrap with anybody anytime, with Lorenzo as my partner," Dahlsten says.
The location was in a thinly-settled subdivision with dirt streets and no streetlights about two miles outside the town limits. Down the street from the trailer, the officers contacted the husband and wife of the family, who were waiting for them in their pickup truck. Their 23-year-old son, a former rodeo bull rider whom we'll call Rocco, was off his meds and on a rampage, they explained.
His mother had merely asked him if he wanted some pork chops. Something "set him off" and he became mentally "unhinged." Soon after, he went "completely off his rocker" and physically hurled his adult brother out of the trailer. The parents fled in fear, leaving him inside alone.
Two months back, Dahlsten had made the latest of several visits to the residence. He knew Rocco to be "a strong, chubby individual" - 6 ft., 250 lbs., "a beer keg with legs." On his stabilizing medication, he was "calm and well-mannered," Dahlsten says. "To hear his voice, it's like a shy, bashful 10-year-old's. To see him, it's like 'Wow, he's a tank!' "

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