I had one of the best birthdays I've had in awhile last Friday. Scott Kasch, Bill Stokely and Matt Stebbins met me at the Coppermill Restaurant and Lounge Friday afternoon for happy hour. Drinks were bought for me by Adam Siegfried, the guys I was with, and Rob and Gina Stamm. Adam's dad, Cal, also offered but by then I had had enough and was headed for the house. I received over 200 birthday messages on Facebook, both my boys called me and Will bought me some new albums for my iTunes Connection. My ex-wife even called to wish me a happy birthday too. Then on Monday, Ken Allen, Dave Michaelis, Trace Loper and Scott Kasch took me to the new bar and club at TJ's Family Fun Center to watch the Monday night football game.
If you haven't been out there yet, you sure need to go. As most of you know, TJ's has been undergoing a huge remodel and everything is about in place. When I walked in, I could barely believe my eyes. It looks like a Denver Sports Bar. There are brand new, state of the art televisions everywhere in the bar and, in the party room where we sat, there is seating for over 100 people I'm sure and the game was shown on the wall using a projection TV system. The screen was on the west wall and was almost as big as the screens at the movie theatre. On top of that, the picture was bright and crystal clear. I was told they had big crowds for the Wisconsin and Ohio State games and I'm sure the crowds will grow even larger as the news about this brand new venue circulates around town.
The bar and party room are completely separated from the bowling alley so someone can do one thing without even knowing the other thing is there. It's bright, clean, and the brand new smell still permeates the air. The service is fast, the employees are friendly and everything is truly top of the line so if you go once, you're sure to go back again.
Yesterday (Thursday) saw a tense stand-off develop between the police and a man in a house at West Third and H. Street in McCook. The police went to check on the man's well-being around 10:30 in the morning and as police entered the house, the man fired a shot. They quickly retreated, blocked off the area for three blocks in each direction, surrounded the house and called for the North Platte SWAT Team. The SWAT team arrived around 1:30 p.m. but the standoff continued throughout the afternoon. It finally ended around 6 p.m. when the man was taken into custody with no injuries reported by anybody and transported to the local hospital.
The local media reported that the police were waiting on an arrest warrant and this sparked a great debate on Facebook as to why they needed an arrest warrant when the suspect fired a shot while they were in the house. As with every police situation, there are numerous ways to respond to an incident. If he fired a shot in the air and no officers were in imminent danger of being struck, then the charge could conceivably be discharging a weapon which is a misdemeanor. If the officers saw him discharge the weapon, they could have made an immediate arrest under the misdemeanor arrest rule. There are only three ways an officer can make a misdemeanor arrest without a warrant: When an officer actually sees the violation occur, when they have a witness who will sign a complaint, or when they believe domestic violence has occurred.
On the other hand, if the suspect shot AT the officers, then it's a felony because it falls under the criminal offense of assaulting a police officer, whether a police officer is actually hit or not. Since they waited on the arrest warrant, it appears that the man either fired the weapon in the air away from the officer's view and that no officer felt like their safety was in immediate danger or that they were just playing it safe by getting all their ducks in a row.
The way this event was handled from start to finish says a lot about law enforcement in this area. Although I don't have first hand information about the incident, I'm sure the people in charge took the time to find out about the man, his age, his family circumstances, his background, etc, which is unlike what they sometimes do in larger cities where anonymity is prominent. The police knew he was in the house and wasn't going anywhere so they took their time and eventually brought things to a peaceful resolution without any harm being done to anyone.
A job well done goes out to the McCook Police Department, the Red Willow Sheriff's Department, the Nebraska State Patrol and the North Platte SWAT team. A potential disaster was averted by their calmness and cool heads and what they succeeded in doing should be a boiler-plate for dealing with situations like this nationwide.