Holy Night Shift

     The best season of the year was soon approaching. The Christmas season. It was Nikies favorite time of year. She would be working long hours again this year. But she did not mind at all. She looked forward to it. It was a quiet night tonight. So as she sat at her desk with nothing to do, she made out her card list, and remembered last year.

     Early Christmas Eve was quiet. About the only thing moving were the delivery cars. Two of the cruisers had been filled with toys for children in the area that would not have a Christmas this year. Everyone in the department had donated for this good will project. Two officers, dressed like Santa, were out dropping off gifts for these children. Soon they would be back in uniform, back on patrol.
     As Nikie sat at her desk, she wondered why this was not the quiet, peaceful time of year that it was supposed to be. Christmas Eve was always busy for the police and ambulance departments. There were always many family fights, holdups, and ambulance calls. It did not take long before the quiet office got busy.
     The first family fight call came in just before midnight. A husband and wife started to argue over who was going to wrap the children's toys. When it went beyond arguing to the husband hitting the wife, she called the police. The husband was then taken to jail, and the wife was left to wrap the toys, and explain why daddy was not home for Christmas day.
     The second family fight was not so mild. A family get together with the in-laws, combined with a lot of Christmas cheer in the form of alcohol, an argument, a handy knife on the kitchen counter, and father-in-law might not live through Christmas day. While the ambulance crew took the father-in-law to the hospital, the police took the son-in-law to jail. Mother and daughter were left to wonder what happened to the good time they were supposed to have.
     Between midnight and two o'clock there were several car accidents. All involving drivers with to much Christmas cheer. Most of them were just fender benders. But drunk drivers go to jail, even on Christmas Eve. One accident was a bad one. Head on at high speed. It took the jaws of life to free some of the passengers in a mini van. For one of them, a small boy about ten years old, it was to late. He would never see Christmas morning. Blood covered packages were strewn in the ditch. His divorced parents would no longer have to fight over which parent he would be with for Christmas.
     The boys mother had to be called and sent to the hospital. Nickie hated to make these types of calls. But it was part of her job. Ignoring the knot in her stomach, she called the boys mother. After telling the mother who she was and from where she was calling, Nickie told her that there had been an accident. That as the parent with custody of a minor child, she would have to go to the hospital incase any treatment was needed. Nickie knew the mother would ask how bad her son was hurt. It was part of Nickie's job to keep any real knowledge of the boys condition from the mother. To make it sound as if she was only to go to the hospital incase papers for treatment had to be signed. Without telling her anything one way or the other about her son. The mother would be informed that her son was dead when she was at the hospital. Nickie knew that the boy had been decapitated, but kept this knowledge to herself.
     When the ambulance crew came into the office later, to drop off their report, the attendant said they were still in the hospital when the boys mother arrived. He said a nurse and doctor took her into the office at the end of the hall. He said with the door closed, he could still hear her scream, and would not forget that sound for a long time. Nickie knew the attendant had a son about the same age as the dead boy. She knew this ambulance run was hard for him. But keeping busy was the best way to handle hard things. This was a busy night, and he would not have much time to think about any one run for a while. Within minutes of their arrival at her office, they were on their way to the next accident call. At least this one was not as bad. It involved only a few cuts and a broken arm.
     By three o'clock the streets seemed quiet again. One of the off duty officers stopped in to drop off a plate of cookies his wife had made. Just as he sat down to have coffee with Nickie, her phone rang. He picked up the extension phone for trainees to listen on. It was a stock boy from the all night grocery store. He was peeking out the stock room door from the back room, and watching as the store was being robbed. Nickie put out an A R in progress on the police radio, with the address. As she did this, the off duty officer ask the boy on the phone how many robbers he could see, and then if he could see any weapon. As Nickie heard the boys answer over the phone, she would put out this information to the cars going on the call. As the officer asked each question, and the boy answered, Nickie transmitted this information over the now quiet radio.
     Most police agencies in the area used the same radio frequency, or monitored them. As Nickie put out the information, all other police agencies heard it as well. Most of them would limit their radio traffic when something important was going on in one of the other districts. The subjects had fled the store by the time the police cars arrived. However, the neighboring police agency had all the information needed to watch for the get away car. It was spotted within minutes, pulled over, and the subjects were apprehended. From the time the call came in, to the arrest, was only fifteen minutes.
music: Cantique