Driving past the elementary school a few blocks from my house, I noticed a small truck riding on my bumper. I ignored the driver since this was a 25 mile-per-hour residential street and we were passing a school. I wasn’t in a hurry.
Apparently he was.
He gunned his engine, veered over the double-yellow lines in the road and leered at me as he blew past in his four-wheel drive. He didn’t just pass me and return to the right lane. He continued down the wrong side of the street for two blocks and made a left turn, on the wrong side of the concrete median, nearly smashing into a car crossing the intersection.
“What an idiot,” I thought to myself. Somebody should report him.
My neighbor was white-knuckled as I turned past her and noticed the flustered expression on her face from the near collision with the wrong-way driver. I watched for the truck and noticed it turning around in a cul-de-sac. I slowed to memorize the license plate number and proceeded on my way.
At the next stop sign, I noticed he was again right behind me. Since I live on a corner, I proceeded across the intersection, parked and noticed the man pulling up right behind me. With his window rolled down, he proceeded to curse and threaten me if I reported him since he said he saw me looking at his license plate number. My daughter was riding her tricycle on the street in our cul-de-sac. I quickly snatched her up in my arms and ran into the house. I didn’t know if the man had a weapon, he was visibly upset and continued with the profanities.
I called 9–1–1 immediately and told the operator that a man in a truck had followed me to my house and was threatening me. She asked if he was still there and when I looked out, he had driven away. She said she would dispatch a police officer.
About 15 minutes later a squad car rolled up to the house and an officer came to the door. We chatted briefly about the incident and he invited me to step outside so we would be out of earshot of the children. He asked for details. Cursing and profanity are not welcome in our household so without repeating the words, I detailed the specific threats made, the intimidation I felt personally and fear for my family.
The officer listened intently and respectfully. Then, he said, well I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I’ve already met with the man and talked with him about what happened and he gave pretty much the same story.
“The man said he had a bad day.” (A bad day and he threatened me and nearly T-boned my neighbor?)
The officer then told me he explained to the man that he would be arrested if he had any future contact with me.
“The bad news is that he is your neighbor and lives just down the street,” the officer said.
The officer explained that he encountered the man at his house — getting ready to return on his bicycle to my house — purportedly with the intent to explain his behavior.
The officer told him in no uncertain terms that if he stepped onto my property he would be arrested — even if his intent were to apologize. A police report would be filed and no contact whatsoever would be allowed now or in the future. Furthermore, the officer told me he was patrolling my neighborhood that evening and gave me his personal cell phone number and told me to call him immediately if the man showed up at my house. He told me he had warned the man again not to come back to my house now — or a year from now — and that any reported contact would result in his arrest.
I was astounded at two things: the level of personal service the officer provided — specifically his personal cell phone number for immediate action and the threat of arrest for any contact this person might consider with me now or in the future. I imagined there was a precedent from this seemingly aggressive, zero-tolerance approach. The likely scenario is that future contact typically escalates into violence.
This gave me confidence in the law enforcement process and I was glad to have an officer with a take-charge attitude on my side. It’s a tough job and somebody has to do it. It’s just not the job for me.