First Person: A day with the Newark Police Department

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Daniel Brnjic

BY DANIEL BRNJIC (’17)

Growing up the son of a cop is a different kind of childhood. My father watched most of my soccer games from inside his patrol car and usually had to leave multiple times for calls. At family dinner, my mother and I are accustomed to hearing “shots fired” over the radio before my dad sprints out of the front door. Without a doubt, growing up a cop’s son is one of the best experiences of my life.

I was exposed to the real world that my father works in every day. I was given the honor a ride-along with my father after I turned eighteen and it gave a new perspective to the world I thought I knew.

The day began at noon on a sunny Monday in downtown Newark. Sergeant Brnjic showed me around the car, and kind of told me what the plan was for the day. He was the supervisor for the day and was in charge of about five patrol officers.

About five minutes after hitting the street, a call came over the radio for an armed robbery suspect who was spotted in a hotel room. We rolled up to the hotel in downtown Newark, and I saw that four of Sergeant Brnjic’s officers were stacked up at the door to the hotel room with their weapons out. On the signal of Sergant Brnjic they opened the door to find the room empty.

Knowing that the suspect could not be far off, the officers started patrolling the area around the hotel. After about twenty minutes the suspect was found and sat down for questioning on a street curb.

“This is profiling man,” said the shirtless suspect who was surrounded by four cops and a random Granville student in a t-shirt. As the officers rattled off questions the suspect acted paranoid and repeated his previous claim of profiling. The only possession the man had was a backpack they he kept looking down at.

“This is my bag and I guarantee you that there is nothing illegal in that bag,” said the suspect over and over.

Sure enough when the officers opened the bag, heroin paraphernalia fell out and the suspect’s claims fell on deaf ears. The man was put in the back of a car and sent to the station.

As time went on so did the calls: domestic violence, custody issues, and the armed robbery of the local tanning salon. The part of the day that will forever stick with me was the generosity of the community towards police. At Tim Hortons, we were in line to grab coffee and the man in front of us paid for our coffees. Sergeant Brnjic then pulled out his wallet and paid for the food of the people behind us. As we drove, most people smiled and waved, even in the rough parts of town.

These small acts of courtesy gave me a newfound hope that the war on cops is a publicized falsehood portrayed in the media. Nonetheless, cops are killed every day simply because they wear a badge on their chest. Even with the risks, these brave men and women still go to work every day for their communities.