Ghouls, ghosts and gaffes on the police beat

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By JASON STRICKLAND (WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – There is a town where a man walked around with a bullet in his head, another was pronounced dead but walked just the same, another walked around with a gashed throat and ghost figures do nightly patrols.
“You shot yourself,” said Sgt. Kirby Carroll.
“Yeah,” the man replied as he stood by his fireplace.
For many people, these types of stories are simply gruesome. To Carroll and his colleagues, these tales are humorous because police officers deal with unusual phenomena on a daily basis.
“He cut himself,” Carroll said about another man in town. “Cut his own throat…When he comes to the door he’s just covered in blood and he’s got a cut from almost one ear to the other in his throat, and it’s just kind of gapped open about 2 ½ inches, and he’s just standing there talking to you like he doesn’t know why you are there.”
Another man in town would have spooked anyone.
“We checked for a pulse,” said Cpl. Tim Dorman. “(We) didn’t come up with a pulse. He was cold to the touch…the man actually got up out of bed and walked in the living room and asked us what we were doing in the house. (He) scared the crap out of both of us.”
Ghosts appear on the beat as well from time to time.
“Yeah, I’ve driven by at 2 or 3 in the morning and seen a little kid looking out the window of the second floor,” a co-worker told Dorman.
“Yeah, whatever,” Dorman replied.
The two officers went to the empty old school because the door was unlocked after dark.
“So, we are up there at the second floor, and we started going down this hallway, and all of a sudden the dog stopped,” Dorman said. “He wouldn’t go down the hallway. The dog was scared to death. We searched and the dog couldn’t find anything. We grabbed the dog again trying to get it to go down the hallway; it wouldn’t go down the hallway. The dog handler said he won’t go down there because there are kids down there.”
This isn’t a town from a movie or TV show. This town is Warrensburg.
Carroll is a sergeant for the Warrensburg Police Department, and has been with the department for 28 years. Dorman has been with the department for 26 years.
The man with the bullet in his head used an old gun with old ammunition to shoot himself. So, the bullet was not able to penetrate the skull. Instead, the round penetrated the skin and travelled to the other side of his head between the skin and skull.
The man with the gash in his throat had a mental disability.
“The way you’ve got to deal with that is get him taken care of,” Carroll said. “That’s interesting to us because you don’t see that every day, but it’s too bad the guy had mental problems.”
The “zombie” was an elderly man who just had a slow pulse when he sleeps.
The haunted school is Martin Warren Elementary School, and the dog handler was the K-9 officer.
Of course, not all police officer tales are as gruesome and disturbing as these, but the lurid tales are the memorable ones.
While working in law enforcement for more than 25 years, it is difficult to look back and remember every experience. The ones that come to mind seem to be the ones that involve fear.
Carroll remembered a call he responded to in rural Johnson County with the SERT Team, which is similar to a SWAT Team. It was about 4 or 5 in the morning, and a woman said her husband shot her three times.
They went to the husband’s trailer to see if anyone was there, but eventually they had to force entry since no one answered the door.
“As soon as we go through the door, just this blood curdling scream happens…which kind of scared us all because we hadn’t heard anything out of this place in like five hours,” Carroll said. “The only guy who had really gone through the door was our point guy. The rest of us just heard it, so we didn’t know what it was until he said, ‘Well, it’s a bird.’”
Police Chief Bruce Howey knows about fear, but he recalls a much different situation he experienced several years ago when he was the head of the traffic division.
He was giving a presentation at Ridge View Elementary School, and the issues began when he asked for a volunteer.
“Here’s a real pair of handcuffs,” Howey said to a fourth grader. “You want to wear these handcuffs? ‘Oh yeah,’ the kid responded. I put them on him and reached in my back pocket, and found out that I had actually left my big wad of keys that had the handcuff key hanging by the door at home.”
It only got worse.
“No problem, I’ll just reach in and go for my car keys, but somebody has taken that handcuff key off of there. It’s missing.”
So, to solve an issue with one of his police accessories, Howey used another accessory.
“Hey, tell you what, let me show you how this police radio works,” Howey said. “So I called another unit in and said, ‘Hey come on in.’ They came on into the school…of course they had the handcuff keys. There were about two or three minutes I was just plain old sweating bullets.”