Vomit. Blood. Handcuffs. Gnome costumes.
Pullman police officers Heidi Lambley and Chris Engle came across all these things during their shift Saturday night. They are assigned to College Hill and patrol several nights a week.
Many students know and recognize them, either from numerous safety panels or WSU’s episode of “Campus PD.”
The ridealong began at 6 p.m. with a drive around the Hill in a patrol car with Engle.
Pullman is not as crazy as people think, he said as he drove, waving to groups of students. At least, it is not crazy in comparison to 10 or 15 years ago. Due to WSU’s annual ranking on Playboy’s list of party schools, many people, including new students, come to WSU expecting it to be that way.
“The reputation of WSU is not a reality,” Engle said. “It’s just not.”
Many of the people who cause problems do not attend WSU, he said.
“People come in from out of town who think it's Vegas,” Engle said. “And think they can do whatever they want.”
This year has started out tame despite the record number of incoming freshmen, he said. There are a lot of people out at night, but not any more crime than previous years.
After about 20 minutes of driving Engle said, “There’s a lot of foot traffic right now, it’s going to be busy tonight.”
It was 6:30 p.m.
Lambley and Engle began their foot patrol a little before 8 p.m. Their first stop was a house with music blasting from it, where a young man in a golfer outfit greeted them.
Engle asked if they were having another party.
The golfer said yes, and explained they were having a “G party,” where everyone had to come dressed as something that began with the letter “G.” He asked Engle to inform him of any noise complaints or problems with the party, to let him know and he would take care of it.
“We just came to check in,” Engle explained. “You guys were good last night, we didn’t get any complaints.”
Engle made sure the golfer had his card with his cell phone number on it, and then they left.
A block later a young man in a gnome costume waved to the officers. “Do you remember me?” he asked. “I’m the guy who rapped for you the other night.”
They did remember him and requested a repeat performance. The gnome promised that if he saw them later in the night, he would.
“He was so good,” Lambley said. “He was rapping with a guy who played a ukelele. It was amazing.”
Lambley said one of her more awkward experiences occurred a few years ago when a fraternity streaked across campus. By the time she got there, the older members had disappeared, leaving only the new members.
“There were no arrests or tickets,” she said. “It was just a learning experience.”
She said it rated about an 8 on the awkward scale.
Both Engle and Lambley emphasized the fact that most students do not cause problems. Sometimes people make bad decisions, but the majority of students behave themselves.
“For the most part (I like my job), but it’s difficult to watch people hurt themselves,” Lambley said.
A few hours later, Lambley and Engle received a call about a possible overdose.
They ran to the house and were let in the back door by the caller.
When they reached the bathroom where the caller had left his friend, he wasn’t there. They followed the caller through the house and out the front door.
Outside, the potential overdose victim was curled in a ball, a pool of blood on the pavement around his face.
The people around him said he drank too much and when they tried to escort him out of the house, he fell. Later, a tube was stuck down his throat to ensure he did not drown in his own puke and blood.
Shortly after the paramedics arrived to take him to the hospital, Engle and Lambley got another call and took off down an alley. When they arrived, there was young woman sitting on the front porch, slumped against a man in his 20s who was keeping her propped up.
Vomit covered her dress and the ground around her.
When they asked her name and what year it was, she mumbled something, hiccupped and puked again.
Paramedics arrived, and the young woman was carried to the lawn and then put on a stretcher.
When she was loaded into the ambulance, a person on the sidewalk turned to Lambley and asked if the woman was alright.
“She’s being taken away by an ambulance,” she replied. “Does she look alright?”
It was only 12:30 a.m.
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