Police work is rarely portrayed accurately on television and movies. Books do better because they have more time to explain and explore. There is no easy solution to every problem. Sometimes it just a matter of being at the right place at the right time. Next week, Gerry Goldshine’s post illustrates this. Today’s post from Woody Hoke shows how a good eye prevented a bank robbery. Be advised, though, there is no flashy ending to this story. The conclusion is more typical of how real-life police work is accomplished: good intel (and/or tips), diligent observation, meticulous regard for the laws entrusted to our care, and continuous training.

The Bad Guys Never Had A Chance…..

Some days, it just doesn’t pay for the bad guys to get out of bed…from the get-go their chances of landing in jail grow as the day lingers on…

If you are a crook and good at your profession, those days are far and in between but sooner or later your luck is going to run out….

Such a day and such luck befell these two ‘professionals’. This day, these bad guys never had a chance…

I was working Day Shift patrol when I was called over the radio by my Supervisor Gerry Green to 10-87 (meet) with him for some important information. He advised me that he had gotten details of a possible robbery that was about to take place in San Rafael this day…He advised me that there were two white male occupants in a green colored Plymouth cruising the city planning to rob a bank…The details were a little sketchy but the plan was to kidnap a bank manager and use him to withdraw funds from his bank…Sounds like an episode right out of the television series ‘Police Story”…

Sergeant Green advised me of the license plate on the vehicle and to be vigilant of this vehicle cruising the City…As we parted from this meeting I started cruising E/B on Fifth Ave. No more than three blocks away, I observed a green Plymouth with the license given to me heading W/B on Fifth with two occupants. I alerted Sgt Green of this sighting and I immediately turned N/B up to Mission Ave. I followed the vehicle W/B giving the location of the vehicle to dispatch…I was advised to continue following the vehicle and that other police agencies were being alerted and were enroute to my reported area.

The suspect vehicle continued through heavy traffic on Fifth Ave which made it easy for me to keep up with them and keep them in sight without being detected–especially in a marked Police vehicle. Soon I was advised that other police vehicles had taken up the surveillance of the suspect vehicle and that I could stop mirroring their location.

The following units couldn’t take any action at this time as no crime had been committed yet and so they continued to follow it. A couple of hours later, I was advised that the following units followed the vehicle out of town and at some point decided to take the vehicle down rather than keep following them. They also identified the target bank. The suspects committed no crime to the bank manager or his bank.

Not sure if these professionals continued on with their criminal ways or if maybe their lack of luck gave them pause to think of another to make a living…

Woody Hoke, Jr.
Woody Hoke, Jr.

Woody Hoke began his law enforcement career

in the early 1970’s with San Rafael Police,

then Sausalito PD. He has graciously agreed

to share some of his memories of those days.

See more about Woody Hoke, Jr. on Facebook.