CODE 4, CODE 4  

by Woody Hoke, Jr.
Was it the crisp morning air or the fact our search for the shooter was coming to an end that made my skin shiver?

“Code-4, Code-4, suspect in custody” came the muffled words from inside the garage. What does this guy look like? What was his reason for shooting an unarmed man?  Did he know Mike was a police officer? How will I feel about him when I first get a glimpse of him? Will I feel anything? Should I feel anything?

Not only did he shoot an unarmed police officer but a co-worker, a close friend, someone I went to department functions with, socializing at each other’s houses. The more I think about it now, the angrier I am becoming.

Somebody please take these weapons from me.

Hours earlier, I received a phone call from my brother and fellow San Rafael Police Officer Tony, telling me that Mike Costello had just been shot–possibly by a burglar at his house in Novato, Ca. Mike only lived about a mile from me as did many other police officers I worked with. Sometimes we rode to and from work together. “Close” is not the proper word for it. “Brotherhood” tops “close” by a long shot.

The NPD SWAT team had made entry into the garage and found the shooter in an attic garage. As he was being brought out, I could barely see his face–probably because I didn’t really want to look at him. I didn’t want to have actions overcome my thoughts and feelings.

Soon, the thought of him being in custody was enough to feel calmer, give me that feeling of accomplishment that comes to all police officers for a job well done…and we did it for one of our own.

CODE 4, suspect in custody…

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.

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