Thursday’s first call was in response to a suspicious persons report. Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Eric Scott determined the suspicious persons were in fact three men waiting for their ride. There were no violations and Scott was soon on his way.
Scott has been with the Huntsville Police Department for over four years. Before joining HPD, he worked as an EMS technician in Walker County. An SHSU graduate with a health degree, Scott attended the TEEX Academy at Texas A&M’s Riverside campus before joining the force.
Scott is called in response to a body lying on the side of the road. At the scene, it’s determined that an intoxicated white male passed out on the sidewalk. Two other officers and an ambulance arrive soon after.
The man’s face and hands were scraped and bloodied. It’s unclear what precipitated his fall. A guest at the residence claims the intoxicated man had a seizure. Another guest, with suspicious marks on his arms and chest, became hostile and was verbally reprimanded by the police. The man with the bloody chin was arrested for public intoxication.
As he left the scene, Scott sarcastically said, “Oh yeah, alcohol is a great thing.” This wasn’t his first time dealing with a serious impaired individual and it certainly won’t be the last.
DUI, DWI and other alcohol-related offenses remain some of the most serious issues facing Huntsville. Scott racked up 75 DUI arrests last year alone. While he has no sympathy for drunk drivers, Scott’s immediate concern is for the public safety. This includes allowing a sober driver to drive home intoxicated friends.
He said, “If I can stop a DWI right there, there’s no telling how many lives I’ll save.”
Scott arrived at the Woodcreek Apartments in response to a criminal mischief call. A white female came home to discover the window near her patio door was broken. Scott and the woman surveyed the apartment for any missing or damaged belongings. Nothing appeared out of place or missing, so Scott filed a report and gave the woman a case number.
This is a typical night shift for the Huntsville police. During the evening hours, calls of all degrees of severity come at a fevered pitch. Responding to dispatch is only part of the job for HPD officers. They rely heavily on their observational skills to keep the peace.
An interior burglary alarm call was received. Scott soon arrived at the scene, City Electric Supply. He inspected the building and the surrounding area. After finding no evidence of a burglary, Scott contacted dispatch and resumed his patrol.
Scott carries an attitude of surveillance when on patrol and he remains calm and collected when interacting with the public. This method of policing has become polished with experience, but emotions sometimes do come into play.
Scott was the first officer on the scene when Jake Taylor killed Rachel Pendray and himself last December. Scott said, “I was the first person that saw them. That’s still hard to deal with.”
A report of a truck spinning its tires in the Shenanigan’s parking lot brought Scott to the scene.
The driver, a white male, was given a field sobriety test, cited for DUI and released.
The first of many loud noise complaints came later.
Scott also arrives at Sterling Junction to issue verbal warnings to two apartments for loud noise and again to clear out the pool.
Over the course of the evening, Scott responded to calls at Brook Place, University Club and Paper Moon apartments, all for the same thing. Consistently, loud noise and public intoxication drew the attention of the police.
Despite the numerous and repetitive incidents, Scott said he prefers working nights, but that an officer can’t stay on one shift forever.
“You can stay on the night shift over the course of two semesters, then you have to switch,” he said.
The night’s most bizarre incident came over the radio later on. Scott supported UPD on a call of people walking on the roof of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority house. Upon arrival, a purse was lying on the ground in front of the sorority house and multiple voices could be heard through the door of a second-floor dorm room.
Two Alpha Chi Omega members were instructed to bring everyone in the room outside. After acting in an uncooperative manner, the RA opened the door to the neighboring room. There, a male and two females were found hiding under the bed. Another male was found in the shower of another room.
An Alpha Chi Omega member identified the two males as members of the Phi Delt and Sigma Chi fraternities.
All six individuals were scolded for lying to the officers. Scott said he was there to ensure the safety of people walking on the outside of the building. The students were left in the care of the building’s RA.
Scott located a yellow Bronco mentioned in an earlier call at the Brook Place apartments. The mother of a Texas State University student called police earlier that evening, reporting that her son told her he was being fired upon.
After Scott located the vehicle, three other officers joined him in the hunt for the missing student.
A Brook Place resident told police that Craighead was at his apartment earlier, but didn’t know his current location. The residents roommate insisted that Craighead was “just here”, but the roommate was highly intoxicated and hostile to the officers.
After leaving the Brook Place apartments, Scott joined his fellow HPD officers for a meal.
On the night shift, “lunch” comes finally. Scott was then off to police headquarters to file his reports and resume patrolling.
The job isn’t easy, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Scott and the other HPD officers are professionals who uphold the community’s standards, enforce the laws and never take things personally.
“The students think we’re out here just to pick on them and that’s not what we do,” Scott said. “I was a student here and I’m not out to ruin anyone’s evening. We’re here to ensure the safety of everyone in Huntsville.”