By Keith Colgan
As a photojournalists who tries to see things from unique perspectives, my point view of Lodi on the 4th of July came from the inside of a police car.
Officer Dominic Carillo was my driver and guide. We were on a first name basis right away and I found his attitude about law enforcement refreshing and mature. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Lt. Steve Carillo, who retired last year after 22 years with the Lodi PD.
With a 40 year advantage, one of the first things I noticed was Dominic’s ability to get in and out of the car faster than I could. It’s true my camera strap kept hanging up in the seat belt, but it was really more about my worn out knees.
At about 4:30pm, we began our shift by patrolling downtown and many of the neighborhoods east of Hutchins Street. Traffic was almost non-existent. It felt a little like the 1983 made-for-TV movie called “The Day After”. People were either staying out of the heat, barbequing with friends or strategically positioning themselves for a good view of the fireworks display at Lodi Lake.
For those who appreciate technology, each police car is equipped with a computer system that allows officers to communicate with each other, dispatchers, look up call records and file reports. For efficiency and officer safety, a digital map of Lodi constantly displays the location of each patrol car.
During the first four hours, Dominic assisted fellow Officers with car stops, received friendly waves from children on bikes, attended a request for medical help with Lodi Fire, checked out a silent alarm, made a welfare check on an elderly person, quelled a domestic dispute, discouraged the unlawful use of shopping carts, handed out “stickers” to appreciative young ones, and generally kept an eye on things for those of us who benefit from the conscientious oversight.
I didn’t mention it to my new friend for fear of seeming juvenile, but I secretly hoped for a CODE 3 before the shift was over. CODE 3 means “lights and siren”. They are used when someone needs immediate help. As children in the fifty’s we pinned playing cards to our bike frames and rang chrome bells with our thumbs to make us go faster, but going fast in a police car with ear piercing sirens and high intensity strobe lights is far better.
The opportunity to go CODE 3 came unexpectedly at 9:15pm when dispatch announced a roll-over with injuries at the corner of Crescent and Pine Streets. We arrived in less than a minute with Fire and Ambulance on our heels. The street quickly filled with equipment and well trained first responders. While I took pictures for this article, Officer Carillo helped to document the scene, collected evidence, conducted a field sobriety test, and arrested a person for DUI.
It was a memorable 4th of July.