Shootings, assaults and drunken youths are just some of the incidents dealt with
by police officers on patrol in Rishon Lezion on a typical Thursday
The Jerusalem Post joined FSM Daniel Spector, his partner F.- Sgt.
Sigal Randel and Israel Police spokesman Ch.-Supt. Micky Rosenfeld for a
highly eventful – and at times, distressing – patrol which cast a sobering light
on the state of violent crime.
Before setting out from Rishon’s newly
constructed police station, dozens of police officers, border policemen and
plainclothes detectives gathered for a briefing by Ch.-Supt. Mevurah
Avraham, who would be overseeing the shift from the station.
two terror attacks in two days,” Avraham noted, referring to the recent Hamas
shootings in the West Bank. “Some Palestinian factions are seeking to sabotage
talks between the prime minister and Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas]. We need to be extremely vigilant. Every report of a suspicious
person or item must be taken seriously.
This is also the holiday season,
and there’s always someone who wishes to spoil the holidays.”
to civilian crime, Avraham said, “We have three addresses that have been
threatened... Three patrol cars must answer any call from those
The officers were then addressed by station head Dep.-Cmdr. Alon
Aryeh. “The new alcohol law is in effect, and we must be familiar with
Under recently passed legislation, police can confiscate alcoholic
beverages from individuals drinking in public.
“If you see that drinkers will stop consuming alcohol in public after the law is explained to them, try
talking to them first,” Aryeh added. “Our job is not to harass civilians. Let
people party and enjoy themselves, so long as they keep to the law.”
10 p.m., the Post
joined Spector – who would command the patrol units from the
ground – Randel and Rosenfeld in the police car as it began its all-night
A computer screen in the Skoda patrol car displayed a map which
showed the positions of all other units, and listed incidents sent by the police
dispatcher from the station.
Half an hour later, the first major incident
flashed on the screen.
“SHOTS FIRED; gunman has escaped,” the report
“Injuries reported.” Spector activated the siren and raced toward
the scene of the shooting, in the heart of a residential neighborhood in west
As the car slowed to a halt, the officers jumped out. A
20- year-old man lay screaming in agony in the passenger seat of his black
Honda, clutching his leg. Minutes earlier, two masked men had approached him as
he started his car, opened the car door and fired several rounds into his leg,
according to eyewitnesses.
“My leg!” the man shouted, as blood poured out
of several bullet wounds. He was placed on a stretcher by paramedics, taken into
a waiting ambulance and rushed to the hospital for surgery to remove the
Several police cars arrived on the scene and officers cordoned
off the area. Police took statements from witnesses, some of whom were visibly
shocked by the shooting.
Meanwhile, forensic officers arrived and began
placing yellow markers around the vehicle.
They carefully collected shell
casings fired from a 9 mm.handgun. Plainclothes detectives also arrived
and began to ascertain the identity of the suspects.
Police believe the
shooting was part of a dispute between criminals. It appeared as if the gunman
was seeking to issue a very grim warning, rather than kill the man.
days later, police arrested a man in Rishon Lezion on suspicion of carrying out
Meanwhile an unrelated incident began to unfold. Senior
municipal employees, who work closely with law enforcement, also arrived at the
shooting scene. They had received an alarming message from Mayor Dov Tzur. A man
had just sent him a text message threatening to commit suicide.
was desperate because he could not find a job due his criminal record.
municipal official made phone contact with the man.
“I will help you find
Come to the municipality on Sunday in the morning. But right now,
you need to tell me where you are,” he said.
The negotiations paid off,
and the man told the official he was standing in a field in the eastern part of
Spector and his partner headed over to his location, together
with another patrol car.
“He’s known to us from past offenses. He did
time and he’s been in and out of prison,” Spector said on the way. The police
cars located the individual – a large man in his 30s, dressed in
Spector offered him a cigarette and began to calm him down.
Eventually, he accepted a ride home.
“One thing leads to another – you
never know what’s going to happen next,” Rosenfeld said after the incident
At 2 a.m., we joined a police checkpoint on the city’s main
street, Rehov Herzl, where a young man had been pulled over. “He’s a kingpin in
a criminal organization,” Spector said. Plainclothes detectives were called to
the scene, and searched the man’s vehicle. No illegal substances were found, and
he was permitted to drive on.
At 2:30 a.m, Spector was called to the
scene of a domestic incident.
A man who owed alimony payments to his
ex-wife had been evading his obligations, and a court order was issued ordering
him to either pay his debt or face imprisonment.
But the order can only
be issued to the man on sight by police. His ex-wife contacted the police to say
that she saw him outside of his home.
Incidents of this type blur the
line between police and social services, as officers find themselves dealing
with dysfunctional and, at at times, violent families.
“We’ve been here
many times in the past,” Spector said.
The home has multiple entrances,
and the man has cunningly evaded police on several occasions. “We once
surrounded the place, but he still managed to escape,” Spector added.
heavily built men, identified as the man’s brothers, came outside wearing only
their boxer shorts. They began shouting at police.
“Why are you here?
You’re waking up the whole family,” one shouted. A woman in a bra and underpants
joined the brothers, and screamed at police. “That’s his sister,” Spector
“He’s not here! What do you want from us?” the woman hollered.
After being shouted at for several minutes, the police decided to
The patrol car heads towards the city’s beach promenade, where
dozens of drunken youths could been seen emerging from nearby bars and clubs and
congregating in the parking lot. The atmosphere was unpleasant, but no crimes
were committed, and the patrol continued.
In between the incidents, the
officers stopped off outside a bakery for a midnight snack. Rendal and Spector
lit one of many cigarettes that night. “You’re going to finish a pack in a
single night,” Rosenfeld, the only nonsmoker among us, said. “It’s always like
this on the shifts,” Randel said, shrugging her shoulders. “During the day I
smoked just two cigarettes.”
At 2:50 a.m., officers spotted a moped drive
past them at high speed. The vehicle wobbled on the road – a telltale sign of
drink driving. Spector activated his siren and pulled over the
Randel typed his license plate number into the machine, and
immediately received a readout of several driving offenses committed by the
driver in the past.
The man, in his mid-20s, agreed to take a
breathalyzer test, but failed to fully blow into the machine, a common evasive
tactic, according to the officers. “Blow into the machine properly, or we will
consider this a refusal to be tested,” officers told him. After a few minutes of
arguing, the driver finally blew into the contraption – and failed the
He was taken to the police station for a full test, but this time
managed to pass. He had apparently been just over the limit, and his stalling
tactics gave his liver enough time to remove the alcohol from his
Meanwhile, the officers resumed their patrol. Spector’s colleague
came on the radio.
“The gunshot victim from earlier tonight cannot be
questioned now. He has just had surgery and can’t speak,” he said.
minutes later, a domestic violence report flashed on the screen. “It’s a woman’s
He’s threatening to beat her and refuses to stop harassing
her,” it said.
Police were aware of the case, and Spector produced a
photograph of the suspect.
The officers drove around her home searching
for the suspect, but he managed to escape.
The patrol car then drove
through the tough Ramat Eliahu neighborhood. On street corners, youths with
shaven heads and large necklaces sat around, smoking. One youth shouted
provocatively at police. Spector stopped the car and rolled down his
“What’s your name?” he asked. The teenager provided his name, and
continued to smile. “I know that family,” Spector said as he drove
“His father is behind bars.”
Many of the hardened young
faces which stared aggressively at the car as it drove through the neighborhood
were known to the officers from past criminal offenses.
screen notified officers of a new assault incident.
Officers on the scene
provided further details to Spector over the radio: “We have a report of two
youths who were leaning on a car. When the owner asked them to stop leaning on
his vehicle, they punched him in the face and threatened him with a knife.”
Spector assigned a number of units to search for the suspects.
the computer screen showed that the neighboring police station in Rehovot was
dealing with a stabbing outside of a pub.
The screen then flashed a new
incident; three youths had punched a taxi driver after a dispute over the cab
fare and fled on foot. “The cab driver said the suspects were drunk, and split
up after running away,” an officer reported on the police radio.
and Randel combed the area searching for the suspects.
When the sun sets
again the following evening, Rishon Lezion’s police officers will begin another
night shift patrolling the city’s streets, never knowing where the next incident