By RAYMOND GIBSON
Special To The Leader
As the residents of Oakdale say farewell to another great rodeo weekend, the officers of the local police department will be looking back at what is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year. With more than 110 calls coming in from 6 p.m. Saturday through 6 p.m. Sunday, the event proved to be more than busy. According to Officer John Burch, the Oakdale PD gets pretty busy on the Saturday night of rodeo weekend.
“We should be pretty busy throughout the night tonight,” he said Saturday evening.
It didn’t take long for the calls to start coming in. First a few traffic stops to show the community the police were out in force and then a possible medical call from a local convenience store. At the scene Burch and other officers found a young man complaining of chest pain and difficulty breathing.
“He didn’t seem to be under the influence of anything,” Burch said. “So we’ll just get some medical assistance down here and get him to the hospital.”
Within the hour however, officers were called to the hospital for an unruly patient. When the call came in Burch said, “This should be the same guy we just sent down there.”
His hunch was right, as the same young man cussed out the staff at the hospital and shouted at the top of his lungs that he was having trouble breathing.
When told the hospital staff wanted him off the property the young patient meandered through the hospital parking lot until the local men in blue tired of his hijinks, and put the cuffs on him.
“He probably just needed a warm place to sleep tonight,” Burch said, as he drove away from the hospital.
The local police were not the only force on patrol in Oakdale, due to the rodeo activities. Modesto Police Department, Stanislaus County Sheriffs’ deputies and even reinforcements from the California Highway Patrol hustled throughout the night to keep a lid on things. By the time Sunday morning had arrived most of the problems seemed to already begin cooling down.
Just as Saturday night approached the witching hour, though, a call came in for assistance needed at one of the local cowboy watering holes where security was working to detain a young woman who had raised a ruckus with another female patron. Upon arrival a number of individuals were found outside the establishment, with more than a few young ladies shouting at each other. When the arrival of the local police failed to quiet the disturbance, it became necessary to place one of the belligerents in cuffs and sit her in the back of a police van, provided by the Modesto PD.
Given all that could have gone wrong on an evening when the population of the city increased by about 50 percent, Burch and the other members of the local long blue line seemed fairly relieved that the evening ended up the way it did.
“We really appreciate all the support we get from the other local agencies in the area,” Burch said. “When there is more of a police presence, and the general population can see that we are reinforced and supported by the other law enforcement (agencies), it seems to help them keep their heads a little better.”
All things considered, the weekend went by with few problems, just as Police Sergeant Ben Savage, incident commander for the rodeo, hoped.
“We really just want everyone to come to the rodeo, have a great time and then get home safely,” Savage said