EVERETT — Jeff Pountain spent Christmas Day scanning the streets of Everett for anything amiss.
The Everett police officer patrols much of downtown and the surrounding areas. In addition to answering 911 calls, he keeps an eye on the haunts and hangouts where trouble is known to lurk.
Pountain’s shift was mostly slow Sunday. North Everett was mostly empty.
The wind set off a few burglary alarms. Several cars were reported stolen. A couple of families called in fights, or shared concerns about despondent loved ones.
Multiple times, Pountain pulled his squad car up to the sidewalk to talk to a familiar face. He warned one man to obey his court-ordered absence from a downtown business. He asked others about an ongoing bicycle-building project.
“You stay warm and dry,” Pountain told them.
At least one person was happy to see him.
An Everett man awoke Christmas morning to find his older-model sport utility vehicle missing from outside his house.
Pountain carefully wiped his boots on the mat before entering the home to take the report. The man’s dog rushed to him, eager for a quick pat.
He warned the man that car thieves will look for financial documents they can doctor. If the man is lucky, his car will get ditched a few blocks away, Pountain said.
“I’ll keep my eyes out,” he promised.
On his way to the next call, Pountain listened carefully as dispatchers advised police in the area to look for the SUV. He’d already added the vehicle description to his mental checklist.
He takes pride in spotting stolen vehicles stashed around town. If he can get ahold of the owners, they might not have to pay for the tow.
As the afternoon wore on, wind and rain pelted the car. Pountain pulled into an industrial lot off W. Marine View Drive for a burglary alarm. He and another officer checked the perimeter of the building, looking for doors ajar or broken windows.
The burgeoning scrap metal market has made thieves copper-hungry — and creative. Pountain shared stories of catching people sneaking out of businesses toting stolen scrap metal.
Between calls, he checked the places where north Everett often keeps secrets from law enforcement: alleyways, vacant lots, abandoned buildings.
Havens for hiding, he calls them.
Pountain rolled past one trouble spot that officers have been targeting lately. Most of the graffiti is painted over, and new no-trespassing signs are posted.
“It’s a great little place to come do suspicious things,” he said. “A little presence really goes a long way.”
At one call, Pountain pulled up to a house for a report of a family argument turned physical. A woman sobbed outside. A relative was cuffed on the grass. Pountain rolled the man over gently, taking the man’s knife before walking him over to a squad car to be questioned.
It’s a scene that’s decidedly not merry. The red and blue lights bounced off the metal and glass inside Pountain’s car. A small tinsel wreath hung on the tiny porch, wriggling in the wind. People gawked as they drove past.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; email@example.com.