Chapter 2 – QCD
Officer Bob Molinoski from the Eldridge Police Department (EPD) was driving down South 1st street in Eldridge toward the Davenport Municipal airport to see his girlfriend. They had planned to go away for the weekend, but his boss Lt. Demko told him at noon today he was going to have to serve as the officer on duty for Saturday and Sunday. Bob knew this was going to be a disappointment to Jenny so he decided to drive down to the airport to tell her in person. He was not looking forward to the conversation. Jenny worked in the building where the Alfa Romeo dealership used to be. For some reason, Alfa Romeo and Fiat were not popular in Iowa or the Quad cities. As he prepared to turn into the parking lot, a bright flash of light off to his left appeared in the sky. He quickly pulled off the road as he put his left hand up to cover his eyes. As he came to a complete stop, the flash disappeared and a barrier of teal blue material was rapidly descending toward the ground. Bob got out of his squad car, took out his cell phone, and started to take video of the now rapidly falling teal colored curtain. The material looked like some sort of plastic as it shimmered in the Iowa sun. Bob looked at his phone and took note of the time, it was 1522. The wall finally struck the earth, which seemed to trigger a series of small tremors. While Bob had had training on what to do in a multitude of natural disasters such as tornadoes and earthquakes, he had no idea of what was happening and how he should proceed. Knowing this, he reached for the ever-present radio on his uniform and keyed the mic to contact the Dispatch Center or DC at Headquarters. All he got was static. The ground continued to shake as the teal wall began to dissolve. When the barrier was removed, Bob looked out over a scene of total destruction! It appeared to him everything he could see which comprised Davenport, Iowa was gone and left in its place was a huge crater. As he stared out over the devastation, some of the residents of the area started to join him.
Bob whipped around and said, “Y’all need to stay back, something real bad has just happened and I don’t want anyone else to get hurt.” The six people in front of him nodded in agreement. Bob tried the mic on his uniform and got nothing but static, again. He asked, “Do anyone have a land line phone?”
An older woman raised her hand and choked out, “I have one officer.” This brought a smile to Bob’s face.
“Where do you live ma’am and may I use your phone?” Bob inquired. He remembered from his training that a polite tone of voice and attitude went a long way when people were in a state of emotional shock. The kind of emotion resulting from witnessing the scene behind him. The older woman nodded yes, and Bob gently asked, “Where is your home, ma’am?”
The older woman pointed with a shaking hand toward the left at an older white farmhouse. She then said in a quavering voice, “It’s in the kitchen at the back of the house Officer. Go in and help yourself.”
Bob nodded while he thanked her. Then he grabbed two men and said, “Guys, I need you to keep these good folks back for me so I can make a phone call to Headquarters for back-up.” The stunned fellows nodded their heads and moved around behind Bob and turned to face the crowd.
Bob told the onlookers, “Folks, I’ve asked these two fellows to keep everyone away from the scene while I call for backup. I’ll be back as soon as possible.” Bob then started to sprint to the farmhouse. When he reached the house, he burst through the front door, took a moment to scan the room to locate the entrance to the kitchen as well as any potentially offended dogs or cats. Seeing none of the animals, he spotted the swinging door the kitchen, ran to it and entered the room. Scanning the room, he spotted the plain old telephone, which was next to a small desk. He thought it was called a “secretary” but he wasn’t sure. Bob picked up the handset and nodded as the familiar dial tone appeared in his ear, then he punched in the number and sat down at the “secretary”. His heart was racing and he knew he needed to project a calm demeanor to the dispatch operator, Charlene who was going to answer the phone in three…two…one.
“Eldridge Police Department, how may I help you?” said Charlene in a professional yet friendly manner.
Bob took a deep breath and said, “Charlene, something bad, something real bad has happened out here on South 1st street!” He went on, “It looks like the city of Davenport was nuked and there’s nothing left but a huge crater!” Despite all the training, Bob knew his voice was rising in pitch with each word. Damnit, he was trying to remain calm, but this was unlike anything he had ever seen. He took and deep breath and told Charlene exactly where he was. She wanted to know why he was using a landline instead of his encrypted radio and Bob told her the radio was down. Charlene scanned the meters on her equipment and noticed the signals from the two officers currently on the southside of town were not responsive.
“Hold on Bob, I need to get Lt. Demko in on this,” Charlene put the line on hold and rang Demko’s office. When he answered, she said, “Lt. Demko, I have Officer Molinoski on the land line in the DC. Ma’am, we have a situation and I need you to hear his report.” Demko responded affirmatively, hung up the phone, and quickly followed Charlene to the DC. When she arrived, she heard Charlene and Officer Molinoski talking on the speaker phone. It sounded like she was trying to talk him down as his voice was fast and high pitched. Charlene said, “Ok, Bob, Lt. Demko is here. Tell us what happened.” Bob provided a sitrep and requested immediate back-up. One of his concerns was the potential level of radioactivity at the scene. While he spoke to Demko, Charlene was busy contacting the members of the Emergency Response Team or ERT in Eldridge as well as the Scott County Sheriff’s office in Davenport. Unfortunately, the Scott County office did not respond.
Lt. Demko said, “Copy Bob, help is on the way. Please return to your vehicle to prepare to serve as on-site commander until I arrive.” Then, she turned to Charlene.
Charlene held up her hand and said, “Lt. Demko, I’ve already notified the Eldridge ERT and advised them of the situation. I tried to contact the Scott County ERT, but they didn’t respond. Is there anything else I need to do for you before you leave?” She watched as Lt Demko broke out an infrequent smile.
Lt. Demko said, “Charlene, you are worth your weight in gold. One more thing, please contact your counterpart at the ISP (Iowa State Police) in Des Moines and advise them of the situation.” With that she left the room. Charlene peered out the window saw the LT jump in her SUV, fire up the lights and siren, throw gravel with her wheels, and turn south as she headed out of the parking lot. Then she tuned her radio to the ISP frequency and said, “Natasha, come in please.”
After Officer Molinoski hung up the phone, he sprinted out of the house and down the road toward his squad car. He observed the crowd had grown but the fellows he assigned as temporary assistants were performing well. When he arrived to his car, he flipped his radio to the PA option and directed the throng to clear the roadway as emergency vehicles were headed their direction. His announcement was augmented by the blaring of sirens coming from the north.
© REBentley PhD 2020