By Rebecca Gannon
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
3:33 PM CDT, August 29, 2010
Some Wichita police officers traded in their holsters for carpenter belts Sunday. It was while they were off-duty; but it's because of something that happened while they were on-duty.
You can hear the hammering, drilling, and sawing from a few doors away. Those are not sounds normally associated with police officers. But htose sounds wouldn't be there if Officer Anthony Villegas and his partner hadn't heard a different sound while they were on patrol Friday.
"We overheard just a male and female voice just yelling at each other," said Villegas. "As we approached the window, we heard her state 'You're killing me' in a voice of peril."
So the officers did their job, and kicked in the door to the house the voices were coming from.
Standing in the hallway was an elderly woman. "We asked her if everything was okay," said Villegas. He continued, "she stated it was, and she said her husband was an Alzheimer's patient."
What the officers had missed in their haste were the words after the apparent dangerous statement. "I need to get some sleep," is what the resident said to her husband. His Alzheimer's had gotten worse, and he hadn't allowed his wife to sleep for two days.
"Officers were doing what they were rightfully supposed to do, responding to what they thought was a dangerous situation" said Villegas's supervisor, Sgt. Kenneth Kimble. "It turns out the situation was not dangerous."
So no one was in trouble - except maybe the officers who kicked in the door. Which brought about Sunday afternoon's scene. Officers moonlighting as carpenters, fixing the (mistake) situation they caused. Because it caused the homeowner some concern.
"And we don't want her worried anymore," said Sgt. Kimble. "So we figured if this is what we can do after working, we can get together out here and make it, and make her feel comfortable in her own home, then we'll do that."
It took off-duty officers a few runs to the hardware store and a few hours to fix the door.
"She definitely understands the situation," said Villegas, the one who originally broke the door open, "and she's grateful we were here. But is even more grateful that we can repair her door," he said with a smile.
But they say it's worth it. They'd rather use measuring tape here, instead of crime tape.
This is a special case. most of the time, residents would have to contact the city and fill out applications, and then the city would decide whether or not to fix the door. The application process wouldn't even begin until Monday morning. This way, the door is already fixed, and the police report hasn't even made it to City Hall.
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