Life Guarding

Chapter Four - Code Trevor Training - Part 2

Aaron’s POV - Wednesday Morning

Wednesday morning started way too early for my taste. I had not slept too well during the night. I kept having these nightmares about the dinner that was planned for Friday. In the dream, Devin tells his parents that he was gay and was in love with me. They went ballistic and told Devin that they no longer had a son. Devin’s parents not only threw him out of the house but also their lives. The thought of my dream coming true weighed heavily on me all through breakfast. Dad noticed my mood and asked me what was wrong. I told him about my nightmare and my concerns for Devin. All he said was that we would cross that bridge when we came to it and not to worry. If anything like that were to happen Devin would get the help that he needs. That helped a little, but I was still worried about what would happen on Friday. 

Devin drove up to the house at 7 am sharp and honked his horn letting me know that he was there. As I was heading for the door Dad asked if we would join him for lunch. I thought that was an excellent idea and told him that we would be released at 11:30 am and would need to be back in the room by 1 pm to continue training. He said that would be fine and he would meet us in the Campus Cafe for lunch at 11:45 am and he was buying.

 I hopped into Devin’s car and we were off to the community college for the 3rd day of training. I tried to keep my thoughts away from my dreams of the previous night, but it was hard. Devin was smiling and talking excitedly about the dinner on Friday and how his parents were going to call my Dad today to confirm if they could bring anything. When I told him about Dad’s offer of lunch he smiled and said that he hoped I agreed to meet him. I looked at him and said, “What and not take advantage of a free lunch?” We both laughed at that.

When we arrived at the classroom we were once again split up into our groups and told to work on our role plays for a couple of hours. After that we were all lead to the gym and put into pairs, we were told that we would practise what we had been taught the day before, but we were told to only go at half speed. This allowed the instructor to correct any errors in our form and execution. We were then treated to a demonstration by the State Police K9 Patrol. We were introduced to Office Makenzie and his partner Gregor, a very large German Shepherd. Officer Makenzie asked for a volunteer from the group and Jason Smith from the DelVets Swim Club raised his hand. I am not sure if Jason knew what he was getting himself into. The Trainers march Jason off into the locker room to get ready and when he came out he looked like the Michelin Man. The suit he was in was made of padding with Kevlar on the outside. Jason was told to stand on the opposite side of the gym. When Jason was ready Officer Makenzie held a cloth to Gregor’s muzzle and then in a loud clear voice Told Gregor “Such” and “Fass”. Jason did not stand a chance, within 30 seconds Gregor had him on the ground and his jaws firmly attached to his right arm. I didn’t want to even imagine what his arm would look like if he didn’t have the padding on. Officer Makenzie slowly walked over to were Jason and Gregor were wrestling on the floor and told Gregor “Aus” and “Fuss”. Gregor then released Jason and went into a perfect heel next to his partner. Jason was helped to his feet and thanked for his participation in the demonstration. 

Officer Makenzie continued his demonstration by showing us Gregor’s tracking skills. He told us that one of the officers had hidden a testing bundle somewhere in the gym and he was going to have Gregor find it. Looking down at Gregor he took another scent rag out of his pocket and let Gregor sniff it. Officer Makenzie then told Gregor “Voran” which he explained was the command to search. While Gregor was searching the Gym, Officer Makenzie explained that the K9 Patrol was often used in missing person cases and abductions for help piece together a trail of where the person might be. It was important to make sure that the article of clothing that was used had a strong scent on it so the K9 Officer could use it to track a suspect or the victim. Gregor had been walking around the gym for a couple of minutes before he stopped in front of the door to the women’s locker room and started barking. Officer Makenzie opened the door to show us the training dummy that had been placed just inside the door. At the end of his demonstration  Officer Makenzie told us that it was his team and specifically Gregor that had discovered Trevor body in the marsh south of town. For those of us that knew Trevor, it was a grim discovery that the K9 in front of us was the reason Trevor was able to be returned to his family and given his final resting place. Devin was standing next to me when this piece of information was revealed, and I could see him stiffen up at the news. He was able to control his emotions and when the demonstration was over he went over Officer Makenzie and Gregor to thank them for their time and service. He also asked if he could pet Gregor to thank him for his service. Officer Makenzie said that unfortunately, he could not allow that because Gregor was on duty but did say that Devin could give Gregor a treat, which Gregor wolfed down, no pun intended. 

We were dismissed for lunch and met my Dad at the cafe for lunch. I asked him if he had been waiting long and he said no he had just arrived a few minutes before us. We went through the line and filled our trays with food, Dad paid for all of us, and we went to find a quiet table to eat our lunch. We told my Dad about the morning session and the K9 Demonstration. Jason’s Dad worked in my Dad’s office and he could not wait to tell him about the Demonstration that Jason participated in. Dad also told us that Mom, Uncle Leo and Asher were all lined up for dinner on Friday. He was just waiting to hear from Devin’s Mom and Dad. Devin spoke up and mentioned that his Mom was wondering if there was anything they could bring to the Dinner on Friday. Dad took that as confirmation that they were also on board but would wait until he heard from Devin’s parents to confirm. We sat and talked until we needed to get back to the training. Devin seemed to be in a much better frame of mind after talking to my Dad about Friday, but I still had my doubts. I am not one to usually remember my dreams but the one from last night just kept coming back to me. I was hoping that it wasn’t a premonition of what was to come. 

The afternoon was spent honing our observation skills. We are to look at a person for 5 to 10 seconds and describe that person to our partner and hopefully our partner would be able to identify them. It was a lot harder than anyone in the room thought it would be. Only about ⅓ of the class was successful in being able to describe the person in the picture. 

After training wrapped for the day, Devin asked if I had anything planned for that night. Unfortunately, I did, I was going to work at the Ice-Skating Club tonight. Wednesday Nights were spent teaching young kids how to skate. When I told this to Devin he had a blank look in his eyes. Then I realized why and asked him if he knew how to ice skate. He blushed and said he had never been ice skating and didn’t even know that Wilmington had an indoor rink. I had him drop me off at my Mom’s place and told him to be back at 6:30 pm to pick me up and to dress warmly. I went in and got my gear together then grabbed a quick shower. Mom was home when I came out of my room and asked me about my day. I told her about everything that happened at the training. She got emotional when I told her about meeting the K9 Patrol Team Members that discovered Trevor’s body in the Marsh. She asked about Devin and if he was OK with what happened, and I said that he went up to the Team and thanked them for bringing Trevor home to his family. Mom really let the waterworks flow after hearing that and I must admit that I was getting a bit misty-eyed as well. 

Mom told me that she had talked to Dad earlier that afternoon and he had heard from Devin’s Parents and they were planning on bringing dessert for the dinner on Friday. I thought it would be a good idea for me to tell Mom about my dream from last night. Like Dad, she told me not to worry about it now, but if it did happen they would make sure that Devin was given the help he needed and deserved. It was at that point that I came to realize that my parents were truly the type of caring people that will go above and beyond to help those in need. My Parents and Uncle really did live their life by treating others the way they wanted to be treated. I hugged and gave my mom a kiss on the cheek and thanked her for everything they did for us. I offered to make dinner for us that night, I made my speciality Cheeseburger Casserole. I was setting the table for 3 when Mom walked into the dining room and asked if Dad was stopping by for dinner as well. I blushed and said that I told Devin to be back here at 6:30 to go with me to the Skating Rink. My Mom laughed and said I was playing a dirty trick on Devin, but she would excuse it this time because she really wanted to meet him. 

Promptly at 6:30 Devin pulled into the driveway and beeped his horn letting me know he was there. I went to his car and told him to come in for a few minutes since the class that I was teaching was not going to start until 7:30 that evening. He looked at me with daggers in his eyes, when I told him that I had made dinner for him and my Mom. That was when my Mom walked up behind me and told Devin that she had already given me a good spanking for tricking him into meeting her. While she was saying that my Mom gave me a slap upside the head for good measure. Devin could not control himself and was laughing hysterically at my Mom’s antics. Once we were all in the house my Mom turned to Devin and wrapped him into a hug that only a mother could give. Devin melted into her embrace and thanked her for supporting us. We sat down to dinner and told each other about our day. 

Devin and I arrived at the Skating Rink in plenty of time for me to teach my class. Rick, my boss, noticed Devin and went to say hello and ask if there was anything that he needed. I skated over and explained to Rick the Devin had moved to the area about 2 years ago and never realized that the rick was here. He never learned to skate when he was younger and living in Florida. Rick had Devin follow him to the Rental counter and got him into a pair of skates and started to teach him the basics. He was a quick study and was able to make it around the rink without falling by the time lessons were over. While we were driving back to my Mom’s house, he told me that he had a good time and liked Rick. I told him that Rick had been a fixture at the Rink since it opened, and he was the one who taught me how to skate as well. Devin pulled into my driveway to drop me off, but not before we share a hug and a kiss. He said that he would pick me up at the same time tomorrow morning. 

 Thursday Morning

When we walked into the classroom on Thursday morning Jerry was already there.  Jerry was the Assistant Pool Manager during the summer and was a 3rd Grade Teacher at Old Mill Lane Elementary down the road from the Pool. He looked at the two of us and smiled. Did he know what was going on between Devin and myself or was he just glad to see his team bonding? Jerry was all about the employees at the Swim Club being a team and as close as a family. Jerry asked us to sit down so he could talk to us about what our availability was going to be this summer and when school was finished for the year. He then asked if we were interested in being Assistant Coaches for the Swim Team this summer. It would mean an additional $.50 an hour in pay, but it would also add at least 10 additional hours to our schedule. We would have to arrive at the Swim Club at 7:30 am Monday to Friday to help lead the Swim Team practice. Jerry was going to work with the 12 and Under swimmer and we were going to be working with the older members. Both Devin and I told him that we were interested, but we both needed to talk it over with our parents. Jerry smiled and said that was fine, but to let him know as soon as possible as he needed to let the Swim Team Advisory Board who the Coaches would be. We both told him we would let him know by Monday. 

During the day we discussed the new policy the State Swim Club Association, The Jewish Community Center, YM/YWCA of Delaware had agreed to follow. John Walsh had been working on the program he called “Code Adam”, which was a set of guidelines that organizations would follow in the event of a report of a missing child. He was hoping that this program would be adopted as the gold standard for dealing with missing children and that new laws and regulations on the reporting of missing and abused kids would be developed from it. Employees of Organizations that do implement the program are trained to take the following six steps:(1)

  1. If a visitor reports a child is missing, a detailed description of the child and what he or she is wearing is obtained. Specifically, what color and type of shoes the child is wearing. Additionally, all exterior access to the facility are locked and monitored; anyone approaching is turned away. The child's name is not requested and is to be ignored if provided.
  2. The employee goes to the nearest in-house telephone or radio and pages Code Adam, describing the child's physical features and clothing. As designated employees monitor entrances, other employees begin looking for the child.
  3. If the child is not found within 10 minutes, law enforcement is called.
  4. If the child is found and appears to have been lost and unharmed, the child is reunited with the searching family member.
  5. If the child is found accompanied by someone other than a parent or legal guardian, reasonable efforts to delay their departure will be used without putting the child, staff, or visitors at risk. Law enforcement will be notified and given details about the person accompanying the child.
  6. The Code Adam page will be cancelled after the child is found or law enforcement arrives.

Not only were we trained on these procedures, but we were also were trained on how to identify signs of child abuse. Since we were in contact with minors daily we were subject to the mandatory reporting rules. These are the same rules that Teachers, School Administrator, Doctors, Nurses and Caregivers had to follow. In a nutshell, it means we would be required to report suspected child maltreatment to an appropriate agency, such as child protective services, a law enforcement agency, or a State’s toll-free child abuse reporting hotline. (2) 

During the day we were given exercises that provided closure to the training. Some of the examples were downright disturbing. We had to discuss whether the scenario we were working on was credible or not and why we thought that way. There were a couple of times I needed to excuse myself and head to the restroom because I thought that I was going to throw up. I wasn’t the only one to have that reaction and I believe that the Instructor expected that. It really brought home the point that the Instructors were hoping to drive home to us. That point was, everyone, is a suspect until they are cleared by the authorities. 

Work worked on these scenarios for most of the morning and then broke for Lunch. Devin and I did not have much of an appetite after what we were subjected to. We went to the Cafe and found something light to eat and discuss the training from that morning. While we were relaxing, there was an announcement over the public address system and told all the Code Trevor Participants to return to the classroom in the next 5 minutes. Once we got there The Detectives that were in class on Tuesday were standing with the instructors at the front of the room having a hushed discussion. Once everyone had returned to the classroom our instructor turned the class over to Detective Hanson and his partner Detective Mason. 

Detective Hanson had come to the class to let us know that there would be a major announcement in a case that he and Detective Mason had been working on since August of last year. That statement got everyone’s attention and those who were only half-listening started paying attention to the Detectives. We knew that the picture that was used in the Observation Training was from an active case, but since it was an active case we were not given any details. Detective Hanson continued to tell us the picture was taken from a high-resolution security camera from a home in the Green Acres neighborhood. Devin took in a deep breath with the knowledge that this picture might have provided a clue into Trevor’s abduction and murder. The Detective said that the observations that both groups provided gave them with a different perspective and clues that they had never thought of. They were able to get and then execute a Search Warrant on one of the houses in the photo and found several articles of clothing, both boys and girls. While this was not unusual the owner of the home did not have any kids of his own or nieces or nephews. A search of the house also revealed a hidden, soundproofed room in the basement that was equipped with movie-making equipment and cameras. I was starting to get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and when I looked over at Devin there were tears streaming down his cheeks. I took his hand in mine, I was hoping that I could give him the strength to get through this. Detective Hanson continued to tell us that they found over 600 VHS cassettes each with a date on them. When they viewed the tapes, they discovered that the owner of the house had been producing pornography using kids. When they looked at the date that Trevor had been abducted they found his image on the tape. I nearly lost my lunch when I heard that. Devin released my hand then calmly got up and walked out the door to the classroom. Once he was out he was in the hallway he took off down the hall sobbing loud enough that we could hear him in the room. Jerry took one look at me and told me to go after him and make sure he was OK.

I tore out of the room and followed the sounds of Devin’s sobbing. I found him slumped against the wall with his head between his knees. I took him into my arms and just held on to him. Jerry found us about 5 minutes later and told us the rest of what Detective Hansen had told the group. When the owner of the house was confronted with the evidence he denied any knowledge of what was going on until he was shown one of the videos where he was molesting a boy that looked to be about 11-year-old. The owner pulled a gun on the officers and ran from the house he was found about 30 minutes later with a self-inflicted gunshot wound through his head. Jerry said that in his opinion the jerk took the easy way out. Once Jerry and I had Devin calmed down we returned to the classroom. The others in the room were visibly shaken most of them still had tears in their eyes. Detective Hansen told the group that there was going to be a News Conference and he asked that since it was this group that had given them the lead that broke the case open they wanted us to be present. For those of us under the age of 18, it meant that we would need to have our parent permission. 

The members of the class that were under the age of 18 called our parents and told them about the news conference and that they needed to be at the City Council Chambers by 5 pm to be briefed by the police. The news conference would be held in front of City Hall at 6 pm. We were not permitted to answer any of their questions over the phone but told them that they would be answered when they arrived.