The driver was initially observed slumped over the steering wheel, Vassar said. He was put in handcuffs as a precaution after he allegedly became belligerent.
A search of the SUV uncovered K-2, a kind of synthetic marijuana, which is illegal to sell in New York.
Officers tested the substance with a drug kit that is kept in patrol cars to be sure of its composition. The drug was confiscated and brought back to the station, where it was logged, bagged and then placed in the evidence locker for eventual destruction.
Vassar said the department’s busiest area is Zone 2, which includes downtown and the residential area beyond that near the college campus.
When the bars near their 2 a.m. closing time, two or three officers plant themselves on Bridge Street adjacent to the Green Room bar.
It’s called “working the beat,” Cordick said.
Officers generally volunteer to station themselves downtown.
“The thing about downtown is you know what you’re going to get,” Vassar said.
We watched as dozens of people poured out into the streets. Many went to Pizza Bono or the hot-dog stand in front of Ashley’s Home Center. Others looked for cabs or walked with their friends away from the downtown area.
A woman wearing a miniskirt and a cowboy hat ran across the street and knocked on Cordick’s window.
“I just want to say, ‘Hi,’” she said.
Things can get out of hand downtown quickly, Vassar said.
City Police officers were issued stun guns within the past couple of years.
Vassar was shocked with the device as part of the training that officers receive.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” he said. “It’s not pain, but it shuts everything down. You can’t think, you can’t talk, and your whole body just shuts off.