The sun had not yet risen Wednesday when Mesa detectives gave Alex Reyes an early morning wake-up call with a firm fist pounding the door.
"This guy has 21 run-ins with police, so be careful," police veteran Tim Miller said as he and his partner, Michele Bradbury, crept forward in their unmarked patrol car to the home of Reyes, 30. "He could be dangerous, so keep a distance."
Miller, a Mesa police officer for 20 years, had met the man on more than one occasion. "He used to be a runner," the detective said. "I remember chasing his friend when he was about 16."
On Wednesday, the two detectives were serving him a warrant for violating a restraining order. This meant handcuffs and a trip to jail.
It was only the first warrant Miller and Bradbury served that day, and they had nine more to go as part of a 24-hour domestic violence roundup to begin national Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Overall, about 50 law enforcement agencies statewide parti- cipated in the roundup, an event organized last year by the Mesa police domestic violence unit aimed at showing victims they will be protected and alerting perpetrators the law will be enforced.
Mesa alone sent 50 officers to the streets and attempted to serve about 200 warrants.
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on Wednesday presented the department the county’s first Domestic Violence Award.
"They help educate victims about the cycle of violence and are readily available to serve orders of protection," Thomas said. "Their enforcement response team has distinguished itself."
Bradbury works full time with the response team, and Miller helped with the roundup.
The two detectives left their car and walked to Reyes’ unkempt property. They rapped against Reyes’ door and the sound shook the still sleepy neighborhood.
Someone opened the door and the detectives disappeared into the darkened home. Finally, they emerged — but not with the dangerous, terrifying man they had described.
They were with Reyes, but he was now a small slender man in a wheelchair.
"I forgot," Miller said. "He was shot and paralyzed about five years ago."
Reyes was lighthearted as he was helped into the police car. He smiled at times, and his family made jokes. The first of the pair’s wake-up calls was easy, but many of the day’s attempts resulted futilely in vacant apartments or changed addresses.
"We’re not going to quit," Miller said.
Last year’s event produced 234 arrests statewide, and officers served 308 warrants and 75 orders of protection. Mesa officers hoped for even bigger numbers this year during the roundup that ends at 5 a.m. today. Final figures will be available today.
"We want victims to know it’s worth their time to come in and ask for help," Mesa detective Coy Johnston said. "And we want to let suspects know they will be held accountable."
• In 2004, 21 percent of offenders victimizing females were described as intimate partners. By contrast, only 4 percent of offenders victimizing males were described as intimate partners.
• Between 1976 and 2002, about 11 percent of murder victims were determined to have been killed by an intimate partner.
• Domestic violence results in nearly 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths nationwide every year.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice