Shaking my head

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On Thursday night, I responded to a disturbance call involving a man and a woman in a parking lot. The call indicated they were arguing and the woman was following the male in a minivan.

I drove down the street and was flagged down by witnesses as they pointed to a man, who was walking southbound on the sidewalk. I also noticed a minivan in a parking lot across the street with a woman in the driver seat. The minivan’s lights turned on as I drove by and I wondered what kind of nonsense they were involved in.

I drove to the male and detained him so we could figure out what was going on. We started talking when the minivan pulled up into the parking lot and stopped. The driver called out through the open passenger window and asked, “Officer, is he in trouble?”

“I don’t know,” I replied back.

“I’m married to that ding dong,” she said.

Ding dong? I guess that meant she didn’t call him “Cupcake.”

“Pull over there and wait,” I told her.

I next asked him what was going on and what their relationship was.

“She’s my wife.”

“How long have you been married?”

“One year, but we’ve known each other for a long time.”

“Do you have any kids?”

“She has an 11 year old in the van. He’s not mine, but he’s like my son. I’ve known him all his life.”

“That’s good,” I replied.

We continued with our small talk when he spontaneously said, “She named him after me.”

“Huh?”

The man said, “She was married to my cousin. They needed a place to stay so they moved in with me. That’s how I got to know her.”

“Did she have the kid after that?” I asked.

“Yes.”

This story just turned Jerry Springer.

He continued, “She told me she named her son after me because she had a crush on me.”

“Let me get this straight. She was married to your cousin and she named their son after you, but he’s not yours? Now you’re married to her?”

“Yeah.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

It’s the little things

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On Friday evening, there was a call holding about a person sleeping on a mattress on the side of a house. I was close by and decided to handle the call because it was holding for an hour.

A nice autumn breeze filled my car as dusk’s shadows covered the area.

I found the house I was looking for, but there was no mattress on either side. My police car caught a neighbor’s attention, so I walked over and told him the reason I was there.

The man said, “You’ll want to look in the alley. I bet that’s where they’re talking about. We have a lot of homeless walking through the alleys.”

We engaged in small talk and then said bye.

I next drove to the alley, which was more narrow than most in the city. Luckily there were no cars parked there because there wasn’t much room. At the end of the alley I saw a queen size mattress box spring leaning against the wall.

There was a woman at her trash can who spotted me and started walking toward my car. I could tell she was the one who called by the look on her face and the strength of her stride. She walked up to my passenger window and leaned down. “Hi, I’m here for the guy who was sleeping on the mattress,” I said.

The woman pointed to the box spring and said, “He was sleeping on that all day.”

“That big mattress was on the ground in the alley and he was sleeping on it?”

“Yep. I finally told him he had to leave. He got up and leaned the mattress against the wall and walked away. That mattress has been there for a long time. He’ll be back I’m sure.”

As a traffic guy, I imagined this man getting run over by a car and causing lots of paperwork for me. The alley was just over 20 feet wide and there was no room for sleepy time in this spot.

I contacted dispatch to have a city crew take the mattress away. The woman was grateful and thanked me. She asked for extra patrols through the alley and was so happy the mattress would be gone by tomorrow. I was glad I could help.

This call might not have sounded sexy or exciting, but it was a big deal to her because that box spring was an eye sore in her alley.

It’s easy to forget, but we, as cops have to remember it’s the little things that matter most to people when they call for our help.

This profession has and always be about helping people. Even if it’s with the small things.

How about some self preservation?

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On Thursday night, a guy was walking in an industrial area while wearing a black shirt and big headphones on his head. That was fine except he was walking in the street with his back to traffic rather than on the dirt area, which was separated by a curb. Of course, a truck’s mirror hit the guy as it drove by.

When I arrived, the pedestrian was upset and pacing around as he kept saying, “He fucking hit me!!!”

After hearing him complain over and over about the driver I wanted to say, “Duh. How about some self preservation?”

Even after all these years,  I’m still surprised how people put themselves into bad situations and then get upset at the other guy. It’s like the baseball player who drops the easy fly ball and then blames the glove.

One word popped in my head while I was handling this call……

Darwinism.

On Friday, I told my daughter this story while I taking her to practice. At one point she said, “I’m not even going to let you finish this story because it’s stupid. He had it coming.”

Boom! That was the funniest thing I heard all day.

 

Bombs Away

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The actual birds of truth

A few weeks ago, I interviewed a driver on the sidewalk about a crash he was in. After about a minute, I could tell he hadn’t put in much thought into his story because it was full of shit.

He tried to be creative and blamed a phantom car, but his story lacked imagination, style and most importantly, the truth. He was also trying to Jedi Mind Trick a Jedi Master.

Silly guy.

It was one of those interviews where I took notes and shook my head as I imagined saying, “Sure, I write fiction too.”

In the middle of his horrible and fictional story, the truth gods smiled down on us as a grayish liquid splattered on his dark polo shirt. He looked at his left shoulder as a moment of awkward silence hung in the air like a thick fog.

I then looked up and saw a bunch of birds on the power lines above us.  It was as if my winged friends had heard his story and decided to help me out with a little truth serum of their own.

The moment reminded me of the movie High Anxiety when Mel Brooks ran through the park as dive bombing pooping birds unleashed on him.

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Mel Brooks in High Anxiety.  Photo by cbsnews.com

I took my phone out as the driver curiously watched, wondering what I was doing. I pointed my phone up toward the birds and snapped a pic because this was just too good to pass up.

I moved away from the sidewalk and finished my interview. I didn’t want to get caught in the crossfire when the rest of the birds opened up on the driver.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

 

 

A Shitty Situation?

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There’s one thing about police work you can always count one. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new happens.

The other night I responded to the parking lot of 7-Eleven for a DUI crash. After the driver was arrested, I decided to use the restroom inside the store.

It was 11PM and it was busy. There was a long line and only one clerk behind the counter. After I got the key, I walked to the back of the store and down a hallway.

I inserted the key as I read a sign that said the bathrooms were for police officers only after 10PM.

I pushed the door and it swung open as the interior came into view. Thats when I saw saw a guy bent over like a folded dollar bill sitting on the toilet with his pants around his ankles.

At least he was breathing.

I paused as I thought about my police career bucket list and wondered if “Wake up half naked man on toilet” was on it. Nope, but let’s check that one off now.

In a loud voice I said, “Wake up,” but sleeping not so beauty didn’t move. This guy was out like a light. I was surprised he wasn’t snoring.

After a few more tries he finally woke up. You’d think waking up in the bathroom with your pants down and a cop standing there would get your attention, but not this guy. He sat there like this happened every day and he was used to it.

After he pulled his pants up, he walked toward the sink like a sleepy toddler in the middle of the night. He skipped washing his hands and hit the button on the hand dryer instead. He exited the restroom, walked down the hall and out the front door as the clerk watched, wondering what the heck was going on.

I looked at the clerk and said, “He was sleeping in the bathroom.”

With a shocked looked the clerk said, “He was?”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Nailed it

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About a month ago, it was a warm summer night when an officer asked for a follow up on the radio for a 925 (suspicious person) male who was trying to hide from him in an alley.

I was in the area and responded to his location. When I arrived, I saw the suspect sitting against a block wall in the alley with the cop standing in front of him, waiting for us to arrive.

The male, who was homeless, was about 40 years old, Hispanic and unkempt looking. He was wearing a navy blue button up shirt and jeans. The most unusual part was his right shoe. Somehow the foot was out of the shoe and the laces were wrapped around it. It was comical when he stood up for the pat down with the shoe flopping around.

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During the pat down, the officer found a large nail in his front pants pocket as he pulled it out and showed it to us. The nail was huge and a good reminder to always expect the unexpected.

I looked at the guy and said, “Did you say ‘nailed it’ when you found that?”

He didn’t get my humor, but I sure nailed that joke.

Until the next joke that makes you groan and roll your eyes.

Where’s my clipboard?

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Last Saturday night I put my clipboard and notepad on the passenger side of my patrol car’s hood. If you’ve worked in a patrol car, you can see how this is going to end up.

So, there I was heading off to another late night traffic collision with the wind in my hair, lights streaking by me and the Miami Vice theme playing in my head. Well, actually there’s not much hair left anymore, but there were lights and it was nighttime.

When I arrived, I exited with the grace and agility of a jungle cat. That’s when I realized my clipboard wasn’t there. A feeling of dread hit me as numerous four-letter words flew out of my mouth. I needed that legal pad because it had notes from the last three crashes I took.

In a rush, I said hi to the cops at the crash and told them I had to go. I jumped back in my car and raced back to the scene of my absentmindedness. When I got there, I retraced my steps as I looked for my lost treasure.

That’s when I saw it. It was like a bright light as I saw my notepad lying in the gutter, untouched by passing traffic. The traffic gods had smiled down on me.

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And then I saw my clipboard in two pieces. Old faithful made its last stand at 3AM on a six-landed highway with a 45 mph speed limit. It never had a chance.

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It had been through so much over the last couple of years. Countless DUI crashes, fatal collisions, injuries and fender benders. It’s edges rounded, chipped and worn away. That clipboard had seen things..

Oh well, I needed a new clipboard anyways. That’s why Walmart sells a two-pack.

He told her what?

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Photo credit- Yahoo.com

Last week I called a woman to ask her a follow up question about a collision she was in. After she answered my question she asked, “Can you tell me who was at fault?”

That’s a question I like to avoid for many reasons because it sometimes ends up with hurt feelings when I tell them. The hurt feelings are usually followed by debate, arguing, and finally acceptance.

I guess it’s the car accident stages of grief.

With a bit of dread I replied, “You were.”

Her end was quiet as she digested what I said. After a moment she broke the silence and said with passion, “The witness told me I wasn’t at fault.”

I heard this and a Steve Harvey look of disbelief flashed across my face as all of these comebacks flew through my head. I pictured myself turning to The Family Feud answer board and saying, “The witness told me I wasn’t at fault.”

Instead of a “ding” for a correct answer, a long buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz could be heard as the X flashed across the screen.

After my Family Feud moment, I gently explained to her why she was at fault. I then tried to  lighten the mood as I said, “I’ve been doing this longer than the witness.”

 

A crazy 902T

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A few months ago the word “whale” came up during a call and it became a challenge to see if I could work it into the conversation with a suspect. Mission accomplished that night with a good laugh and an inside joke between me and another cop.

Another time the word “ball” came up on a call in a weird way by the driver of a crashed car. That night I was able to say ball in almost every other sentence while trying to keep a straight face. It’s a long story, but a good one for another time. It’s also another inside joke between me and the same cop.

On Thursday night, I was dispatched to a four-car injury traffic collision. A civilian report writer arrived on scene first and cancelled the fire department.

She next advised over the radio that the crash was a 902T (non-injury) instead of a 901T(injury). She added a little humor by saying, “It’s a crazy 902T.”

I never heard the phrase “crazy 902T” before, so I decided to have a little fun with it. I picked up the mic and said, “Confirming it’s a crazy 902T?”

“Affirm,” replied the dispatcher.

My computer beeped as a I got a message from MM, the cop with the inside “whale” and “ball” jokes. Her message gave me an idea.

I replied back, “Let’s see how many times I can say crazy 902T on the radio.”

I also typed to the dispatcher and said I was going to try and say “crazy 902T” on the radio when I went on scene.

When I arrived, I saw one car with front end damage disabled in the street. The other car struck two parked cars after the initial impact and was also disabled in the road.

“729, all eastbound lanes are closed and we’re going to have a sig-alert for the next hour for a crazy 902T.”

“10-4,” replied the dispatcher.

“729, I’ll need two 926s (tow trucks) for a crazy 902T.”

“10-4.”

Two times. Maybe I could say it one more time.

I started talking with one of the drivers and decided the paramedics needed to respond. I keyed the mic and asked for the fire department. I next wanted to change the status of the call from non-injury to injury. What better way to do that by saying “crazy 902T” again.

“729, this is no longer a crazy 902T. It’s a 901T light.”

Mission accomplished

How old are you?

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On Wednesday, I contacted a woman, who was about 20 years old, at a three-car traffic collision. After I was done with the interview, I turned to one of the passengers and asked for her name. The first passenger only spoke Spanish, so the driver assisted translation.

After I got the information and injuries of the first passenger, I turned toward the second, who didn’t speak English either.

The driver said, “This is my mom.”

“What’s her name?” I asked.

The driver replied by giving me her first and last name.

“What’s her birthday?”

The driver turned toward her mother and asked what her birthday was in Spanish. I was shocked, so I said, “You don’t know your mom’s birthday?”

The driver smiled with an embarrassed look as she continued to ask her mother in Spanish.

“How long has she been your mom?” I poked.

“Huh?” She said with a confused look.

“How long has she been your mom?” I asked again.

This time she got my sarcasm and laughed.

“Do you have any kids?”

“No.”

“If you did, I figured you’d forget their birthdays too,” I said with a laugh.

The driver gave me a “You got me” look and laughed again.

I gave her a card with the report number and said, “Thanks for laughing at my jokes.” At least she was a good sport about it.