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.

I wasn’t texting

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On Friday night, I was stopped for a red light when the glow of a cell phone caught my eye in the car next to me.

I looked over and saw the driver holding the phone in her hand as she touched the screen. She then opened up an iMessage and started texting with both thumbs.

The light turned green and traffic started to go, but I waited for the driver to proceed forward. With the phone still in her hand and thumbs flying across the keyboard at 200 words a minute, the car started to go.

I took my foot off the gas and rolled forward just as the driver looked over at me. Amazingly the phone dropped from view like a rock plummeting to the bottom of a pond.

I got behind her and put my lights on to stop the car. Little did the driver know this was going to be an educational stop rather than a ticket as long as she didn’t lie.

After the car stopped, I walked up to the driver door and asked her for her driver’s license. After she handed me her license I asked, “Why were you texting?”

The driver said, “I wasn’t texting.”

Really???

“You were texting while the car was moving.”

“I was getting directions.”

“You have an iPhone. I have an iPhone. I know what a iMessage looks like. You were texting. I watched you open up the screen and type something. You then opened up an iMessage and started texting.”

At this point the teenager raised the white flag of surrender and said she was texting. I looked at her license and saw that the birth year was 2000.

“How old are you?” I asked.

“I’m 16.”

It was 11PM and she had two passengers. In California you can’t drive between 11PM and 5AM, nor can you transport passengers under age of 20 years old in the first year.

I looked at both passengers and asked them their ages. Both were 17 years old. I looked at the driver and asked, “What’s the restriction on your license?”

She told me she knew about not transporting passengers and driving after 11PM.

I said, “I’m going to write you a ticket for the passengers, but not the cell phone.” I explained that new drivers her age get distracted easily and are usually at fault when they crash with passengers in their car and while disobeying the restriction.

I think it stung a little when I told her, “If you told the truth I wouldn’t have noticed your age or the restriction.”

Hopefully she learned something from the stop.

A priceless moment

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The other day my daughter and I were at a store when I saw a cop I knew from work. He was looking at something on a shelf and didn’t know I was there. That’s when I thought of something funny to do.

I turned to my daughter and said, “See that guy over there? I work with him.” She peeked around the corner and saw him. I told her his first name and asked her to go up to him and say, “Did you arrest my dad?”

A shocked look flashed across her face as she laughed and said she couldn’t do it. After a few seconds of laughing she asked, “Are you sure it’s him?”

“Yes,” I replied.

She took a deep breath as she tried to put a serious look on her face. The serious look turned to a smile as she laughed and said, “I can’t do it.”

Now we were both laughing.

My daughter looked at me and said, “Okay, but you have to walk up when I do it.”

We walked over to the Kevin’s aisle and stopped. My daughter took one more deep breath and walked with a purpose toward my unsuspecting friend as she said, “Kevin, did you arrest my dad?”

Kevin turned toward my daughter with a surprised look on his face as he softy asked, “What?”

I stepped forward just in time to see the priceless look on his face. He turned toward me and realized he was pranked. He took a deep breath as the color came back to his face.

We shook hands and I introduced my daughter to him. He was much more relaxed now and shook hands with my daughter as he said hello.

We talked for a moment and then parted ways as we continued shopping. It was truly a priceless moment and he was a good sport about it.

When I grow up

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A few weeks ago I was typing reports in Starbucks when a woman and two children walked in. I looked up and glanced over as they went up to the counter. The mother ordered and sat down on the other side of the room.

I was concentrating on my work when I noticed one of the boys, who was about 4 years old, shyly peeking around a display at me. He watched me with curiosity and wonder. He had short dark brown hair that was parted on the side and was wearing a white polo shirt with dark horizontal stripes.

I looked over at him and smiled as I waved. His body flinched and his eyebrows jumped up in the air like a shocked cartoon character. A moment later his eyes lit up like a lighthouse on a rocky coast on a dark night.

He smiled as he rocked back and forth on his heels with nervous energy and gave me a quick wave of the his hand. With no hesitation, he walked up to me and said, “When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”

I smiled as I held out my right hand and asked, “What’s your name?”

He looked at my uniform and my equipment as he took it all in. He held up his hand and shook mine as he told me his name.

“Thanks for saying hi to me,” I replied.

He smiled back and hurriedly walked back to his mom, who was watching from across the room. He leaned against her as he continued to watch me. A few minutes later she got her drink and walked toward the door with her sons following like ducklings.

Right before stepping through the door he smiled and gave me a quick wave. I waved back and then he was gone.

Thanks little guy for making my day.

“It’s complicated”

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Last week I responded to a disturbance call involving a man and woman. When I pulled up, I saw that the female had rear ended the male at a stop sign.

The damage was minor and I wondered what the big deal was. I walked up to the female as other cops spoke to the male. I learned that they were married a few months ago and they had an argument today at her house.

Not at their house or their apartment. At her house. That part was too complicated try to figure it out.

After the argument he drove to the park to be alone and she followed him there. From there, he left again.

“Why was he mad?” I asked.

“I posted something.”

“What did you post?”

“I posted a pic of a guy saying it was my new boyfriend to get him to leave me alone.”

“Let me get this straight. You posted a picture of a fake boyfriend so your husband would leave you alone?”

“Yes.”

OMG! Who are these people and how did they get on this planet? Was I in the Twlight Zone again?

After he left the park she wanted to find him, so she went to where he normally parks his car. Didn’t she want him to leave her alone?

A few minutes later she found him and started following his car. He stopped for a stop sign and she rear ended him. To top it off, she told me he was drinking. Could this call get any stranger?  Yes, she didn’t even have a driver’s license.

In the end, he was arrested for DUI and both cars were towed.

After he was arrested she asked me, “Can I talk to him?”

Was she kidding?  It was almost like she was a black cloud following him. Maybe he was relieved to be going to  jail.

I’m wonder if her Facebook status says, “It’s complicated.”

“I have to poop!”

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On Friday night I was responding to a traffic collision when I saw a car run a stop sign as it turned left. There were units at the collision scene so I decided to stop the car.

I put my lights on and the vehicle pulled over abruptly. I exited my car and walked up on the driver door with my hand on my gun. A shone my flashing into the car as I looked for the driver’s hands.

I inched closer wondering what was up with the driver because of the abrupt stop and the way he ran the stop sign. That’s when he turned toward me with a panicked look as he practically yelled, “Officer, I have to poop! I have to poop!”

“You have to poop?”

“Yes, I have to poop!”

“Are you sweating?” I asked.

“No,” he replied with a strange look.

“Then you don’t have to poop that bad then.”

“I do.”

“Why didn’t you poop at the toco place down the street?”

“There was a taco place?”

He was talking fast and looked like he was crowning. From his facial expressions, he probably had a turtle head going. At one point he leaned back in his seat like he was trying to keep the deuce back.

“How do I know you really have to poop?” I asked.

“Can you follow me to Walmart so we can talk about it there? Thats where I was going.”

At this point I figured he was legit. Maybe the poor guy really had to poop. I decided to have one last bit of fun before I let him go without a ticket.

I said, “Tell me a joke and make me laugh. Then you can go.” He closed his eyes and was deep in thought, but nothing funny was going to come from him. “And no number 2 jokes either,” I added.

With his head on the headrest and eyes closed, the driver licked both index fingers and rubbed his earlobes as he said, “My dad says this works.”

WTF?

The earlobe thing made it weird. After his ears were nice and lubricated he said, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“That’s not a joke,” I corrected him, causing him to laugh.

Clearly this guy wasn’t good under pressure. He wasn’t the quarterback you wanted with the game on the line. He was just jello.

I laughed and handed him his license back as I said, “Go do that voodoo that you do.”

With a look of relief, the driver leaned out the window and said, “Thank you!”

What a crappy feeling it must’ve been when I stopped him.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Was it a squirrel?

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I always find it interesting at car accident scenes when someone says, “An animal ran out in front of me.”

I know it can happen, but I’m always skeptical when it’s a single vehicle crash into a parked car or an object like a pole.

The other night I responded to a traffic collision where a parked car was sideswiped. The witness saw the driver texting as he drifted onto the wrong side of the road and crash.

The driver, who was 20 years old, was nervous and fumbling with his phone while he tried calling his mother. He was stressed and having a hard time focusing when I asked him what happened.

He said, “An animal ran out in front of me.”

Ah, the phantom animal. They, like the phantom car, have caused many collisions in my career.

“What kind of animal was it?” I asked.

That question always confuses people and it’s funny to watch them figure out the randomness.

Random is the name of the game to having fun on this job. That’s when I asked, “Was it a squirrel?”

The look on his face was priceless. With raised eyebrows, I could tell the driver was wondering why I asked about a squirrel in a suburban neighborhood. “No, it was small,” he replied.

“Are you sure it wasn’t a squirrel?” I asked again.

“No, it was a rodent.”

“Is it possible it was a squirrel?”

After each squirrel question he got more confused by the minute. I finally stopped and told him what the witness saw. With a deep breath of defeat, the driver confessed there wasn’t an animal. Not even a squirrel.

“If there was an animal, what would it be?” I asked.

With an unsure tone he said, “A stray cat?”

“A shaved cat?”

“No, a stray cat.”

The randomness of night shift……

You get an F

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About a week ago I was stuck in late afternoon traffic that was heavier than normal. While I was stopped, dispatch put out an injury traffic collision involving four cars at the freeway off ramp just ahead of me.

I looked across the sea of cars and saw the crash north of the city limit and I requested the neighboring city respond for the report.

I turned on my overhead lights as I tried to move over to the left. Once in the left lane, I squeezed between the median and traffic as I moved at a snail’s pace. Getting through traffic was no different than trying to put on a pair of jeans that I wore in high school. It just wasn’t happening.

When I finally got up to the crash I saw car with a shattered rear window and its trunk in the backseat. The driver had a dazed look as he stood next to the paperweight that used to be his car.

A full-sized truck had rear ended him, which caused a chain reaction with two other vehicles. The driver of the truck told me he was on the gas while changing lanes and never saw the car in front of him.

I started the paper work and waited for the other officer to respond. Once the other cop arrived, I told the offending driver I was leaving.

He gave me a lost look and asked, “Do I get a report card?”

I knew he meant report number, but I couldn’t resist as I replied, “Yeah, you get an F.”

The F comment hung there like a silent but deadly fart traveling through the air searching out an unsuspecting victim. His facial expression then changed knowing he was just Badge415ized.

He smiled and said, “That’s fucked up.”

“You opened the door on that one,” I replied as I smiled.

Say Cheeto

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On Sunday afternoon, I was dispatched to a “check the welfare” call in a run down and densely populated neighborhood that has more cars than space to park them.

The call indicated that a male was sleeping inside a yellow truck for the last three hours with the engine running. As I responded to the call I hoped he wasn’t dead because it was time for lunch.

I turned left onto the street from the main highway and saw the yellow truck parked along the curb. Its color was like a banana in a pile of apples at a farmers market.

I got out of my patrol car and walked up to the driver side, spying empty beer cans in the truck bed. The engine was running and a man was in the driver seat with his eyes closed.

From the look of the empty beer cans I figured he was dreaming of splashing in a Modelo beer pond with a boozy smile on his face.

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I knocked on the window, but he didn’t wake up. Since he didn’t move I tried the door handle and was relieved to find it unlocked. I opened up the driver door at the same time the other officer opened the passenger door.

This guy was a heavy sleeper because he didn’t budge. I looked at his right hand and saw what looked like dried blood on it. I looked around the truck, but I didn’t see any blood on his clothes or in the truck.

I nudged his arm and told him it was the police and to wake up. He woke up with the disoriented look of a 3 year old who had a rough night.

After he woke up the other cop spoke to him in Spanish because he didn’t speak English.  It turned out he worked all night and then drove here to drink with friends. He was tired and went to sleep in his truck.

When we were done I asked what happened to his hand. The other cop translated my question and the male replied back in Spanish.

It turned out it wasn’t blood…… He devoured a bag of Cheetos before going to sleep. It must’ve been the hot Cheetos because his hand looked more red than orange.

I wanted a picture of his Cheeto conquest, but he smeared the evidence as he rubbed his hands. I got him to stop and asked if I could get the pic.

I almost said, “Say Cheeto,” as I took the picture.

Random is a good thing

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One of the things I like about police work is the randomness. You never know what you’re going to find on the next call or see around the next corner.

In police work, like in life, you sometimes have to look around and take everything in. You just never know what you’re missing.

On Sunday morning I was working a day shift in patrol when I was sent to a burglary alarm at a strip club. When we arrived, the place was closed and the parking lot was empty.

We checked all the doors and windows, but the place was locked tight. As we turned the last corner something caught my eye. It wasn’t a burglar climbing out a window or a stripper doing a lap dance. It was a smiling scarecrow in the bushes.

A smiling scarecrow?

It’s a strip club. Of course, it would being a smiling.

Where else but police work can a scarecrow, a strip club and burglary alarm on a Sunday morning be involved on the same call?

Then to top of the strangeness we heard a man yelling at the top of his lungs. We looked around, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. That’s when someone flagged us down about a man screaming at the workers in the drive thru of Del Taco.

A scarecrow
A strip club
A burglary alarm
And now a screaming man in the drive thru?

Randomness…….. You gotta love it.