What planet are you from?

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As a cop, you’re used to people lying to you. It’s part of the job. Sometimes it’s like a chess match where you have to be one step ahead of the lie. Other times, people are just plain stupid and say the dumbest things imaginable.

On Saturday night,  a driver told me he was stopped for a red light when he realized he was in the wrong lane. Instead of going straight,  he wanted to be in the left turn lane. He reversed without looking and crashed into the car behind him.

The other driver told me she was stopped at the red light when the car in front of her backed up and crashed into her.

It was nice and easy with no drama except for a DUI investigation.

During the investigation one of the passengers from the offending car told me, “She rear ended us.”

What planet was she from?

She went on to say, “I saw the gear and it was in drive. We were stopped and she rear ended us.”

Was she from plant “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?”

I shouldn’t have engaged her, but I did. I told her that both drivers confirmed how the collision occurred and she wasn’t telling the truth. Of course, she told tell me her silliness again, which made her nose grow like Pinocchio’s.

What a waste of time.  

Nothing annoys me more than hearing someone trying to influence the collision investigation with a lie. To me, this isn’t a normal lie. It’s much bigger than that.

A person’s driving record and insurance rates are at stake here. A lie like that could cost someone a lot of money over the next couple of years, or more if they are sued.

Next time how about being from plant STFU.

Number two?

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On Friday night, I met the victims of a hit and run crash in a parking lot after they chased the suspect and lost him. When I got there, I jumped into the ambulance so I could speak to the driver.

After I was done speaking to her, the ambulance left for the hospital. I next went up to her mother, who was a passenger in the car at the time. I got her information and then asked if she was injured.

The woman told me her back and chest hurt. She then added, “And my stomach doesn’t feel good.”

“Anything else hurt?”

“I feel like going diarrhea.”

I think we just hit TMI status with that one.  All I could do was shake my head as I replied, “Well, I can’t help you with that.”

You just never know what people will say next.

 

Going for a repeat

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Spontaneous statements are the hidden jewel of police work. They’re those little things people say in the heat of the moment that you can’t make up. They’re also the stuff that make for story time.

These little statements are quick and are gone in a heartbeat if you’re not paying attention. They’re like the setting sun at the beach. One minute it’s there and the next minute it’s not.

Not too long ago, I was handing a DUI crash when I stopped to watch the field sobriety tests. The suspect stood there and listened while the officer gave the instructions.

That’s when the suspect said, “I know how to do them. I’ve done this before.”

Did he really just say that? Of course, he did. This is police work and people just say the funniest shit.

I just stood there and shook my head as I silently laughed as repeat did his tests. What a mess. Hopefully he doesn’t go for a three-peat.

Frequent caller

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The other night, a medical aid call went out over the radio about a 55 year old male who was “non response.” I was close by, so I headed toward the address, despite having a losing record at CPR attempts.

Another patrol car arrived ahead of me and we entered the condo complex, which was oval shaped. The condo was on the far side, which meant speed bumps got in our way as we raced to save this guy’s life. We came to a stop as the garage door opened up. A woman emgerced from the garage and said, “He’s up stairs.”

As we climbed the stairs a man’s legs on a bed came into view. Since he was “non response” I assumed we were about to perform CPR. I was ready for another shot at it as I said to myself, “Oh sure, why not.”

I stepped into the room and saw something I wasn’t prepared for. The man was lying on his back with his head propped up on a pillow with his eyes open. The creepy thing was this “non responsive” guy was actually alive and looking at us.

It was funny because my mind was prepared for a dead guy, not one who was watching our every move. He had serious medical problems, but at least he was breathing.

I left the room and the Adam unit (2-man car) stayed upstairs. I spoke to a woman, who told me she was the man’s mother. She told me she’s called 911 many times for her son and the fire department knew who she was. Said also said, “I hope a nice fireman comes this time. They don’t seem happy to come here.”

The first two fire fighters walked in and I gave them a quick run down about the guy upstairs. The captain then walked in and I asked him, “Have you been here before?” He nodded his head slowly like he knew the patient’s history and kept going. The way he nodded his head and the look on his eyes told me he’d been here a million times. I guess the lady was right. They did know her.

I engaged the woman in small talk until the other cops came downstairs. I wished her luck and we left. When we got to our cars I told them what she said about being a frequent caller and another criminal matter I learned about related to the condo.

One of the cops said, “I’ve been here before. That guy’s sister stabbed him in the head with a screwdriver.”

Wow. It seems like everyone has been here but me. Well, now I can check this address off too.

It’s the backstories that make things interesting about the houses, condos and apartments we respond to for calls. Every corner and house has a story.

It might be interesting and funny, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t know the history of the location you’re responding to. You just never know what’s behind people’s closed doors.

You’re having problems with what?

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A few weeks ago, I responded to a traffic collision where a pedestrian was hit by a truck. When I arrived, I saw a full sized truck parked on the side of the road and an injured pedestrian sitting on the curb talking with fire personnel.

The pedestrian was a male in his early 60s and looked a little banged up. The poor guy was in the crosswalk when the collision occurred.

After I was done speaking to the pedestrian, I went up to the driver of the truck and asked, “What happened?”

The driver, who was genuinely concerned for the pedestrian said, “I’ve been having problems with my blind spot.”

I had never heard that one before. In fact, I almost started laughing, but he was fragile at the movement, so I just went with, “We all have blind spots.”

He got what I was saying and explained what he meant. After he was done, I told him I knew what he was talking about because the same thing almost happened to me.

Those spontaneous statements are one of the best parts about this job. You just never know what people are going to say.

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.