What If You Were At Work And……


What if……..

What if you were at work and a stranger told you how to do your job. Imagine knowing this person was never trained to do your job and never held your position before. Imagine knowing for a fact that this person had no idea what you do at work.

How would you feel? What would you say?

• What if someone went to your work and tried to kill you even though you had never met them before?
• What if someone went to your work and said you lied about something even though it was not true?
• What if someone went to your work and said you weren’t doing your job right?
• What if someone went to your work and tried to hurt you because of the clothes you were wearing?
• What if someone went to your work and assumed you did something wrong just because of what you were wearing?
• What if someone went to your work and told your boss a lie to get you in trouble?
• What if someone went to your work and started yelling at you because of the way you looked?
• What if someone went to your work and wouldn’t stop interfering?
• What if someone went to your work and told you how to do your job because of what they saw on TV?

Now imagine being a police officer and all of those things could happen to you, but you still put your uniform and badge on with pride.

Who Works On Thanksgiving?


What is your Thanksgiving Day like? For some, it means spending time with family while eating turkey and watching football. For others, it means getting in line at Wal-Mart or Best Buy for that $15 TV. My wife’s family rents a hall where up to one hundred people show up in Michigan. All of these things are part of the Thanksgiving Day tradition.

Most people don’t think about it, but Thanksgiving is also a normal work day for cops, firefighters and dispatchers.

My first job was at Disneyland when I was 17 years old as a junior in high school. Thanksgiving night in 1988 was my first holiday away from my family. Since then, I have worked many Thanksgiving nights as a police officer.

My family’s Thanksgiving meal time has always been scheduled around my job. Eating early is part of our “normal” holiday tradition.

This Thanksgiving Day, many cops, firefighters, and dispatchers will schedule their family time around work. Some will work during the day and come home to a late dinner. Some will get a late call and come home after their kids have already gone to bed.

Some will have their dinner interrupted because they were called to work to investigate a homicide or some other tragedy. Others will work the night shift and have to leave Thanksgiving dinner early to go to work.

This is all part of the sacrifice we make for others. It’s part of the sacrifice our spouses and kids also make. This is a sacrifice most people never think of or talk about. Our families share us with strangers so we can help others. It’s part of the job.

This Thursday night I will be working like many other cops, who are away from their families on Thanksgiving. If you happen to see one of us, make sure to wave (with all five fingers) and say Happy Thanksgiving. I guarantee they’ll smile and say thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving

How To Get Out Of A Ticket


Five ways to get out of a ticket
The holiday shopping season is upon us and it’s time to buy those gifts for family and friends. I’ve come up with five simple tips to get out of a ticket and to save money.

  1. Stop for stop signs. As you approach the stop sign, make sure to STOP. If a cop is watching, he’ll be disappointed you actually made an effort to read the sign and to stop for it. They will wait for the next car to run it. Savings: $400.
  2. Don’t talk on the cell phone. This one is easy. Just don’t pick up the phone when you’re driving. If you do, then don’t have the cell phone up to your ear when the cop sees you. If you see the motor cop first, you can drop the phone in your lap and pretend to scratch your head. You can then pick up the phone up when it’s safe. Savings: $160.
  3. Stop for red lights. The city and state have gone through a lot of trouble to put traffic signals on poles to make the bright red light easy to see. They even put them on poles that hang over the street. The yellow light is usually on for three to four seconds before it turns red. There are no surprises here. Red comes after yellow. Savings: $500.
  4. Don’t Speed. If the speed limit sign says 40MPH, then it’s a bad idea to go 60MPH. This is probably the motor officer’s favorite spot too.  The radar gun will get you way before you see it, so slow down. The same rule applies to the freeway. It’s a bad idea to go 85MPH if the speed limit is 65MPH. Savings: $400.
  5. Don’t do it if it sounds like a bad idea. If you think you can get a ticket for something, then don’t do it. If you think it’s a bad idea to turn left when the sign says NO LEFT TURN, then you’re probably right. If the sign says WRONG WAY, then go the other way. Or if the sign says, NO PARKING, then it’s probably a bad good idea to park there. Savings: Varies in price.

There you have it. Over $1,000 in holiday savings.

It’s About Your Point Of View


Today I went to a junior high school to give a presentation about pedestrian and bicycle safety. While I was sitting in the parking lot I saw a sign that caught my eye. It was sign prohibiting pedestrians from crossing the street with the words “Use Crosswalk” under it with an arrow.

There was something funny about this sign though. It was turned the wrong way. It was facing traffic and the arrow actually pointed toward the street and not toward the crosswalk.

I had driven by the sign and not noticed it. It wasn’t until I was looking at the sign from a different angle did I see that it wasn’t posted correctly. This got me thinking how this sign wasn’t much different from the way some people view police officers. It all depends on their point of view.

Most of the time people only see what the media wants them to see. They only see it from one angle. Or they heard from a friend, who had a friend, who knew a guy, who was told by another guy, the cops were dicks to him. It’s all about the angle you see or hear it from.

I recently investigated a crash in which the media made the victim out to be a saint. I was shocked to see how she was portrayed. No one knew the information I knew about her. It was comical how the media showed it, but it’s all about ratings, right?

When it comes to law enforcement, the facts get twisted around more. This makes the story better for viewers, who then view cops with the negative eye of suspicion. This is more frustrating when you were there and know all of the facts surrounding the incident.

It’s important to remember cops are doing good work out there. They put their lives on the line for strangers, but it never gets noticed though. They go toward harm while others tremble in fear. They step forward when others move backward. They run toward the madman with the gun while others hide.

Today that street sign told a different story depending how you looked it at it. Keep that in mind the next time you watch TV. What you see on TV might not be what it seems. Sometimes a different point of view is needed to clear things up.

Cops do extraordinary things every day, but that never gets noticed. Too bad the cameras aren’t rolling for that too.

Stay safe out there.

Jeff Tobin Was Our Friend


Today Officer Jeff Tobin was memorialized  after losing his battle to brain cancer. He was and will forever be an Anaheim Police officer. He was also our friend.

I happened to be just one of many people who were proud to call him a friend. He was many things to many people. He was a prosecutor, police officer, instructor, artist, triathlete, and skydiver to name a few. But most of all he was a friend to all.

I sat there today and listened to the speakers eulogize him and it showed me how many people he had touched. Anyone who knew him was better for it. When he spoke to you, he made you feel like you were the most important person at that moment. He would drop anything he was doing to help you.

Jeff’s story was of climbing summits and then finding another mountain to conquer. He was about respect and treating people with dignity. He was a helper and a giver. He was a person who never complained and never asked for anything in return.

Every person who walked out of the church today should have learned something about themselves. They should’ve learned how small we are when compared to a giant of a person like Jeff Tobin. Jeff was a gentleman. Jeff was compassionate. Jeff was the officer you wanted coming to your house if you needed help. Jeff was an example to all.

Jeff always smiled and gave his all. We should learn from him and do the same. The world would be a better place if we gave half of what Jeff gave to us.

Jeff was pure as the sunrise and as bright as the brightest star in the sky. Jeff left his mark on all of us like footprints on wet sand. Each step made an impression on everyone he met.

Thank you Jeff. Rest in peace our friend.

We Forget To Say Thank You


When was the last time you told a beat partner thank you? I’m not talking about an obligatory thank you. I mean a sincere thank you. We run from one emergency to the next and these two simple words get lost in the craziness of police work.

We didn’t get into police work for a “thank you.” Most people got into this career because they felt they could make a difference. From the very beginning, you knew this was a thankless job and personal satisfaction was your only reward.

On Saturday night we were dispatched to an injury accident in which a pedestrian had been struck. An unlicensed drunk driver lost control of his truck and struck a curb. After hitting the curb, the vehicle knocked over a concrete light pole and ran over a pedestrian’s foot as other people scattered. It then collided into a large restaurant sign and came to rest on the sidewalk. It was amazing only one person was hit because of the large number of pedestrians that were out that night.

This near tragic story is not about the crash though. The real story is about the teamwork by the other officers at the scene. Everyone at the scene knew the collision investigator was going to handle the call, but the teamwork was the same as always. Awesome.

When I got there, every officer was doing something that they knew had to be done as part of the investigation. No one was standing around with a thumb up their ass. One officer had the paperwork for the driver information that had to be completed. One had a roll-a-tape out to measure the scene. One was interviewing a witness. Another had the suspect detained and was about to start a DUI investigation. Another officer was getting information from the injured parties. Another was doing the impound paperwork.

They could’ve left a lot of that work for the accident investigator to do, but they all took a piece of the pie. My partner and I were the last to arrive because of the distance we traveled after being dispatched. Instead of arriving at a chaotic scene with nothing done, we were like a relief pitcher walking to the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning to close out the game.  All we had to do was throw strikes.

This type of teamwork happens every shift I work. I could go on and on by giving examples of the work ethic of the officers I work with, but that would be a book in itself.

Without teamwork, police work would be a lot like roller skating down a cracked and rocky sidewalk. It would be a bumpy ride and not much fun. This blog post isn’t just about the cops on the call I just described. It’s about the teamwork I see each and every night I work. It’s the part the public never sees or even knows about. It’s the silent work cops do every day, who never ask for a thank you. They just go out and do what has to be done. It’s like the old Nike slogan, “Just Do It.”

Thanks guys for the help every night. You make my job easier.

Be Safe

“911, What’s Your Emergency?”


Say the word dispatcher and the first thing that comes to mind should be understaffed and unappreciated. They’re the voice on the phone with no face. They’re the lifeline between victims and help. They’re stuck in this room attached to a cord that connects them to the phone, the radio and the outside world of craziness. They’re there to help, but are the first to get yelled by citizens when it’s a busy Saturday night and the calls have stacked up. They’re call takers, counselors, referees, 411, the weather channel, fortune tellers, piñatas, the calming voice of reason, and jugglers among other things that comes with the job. Everybody calls when they need help, but no one ever thanks them when the troops have restored order in the field.

The backbone of any police department is the patrol officer, but the call for service starts with the dispatcher. Have you ever called 911 and wondered why it rang for a long time or it was busy? I asked our dispatchers for examples of some of the dumb reasons people call 911 for. Here are just a few.

1. “What time is it?”
2. Someone wanted information about the professional baseball team in the area.
3. A mother called 911 because her five year-old didn’t want to go to school. She said the child didn’t want to listen and she needed the police.
4. “Did we just have an earthquake?”
5. “Why is the power out?”
6. “When is the power coming back on?”
7. “Can I have the phone number for a taxi cab?”
8. “Is the street sweeper coming today? What time?”
9. “Is the trash being picked up today?”
10. “The helicopter is keeping me up. Can you make it go away?”
11. “I was robbed. I paid for a lap dance at the strip club and they threw me out before I got it.”
12. “There’s a man with wings flying around and watching me.”
13. “What time does Disneyland open?”
14. “Can someone take my trash cans out?”

And finally one that surprised me the most…….

We take for granted how safe we are compared to other parts of the world. We don’t have to worry about bombs blowing up at stores like some people do in other countries. It’s safe to assume a bomb isn’t going to go off when I go to Albertsons or get gas. Depending on what country you’re from this actually might be a fear you have to deal with everyday.

One dispatcher related a story about a man from another country who called 911 when he heard explosions. He had his family locked in the bathroom of their hotel because of the explosions and he thought we were under attack. He didn’t know it, but the explosions were actually the Disneyland fireworks at 9:30PM.

I didn’t list this call as one of the dumb ones. It was more to make you appreciate where we live.

If you ever call 911 by accident, don’t be afraid to tell the dispatcher it was a mistake when they call you back. For some reason, people think they have to hang up when the police call back to ask if everything is okay. If you don’t want us at your house it’s really easy. Just tell the dispatcher everything if fine and you dialed 911 by accident. If not, officers are going to show up.

Some people have a problem “Butt dialing” 911. If your rear end can speed dial, then lock the screen! You might just have the cops at your door asking if everything is okay. Depending on the circumstances of the butt dial, this might be embarrassing…….

Just something to think about the next time you want to call 911 about something that isn’t an emergency. Google your police department’s phone number and put it in your cell phone contacts.

By the way, next time you see one of your dispatchers, make sure to tell them thanks.