The day I stopped Batman (Well, not really)


How many people can say they stopped Batman?

The other day I was driving down the street while at work when I saw a guy stopped on the side of the rode on his bicycle. He had one foot on the curb and he was looking down at something.

What really caught my eye was the word BATMAN on the back of his tank top. As I passed him, I thought it would be a funny picture to make it look like the police stopped Batman.

I dismissed the thought and kept driving. But this BAT opportunity would never come up again, so I turned around and headed back. I figured, how hard could it be to ask the guy.

By this time, Batman was riding his bicycle again along the curb. He didn’t have a cape, nor was Robin, The Boy Wonder, there as his partner. It was just a guy in his late 40’s with a shaved head, goatee, mustache and tattoos. He was the poster boy for parolee/tweaker man.

I pulled alongside and yelled out through my passenger window, “Can I take a picture of your shirt?” How funny that must have sounded.

He never even looked at me. It almost seemed like he pedaled faster. I called out to him again, but he looked straight ahead and seemed more determined to ignore me. I then wondered if this guy was going to be a “consensual encounter” that turned into a bicycle pursuit.

I called out one more time and he snapped out of his trance. He looked over at me and saw the police car. He said, “Yeah,” and stopped.

I stopped behind him and got out of the car as I said, “Can I take a picture of your shirt with the police car? It’s not every day a person can say they stopped Batman. My kids will think it’s funny.”

Parolee man laughed as he said, “Sure, you want me to stand like this?” He then turned away from the car while still sitting on the bicycle.

“Yes, perfect. Hold on.”

I set up my shot, but I noticed I couldn’t see the entire Batman word because of the way he slouched.

“Can you stand up straight for me?” Batman instantly stood up straight as he “posed” for the picture.

After I was done, I walked up to Batman and showed him the picture as I said, “Thank You, I appreciate it.”

“Bye, I hope your kids like the picture.” Batman then started pedaling as he rode off on his tweaker Bat bike.

One thing is for sure, this job allows you to do things that people in normal clothes can’t do. Could you imagine pulling up alongside parolee man on a bike and asking for a picture of his shirt?

Sometimes you just have to have fun on this job.

Mom of the year (NOT)

Brain on drugs

It’s not every day you get to meet the worst mom of the year. Actually, she’s pregnant, so she’s really the “future worst mom of the year.”

I’ve met some bad mothers in my time as an officer, but this latest one deserves mentioning. I got to meet her at an unknown trouble call the other day where people were possibly fighting at a house.

When I arrived, I parked a few houses down. There was a woman outside where I parked and she asked if everything was alright.

I said, “We don’t know yet. We’re going to a house down the street.”

“It must be the drug house,” she said with a smirk.

“Which house are you talking about?”

“The green one,” She replied.

Yep. She was talking about the house we were going to. When we got to the green house, the “future mom of the year” was contacted by other officers at the front door. She came outside and I spoke to her to try and figure out what happened.

She was in her early twenties and didn’t make sense. I started to wonder if she was stealing oxygen from the rest of us or if she had other issues.

After about five minutes, I was sure she was an oxygen thief. She was the perfect example of the old “This is your brain on drugs” commercials.

I asked her when she last took speed. She said, “Recently.” She wasn’t tweaking now, but I’m sure “recently” meant today.

I continued to waste my time with her as I tried to find out what happened when she told me she was pregnant. I have no idea why she brought that up because I didn’t ask. I then asked her how far along she was. She would only tell me she was a few weeks pregnant.

I’m asked her how long she had been doing speed. At this point, she figured out she said too much. She told me it didn’t have anything to do with the reason why we were there. She also told me it wasn’t any of my business.

I walked over to where her mother was and asked if her daughter was pregnant. The soon to be grandma said her daughter was one month pregnant. I also asked her how long her daughter had been doing methamphetamine. The woman said her daughter had been doing speed for about a year.

I asked her if she had ever spoken to her daughter about drug use and being pregnant. The woman said her daughter told her to mind her own business.

I asked if she knew who the “baby’s daddy” was. This caused the woman to smile. I said, “I just like saying the phrase baby’s daddy,” which caused her to laugh.

She said, “His name is Frog.”

“Frog? As in not a prince?”

“I only know him as Frog. He’s short.”

Well, where do you go in a conversation after hearing the Baby’s Daddy is Frog?

Let’s just hope this kid isn’t born looking like a frog because of her drug use. It’s a shame because this kid has no chance.

By the way, I called child protective services to about this. They told me they don’t take reports unless the child is already born. Oh well, I tried.

You never know what subject is going to come up

Eye of Providence macro on the back of the US one dollar bill.

This job always has the oddest things that come up during investigations. On Wednesday night my friend and I were standing in front of our favorite 7-Eleven, which is affectionately referred to as the NSUB (North Sub Station). We were minding our own business when a motorist drove by honking her horn at us. She yelled out her window and said there was a fight down the street.

I hadn’t been there that long and I reluctantly put my cup of coffee away as I headed down the street to find out what the woman was yelling about. When I got to the next intersection, there was a car parked at the corner in an odd spot with is head lights off.

There was a male standing next to the car and he saw me pull up. He then started running away as the car drove away with its head lights still off. I decided to stop the car to see what was going on.

As the car started to leave I noticed it was jerking forward like it stalled. The car pulled into the parking lot as I activated my lights. When it stopped, four people jumped out at the same time as a Budweiser beer can fell out. We detained everyone while we tried to figure out who did what.

Of course, the driver was 16 years old and was unlicensed. I wouldn’t expect anything else because that’s how we roll in the city I work at. The driver said he was the only person in the car who knew how to drive a stick shift.

The owner of the car then contacted us and said they had taken his keys from him while at a motel room. Now I knew my cup of coffee was going to get cold because of all this drama.

While another officer took a statement from the victim, I engaged in small talk with the driver and his 20 year old cousin. I asked the driver, “Have you ever been arrested before?”

“Once, but it was a long time ago.”

“You’re only 16 years old. It couldn’t have been that long ago,” I replied. “What did you do?”


“What did you vandalize?”

“Well, they also called it breaking and entering.”

“What did you break into? How old were you?”

“I was twelve. It was a school, but the door was left open. I didn’t break in.”

I asked the driver what they used to call him or what his moniker was. He told me he didn’t have a nickname. I asked him what he used to write when he left his mark. He only said he wrote “stuff.”

His cousin then said, “He used to worship the illuminati,” as she laughed.

I wasn’t sure what she was talking about and asked, “What did he worship?”

“The illuminati. It’s like worshiping the devil.” She looked over at him and pushed his shoulder as she said, “He’s better now. We took him to church.”

I wasn’t sure what she was talking about so I pulled out my phone. She started laughing and asked if I was going to look it up. I told her I was going to Google it. That’s when I saw that it was the triangle with the eye from the back of the one dollar bill. I turned my phone around and showed her the picture.

“Oh, don’t stare at it. If you stare at it, your body is going to start shaking.” She said that as she started shaking like her body was taken over by a voodoo spell. She also had a worried look on her face. She again told me it was evil like the devil. She was totally serious too.

I looked over at the driver and asked, “Is that what you used to mark stuff up with?”

“Yeah,” he said.

“What a minute. You used to draw a triangle with an eyeball on stuff?”

With an embarrassed look he said, “Yeah.”

All I could do was shake my head. I never thought my car stop would turn into a lesson about superstition and the devil worshiping. It’s also amazing how someone would think I could start shaking if I stared at the illuminati.

You never know what you’re going to hear on this job. That’s what keeps me coming back for more.

The Cat Poop Lady

Good neighbors are hard to find, right? Everyone has had that one neighbor who was too loud, or who had a trashed front yard, or who parked in front of your house. They were that one person who made you cringe when you saw them.

I once had a call about the crazy neighbor from hell. This particular “415 neighbors” call was more unusual than most. One night I was sent to 415(disturbance) call involving two neighbors. I knocked on the door of the RP’s(reporting partying) house and waited for them to open up.

After exchanging hellos, the RP said, “The woman next door wiped cat poop all over our front door.”

“How do you know?” I asked. This was already getting weird.

“The neighbor across the street video tapped her and put it on You Tube. Do you want to see it?”


Of course, I wanted to see. It’s not every day you get to see a neighbor wiping cat poop on a house. The RP told me they had problems with the Cat Poop Lady in the past. Really? I’m not surprised.

The RP logged onto You Tube and clicked on the link. The video showed the Cat Poop Lady during the daytime with a plastic shopping bag in her hand as she picked up something in her yard. Her actions were the same as when someone picks up after their dog at a park, so I knew it was animal feces.

The Cat Poop Lady walked next door to the RP’s house and started wiping the feces all over the front door and its handle. She then moved to the front windows and did her best “Wax on, Wax off” imitation from The Karate Kid movie while doing it. It was bizarre to watch. Who does this?

During the video, the voices of small children could be heard in the background. One voice said, “What is she doing?”

Another voice replied, “She’s crazy.”

I wondered how disturbed the Cat Poop Lady was to go through all this trouble. I also wondered how I got sent to this call in the first place. I felt like a robbery victim because they stole an hour away from me that I could never get back.

This wasn’t a police problem. They needed Ace Ventura-Pet Detective, not the cops. And the Cat Poop Lady needed Dr. Phil.

I told the RP I was going to write a “disturbance neighbor” report and said I would go talk to the Cat Poop Lady to give her a trespass warning. It was easier to take a short report and be done with it. Plus, I wanted to see what the Cat Poop Lady woman was like.

I knocked on the door and the Cat Poop Lady answered. I told her the reason why I was there and she came outside. I instantly saw the problem. She had a mean streak and definitely was suffering from some type of mental illness.

She denied going next door and doing her “wax on, wax off” imitation when I asked her about it. She was being difficult at this point and wanted to argue with me. She also started telling me how terrible the neighbors were. That’s the pot calling the kettle black.

I said, “I saw it on You Tube.”

“What do you mean? She asked.

“Someone video tapped you picking up cat poop and wiping it on your neighbor’s house. A little kid on the video could be heard saying ‘you’re crazy.’  Do you want to see it? It already has 50 views.”

That pretty much brought the conversation to screeching halt.

“This is your trespass warning. They don’t want you on their property. If you go back, they’ll have you arrested. Do you understand?”


I went back to the RP’s house and they were more than happy I had done something for them even though it was so small on my part.

I drove away thinking how strange the call and the Cat Poop Lady were. I also realized it’s not every day you get to write “cat poop” in a police report. It’s as close to a BS call that you can get.

You can’t make this stuff up.

My vacation and Hurricane Carlos

A view of the ship from a water taxi in Cabo.

A view of the ship from a water taxi in Cabo.

I just spent a week on the cruise ship Carnival Miracle that left out of Long Beach, CA. The itinerary was for us to stop at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. It sounded like a good plan, right?

Well, Hurricane Carlos had different plans for my cruise ship when it decided to head toward two of my ports of call.

We left port last Saturday afternoon and by Sunday the cruise director made an announcement about a change in the itinerary. Our first stop was supposed to be at Cabo San Lucas on Monday morning, but that was all up in the air until they could figure out if we could divert to a different port.

By Monday afternoon, we were headed to Puerto De Pichilingue in the City of La Paz, Mexico.


The Port of Pichilingue

The Port of Pichilingue

I didn’t even know where La Paz was until I saw it on a map before we docked. At that point anything was good because we had been on the ship for two and a half days.

When we docked, the skies were a rich blue without a cloud in sight. It was warm and the hills around the port looked like a barren desert. I was a little skeptical when I got on a tour bus to head into the “city,” which was about thirty minutes away.

Along the way there were beautiful beaches, which were untouched by development. Once we got to La Paz, I could tell this area had a lot of potential and was rich in history. All it needed was a few resorts and it would be a place where people would want to visit.


Our next stop was Cabo San Lucas, which was everything it was supposed to be. If you’ve never been there it should be on your bucket list. It was hot and the water was perfect for our snorkeling excursion. One day is Cabo wasn’t enough.

A stop in Cabo wouldn’t be complete without some bargaining in the tourist area. My wife wanted a bracelet that was $25. I offered $10. The vender went down to $13 and then $12, but I held firm at $10.

Apparently my wife wasn’t paying attention to my bargaining skills because she said, “Thirteen dollars sounds good.”

The vendor smiled and acted like he won. I gave him a brake check and said,  “Twelve dollars.” He finally gave up accepted my money. That was the funniest part of the trip.

The last stop was in Ensenada, which the cruise director said was his favorite port in the whole world. Of course, he said it as a joke. Ensenada is Ensenada. There’s not much to say about it. I went there 15 years ago on a 3-day cruise with a couple of friends. We only made it to the bar Papas and Beer on that trip. Yesterday the drive in Ensenada showed the city is still torn up from the floor up.

As we left port yesterday, I reflected on my trip as my son and I looked across the bay from the Lido Deck (9th floor). It wasn’t the perfect vacation, but it was still nice to get away.

Hopefully there won’t be any hurricanes on my next vacation.

I need a vacation!


  1.  Passports
  2. Boarding pass
  3. Luggage
  4. Sunscreen
  5. Hat
  6. Book
  7. Wife
  8. Kids

That’s what my list looks like for a seven day cruise to the Mexican Rivera. Everything is packed and I’m ready to go.

Will I miss work? Yes and no. I’ll miss the laughs with my friends more than some of the nonsense that happens every night.

I still have passion for the job, but right now I’d rather have the wind in my face and the sea air in my lungs as we watch the sun setting over the horizon from the highest deck of our cruise ship.

For seven straight days there will be no blood, broken bones, abrasions, car accidents, tow trucks, street closures or fatal collisions. There won’t be any liars, drunk drivers, hit and runs or complaining from someone who can’t believe they’re at fault for the collision. There also won’t be any code 3 driving or report forms to fill out. It will just be “John Time.”

So, back to the original question. Will I miss it?

Part of me will because the job is part of me as much as I’m part of it. But the other part can shut the police world away because I won’t have a care in the world.

So, when my ship sets sail on Saturday at 4:30PM Los Angeles time, I’ll have a strawberry margarita for you guys that still have to work. Who knows, I might even have another as we sail off into the sunset.

Stay safe out there.

Not all shootings are like the movies


On Saturday night I had the pleasure of having my son on another ride along. He would go out with me every night if he could because he wants to be an officer.

The first two hours of my shift were spent trying to catch up on my paperwork. My son was like a caged lion that was pacing back and forth in the office. Every so often he’d ask when we were going outside. Each time I said,  “When I’m done.”

For some reason, the night was unusually slow and he was itching to see action. As the hours ticked away toward EOW(end of watch) the chances of action were slipping through his fingers.

At about 1:30AM we met two of my friends at a legendary taco place for some food. My son was having fun listening to guy talk, but he wanted to get back into the police car. I could also tell he was getting tired because he had been up all day.

That’s when that sleepy eyed look sprang to life when a shooting call went out. We were only about two blocks away from the call so we headed that way.

As we left the restaurant my son was walking fast and leaving me behind as he went toward our car. I pointed out to him it didn’t matter how fast he got to the car because I was the one driving.

While we were en-route, an officer broadcasted over the radio that the victim was shot in the arm and was uncooperative.

We were the fifth car on scene as we drove into a rundown neighborhood that had seen better days in the 1950s. The apartment buildings were in disrepair and tired looking. There was graffiti spray painted all over the walls as a reminder that gang members believed this patch of concrete belonged to them.

We got out of the car and walked up to the victim, who was lying in the grass in front of an apartment complex. He had a shaved head and was wearing the trade mark baggy white t-shirt and dark pants of a gang member.

An officer was applying pressure to the wound as we waited for the fire department to arrive. My son stood next to me as he watched everything that was going on and being said. He was like a sponge at that moment taking it all in. If only he would listen to my wife with that much attention.

After a little while we left because there was nothing to do. As we drove away my son said, “I thought there would be more blood.”


“Yeah, I also thought he would be in more pain. It’s not like the movies.”

“Sometimes there is more blood. It just depends on where the person gets shot,” I told him.

He then made me laugh as he said, “You really have to be ghetto if you won’t even tell the cops who shot you.”

“Some of these guys won’t say anything when they’re shot,” I replied.

“You guys were so calm. It was like you see that every day.” I couldn’t help but smile at that. It’s true. That stuff really does becomes “normal” after a while on this job. It’s just part of this crazy journey called police work.

But it’s not my fault

Traffic cones set up to direct traffic around a police car.

There’s a something funny that happens when a person finds out they’re at fault when they rear end another car. You would think it was pretty obvious who was at fault in that situation, but sometimes there’s drama when they ask.

The rear end collision is one of the most common I go. You would think this particular type of collision would be the easiest to avoid since the car was right in front of the other driver. There’s no surprises here. The car was either moving, slowing down or stopped.

After the collision the driver will sometimes ask if they’re at fault for rear ending the car. I actually think it’s funny when they ask that. That’s like a baseball player dropping an easy fly ball and asking if it was his fault.

They other night I went to a rear end collision where the driver was shocked when she found out she was at fault for crashing into the vehicle in front of her. She was going 40 miles per hour while following a vehicle less than a car length behind when the car stopped in front of her.

Of course, she didn’t have time to stop and crashed into the car. One person went to the hospital and one of the cars had to be towed. She then wanted to debate and argue with me when she asked if she was at fault.

There’s something that happens to people who can’t believe they’re at fault when they rear end a car. I call this the “I can’t believe I’m at fault” reaction.

First there’s the look of disbelief. Their eyes get wide, the jaw clinches, the head goes back and the upper body makes an involuntary jerk to the rear. They then shake their head side to side like it’s going to go away.

This particular reaction comes in different levels of disbelief, which makes it funnier at times. The reaction can be very slight to down right drama.

Once the reaction has been displayed I try and explain to the driver that they have to drive at a speed and distance that is safe for the conditions.

Whenever the person hears that they come back with, “But I was.” They say this without realizing that they just crashed into the back of a car that was stopped in front of them.

If they had been driving at a speed and distance that was safe for the conditions I would still be sitting in Starbucks rather than standing in the street with them.

Never mind that there’s an ambulance and a fire truck taking the victim away, who was just violently assaulted from behind by a 3,000lbs object on four wheels.

The process of explaining this can be painful at times, because the driver is in defensive mode. At that point they just want to debate.

There finally comes a point where nothing I say is good enough. That’s when I bring out this one simple sentence that works every time. It’s the “I should’ve had a V8” moment for the driver who is arguing with me.

I say, “You just can’t around hitting cars.”

Once the person hears that they stop arguing. Sometimes they display the “I can’t believe I’m at fault” reaction again. That means I get to see their body involuntarily jerk backwards again, along with the jaw clenching and shake of the head. This time the eyes don’t get wide. They instead squint like the villain from a Disney movie.

Too bad I can’t say what I really want to…….. ” You just can’t go around hitting shit.”

Was His Name Ricky Bobby?


If you’ve seen the movie Talladega Nights then you know who Ricky Bobby is. If you haven’t seen it, then you need to because it’s a pretty damn funny movie. I crack up just thinking of the name Ricky Bobby.

I had my son on a ride along tonight when we went to a “check the welfare” call at one of our local motels. A man called the police asking that officers check on his wife, who was at the motel because she was crying and not answering his questions.

Just thinking about that made me wonder what kind of people we were dealing with. Who calls the cops to check on their wife at a rundown motel when they’re in another city? Of course, that’s what makes this job interesting.

Two other patrol cops walked into the motel room first. There was a woman in the room, who was drunk and alone. She was crying and very emotional. We stood there while she told the officers what the problem was between sobs. Empty liquor bottles were on the desk and dresser like trophies.

From the start it looked like she was a sloppy drunk with tear soaked hair that was stuck to her face. She was a hot mess for sure.

At one point one of the officers named Pete, asked the woman what her husband’s name was. She said he wasn’t her husband. It was just her boyfriend and his name was, “Robert Bobby.”

I couldn’t resist and said, “Did you say Ricky Bobby?”

“No, Robert Bobby,” she replied.

Without hesitation, Pete said, “I thought she said Ricky Bobby.”

I almost lost it when Heather, the other officer said, “I thought it was Ricky too.” I had to turn away because I saw my son start to laugh.

For the next twenty minutes she attempted to tell us about Robert. Every so often I would ask if she meant Ricky. She gave me an exasperated look every time she heard Ricky and corrected me by saying, “No, it’s Robert.”

It finally came to a climax when she attempted to call Robert on the phone, but he hung up on her. I asked if she was calling Ricky Bobby. She got frustrated and said, “Why do you guys keep calling him Ricky? Does he have another name I don’t know about?”

I turned around again because I almost busted up. I was just hopping my son wouldn’t look at me and make me laugh.

When we finally left the motel room my son said, “She obviously never saw the movie.”

Thanks Ricky Bobby for making that call so memorable. We now have a new inside joke for the rest of our careers.

“If ain’t first, you’re last.” – Famous quote from the real Ricky Bobby. Not Robert Bobby.

When your street race doesn’t go as planned


Sometimes I’ll be on a call and another officer will ask me if the story is going to make the blog. It’s funny to me because I’m usually thinking the same thing.

The other night I was on a stop and I said to myself, “This has blog written all over it.” I was even tempted to tell the driver he was going to make the blog because of his stupidity. I also wanted to tell him he was one of the reasons why I have new stories every night.

Let me back up so I can explain how I met Mr. Speed Racer with no brain.

I was stopped at a red light thinking about all the reports I had to write because of the collision epidemic that my city sometimes suffers from. That’s when I heard the sound of skidding tires and an engine revving. A few seconds later I saw a car approaching from the opposite direction, which was clearly the winner of a race. The loser was in the next lane bringing up the rear.

I made a turn and waited for Mr. Speed Racer to go by me. Even though I was busy, Mr. Speed Racer needed some attention because of his lack of decision making skills.

I stopped him and asked, “Why do you think I stopped you?”

“You think I was racing,” replied Mr. Speed Racer.

“What would make you think that?”

He went on to tell me the other driver challenged him so that was why he was racing. He also told me he had been cited for racing a few years ago and the ticket cost him $800. I asked him why in the world he would race again if it cost him that much. Mr. Speed Racer told me it was because the other driver challenged him.

It was clear to me that this 24 year old didn’t see the big picture in life. It made me wonder how I could provide world class customer service to this individual so he would see the error of his ways.

I went back to my car and did a records check on his name. I was surprised my computer didn’t freeze up and crash from all of the times he had been stopped and had his car impounded. I was also surprised to find out he had been stopped by our department at least ten times.

I did some research on his stops and I saw my name attached to one of them from May of 2007. It turned out I stopped him and impounded his car for driving while unlicensed eight years ago. What are the odds of that?

I went back up the Mr. Speed Racer and asked him how many times his car had been impounded. He said, “A lot.”

“I impounded your car too.”

He looked at me and said, “You did?”

After I was done with the stop, I knew Mr. Speed Racer was going to be immortalized in a Badge415 blog story. He’s a perfect example of people who make poor decisions and wonder why the police are talking to them.

I’m pretty sure Mr. Speed Racer will lose his license again after my stop. And I’m really sure he’ll get his car impounded again too.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be the one who stops him again and we’ll have Mr. Speed Racer 2.0 blog story. I’m confident he’ll never learn his lesson until he hurts himself or someone else.

Until then, be on the lookout for Mr. Speed Racer and other people like him. Unfortunately they don’t care and never learn their lesson.