The naughty tie

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One common theme in police work is that you never know what’s going to happen next. You also never know what you’re going to hear either.

The other night, I was standing in a restaurant while on a hit and run call. A man and woman walked around the corner and stopped because we were in the way.

The woman then seductively ran her hand over the man’s holiday themed tie as she said, “Can I touch your Christmas balls?

That was too funny to hear. She thought it was amusing too and ran her hand over each and every ball on the tie.

My partner and I moved out of the way so they could pass. They had both been drinking and seemed like they were having a good time. As they walked by she mentioned his Christmas balls again.

That’s when I said, “Can I take a picture of your tie?”

“Sure.”

I took my phone out as he posed. That’s when she moved her hand to his tie and asked, “Do you want me to touch his Christmas balls again?”

I laughed again as I said, “That’s OK.” I took the picture knowing I had a new blog story to write. You can’t make this stuff up.

Should I tell him he’s getting married?

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What’s the difference between being a boyfriend or girlfriend compared to being a fiancé? I think we’d all agree they’re as different as night and day. Being a boyfriend or girlfriend means you get Christmas and birthday presents. Being a fiancé means you almost have health insurance coverage and half of the bank account.

A few weeks ago I was investigating a hit and run crash when I had to interview a man and a woman, who were witnesses. They also happened to be a couple.

I interviewed the man first and asked him about the crash. He described what happened and called the woman his “girlfriend” during the story. After we were done I spoke to her.

The “girlfriend” walked over to me and then told me what happened. During her statement she referred to the male as “My fiancé.”

This was a potentially fun and awkward situation. I wanted to say, “But he just said……”

Part of me wanted to tell her she had only achieved girlfriend status so far. Another part of me wanted to congratulate him on getting married. The look on their faces would’ve been priceless. It also would’ve spiced up the blog story too with some drama.

This could’ve been the first time a future groom was told by the cops he was getting married before he knew it.

It was a perfect moment, but my compassionate side talked my fun side out of telling them. One thing is for sure. They might want to clear up some things before making any long term plans.

Their relationship status on Facebook might be set at, “It’s complicated.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

I just try to stay dry

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When it rains, there are two things that bug me. I hate getting my glasses wet and having soggy paperwork.

Whenever I arrive at a crash, I start looking for cover and shade from the rain as soon as I go on scene. Even if it’s one foot of overhang on a building I’m going to it. I must look like a guy on the ledge of a high rise as I hug the building trying to keep my notes dry.

The other day it was raining when I pulled up to a two-car collision. The drivers and their passengers were standing on the corner getting wet. This wasn’t going to work for me so pointed to McDonalds and said, “I’ll meet everyone inside.” They gave me a weird look at first, but then realized it was a much better idea than standing out there in the rain.

After the scene was safe, I walked into McDonalds and conducted business. Everyone was sitting in chairs or booths and seemed happy to be out of the rain. More importantly,  my paperwork and my glasses were dry, so I was even happier.

A couple customers gave us a funny look as they tried to figure out why two cops were talking to all of these people. I’m sure it was a first for everyone involved.

After we were done, it was time to go back outside. I looked over at the McDonalds manager and said, “Thank you,” as everyone left.

He waved with a smile and said, “Anytime.”

I thought the call went well and we provided dry and warm customer service, along with McDonalds. It was good teamwork and  I’ll have to keep them in mind the next time I have a collision out front.

There’s an old saying that says a cop should never get wet, hungry or thirsty. I couldn’t agree more.

Is it called a median?

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Do you know what the concrete center divider is called? It’s a median, but for some reason a lot of people call it a meridian.

The other night I went to a call where a male struck the median and then crashed into a traffic signal pole. The impact caused the vehicle to roll over and come to rest on the its side.

There was a witness, who stopped and told me what happened. When I was done with his statement, I asked him for his information. He told me his name and said he lived on Meridian Street. I wanted to joke with him and ask if he really meant he lived on Median Street instead. I skipped the joke because it would’ve been too hard to explain.

I still thought it was funny he lived on Meridian Street when a median was struck.

As you can tell, it’s the simple things that entertain me. But if you heard the word meridian as much as I have, you’d be entertained too.

It’s not a Christmas party anymore

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Tonight’s my wife’s annual Christmas party. Oh, wait. I just found out the title was changed to “Holiday Party.” I always thought it was a Christmas party or an Xmas Party for short.

Since it’s now a “Holiday Party” does that mean they have to get rid of the Christmas trees that are at the hotel where it’s being held? Does this also mean I can shorten Holiday Party to Ho Party if I send a text message or email?

Just a little something I thought about when I found out it wasn’t a Christmas party anymore.

Thanks In-N-Out

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Last night I was stopped for a red light when I looked over and saw In-N-Out Burger. Even though I had food in my cooler, In-N-Out sounded so much better since I hadn’t been there in a long time.

The drive-thru line was long as usual, so I decided to go inside. I stood in line and was greeted by two employees at the counter. They took my order and one asked, “What do the stars mean?” as he pointed to my shirt sleeve.

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I pointed to the four stars and said, “Each one represents five years of service.”

“Wow. Twenty years.”

“Yep. Now, you can tell how old I am,” I said with a smile.

“You don’t look that old,” one replied.

I thanked him and laughed because he was about 20 years old. I took my receipt and one of the guys said, “Thank you for your service.”

I thanked him again and knew In-N-Out had to be a Badge415 blog story for sure.

Thanks In-N-Out Burger. Your employees can always be counted on to be super nice whether I’m on or off-duty.

Collision 2.0

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On Wednesday night I went to a crash on a residential street. While I was there, I remembered taking a spectacular collision a few years ago on the same street when a car struck a fence and drove into someone’s garage.

It was foggy last night and I asked the witness, “Didn’t a car hit a house over there?”

“Yes,” the witness replied.

I described the damage and how amazing the collision was. The witness told me the house belonged to her neighbor and she remembered that night also. We talked about it briefly and then moved on. I finished the call and left.

On Thursday night, I was sent to an injury collision in another part of the city involving two cars. After talking to the drivers, I contacted the passengers and wrote their information down. One of the passengers told me his address and it rang a bell. His address was very close to where I was last night. It was so close; he was probably my witness’s next door neighbor or two houses away. 

Did he live in the house that I was talking about last night? What were the odds he was a past Badge415 customer?

After the tow trucks left, I drove away and pulled over to look up the address on a map. It turned out he lived in the same house that was hit by the car. 

Did I jinx the guy by talking about his house last night?

I’ve met people from prior collisions before, but this took weird to an entirely new level. This poor guy now has the honor of being the only person in my career that was involved as a homeowner and as a passenger in my collision reports.

Maybe I should start carrying around stickers that say “I’ve met Badge415 twice.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

There’s no crying in traffic

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“There’s no crying in baseball.”

That was a famous line said by Tom Hanks in the movie “A League of Their Own.” Just thinking of that part in the movie makes me laugh.

The other night I drove up on a crash in which a car had struck a really big tree on the wrong side of the road. It was the type of tree that took the impact and still said, “Is that all you got?”

The driver was sitting on the curb and crying as he spoke to officers. He was very respectful and honest. He had been drinking and accepted responsibility for his mistake. I remembered thinking, “Why can’t everyone be like this guy?”

I took his statement and then went to look at the crashed car. He was still sobbing as I walked away. I spoke to some witnesses and then walked back to my car as the tow truck arrived. The tow driver attached his cable to the crashed car and dragged it up the flatbed.

As the car was pulled away from the tree, a loud sound could be heard as metal dragged across the pavement like nails on a chalkboard. The driver heard this and fell back on his elbow and laid in wet grass. The noise of his car being dragged seemed to be make him cry louder. It was as if we he was watching his first love leaving forever as she boarded a plane.

I had a feeling he learned his lesson tonight, but it left me wanting to say one thing…..

“There’s no crying in traffic.”

When a pet hears the garage door

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Jasper waiting after hearing the garage door open.

The other day I was in the kitchen when I heard the garage door open. That’s when I noticed Jasper, our cat, get up and walk toward the hallway and sit in front of the door that leads to the garage.

My wife had just gotten home and our cat knew it was time for her canned food treat of the night. Watching the cat sit in the hallway reminded me of a collision story that I hadn’t thought about in a long time.

You might be wondering how this could be related to a crash story. Well, this is police work and sometimes the weirdest and saddest things happen.

About five years ago, I responded to a traffic collision in which a vehicle had struck a house. This doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, it’s a sight to see. When I got there, I saw a car inside a garage. It had crashed into the wall and the door that goes into the house. It was significant damage, but no one was injured. The driver, who was elderly, was shaken and a bit confused.

The fire department was on scene and was about to clear when someone told me, “She killed her dog.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“We found her dog inside the house at the door.”

“Wow.”

That’s when I imagined her dog hearing the garage door open and running to it because she was home. The poor dog never had a chance because the door and wall took the full force of the collision.

I decided I didn’t want to see the dog and completed the report like a regular crash. There was nothing else for me to do and neighbors were going to stand by with her until family arrived.

I left hoping the dog hadn’t suffered.

The USS Iowa

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Have you ever thought you had a bad day where nothing went right? A few weeks ago I met a veteran with an incredible story that made our bad days look like nothing compared to what he went through during World War II

I visited the battleship USS Iowa, which is now a museum in San Pedro, CA. This was the fourth floating museum that we’ve been to. The others were the USS Missouri and USS Bowfin in Hawaii and the aircraft carrier USS Midway in San Diego.

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While on board, I walked through the ship and looked at all of the exhibits on the self-guided tour. That’s where I saw  an elderly veteran sitting behind a table that had pictures and notebooks on it. He stood up as I walked by and pointed to the photos he was in. While he was showing me the pictures he said his ship was sunk off the coast of the Philippines in 1944. That’s when he said, “I spent three days in the water.”

“Wow. What about sharks?” I asked.

“I was a lifeguard in Long Beach (CA) before the war. I knew that you had to make yourself look big so we had to get close together. That way the shark would see something big instead of one person. There was oil in the water also. We rubbed oil all over our bodies because sharks don’t like that.”

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This was an amazing story to hear. I couldn’t imagine being in the ocean for three days while holding onto debris, hoping to be saved and not be attacked by sharks.

My mom was also listening and said, “You look great for your age.”

“I’m 50 years old,” he replied with a smile. He then said, “I’m 89 years old.”

After we were done, I shook his hand and told him, “Thank you for your service.”

The Japanese officially surrendered on board the USS Missouri to end World War II. The USS Iowa was right next to the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor for the ceremony.

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