Don’t mess with the Bluecheck

image“Eddie Murphy Raw” came out in 1987. It was a stand up comedy video that is still hilarious almost 30 years later. The other night, I was on a call when I was reminded about a joke Eddie Murphy told on that video.

The joke was about a woman, who caught her man leaving another woman’s house. She confronted him and he replied, “Wasn’t me.” She accused him a few more times and his only response was, “Wasn’t me.”

Even though he was caught red handed he never admitted it. Now, jump in a black and white police car and you’ll meet plenty of people like that.

When I arrived on the call, an officer asked, “Do you have a Bluecheck?” A Bluecheck is a handy bit of technology that checks fingerprints though my work laptop. If the person’s fingerprints are in the system the computer will give you a hit in less than a minute.

“Yes,” I replied as I went to my car to get it.

I walked up to the suspect and asked, “What’s your name?”

“John Smith.” (I changed his name)

“Have you ever used a different name before?”

“No,” he replied.

I pulled out my Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire (L.L.P.O.F.) detector and put his right and left index fingers on it. The prints were sent to my computer via Bluetooth and a minute later John Smith’s picture popped up on my screen with a different name and date of birth.

I love it when that happens.

The picture and info meant he was booked at the department before. There was also a Department of Justice hit on his name. I asked the suspect again if he ever used a different name before. “No,” he answered.

I asked, “Who is Jim Thompson?”

“I don’t know.”

I took my computer over to him and showed him the picture. John/Jim looked at his picture on my computer and said he didn’t know who that was. As I walked away he said, “I have no idea who that guy is.”

At that point, I pictured Eddie Murphy saying, “Wasn’t me.”

Yeah, it was you. Your fingerprints said so. You can’t make this stuff up.

Silly stories and the tales people tell


It always cracks me up when someone tries to report their car stolen after the vehicle was already involved in a hit and run. It’s funny because they think they’re the most original person in the world by coming up with this idea. It’s also funny because their story is never as good they thought it was going to be.

This was the case two weeks ago when a person thought they were smarter than they really were. This particular guy prepared his story about as well as a midget playing in an NBA basketball game. It was just plain awkward and didn’t work out so well.

He called to report his car stolen about an hour after the collision occurred. He claimed he went to the grocery store to buy lottery scratchers and left his keys in the car. When he came out the car was gone.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who buy lottery scratchers at the grocery store, but I bet their car wasn’t “stolen” and then involved in a crash.

After I heard the lottery ticket excuse I asked, “Where are the lottery tickets you bought?” This guy drove miles out of his way for a special lottery ticket trip. He had to have the tickets on him, right?

He was surprised by the question and then said he didn’t buy them because the line was too long. How dumb is that? I guess he didn’t think that far ahead.

When have your ever seen a long line for scratchers? It wasn’t like he was buying a Power Ball lottery ticket when the jackpot was over a billion dollars. It was just a scratcher.

The story fell apart even more after an officer interviewed two women the guy knew. They were honest and had nothing to hide. Their story showed he was a liar.

After speaking with the women, his story looked like Swiss cheese because there were so many holes in it.  In the end, I told him we weren’t taking a stolen vehicle report.

It was a lot of work, but the victim of the crash and the insurance company deserved a complete investigation. More importantly, the guy needed to know his lies didn’t fool us.

Nice try buddy, but you can’t Jedi Mind Trick a Jedi Master.


Let me see your wallet


On Friday afternoon I saw a guy stopped across the intersection for a red light. When the light turned green, the cars next to him went, but he didn’t.

The intersection wasn’t that big, so I was able to see him looking down. There was also a line of cars behind him that couldn’t go because he was still stopped. He finally looked up and started to go. As he drove through the intersection he passed within a few feet of me. It was still daylight and I could see him holding his phone as he looked at it.

He wasn’t paying attention to anything around him, including the police car. I made a U-turn and stopped him.

When I walked up to the car I asked, “Where’s your phone?” He reached under the seat and pulled it out. That was funny because he took a while to pull over. I guess shoving the phone under the seat was the best idea he had at the moment.

I next asked him for his license and told him why I stopped him. He admitted to being the phone, which was refreshing.  It was actually nice to hear someone tell the truth and I appreciated it.

The driver reached into his back pocket and pulled out a white plastic looking wallet. From where I was standing it looked like the type of wallet my daughter had when she was 5 years old.

I watched his hands as he opened it up. There was something odd about the way he maneuvered his hands. It was like he didn’t want me to see something.

After he handed me his license I pointed to the wallet and said, “Turn that over.” The driver looked up with pleading eyes like he didn’t want to. He then slowly turned it over and revealed a picture of Felix the Cat.

“Felix the Cat?” I asked. He didn’t say anything. He only sat there with an embarrassed look on his face. Maybe it was because he was 30 years old.

I pulled my phone out of my pocket as I said, “I have to take a picture of that.”

He squinted his eyes as he asked, “You’re going to take a picture of it?”

I already knew this was going to make the blog because I had never seen an adult with a kid’s wallet on a car stop. “Sure, why not?” I said. “Plus, I’m not going to give you a ticket if I take the picture..” He realized how good an idea the picture was and held it up.

I’m sure he’ll remember me the next he wants to text and drive. Maybe he’ll keep his eyes on the road instead.

Coffee with a friend

imageLast Saturday night I finished my regular shift and then worked overtime for a half marathon that was being held in our city. The briefing for the event was at 3:30AM.

During the briefing I sat with the other officers, volunteers and police explorers who were working the event also. As I sat there, an overwhelming urge to yawn came over me. I tried to hold it back, but there was no fighting it. Then another yawn came. It was like waves crashing on the beach with one coming after the other.

Next came the urge to rub my eyes. It was like I had pajamas on and someone was reading a Curious Geogre bedtime story to me. I took my glasses off and rubbed my eyes. Boy, this was going to be a long night.

After briefing, I drove to Starbucks because I was craving a cup of coffee. I stood in line, hoping the next few hours would go by fast. My bed seemed like a much better idea at the moment. I glanced behind me and there was my friend Rich standing behind a group of people. He was working the event also, but in another capacity. We had talked earlier, but I didn’t expect to see him after briefing.

Rich was my first parter and best man at my wedding. I got my cup and we instantly started laughing about random stuff as we stood inside of Starbucks. It was as if  a light switch was flicked on inside of me. I was wide awake now and ready for the next few hours of overtime.

He was exactly what I needed at 4AM when I was half asleep. There’s nothing like a cup of coffee with an old friend to make things better.


Can I call you Frank?



Photo courtesy of Pinterest

One of the funniest things to do at work is to say random things while on calls just for the heck of it. Most of the time it’s just something that pops into my head and I go with it.

A few years ago, I responded to a hit and run collision where a parked vehicle was struck by a car that rolled over. The call information indicated the suspect ran away, but was caught one street north of the collision scene. When I got there, I saw the driver siting on the curb with other officers, who were standing by.

The driver was about 30 years old and was barefoot. I was impressed he was able to run that far with no shoes after climbing out of an overturned car. He was obviously really motivated to get away. His feet were black and filthy from his sprint to freedom. It was going to take a month to get those little piggies clean.

I walked up to him and said, “Hi. You look like the guy who sits on the wall from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.”

He looked down at his feet and started laughing because he knew which guy I was talking about. At least he had been to Disneyland land to understand my joke. That’s when I knew I could do the name game with him.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Bill,” he replied.

With a straight face I asked, “Do you mind if I call you Frank?”

The man, who was DUI, paused for a moment and then smiled as he raised his arms in the air and said, “You can call me anything you want.”

“OK Frank. Tell me what happened.”

Frank went on to tell me how the crash happened and was eventually arrested for DUI. He took everything in stride and was as nice as could be about the entire thing.

You just never know what kind of reaction you’re going to get when you ask to call someone by their wrong name. The answer is sometimes priceless.

Did you blow on me?


On Saturday night, I responded to a traffic collision where a vehicle collided into a wall. When I arrived, I saw a car on the side of the road next to a block wall that was painted gray. There were tire marks along the wall, which showed the car had bounced up against it a couple of times.

The driver, who we’ll call Jim, was in his 40s and was standing next to his wife. I walked up to him and asked, “What happened?”

The man said, “I dropped my cigarette and hit the wall.”

With a smile I said, “You know they say cigarette smoking can be hazardous to your health.” At first he didn’t say anything, but then managed a nervous laugh. I said, “Thanks for laughing at my jokes.Where’s the cigarette?”

“I have no idea.”

My quick-witted partner said, “I bet you never saw that on the Surgeon General’s warning label before.”  Jim didn’t get the joke, but I laughed because I get Matt’s humor.

While I was talking with Jim, I noticed a strange odor on his breath, so I asked him, “How many beers did you drink tonight?”


I said, “I smell something on your breath.”

His wife, who was standing to my right, suddenly blew air out of her mouth at me like I was a birthday candle.

With a scowl on my face, I turned toward the woman and asked, “Did you just blow air at me?”

“Yes,” she replied. After she said that I wondered if she was wacky?

I turned away from her as I looked at Jim. I pointed to a light pole as I said, “Let go stand over there so your wife doesn’t blow on me again.” He and I then walked away. After we were done talking I went back to my car.

A few minutes later Jim said, “I found the cigarette.”

I looked over and saw Jim pointing into the car with a smile.  I walked over and saw a cigarette with a burnt end on the seat. There was also a round hole in the seat that was burned.

The woman looked at Jim as she said, “This is my car and he’s not supposed to smoke in there.”

I couldn’t resist as I said, “He burned a hole in your seat too.”

She put her hands on her hips and gave Jim a look like she wished he had hit the light pole too.


Too much information (T.M.I.)

_DSC4559-2I love the things that come out of people’s mouths at traffic collisions. It’s like they stepped into a world where the rules of privacy and too much information don’t exist.

On Friday night, I was at an injury collision at 2AM, involving a woman who had been drinking. During the interview, I asked her where she was coming from. The driver replied, “From my AA meeting.”

That in itself was funny. How could it get any better than that? Well, she didn’t disappoint. A few minutes later, the firefighter asked the woman if she was sick or injured. In a very loud voice she said, “I have a yeast infection.”

I almost burst out laughing at that, but I held it in. Her husband was standing next to us when she said that and stepped forward as he looked at her. The husband loudly said, “T.M.I! T.M.I!

Now I really had to hold it in as I asked the husband to walk away so I could get some information from him. While we spoke, I did everything I could to not smile. I even had to turn away from him. At one point I gave up and told him, “That was funny.”

It’s not every day a DUI driver with a yeast infection crashes while coming from an alcoholic anonymous meeting.  It was like a perfect storm of twisted humor and mishaps.

You never know what’s going to happen next in this wacky world called police work.

It’s his world we live in


A few weeks ago I was driving down the street when I came upon a car that was blocking the right lane with no lights on. It was a dark colored car and definitely a traffic hazard since it didn’t have any lights on. It was also parked on a curved portion of the road, which was not a good place for any car. It was a good thing I was paying attention or I could’ve hit the car.

I slowed to a stop and activated my light bar. I walked up and saw a man in his 20s, sitting in the driver seat with the engine off. His head was turned to the right and he didn’t see me until I shined my light into the car. After the light came on, he turned his head and looked at me with an annoyed look on his face like I was bothering him.

“Can you lower your window?” I asked. He nodded and put the key in the ignition. After he lowered the window I asked, “Did your car break down?”

He pointed to the woman in the passenger seat and said, “We’re having an argument.”

With a look of disbelief I said, “You’re blocking a lane with your lights off. Why are you arguing here?”

“She got out of the car when I stopped.”

I pointed to the street and said, “You just can’t block a lane  and turn your lights off. Plus, the sign says No Stopping Anytime.”

“I had to pick her up,” he replied.

After I spoke with him I could tell he was more concerned with his personal life than the safety of all the cars around him. Apparently,  common sense wasn’t his strong point either. I walked back to my car and wrote him a ticket. After I was done I went back to the driver and explained to him how dangerous his actions were. I also told him I understood about the argument, but the middle of the street was not the place to have it. With an unhappy look he took his ticket and drove off.

I walked back to my car knowing he was going to make the blog for sure.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

We need to treat our people better

_DSC8694How many of us know someone who was injured on-duty and was off of work for an extended period of time. Now, think of how many times you called that person or sent them a text message to see how they were doing? Probably not often or at all. Over the years I’ve been guilty of not making that call also.

Recently I got to thinking about this and I wondered why we don’t call our fellow brothers and sisters in uniform when they get hurt. I’m sure a buddy calls, but what about the rest of us?

No one wants to be injured and away from work, but it happens to cops and firefighters all of the time. More often than not, they sit at home frustrated with their injury, works comp and the city. They do all of this alone with no word from their chief, immediate supervisor or fellow officers. It’s as if they were forgotten by everyone.

The deserve better and we need to make an effort to show them they matter when they’re injured. Anything can happen on the street, which means you could be the next cop or firefighter injured while doing the job you love.

Just something to think about.

Can you hear me now?


I got to work on Wednesday and started making phone calls related to a hit and run report from the week before. I made three phone calls and had no luck. About 20 minutes later, I was still sitting at the desk when the phone rang.

I picked it up as I said, “Traffic.”

“Someone called me from this number.”

“Is this Juan?” I asked, since that was one of the people I called. The connection was terrible and I could barely hear him.


I told the man I was a police officer and what department I worked for. I asked, “Did you witness a collision last week?”

“Who is this?”

“I’m a police officer investigating a hit and run crash. Is this Juan?”

“What accident?”

“Did you leave your phone number with someone at a crash last week or were you involved in a collision?”

“Who?” Apparently, the connection was bad for him too. This was like trying to make a special order in the drive thru.

“This is the police department. I’m trying to find Juan?”

“What number were you calling?” he asked.

I told him I had called a couple of different numbers because I was trying to speak with witnesses. I then started reading phone numbers off to him as I asked if one of those was his.

“This is a new phone. I don’t know the number.”

“Were you in a parking lot last week when there was a crash?”

“My family was in an accident?”

All I could do was shake my head in frustration. Talking to him was like watching an Olympic downhill skier tumbling down the side of a mountain after he hit a couple of trees. It was just painful.

First he couldn’t hear me and now he thought his family was in a traffic collision. It was truly a “Can you hear me now” moment. Our conversation would’ve made a great cell phone commercial.

You just can’t make this stuff up.