“Dad! Daddy! Dad!”

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“I’m going to drop you off at school today with no shirt on.”

With a firm voice my 11 year old daughter said, “Please don’t.”

It was at this point, I thought I’d have some fun at her expense. I grabbed my keys and went to the garage without a shirt on. Once the garage door was up, I got in my car and waited with anticipation for her to come out.

About 30 seconds later my daughter stormed into the garage with a scowl on her face as he petite body carried a large backpack. With a serious and determined look she opened the passenger door and tossed a shirt at me as she said, “Put that on.”

The shirt landed on my lap and I tossed it back as she closed the door. I was going to put it on, but my little joke was just too good to pass up now. Of course, she tried to give me the shirt again, but I refused to take It. That’s when I put the car in reverse and started to back up.

“DAD! DADDY! DAD!”

I pulled onto the street and started heading toward school with my daughter in a panic because I was going to embarrass her. I got 50 yards down the road and couldn’t hold it in anymore as I started laughing. I finally had to pull over so I could put my shirt on.

With her arms crossed, my daughter sat there with eyes that could throw darts. I kept laughing, but she wasn’t amused. With my shirt finally on, we headed to school as I tried to get her to laugh.

She eventually cracked a smile, but she fought to keep it in.

I pulled into the school parking lot and I asked, “Why couldn’t I drop you off without my shirt on?”

“Because it’s embarrassing!”

She also hates it when I suddenly blast 80s music as she steps out of the car at school too! Maybe one day she’ll torture her kids like this because of all the fun I had with her.

My job is to keep them on their toes and to have a little fun at the same time.

Where’s my mommy?

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The call came out as a felony hit and run involving a pedestrian with witnesses following the suspect. Dispatch updated the suspect’s location as it continued westbound on a major highway.

A few minutes later we caught up to the suspect and stopped the vehicle in a parking lot. After the interviews, we learned that the victim was transported to the hospital because her foot was run over. The suspect was arrested for felony hit and run and placed in the back of a police car. She also was driving on a suspended license.

This wasn’t the typical hit and run story though. This one had a bit of a twist to it.

What made this one a little different were the passengers in the suspect vehicle. They weren’t a bunch of hoodlums or gang members. They were the driver’s 6 and 3 year old daughters.

After mom was arrested, I walked up to the vehicle so I could get her purse and cell phone for her. There was an officer standing at the car wth the children. The 6 year old seemed to be having a good time taking with the officer.

I looked at her and asked, “Where’s mummy’s purse and cell phone?”

“Right there, ” she said as she pointed to the front seat.

“Thanks,” I replied.

I was about to walk away when she asked, “Where’s my mommy?”

I was kind of hoping to avoid that one. What do you tell a 6 year old? You can’t just say, “Mommy went to jail because she ran over a woman.”

Instead, I went with, “Mommy is talking to a police officer.”

“OK.”

“Your daddy is coming,” I said.

“My daddy is coming?”

“He’ll be here soon.”

“OK.”

I took the purse and phone to the patrol car and gave them to the officer. He then drove her to jail.

A few minutes later I walked by the vehicle and the little girl asked, “Where’s my mommy?”

“She’s talking with the officer at the police station,” I replied.

“Ok. Do you have kids?’ she asked. It was the cutest thing.

“I do. Do you want to see a picture of them?”

“Yeah,” she said with a smile.

I took my phone out and showed her a picture of my kids. The little girl looked at my daughter and said, “She’s pretty!”

You can’t beat a child’s innocence.

Spring cleaning

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A few weeks ago, I was driving down the street when I saw an SUV parked on the side of the road with a bunch of clothes piled on the hood. This wasn’t something you see every day and I had to stop to see what the story was.

There was a woman in the passenger seat who got out and said hi as I walked up. I asked her, “What’s up with the clothes?”

“This isn’t my car,” she said. “It’s my friend’s car and she’s been doing some organizing.”

“She’s organizing on the hood of the car?” I asked.  I took a quick look inside the vehicle and noticed the backseat was also piled high with clothes.

“Yeah. She’ll be right back. She just went down the street.”

I engaged the woman in small talk as she told me about being homeless for the last five years. She was 25 years old, blonde, thin and had major acne. She was quite entertaining and was more than happy to talk about life on the street.

“I used to live in my car in San Francisco. It was so stuffed with clothes I had to sleep like a “human Tetris.”

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Not human Tetris. The real deal.

That was downright funny and I burst out with laughter because I played Tetris back in the day and knew exactly what she was talking about.

That’s when a woman and a man walked up. She had bright red hair and was about 45 years old. She was smoking a cigarette and was the vehicle’s owner.

“I just stopped by to take a picture of all the clothes,” I said as I pulled out my iPad. “Do you want to be in the picture too?”

The woman laughed as she said, “Oh God, no!” She then retreated behind the SUV because she was camera shy.

After I took the picture, the woman with red hair started folding clothes as she said, “I’m doing some organizing.”

“I heard,” I replied.

She went on to tell me how she had been giving clothes away as she tried to make room in her car. She held up clothes and looked at them like she was in a department store. Once she was satisfied, she folded them and made piles on the hood. It was actually funny to watch.

I finally had to say goodbye because I had another call to go to. They seemed happy I had stopped by to talk and waved as I drove away. The first woman even told me to have a safe night.

It’s always fun to stop and talk with people. Everyone one has a story. They just need the right person to tell it to.  Plus, I would’ve never heard the phrase “human Tetris” unless I stopped.

You just never know what you’re going to see out on patrol.

Green Mist one year later

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Last April, I published a blog story called “The Legend of Green Mist in Chino Hills.” It was a story about a creepy area in Chino Hills that was a local legend like non other.

To this date, it’s the most popular Badge415 post ever. Within a few hours the story was shared over 6,000 times on Facebook. I was shocked and amazed how many people knew about the Green Mist story and wanted to share it.

Today there was a spike on the website stats related to that story with almost 600 views. I thought it was cool to know that people were still reading it one year later. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and share the story.

Thanks to my Chino High School FB friends who started sharing it last year. That’s where the story took off.

As of today, it’s been shared over 10,000 times on FB.

Hopefully there will be a new generation of people who live in the area that will become interested in the legend of Green Mist.

Click here for a link to the original story.

Where am I going?

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“729, 211,” the dispatcher said as she called us for a crash.

“729,” I repeated back.

“729, 211. 902T, 2900 W. Lost Street. One vehicle is in front of the apartment complex.” (I made the Lost Street name up)

“729, 10-4.”

Here’s the problem. I wasn’t paying attention to what she said. I was going 40 mph with both windows down when the call went out. For some reason I thought she sent me to 2900 “East” Lost Street.

I was in the northern end of the city so I jumped on the freeway and headed eastbound. I took another freeway and went southbound, which put me in the “correct” location in less than five minutes.

I must’ve been day dreaming because I pulled up to the apartment complex at 2400 E. Lost Street for some reason. I don’t know what I was thinking.

There were no crashed cars there so I asked the dispatcher to do a recall. I parked and waited.

After a few minutes, the dispatcher came back on the radio and told me the RP (reporting party) was still waiting at the location.

I glanced up at the apartment complex and realized I was in the wrong spot. I typed a quick message to the dispatcher, telling her what I had done. I also said, “By the way, they’re not here either.”

I hauled butt to 2900 E. Lost Street and still couldn’t find them. What the heck? That’s when I paid attention to the call on my computer screen for the first time. Oops!!!

No wonder they weren’t there. The call was at 2900 West Lost Street. My GPS must’ve looked hilarious on the dispatcher’s screen going in all different directions.

After I finally pulled my head out of my ass, I was able to find the correct location on the other end of the city. Of course, it seemed like I got every red light on the way there. Oh well. What can you do?

It’s not the first time I went the wrong way and it certainly won’t be the last… You just have to be able to laugh at yourself.

S%#t happens.

“Is traffic available?”

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“Is traffic available?”

Sometimes I’ll be busy on something at work when a crash goes out and a patrol officer gets dispatched to it. Most of the time the officer answers the radio for the call and responds to it.

Every once in a while a patrol cop will get the call and the first thing out of their mouth is, “Is traffic available?”

Obviously the traffic unit wasn’t available. If they had been the dispatcher  would’ve sent them in the first place.  It’s not like the dispatcher was trying to hide the traffic unit and not use them. Of course, they would’ve sent them had they been available.

Just go to the call.

There could be any number of reasons why I or my partners weren’t available at the time.

I could’ve been sitting on the toilet playing Candy Crush. I could’ve been on another call, or on a car stop (not too often). I might’ve been report writing or on lunch.

The other night I was working a patrol spot instead of my normal traffic shift when I did something I’ve always wanted to do. I was driving down the street when I heard my patrol call sign called out over the radio by dispatch.

“326.”

“326.” I replied.

“326 and unit to back.  901, vehicle into a block wall,” the dispatcher said. 901 was the radio code for traffic collision with unknown injuries.

I keyed the microphone and said, “326. Is traffic available?”

There was a long pause as I silently chuckled to myself. I wondered if anyone noticed how silly it sounded. The dispatcher came back with the best reply ever when she said, “784 will be en route shortly.”

I actually laughed even more and smiled when I heard that. For those that don’t know, my call sign was 784 for 15 years before it was changed to 729. I was impressed by her quick-witted reply and it instantly put me in a good mood.

Right after that my computer blew up with “LOL” messages about the radio traffic. It was truly a funny moment that I’ll never forget.

Thanks for the radio traffic K.G.

We’re toxic together

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The other night I responded to a restraining order violation call involving a man and a woman, who have a child together. When I got there I saw them speaking to officers. The man, who was Caucasian and his 30s, was sitting on the bumper of a patrol car. His shirt was dirty and his hair was unkempt.

I stood there in awe as I listened to him ramble about all kinds of things. It was both funny and sad to know he was reproducing. I didn’t want to stand too close to him in case some of his dumbness tried to rub off onto me.

One of the first things he said was, “My record is a mile long.”

I had not doubt about that as I listened to him.

The subject of domestic violence came up and he had plenty to talk about since he’d been arrested before. He was talking to a cop when he said, “OJ fucked it up for everyone.”

I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard that. I wasn’t laughing at what happened with OJ Simpson. I was laughing because this guy said it in the middle of a domestic violence restraining order investigation.

The subject turned to his relationship with his ex and what she used to do for a living when he said, “She was a prostitute. It runs in her family.”

Who says that to a bunch of strangers? Just hilarious.

I then made small talk with the victim. “How long were you together?” I asked.

“For 17 years. We’re toxic together.”

She went on to tell me all kinds of stories about their drug use, their prison time and an 18 year daughter she gave up along time ago.

After he was arrested, the woman said she was going to call a friend for a ride. She walked to a fast food restaurant to wait. As she walked away, I wondered how much damage had been caused to their child by the “toxic” relationship they share.

Unfortunately, the poor kid doesn’t have a chance.

 

You never know when you’ll need duct tape

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Last week I was at a traffic collision where a tow truck changed lanes and hit a car. When I got there the ambulance was leaving with the car’s passenger.

The vehicles were in the middle of the street and there was glass all over the place. I think the tow truck driver felt guilty because he was sweeping up the glass faster than I’ve ever seen it done before.

“I bought the car four days ago,” the man from the car said.

The man’s car was red and had paper plates. Both passenger side windows were shattered and both doors were damaged. The right front door was even missing a door handle. To add insult to injury, the ambulance had just driven away with his wife.

The man stood there looking at his car as he wondered what to do. He walked up to the passenger door and tried to close it. He slammed the door shut and it just bounced back like a ball because it wouldn’t stay closed.

“What am I going to do?”

“Well, you can’t drive it like that,” I said.

I then had an idea as I walked toward my patrol car. I carry duct tape with me in my traffic gear bag. The duct tape is for when I have to tape down a 300 foot tape measure in the street when I have a fatal accident. I actually call it the “duct tape of death” because it only comes out when something really bad happens.

I walked back up to the driver and showed him the duct tape as I asked, “Want to tape the door shut?”

He gave me a funny look and took the tape.  He then got to work on his car. When he was done he drove away with a duct tape band-aid on his car. I just didn’t tell him I call it “The duct tape of death” though. I figured he didn’t need to know that.

Happy retirement Deputy

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In May of 1990, my uncle Eddie (Ed to most people) graduated from the academy and became a Deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. I missed his graduation because I had a final to take at school.

I remember the graduation party at my grandmother’s house after I finished my test at school. Eddie was wearing his uniform with his shiny deputy star on his chest as he posed for pictures with us. He was 4 years older than me and the first cop in our family. I was proud of him.

After he started working, he encouraged me to be a deputy. One day I went over his house and we had a long talk about police work. That conversation, along with another with a family neighbor, who worked for LAPD, pushed me toward a police career.

I can still picture where I sat in his house and how I left knowing the seed was planted for a career in law enforcement. That seed was later watered during a ride along with the Los Angeles Police Department that was set up through my mom’s neighbor.

I graduated from the Orange County Sheriff’s academy about 1 1/2 years after that conversation at Eddie’s house. It was a great moment to stand next to Eddie, who was there in his uniform. It was actually the only time we were in uniform together.

Now, after almost 26 years as a deputy, Eddie retired. It’s hard to believe he’s now a “retired cop.” Knowing he’s retired means I’m really not that far behind him, which is weird. I still have a ways to go, but the sun will set on my police career before I know it just like it did for Eddie.

Congrats on your retirement. Now, let’s go back to Maui.

“It was.09, but I was fine”

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The other night I followed up an officer on a car stop after a guy had made a right turn on a red light without stopping. When I arrived the officer said, “He’s suspended for DUI. I’m going to get him out.”

The officer contacted the driver and asked him to step out of the car. He patted him down for weapons and told him sit down on the curb. The officer then did an inventory search of the vehicle because it was going to get impounded.

I looked at the driver and asked, “Did you crash or did you get stopped when you got arrested?”

“I got stopped.”

“What was your B.A.C.?”

“It was .09, but I was fine.”

“Well, you obviously weren’t fine since you were arrested.” I said. “Being DUI doesn’t mean you’re falling down drunk. It means you were impaired and above the limit.”

“What’s going to happen to my car?”

“It’s getting impounded.”

“For how long?”

“For 30 days.”

“Can someone pick up the car?” he asked.

“No.” I told him.

“Why?”

“You’re license is suspended and you ran a red light. You knew you weren’t supposed to drive, right?”

“Yeah.”

I was a little surprised he said he was fine after being a .09% B.A.C. and getting arrested. He just didn’t get it yet. Maybe one day he will. I’m sure he knows everything at 21 years old.