We’re both Laker fans

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The other night I was dispatched to a traffic collision involving two vehicles which had moved to a parking lot. When I arrived, I saw a man and woman speaking to each other.

I got out of my car and asked, “Is anyone hurt?”

In a loud and friendly voice the man said, “We’re both Laker fans. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this.”

Since he was in his mid-fifties, I figured he’d been a Lakers fan for a long time. As a joke I asked, “Would it be a big deal if she was a Celtics fan?”

He turned toward the woman, who was in her mid-twenties and asked, “Are you a Phoenix Suns fan?”

It sounded like the guy didn’t like the Phoenix Suns instead.

You just never know what you’re going to hear at a traffic collision scene.

Another fatal

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It always seems like I handle two or three fatal traffic collisions a year. It always the same every year. The most I ever handled in one year was ten in 2006. The second most was eight in 2011.

Well, this past week I handled number five. It was a pedestrian who tried to play Frogger across the street. It would’ve been number six had I not been off another night a few months ago when a fatal went out at 1:30AM.

Five might not sound like a lot when you compare it to ten, but that’s still five too many, especially when one of them was a toddler.

This also doesn’t count my other traffic partners, who work different shifts and hours the rest of the week.

We still have all of November and December left in the year. When you work 5PM to 3AM, that still a lot of time for a lot of bad things to happen before 2017.

Be careful out there.

What’s in the box?

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The other night I went to a hit and run collision where a truck was rear ended at a red light. After the crash, the victim asked the bad guy for his information. The bad guy told him he didn’t have insurance, so the victim said he was going to call the cops.

The bad guy replied by saying, “I’ll go to jail.”

The bad guy went back to his car and returned with something in his hand. He walked over to the victim’s driver door and put something on the seat. He then went back to his car and took off.

The victim looked and saw a small red gift box with a yellow bow on top on his driver seat.

Was this some type of remorseful gift for the hit and run? Was there money or even jewelry to help the victim feel better about being left in the middle of the street with a damaged bumper and an injured wife?

What could it be? Was there something mysterious in the box? The feeling of anticipation was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

“What was in the box?” I asked.

“Nothing,” replied the victim. “It was empty.”

“Empty?” I replied as I heard the loser tune from The Price is Right playing in the background. WTF

The victim’s daughter held the box up in her palm and opened it up for me. I looked inside and saw that it was as empty as when Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s vault (Google it if you didn’t get it).

After I left the call I thought of something funny. It’s too bad I couldn’t leave the the gift box at the suspect’s door with a note inside that said, “Badge415 found you.”

Maybe this year Santa can leave a lump of coal for Christmas in this guy’s stocking.

“I have a clean record”

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“234, we just got rear ended,” said an officer on the radio.

He gave his location and advised there were no injuries. I grabbed the microphone and said, “729 en route.”

When I arrived, I saw both vehicles in the southbound #2 lane at the intersection. The officer told me they were stopped for a red light when they were hit from behind.

He also told me the SUV’s driver was unlicensed. I shook my head as I thought about the two times my patrol cars were hit by unlicensed drivers.

I walked up to the woman, who was still in the driver seat, and asked her to step out of the car so we could talk on the sidewalk.

“You want me to drive over there?” She asked.

“No, you don’t have a license. Come out and we’ll talk on the sidewalk.”

“I can drive over there,” she said as she pointed to the right.

I was pretty sure she’d already done enough driving for tonight. After she exited the car we walked to the sidewalk. Once we were safe on the sidewalk the woman said, “I have a clean record.”

Well, that made me feel better…..

During the interview I learned she applied for a driver’s license and failed the written test. When I heard that, I almost pointed to the cars and said, “You failed the driving test too,” but I held my tongue.

When the interview was over, I gave the driver a card with the report number on it and said her car was getting impounded. She responded by asking if she could keep the car.

Keep the car? Really?

Let me get this straight. She was unlicensed, failed her test, crashed into a police car and now she wanted to keep the car???

Hum, let me think about it…… No.

“Enjoy that feeling”

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The other night I was working a patrol shift when I was sent on a call with a new cop. I had met him once or twice when he was in training and didn’t know anything about him.

We handled the call and then talked next to our cars. I guessed him to be 21 or 22 years old. He had a baby face and probably shaved once a month. His youthful appearance and wide eye look gave him the unmistakable look of a new cop.

“How long have you been out of training?” I asked.

He thought for a moment and replied, “Four months.”

After a few minutes of talking, I could sense an energy and enthusiasm about him that reminded me of myself when I was his age. I stood there and remembered when everything was new.

Every call was an adventure and I would’ve done the job for free.

I stood there and wondered what I looked like as a “Boot” with my shiny new badge pinned to my chest with absolutely no idea what I was doing in the new world of police work. After reflecting, I thought back to this new guy, who still had 30 years ahead of him.

He didn’t have the look of a cop who had seen dead babies, dismembered body parts, or sacrificed family time for the demands of the job. He also didn’t have the look of a person who had seen and done things regular people only saw in movies or read in books. He still had his “innocence”. The job hadn’t changed him yet.

After talking with him for a few minutes I asked, “Would you do the job for free?”

He got a huge smiled and said, “Yes.”

He went on to tell me how he couldn’t wait to go back to work from his days off and how fun it was to be out here on the street. I listened and silently remembered saying the exact same things when I was his age.

“Enjoy that feeling,” I said. “When I was new, I would’ve done the job for free too.” After he laughed I added, “I still like coming to work, but I want to be paid now.”

You can’t beat getting paid for what you love doing.