Uniform problems

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Going to the dentist is a lot like going to the “uniform center.” If you’ve ever had to go to both you know what I’m talking about.

A few weeks ago, I made a trip to the uniform center with little hope of anything being done right or them having things in stock. As usual, I was told “We have to order the pants.”

Of course, they didn’t have them in stock. Why would they be there now? I once waited six months for them to call me about back ordered pants.

Luckily, they had the shirts and I was told they’d be done in a little less than two weeks. You’d think two weeks would be enough, right?

Probably not. The guys storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day had a better chance.

Last Wednesday I went to pick up my shirts and was told, “They’re not done. They’re really backed up. Can you come back tomorrow?”

On Thursday, I returned and was told, “She forgot to do them.”

I said, “I bet she would remember to do things if you forgot to pay her.”

“Can you wait? I’ll have her do them now.”

A little while later, I was amazed how like this could be done in less time than it takes to hard boil an egg. They fit fine, but the seamstress forgot to move a button on all three shirts.

I was told, “She left already. Can you come back tomorrow?”

Well, shit……

So, I went back yesterday and guess what happened? The seamstress didn’t lower the button one inch like I asked. She added an extra button instead. An extra button!

I told the sales person, “There’s an extra button on all three shirts. They were supposed to lower the button one inch.”

The salesperson asked, “Can you come back tomorrow?”

“No.”

We used to go to another “uniform center” and it was the same problem. It almost makes me think the new uniform place hired the seamstress and tailor from the old place.

You can’t make this stuff up. The nonsense of the streets is almost like the nonsense of getting uniforms done right.

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.

Did that spoon come with the car?

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The actual twisted spoon in the ignition

 

Sometimes the funniest things come on while working the streets. It’s the unusual and weird stuff that make the job fun. You just never know what’s going to come up.

A few months ago, I backed up an officer on a car stop. I stood by while he contacted the driver and patted him down for weapons. He had stopped the driver for running red lights and racing another car.

After he patted the driver down, the officer walked around the beaten up 1992 BMW and looked inside. That’s when the officer asked,  “Why is there a spoon in the ignition?”

“I bought the car like that?”

First of all, who buys a car with a spoon stuck in the ignition? We thought it was stolen, but the driver told us he had all the paperwork for the vehicle.

The driver, who was unlicensed, told us his other BMW was impounded last week, so he bought another one. Apparently he only drives BMW cars.

“The car came with the spoon?” I asked.

“Yeah. I just leave it in there.”

“Do you start the car with the spoon?”

“No, I use the key.”

“Why do you have a spoon in the ignition?”

“It keeps the steering wheel from locking. They put in another ignition switch so I can start the car.”

I just stood there shaking my head like I normally do on calls. I also wondered if there was a fork and knife in the car in case he lost his spoon.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

I got to watch ignorance from a front row seat

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Tonight I got to see ignorance in its purist form. Just when I thought I’d seen it all, something else comes up. I always joke around that I keep going back to work just to see what’s going to happen next. As usual, I wasn’t disappointed.

I was sent to a traffic collision involving two vehicles on the west side of the city. When we arrived, my partner spoke to both drivers while I helped out with the paperwork. The victim driver was a Korean male in his 70s, who spoke little English. The driver who rear ended him was a Caucasian female in her early 20s.

Through translation, the male told my partner he was making a right turn into the driveway when he was rear ended. The female driver said the vehicle in front of her was stopped and she never saw it slow down. I asked her what she was doing inside the car at the time to prevent her from seeing the vehicle slow down. She replied she was just driving down the street.

It didn’t take a first grader to know she wasn’t paying attention when the vehicle slowed down in front of her. The points of rest and damage supported the victim’s version of the story.

While I was filling out paperwork she kept telling someone that the vehicle was stopped in front of her. She said it over and over to a point where I wanted to say, “You just can’t go around crashing into people.” I just held my tongue as she whined and didn’t accept responsibility for what she had done.

That’s when the man, who I assumed was her father said, “Asian drivers.”

The woman replied, “Do I have permission to be slightly racist now?”

All I could say to myself was “wow” because I was only 7-10 feet away from them when they said this. It was as if I was invisible. Who would say that in front of a cop investigating their collision?

I couldn’t believe this ignorant knucklehead was actually mad at the old guy she had just crashed into. Never mind the 100 feet of pre-impact locked wheel skid marks her vehicle left before the crash. I just stood there and shook my head as I watched pure ignorance in action.

This was the perfect example of the common theme of the blog, which is,  “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

Be safe out there.

Did I Jinx That Guy?

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

Have you ever jinxed someone, but didn’t know it?

A few weeks ago I was at a red light right after leaving the police department parking lot. While I was stopped, a guy rode by me on a bicycle who was pulling a shopping cart. That was something I hadn’t seen before. Lately, I’ve been seeing bicyclist pulling suitcases, but not shopping carts.

I thought to myself how I’ve never taken a crash with a guy on a bike who was pulling a shopping cart before. It was a quick thought that I forgot as soon as I said it.

About 7 hours later I was sent to an injury collision involving a bicycle and a vehicle on the west side of the city. When I got there, the officers told me the fire department had already come and gone after the injured rider refused aid. There was a witness standing by, so I spoke to her first.

The witness told me where she was standing when she saw the crash. She described how he was riding the wrong way on the street and how he crossed directly in front of the vehicle when the collision occurred.

She said, “He was pulling a shopping cart.”

Of course, that made the call more interesting now. “He was? Where’s the cart?”

“Yeah, it’s still in the street,” she said as she pointed.

I looked and sure enough, there was a shopping cart that was knocked over in the street. The bicycle was damaged beyond repair and was lying next to the cart.

I had jinxed the guy for sure.

I then spoke to the bicyclist and asked him what happened. He gave me a slightly different version of how the collision occurred, but it was close enough. I looked at the rear wheel of the bicycle and saw that it was bent and twisted from the collision. It was more a paper weight than a bicycle now.

After I was done with the investigation, the rider asked, “What do I do with my bike?”

“Do you want to put it in the shopping cart?” I asked.

By the look on his face, it wasn’t the answer he was looking for. With a bit of a pout he walked over to the cart and picked it up. He then lifted the bicycle into the air and half threw it into the shopping cart with a frustrated look on his face. The bike landed hard in the cart and caused it to tip over with a loud crash that echoed in the night.

It was actually pretty funny to watch.

The rider stood there in the street with a defeated look on his face as his shoulders sagged. He then pulled the bicycle out and got the shopping cart back up on its wheels again.

Now it was time to watch operation bicycle in a shopping cart 2.0.

He lifted the bicycle up in the air and put it in the cart with more care this time. He picked up the rest of his belongings and was able to push the cart out of the street. The cart looked funny with half of the bike sticking up in the air like it was doing a wheelie.

It just proves that you can’t make this stuff up.

This job cracks me up

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Every night there always seems to be some type of comedy going on. You can go from one call to the next with crazy things happening that you could never think of. Those are the calls that make this job fun and make up for the bad experiences.

Tonight a pedestrian ran across the street against a red light. There was cross traffic at the time and a car almost hit him. After the near miss, the pedestrian turned toward that car and gave the driver the middle finger as he threw out F-bombs.

That when he was then struck by another car……That by itself was funny. You can’t make that up, but the comedy continued.

Luckily the pedestrian wasn’t hurt and there was no damage to the car. The driver was shaken from the experience and we sent her on her way with a report number. We then had to deal with the pedestrian, who was under age.

He didn’t know his address, despite living in the same location for the last year, so we gave him a ride home. When we arrived at his home we spoke to his sister because his mother was at work.

She looked at him and said, “Really? You can’t obey a light?”

“I thought I was going to make it, but I didn’t make it at the end,” the pedestrian said as he laughed.

“You can’t even wait for the little man to light up so you can walk?” she said.

She then made me laugh when she told him, “Even if you’re blind you can see it.” She looked at us and said, “Give him a ticket.”

She was great with the way she spoke to her brother, but she might as well have been talking to a wall. Everything was going in one ear and out the other. After she was done giving him a tongue lashing, we walked back to our patrol cars with a good story to tell for later.

Here’s the best part. It turned out the pedestrian’s name was Angel and the witness was Moses.

There’s no way you can make this stuff up.

The girl with perfect glasses

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A few weeks ago I was in a store with my daughter when she told me she wanted to buy clear glasses. I asked her why she wanted those. She said, “They’re cute.”

Well, they weren’t that cute for $12. As we walked to the car,  I told her those glasses reminded me of a story from work. After I got done telling them the story, both of my kids shook their heads in amazement.

One night it was raining when I was dispatched to a hit and run collision in which the victim was chasing the suspect. The victim didn’t know where she was at and we couldn’t find her.

The call then got really confusing when someone else called 911 related to the collision. Dispatch got a call from some guy who said he was a passenger from the suspect vehicle, but he was now a passenger in the victim vehicle. He didn’t know where he was either.

Confused?

The call was so confusing I finally told dispatch I was going to park at Target and the victim could find me since we couldn’t locate her. A few minutes later she showed up alone. A carload of her friends also showed up because she called them.

The victim told me she was rear ended by a car that took off. She chased after the car until it drove into a cul-de-sac. Once in the cul-de-sac, the car stopped and a male passenger got out. The suspect vehicle then took off again, but left the male there.

The male ran up to her car and got into the passenger seat and told her to chase after the suspect, which she did.

At that point, there were two people in the victim vehicle calling 911.

During the chase they lost the suspect vehicle and the guy told her to stop. He got out of the car and took off too. Of course, she had no idea where she left him because she was lost herself. We never found that guy. It was probably better that way. If he needed the cops he would’ve called back.

While I was talking with her, I noticed that the lenses on her glasses were really clear. My lenses were spotted from working in the rain that night, but her lenses were in perfect condition. They were almost too perfect.

“Do you have lenses in your glasses?” I asked.

“No,” she said it with a straight face.

After an awkward silence I asked, “Why would you wear glasses with no lenses?”

“I have a fat face. They make me look thinner.”

I actually busted up laughing in front of her. I couldn’t help it. This was just a weird call. You can’t make this stuff up.

We call it the Dirty Tree

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This job is about having fun. One night that fun was provided by a tree in a parking lot of a gas station. You might wonder how a tree can provide humor. With a little imagination and cop humor, you can have fun with anything.

We were in the parking lot of a Chevron gas station for a DUI crash. While the DUI investigation was being conducted, someone pointed to a tree in the parking lot and told me to look. I turned toward the tree and started laughing because it looked like it had legs that were spread open in a weird position.

I then told another officer to look at the tree. A surprised look flashed across his face as he immediately started laughing too.

While we were laughing, the suspect caught a glimpse of us while he was doing his field sobriety tests. He kept looking at us the entire time even though we were at least 40 feet from him. When he was finally arrested, the suspect told us he was upset because we were making fun of him.

I said, “We weren’t laughing at you.”

“That’s mess up man.”

“Seriously, we weren’t. We were laughing at something else.”

He was really upset now and nothing I said was going to change his mind. I didn’t want him to go to jail mad so I decided to show him the real reason why we were laughing. It wasn’t like it was going to make things worse. We walked him over to the tree and said, “Look.”

He looked at the tree and suddenly busted up laughing. That made all of us laugh even more. There was just something funny about that tree.

He then walked to the police car with a smile on his face and sat down in the backseat with no problems. While he was in the backseat one of the officers went up to the tree and took a picture of it with his phone.

The suspect was watching and asked, “Can you take a picture with my phone too? It’s in my pocket.”

Sure, why not. One of the guys got the phone out of his pocket and took the picture for him. The DUI guy said, “Thanks,” as they put his phone back in his pocket.

You can never be too serious on this job. Sometimes humor is right around the corner, or at the next tree….

That tree will forever be known as the “The Dirty Tree.”

What did you find in his pants?

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One night I pulled up to a traffic collision scene in which a vehicle had collided into a wall. The suspect vehicle was an SUV and its rear door was open. I walked up to the vehicle and saw an officer franticly rubbing his hands with an alcohol wipe. In fact, he was rubbing his hands so fast I thought the friction was going to start a fire.

He had a worried look on his face as he said, “Do you have any hand sanitizer.”

“No. Why?”

He then walked over to the suspect vehicle and showed me something that looked like a pink hammer. As I got closer, I saw it was a sex toy.

“What the heck is that?” I asked.

He said, “I was patting him down and I pulled that out of his pocket. The guy told me he used that on his girlfriend tonight.”

The officer wasn’t wearing gloves at the time and I busted up laughing. I laughed so loud someone would’ve wondered what was wrong with me. The poor officer didn’t think it was that funny though. He actually had a traumatized look on his face and I couldn’t blame him. I then took my phone out and snapped a picture of the thing.

Of course, the story was told over and over again after that. Everyone had the same look of shock and disgust when they saw the picture and heard the story.

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A few days later, I was in Target when I saw this curling iron on one of the main aisles. I instantly thought of the cop when I saw it. I sent him a picture  hoping he would think it was as funny as I did.  Luckily he was cool about it.

This was just one of those stories that had to be told.

You can sleep in my car tonight

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The other night we responded to a traffic collision call in which a man was threatening another man with a knife.

When I got there, I saw two cars in a Jack in the Box parking lot. One car had a bent right front wheel. The other car had minor damage to the front bumper. Both were parked in their own spaces.

One of the cars was stuffed full of items that would make a hoarder jealous. Then there was this suitcase, along with other miscellaneous things all over the place in the parking lot. There was basically crap everywhere. It was a like transient yard sale.

I pulled one of the guys aside and asked him what happened. The driver, who we’ll call Frank, said he and the other vehicle had crashed in the parking lot. After the collision, they moved their cars because they were blocking the driveway.

Frank then said, “We already exchanged information.”

“Wait time did the crash happen?” I asked.

“About 9:30?”

“That was ninety minutes ago. What have you been doing this whole time?”

Frank pointed to the other car and driver as he said, “My car isn’t drivable and his is. He lives in his car, so we decided to switch cars so I could go to work tomorrow.”

“You were going to let the homeless guy move into your car and sleep in it tonight?” I asked.

“Yes. I have to go to work tomorrow.”

I took a closer look at Frank’s car and it was stuffed with the homeless guy’s belongings. The homeless guy literally moved out of one car and into another. Well, he was almost moved in. The suitcase was still in the parking lot.

Most people call their insurance companies after a collision. These guys were taking traffic accident negotiations to an entirely new level. I bet Geico would love to help them save 15% on their car insurance.

We then found out Frank had taken the homeless guy’s car on a test drive to see how it ran. To top it off,Frank even had a suspended license.  The entire call was just bizarre.

In the end, the homeless guy moved out of Frank’s car and back into his vehicle again. He drove off to find another place to sleep for tonight. Frank got to make arrangements for transportation on his own. It was the shortest rental agreement ever.

Officers never found the knife Frank called 911 about. Kind of makes you think he made the whole thing up.

The entire story was crazy. Who agrees to swap cars with a complete stranger?

You never know what’s going to happen at work. And of course, you just can’t make this stuff up.