Do you know who Barry Manilow is?

American-Singer-Barry-Manilow

Anyone who has worked with me knows I like to joke around with citizens. Sometimes the person is drunk and the opportunity is too good to pass up.

One night we had an officer involved shooting in a residential neighborhood. By the time I arrived, the scene was Code 4, but they still needed traffic control to keep cars out of the area.

I parked my patrol car just south of the shooting scene at an intersection and waited until it was okay to send traffic in that direction again. Every once in a while a resident would drive up and ask if they could get to their house. After screening them, I moved my car to let them pass.

That’s when I saw a car pull up to a house at the corner where I was at. A person got out of the car and walked up to the front door. The man was looking in my direction because I was blocking the street. He then looked northbound on the street to where all the police lights were.

He went inside his house, but came right back outside. He walked to the sidewalk and looked back down the street again. I could tell he was curious about what happened. Heck, I would’ve been curious too.

He then started walking toward my car. There was something about the way he walked that told me he had been drinking.

He got to my driver door and I saw the “drunk” look. His eyes were red and droopy with all the classic signs of a person who had been drinking. He was tall, thin and about 25 years old, with the smell of beer on his breath. I just hopped he wasn’t obnoxious.

“What happened?”

“Barry Manilow is down there.” I couldn’t resist saying it. It had been a while since I threw Barry Manilow’s name out like that.

“Really?”  he said with a confused look on his face.

“Yeah,” I said as I tried to keep a straight face.

“Is he bad?”

“He’s badass. You should Google him.”

“Really?”

“Yes. He’s bigtime.”

“OK, thanks officer, I’ll Google him.”

The man smiled and turned around to walk away. It made me laugh because he had no idea I was kidding around. It also told me that more people in the world need to learn who Barry Manilow is.

Sometimes you just have to have fun on this job.  Are you a Fanilow?

The tow truck and the bathroom

IMG_0270

Last night I saw a tow truck run a stop sign right in front of me while going at least 20 miles per hour. I followed it to the next stop sign because I wanted to see if the driver was going to do it again. Of course, the driver rolled through that stop sign also, but not as bad as the first one.

I stopped the tow truck and walked up to the driver side. The driver had a weird look on his face as he opened the door so we could talk.

He handed me his license as I asked, “Why didn’t you stop for the stop sign?”

“I have to go to the bathroom,” he said.

“You do?” I said with a raised eyebrow. I’ve heard this excuse before and I wasn’t buying it.

“Yes. Bad.”

“Where are you going to use the bathroom at?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

IMG_0787

Maybe he had to use the restroom, but I wasn’t sure if it was as bad as he was making it out to be. I decided to write him a ticket because he hadn’t tried to stop for either stop sign.

I started to walk away, but then turned around as I asked, “Number 1 or number 2?”

“It’s going to be number 3,” he said with a serious look.

I wrote the ticket a little faster just in case……

You just can’t make this stuff up.

You never know what subject is going to come up

Eye of Providence macro on the back of the US one dollar bill.

This job always has the oddest things that come up during investigations. On Wednesday night my friend and I were standing in front of our favorite 7-Eleven, which is affectionately referred to as the NSUB (North Sub Station). We were minding our own business when a motorist drove by honking her horn at us. She yelled out her window and said there was a fight down the street.

I hadn’t been there that long and I reluctantly put my cup of coffee away as I headed down the street to find out what the woman was yelling about. When I got to the next intersection, there was a car parked at the corner in an odd spot with is head lights off.

There was a male standing next to the car and he saw me pull up. He then started running away as the car drove away with its head lights still off. I decided to stop the car to see what was going on.

As the car started to leave I noticed it was jerking forward like it stalled. The car pulled into the parking lot as I activated my lights. When it stopped, four people jumped out at the same time as a Budweiser beer can fell out. We detained everyone while we tried to figure out who did what.

Of course, the driver was 16 years old and was unlicensed. I wouldn’t expect anything else because that’s how we roll in the city I work at. The driver said he was the only person in the car who knew how to drive a stick shift.

The owner of the car then contacted us and said they had taken his keys from him while at a motel room. Now I knew my cup of coffee was going to get cold because of all this drama.

While another officer took a statement from the victim, I engaged in small talk with the driver and his 20 year old cousin. I asked the driver, “Have you ever been arrested before?”

“Once, but it was a long time ago.”

“You’re only 16 years old. It couldn’t have been that long ago,” I replied. “What did you do?”

“Vandalism.”

“What did you vandalize?”

“Well, they also called it breaking and entering.”

“What did you break into? How old were you?”

“I was twelve. It was a school, but the door was left open. I didn’t break in.”

I asked the driver what they used to call him or what his moniker was. He told me he didn’t have a nickname. I asked him what he used to write when he left his mark. He only said he wrote “stuff.”

His cousin then said, “He used to worship the illuminati,” as she laughed.

I wasn’t sure what she was talking about and asked, “What did he worship?”

“The illuminati. It’s like worshiping the devil.” She looked over at him and pushed his shoulder as she said, “He’s better now. We took him to church.”

I wasn’t sure what she was talking about so I pulled out my phone. She started laughing and asked if I was going to look it up. I told her I was going to Google it. That’s when I saw that it was the triangle with the eye from the back of the one dollar bill. I turned my phone around and showed her the picture.

“Oh, don’t stare at it. If you stare at it, your body is going to start shaking.” She said that as she started shaking like her body was taken over by a voodoo spell. She also had a worried look on her face. She again told me it was evil like the devil. She was totally serious too.

I looked over at the driver and asked, “Is that what you used to mark stuff up with?”

“Yeah,” he said.

“What a minute. You used to draw a triangle with an eyeball on stuff?”

With an embarrassed look he said, “Yeah.”

All I could do was shake my head. I never thought my car stop would turn into a lesson about superstition and the devil worshiping. It’s also amazing how someone would think I could start shaking if I stared at the illuminati.

You never know what you’re going to hear on this job. That’s what keeps me coming back for more.

The Cat Poop Lady

_DSC5016
Good neighbors are hard to find, right? Everyone has had that one neighbor who was too loud, or who had a trashed front yard, or who parked in front of your house. They were that one person who made you cringe when you saw them.

I once had a call about the crazy neighbor from hell. This particular “415 neighbors” call was more unusual than most. One night I was sent to 415(disturbance) call involving two neighbors. I knocked on the door of the RP’s(reporting partying) house and waited for them to open up.

After exchanging hellos, the RP said, “The woman next door wiped cat poop all over our front door.”

“How do you know?” I asked. This was already getting weird.

“The neighbor across the street video tapped her and put it on You Tube. Do you want to see it?”

youtube

Of course, I wanted to see. It’s not every day you get to see a neighbor wiping cat poop on a house. The RP told me they had problems with the Cat Poop Lady in the past. Really? I’m not surprised.

The RP logged onto You Tube and clicked on the link. The video showed the Cat Poop Lady during the daytime with a plastic shopping bag in her hand as she picked up something in her yard. Her actions were the same as when someone picks up after their dog at a park, so I knew it was animal feces.

The Cat Poop Lady walked next door to the RP’s house and started wiping the feces all over the front door and its handle. She then moved to the front windows and did her best “Wax on, Wax off” imitation from The Karate Kid movie while doing it. It was bizarre to watch. Who does this?

During the video, the voices of small children could be heard in the background. One voice said, “What is she doing?”

Another voice replied, “She’s crazy.”

I wondered how disturbed the Cat Poop Lady was to go through all this trouble. I also wondered how I got sent to this call in the first place. I felt like a robbery victim because they stole an hour away from me that I could never get back.

This wasn’t a police problem. They needed Ace Ventura-Pet Detective, not the cops. And the Cat Poop Lady needed Dr. Phil.

I told the RP I was going to write a “disturbance neighbor” report and said I would go talk to the Cat Poop Lady to give her a trespass warning. It was easier to take a short report and be done with it. Plus, I wanted to see what the Cat Poop Lady woman was like.

I knocked on the door and the Cat Poop Lady answered. I told her the reason why I was there and she came outside. I instantly saw the problem. She had a mean streak and definitely was suffering from some type of mental illness.

She denied going next door and doing her “wax on, wax off” imitation when I asked her about it. She was being difficult at this point and wanted to argue with me. She also started telling me how terrible the neighbors were. That’s the pot calling the kettle black.

I said, “I saw it on You Tube.”

“What do you mean? She asked.

“Someone video tapped you picking up cat poop and wiping it on your neighbor’s house. A little kid on the video could be heard saying ‘you’re crazy.’  Do you want to see it? It already has 50 views.”

That pretty much brought the conversation to screeching halt.

“This is your trespass warning. They don’t want you on their property. If you go back, they’ll have you arrested. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

I went back to the RP’s house and they were more than happy I had done something for them even though it was so small on my part.

I drove away thinking how strange the call and the Cat Poop Lady were. I also realized it’s not every day you get to write “cat poop” in a police report. It’s as close to a BS call that you can get.

You can’t make this stuff up.

The “body” in the trash bag

IMG_0825

“There are four males in the restroom with a child in a trash bag.”

That’s what I heard on the radio while driving to another call tonight. The dispatcher was sending patrol cars to an unknown trouble call at a local park. She also broadcasted that the child looked to be about 7 years old.

Say what?

I had no choice after hearing that. The people in the traffic collision could wait because I was going to this call first.

I arrived at the park about a minute after the call went out. There was a group of males standing in front of the restroom. They looked calm and were talking. They didn’t even seem to notice my patrol car driving on the grass. I got out of my car and asked, “Is there a kid in a trash bag?”

A male in the group said, “No.”

“We got a call about a kid inside a trash bag in the bathroom.”

That’s when the male seemed to know what I was talking about as he said, “Oh, we’re making a movie.” The male, who was holding a camera, told me there was a doll in the bathroom.

It was dusk, so the restroom was dark. I walked in and saw a head and body wrapped in a trash bag like a mummy on the floor. The “body” was propped up against the wall like it was leaning against it.

Then I saw something that looked freaky. There was an eye staring at me from the doll head that was partially covered by the trash bag. There was also dark curly hair sticking out. The “body” looked like it was the size of a 5 year old child. With the darkness fast approaching, it looked real.

The male walked in and started stomping on the “body” to show me it was fake. The entire scene was bizarre. I must’ve have been in the Twilight Zone for a brief moment.

At first glance, it really did look like a body. Even though it was stomped on I still pulled open the bag so I could make sure it wasn’t a real face. That of course, made the “filmmakers” laugh when they saw me do that.

They explained to me about making a movie for a college course. I told them they were lucky the officers hadn’t walked in on them standing over the “body.” You could tell they hadn’t thought about that. Hopefully the three police cars, police motorcycle and helicopter overhead showed them how serious it was taken when we got the 911 call.

I got back in my car and spoke into the microphone as I said, “I’m 10-8 from the fake kid in the trash bag call.” I drove out of the park knowing I’d have a story to tell my kids when I woke up on Saturday.

When I put my uniform on Friday afternoon I never thought I’d be standing in a restroom watching someone stomp on a fake child’s body that was wrapped in a black trash bag with a big eyeball staring at me.

Once again, you can’t make this stuff up.

“You Can’t Make This Stuff Up”

_DSC5571
“You can make this stuff up.”

That’s a saying in police work that everyone can relate to. It’s a simple sentence that describes so much of what we see and hear during our “normal” shift.

The other night my friend Sean and I were talking about some old stories related to that subject.

I told him a story about a crash I took on Wednesday night involving a guy with an ignition interlock device installed on his car. The driver was heading to our jail to stay the night as part of his drunk driving sentence.

He was talking on the phone and trying to blow into the machine while driving at the same time. He was too busy blowing into the machine and ended up crashing into the car in front of him. He described it to me as trying to multitask.

Sean said, “That guy can’t get a break.”
“No, he can’t. He said he lost his job that same day too.”

See, you can’t make this stuff up.

Sean then asked me, “Do you remember The Chief?”
“I took the crash when he was killed.”

The Chief was a famous transient because he was a mean drunk who liked to fight with the police. I never met him, but I was there for The Chief’s final call for service.

On that night The Chief got hit by a car while riding his bike. The car took off and left him lying in the street. That’s when another car ran him over while driving in the opposite direction. The second driver stopped and said she thought she hit him. I looked under her front bumper and saw a bunch of blood. I said, “Yeah, you hit him too.”

After I cleared the scene I drove to the hospital that was down the street. I walked in and a nurse asked me if I had been at the crash.

I said, “Yes.”
“Was that The Chief?”
“Yeah.”
“Was he killed?
Yeah.”
“Good. That means he won’t come in here again.”

You can’t make this stuff up…..

Last week another friend named Timi told me a story that had me laughing for days. About 18 years ago a man called the police because his poodle was taken by another man.

Timi went to the suspect’s location and knocked on the door. A man answered and Timi asked him if he had a dog. The man replied he did. Timi told him she was there because someone called about a stolen dog.

That’s when a recently painted purple poodle appeared. The man told the officers that his poodle was purple and the other dog was white so it couldn’t be the same dog. Nice try, but the purple dog gave it away.

Another reason to say, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

And then who can ever forget the drunk driver who crashed the other night? She was DUI and six months pregnant. After crashing into a pole, she pulled her pants down and left a number two right there on the sidewalk.

I’m still shaking my head at that one.

Once again. You can’t make this stuff up.

Just Call Her Poopy Pants

IMG_0787

There’s one thing for sure about this job. We see people at their worst. At their lowest of lows. At rock bottom. We see them at their Poopy Pants worst.

Some of this is self-inflicted. Some of it is just bad luck. The self-inflicted stuff is where the comedy of this profession comes out. It’s where some of the best stories come from. It’s where you stand there and say, “I can’t believe I just saw that.” Last Friday night will go down in history as one of the most unusual stories from a collision scene I have ever witnessed.

An injury traffic collision went out at about 2:15AM involving a vehicle that struck a pole. This is a pretty typical call for that time of the night so I didn’t think anything of it.

I drove down the street and saw a pole imbedded into the front of a car. An ambulance just arrived and there was another patrol car there. I got out of my car and walked up to an officer. He pointed to the crashed car and said, “She’s taking a dump on the sidewalk.”

Now, that’s not something you hear every day.

I looked over to the car and saw the passenger door open with a woman squatting down on the edge of the vehicle next to the seat. She was partially blocked by ambulance personnel.

I walked up and saw her pajama pants pulled down to her knees and there was a pile of you know what right underneath her. There was a strong odor of a person who had been drinking and who had just left a “number two” on the sidewalk. I have seen many people pee and vomit themselves while drunk, but this took it to an entirely new level.

Did I mention she was six months pregnant and unlicensed?

You just can’t make this stuff up.

When the tow truck driver arrived I pointed out the mess because I didn’t want him to step in it. The tow driver looked at it and said he didn’t want poop on the bed of his truck. I found it funny he was worried about that. Never mind all of the cars that have leaked hazardous fluids onto his flatbed tow truck in the past? Now he was worried about a little number two.

The tow truck driver then did his best to maneuver the front of the vehicle around the pile of poop with the skill of an artist painting a masterpiece. Instead of paint and brushes, he tugged and pulled with the cable and used a shim under one of the tires as the vehicle turned. Once the right front tire cleared the pile he completed the job and I left.

As I drove away I couldn’t help laughing and thinking how this woman was SOL (shit out of luck). I also remembered what a shitty job this was. And most of all, you also can’t make this shit up (I couldn’t resist).

The 15 year old drunk driver

IMG_0647

I set a new record last week.

But this isn’t a record that you would want. It’s another one of those stories where I say to myself, “Just when I thought I’d seen it all….”

It’s not every night someone steals a water truck from a construction site. I’m not even sure why someone would do that. Wouldn’t it be easier to steal a regular car that didn’t stick out like a sore thumb?

One this is for sure. No one ever said bad guys were smart.

It all started when an anonymous person called the police on Wednesday night to report a construction truck driving around in the park at 12:30AM. The caller heard a loud noise and didn’t know if anything was hit.

When the officers arrived in the area they saw a water truck swerving as it went down the road just a few hundred yards from the park. Within a few seconds the water truck crashed and the occupants ran.

After they were taken into custody a sergeant asked for a traffic unit. He said there were “a couple” of parked cars that were hit. When he said “a couple” I assumed it was two cars. That’s no big deal since it happens all the time.

When I arrived, I was surprised to see a water truck in the front yard at the corner. There were damaged and disabled cars everywhere for a grand total of eight, including the water truck.

This definitely wasn’t something you see every day.

The first victim vehicle was a Prius. Now, try to imagine what a large water truck can do to a Prius when it’s being driven by a 15 year old drunk driver. Let’s just say the Prius got treated like the redheaded stepchild who got stuffed into his locker by a bunch of high school football players.

The Prius was broadsided by the water truck and then crashed into the car that was parked in front of it. This spun the Prius around and forced it onto the sidewalk where it became a giant paper weight. Two more parked cars were hit on the street after that.

After treating the Prius like a dirty girlfriend, the water truck ended up in the front yard of a house and crashed into three cars in the driveway.

The three cars in the driveway belonged to one family and had extensive damage. Two of those cars had damage to both sides after being sandwiched together from the impact.

There were a grand total of 7 points of impact in this scene of destruction.

Then the officers told me there was another collision scene located at the baseball field where the original call went out. What the heck?

I had never taken a traffic collision at a baseball field before. So, why not add that to my list of firsts.

It turned out our gang member suspect, who is on probation, was doing donuts in the infield at the park. After that he drove behind the backstop and crashed into the dugout on the first base side, which was now a twisted mess of metal.

This 15 year old has the honor of being the youngest DUI driver I have ever seen. I’m sure there are others who have arrested younger DUI drivers, but this was my new record.

At the scene, the suspect showed no remorse. Not one ounce of regret for the damage he caused or the lives he put in danger by driving that truck while drunk. He was just a mean drunk who yelled at the cops from the backseat of the patrol car and wouldn’t even tell us his name. He just didn’t care.

This was just another example of the people out there who don’t care about the rules or laws and have no regard for the rest of us normal people, who work hard for what we have.

Even the little league baseball players are going to be affected because their field has no dugout now.

What a dick.

What’s the crash theme for tonight?

_DSC2068

Every work day seems to have a theme. Sometimes it’s “red light” night where every crash I take involves someone who ran a red light. Sometimes it’s “rear end” or “knock a pole down” night. It just depends on which way the wind is blowing.

This week’s theme was, “12500 crashes into 12500.”

12500a is the California vehicle section for unlicensed driver. So, if a 12500 crashed into a 12500, wouldn’t that make it a 25,000 night?

Imagine how many cars are out on the road at one time. For the most part, people manage to avoid each other and not crash.

Now, how do two 12500s manage to crash into each other?

It’s like these two vehicles were 3,000lbs magnets that were destined to crash into each other. It was the perfect storm and all the planets aligned at the same time. It doesn’t happen that often and I can’t help but laugh a little bit when it does.

It happened once on Friday night and again on Saturday night. Most sport teams have a hard time doing a “repeat.” I didn’t even have to try. It just happened on its own.

On Friday night, two 12000s crashed into each other when one turned in front of another. Both drivers told me they had failed the written test at the DMV. How ironic.

On Saturday night, one 12500 was parked on the street. There was a car parked in front of him with no one in it. A few minutes later someone got into that vehicle and backed into the guy while he was sitting in his car. The suspect vehicle then took off.

A chase ensued between the hit and run victim and the suspect. They drove all over the place and went into another city while running red lights. Their driving was crazy enough to attract police attention and they were stopped in the neighboring city.

The officers determined that the collision occurred in my city so they called for us to respond. When I arrived, I found out that both drivers were the registered owners of their cars, but neither one of them had a license. It still amazes me how someone can be listed as the registered owner, but not have a driver’s license.

During the interviews I found out they both failed the DMV written test five times between the two of them. That has to be a record somewhere. It was truly the blind leading the blind.

Here’s the best part of the story. There was no damage to the victim vehicle.

They went through all of that for nothing. The biggest winner in the story was the tow truck company, which got to take two cars away as an impound prize.

Maybe they should stick to the Autopia car ride at Disneyland instead.

You can’t make this stuff up.

When your lie doesn’t work out

_DSC5571
Have you ever had your child give you away when you were trying to tell a lie or keep a secret? How did it work out for you?

On Thursday afternoon I responded to a minor collision call involving two vehicles. When I arrived, one of the drivers said, “That woman just took a car seat out of the trunk and put it in the car.”

I looked over to the car and there were two children sitting in the backseat. There was a two and a half year old little girl strapped into the car seat and a boy sitting next to her. This didn’t sound right so I confirmed with the guy.

“That car seat was in the trunk?”
“Yeah. There were two booster seats. Her husband pulled up and she put one of the boosters into his car.”
“You’re sure?” I asked.
“Yes. The booster seats are black. The boy is sitting on it now and the other is in the other car.”

I then asked the mother if her daughter was sitting in the right rear seat at the time of the collision. The driver told me her daughter was actually in the left rear, but she moved the car seat to the right side.

That didn’t make sense. Who moves a car seat that is strapped in from one side of the car to the other for no reason? That’s when the mother told me she moved the car seat so she could change her daughter’s diaper. Yeah right.

“Did you have that car seat in the trunk before the accident?”
“No.”
“Are you sure? He saw you take the car seat out of the trunk and put it into the car.”
“No, I moved the car seat so I could change the diaper.”
“How old is your son?”
“He’s almost 5 years old.”
“You know kids that age tell the truth. I’ll be right back.”
“He doesn’t speak English. He only speaks Arabic.”
“Really? I’ll be right back.”

I had a feeling this was going to blow up in her face and that’s what made this fun. Anyone who has had kids that age know they’re going to tell the truth when asked something. I walked up to the car and said, “How are you?” He instantly held up four fingers like he was telling me how old he was.

I realized he misunderstood my question. He thought I was asking him how old he was. That was perfect. That meant he understood me. I had him point to his sister’s car seat. He understood that too. I pointed to the trunk and asked if the car seat was in there before. He nodded his head. That’s when mom jumped into the front passenger seat and started speaking to him in Arabic. Nice try lady. I told her to stop and to step out of the car, which she did.

I asked him if Mommy had taken the car seat out of the trunk. Little Johnny threw mom under the bus and then let it back up to finish her off. It was a priceless moment.

I finished by asking him, “Do you understand what I’m saying?” Of course he did, but I wanted him to confirm it, which he did.

I won’t lie. I enjoyed watching her squirm as her son did the only thing he knew how to do at that moment. That was to tell the truth. I walked back to mom and smiled. I let the smile last for a long time as I let the moment sink in.

“Are you ready to tell the truth now?”
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
“You even said he didn’t speak English.”
“He can’t understand it. Ask his teacher.”
“Well, he understood me.”

Nice try again Lady.

She went on to try and justify her lies, but it was too late. I pointed out to her that at least her son knew how to tell the truth to the police.

That just goes to show you. You never know when little Johnny is going to throw you under the bus of embarrassment to the cops.

This job cracks me up. Some people think they’re so smart. The trick is to try and stay one step ahead them. It can sometimes feel like a chess game.

Checkmate for me today.