Say Cheeto


On Sunday afternoon, I was dispatched to a “check the welfare” call in a run down and densely populated neighborhood that has more cars than space to park them.

The call indicated that a male was sleeping inside a yellow truck for the last three hours with the engine running. As I responded to the call I hoped he wasn’t dead because it was time for lunch.

I turned left onto the street from the main highway and saw the yellow truck parked along the curb. Its color was like a banana in a pile of apples at a farmers market.

I got out of my patrol car and walked up to the driver side, spying empty beer cans in the truck bed. The engine was running and a man was in the driver seat with his eyes closed.

From the look of the empty beer cans I figured he was dreaming of splashing in a Modelo beer pond with a boozy smile on his face.


I knocked on the window, but he didn’t wake up. Since he didn’t move I tried the door handle and was relieved to find it unlocked. I opened up the driver door at the same time the other officer opened the passenger door.

This guy was a heavy sleeper because he didn’t budge. I looked at his right hand and saw what looked like dried blood on it. I looked around the truck, but I didn’t see any blood on his clothes or in the truck.

I nudged his arm and told him it was the police and to wake up. He woke up with the disoriented look of a 3 year old who had a rough night.

After he woke up the other cop spoke to him in Spanish because he didn’t speak English.  It turned out he worked all night and then drove here to drink with friends. He was tired and went to sleep in his truck.

When we were done I asked what happened to his hand. The other cop translated my question and the male replied back in Spanish.

It turned out it wasn’t blood…… He devoured a bag of Cheetos before going to sleep. It must’ve been the hot Cheetos because his hand looked more red than orange.

I wanted a picture of his Cheeto conquest, but he smeared the evidence as he rubbed his hands. I got him to stop and asked if I could get the pic.

I almost said, “Say Cheeto,” as I took the picture.

Random is a good thing


One of the things I like about police work is the randomness. You never know what you’re going to find on the next call or see around the next corner.

In police work, like in life, you sometimes have to look around and take everything in. You just never know what you’re missing.

On Sunday morning I was working a day shift in patrol when I was sent to a burglary alarm at a strip club. When we arrived, the place was closed and the parking lot was empty.

We checked all the doors and windows, but the place was locked tight. As we turned the last corner something caught my eye. It wasn’t a burglar climbing out a window or a stripper doing a lap dance. It was a smiling scarecrow in the bushes.

A smiling scarecrow?

It’s a strip club. Of course, it would being a smiling.

Where else but police work can a scarecrow, a strip club and burglary alarm on a Sunday morning be involved on the same call?

Then to top of the strangeness we heard a man yelling at the top of his lungs. We looked around, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. That’s when someone flagged us down about a man screaming at the workers in the drive thru of Del Taco.

A scarecrow
A strip club
A burglary alarm
And now a screaming man in the drive thru?

Randomness…….. You gotta love it.

It’s too early for this


It just didn’t feel right being at work this early.

This past week I had to work three day shifts in patrol. This was part of a “patrol augmentation” where officers from different details within the department have to supplement patrol.

Unfortunately for me these patrol shifts start at 6AM, which is far different from my normal 5PM to 3AM shift.

On Saturday morning the alarm went off at 4:15AM sounding like a klaxon at a nuclear power plant signaling a reactor meltdown? The only thing missing was the blinking red light on the wall and panicked workers fleeing from the plant.

After getting ready the cat gave me a confused looked as I walked downstairs. I’d swear her meow sounded like, “WTF!”

After packing my lunch I left for work before the sun’s first light peeked over the horizon. The early morning was dark and peaceful. I’m sure it was nothing like a few hours before when chaos filled the night with DUI crashes, shootings and stabbings.

I pulled into the department parking lot as the eastern sky lightened, giving the world a fresh start. In briefing I leaned over to one of the cops and jokingly said, “How do you people do this?”

After briefing I loaded up and headed straight to Starbucks. I walked in and the person behind the counter gave me a weird look. It was almost the same confused WTF cat look again.

After getting my drink I spent the rest of the day trying to shade myself from that big bright thing in the sky. It took almost the entire shift to get used to not grabbing my flashlight every time I got out of the car.

In the end, day shift wasn’t so bad, but the night is where Badge415 works best.

Thank You


There’s a Mexican restaurant in a tired looking strip mall that I’ve driven by many times over the years. From the outside,  I couldn’t tell if it was a sit down place or one where you ordered at the counter.

It turned out to be a sit down place with loud music and bright colors inside.  I normally don’t eat at sit down places because I want my food quick in case I have to run. The food took a long time to come out, but it ended up being good.

When the check came I got a surprise I had never seen before in my 22 year career. There was a neatly written message on a Post It that said, “Thank you for your service and all you do for our city.”


When she came back I thanked the waitress for her note. In heavily accented English, she told me how much she appreciated what the police do and that she had moved here from Mexico two years ago.

The waitress said she loved it here and it was much better than where she came from. She also said she was going to take a class at Fullerton College to work on her English.  You could tell she felt lucky to live here.

It’s not every day someone takes the time to write an encouraging note like that to the cops. It was a good reminder that there are good people out there among the negatively and evil we see on the streets.

That note was also a good reminder to all of us to never forget those people who support the Thin Blue Line because they’re the ones who need us just like we need them.


When your son makes you smile


On Tuesday night I did a presentation at the police department about the traffic detail for the PACE class (Public Awareness Through Citizen Education). This class is usually held twice a year and my son always asks to go with me.

When we arrived at the department we went to the locker room so I could put my uniform on. Once my locker was open he asked, “Can I see your badge?”

He took my badge off the shelf and looked at it in a way only a kid can.

While I was getting dressed he tried to put my Sam Browne (gun belt) around his waist and said, “This is heavy.” After that he put my body armor on and said, “This is cool.”

After I was dressed it was time to go upstairs and do my presentation. It  went well and lasted just over an hour. I showed pictures and told stories to help empathize the importantance of traffic safety.

I also told a story about the time my son crashed blocks with a Thomas the Train as he said, “Look daddy. I’m playing fatal crash.”

How many 4 year olds say that and it’s still funny after all these years.

When I was done my son told me I did a good job. As we walked down the hall he said the best thing a dad could hear. He simply said, “I was proud.”

How many high school freshman tell their dad they’re proud? What a great feeling.

Thanks “little Badge415.” Dad loves you too.

The call no one wants


The call involved a child who was run over by a car in the driveway of her house. From the information at the scene this wasn’t going to end well.

I arrived at the hospital and parked my car knowing I didn’t want to go in. With each step toward the ER, I could feel something telling me to go in the other direction.

My sergeant was standing in the ER with a solemn look on his face. The toddler was lying lifeless in the bed with hospital staff doing what they could to save her.

Her father was wearing a blood stained shirt and a look of anguish on his face. I didn’t want to watch. I didn’t want to be there.

I could feel my heart beat faster as I looked at the child lying there. She was so small that it shocked me.

That’s when the doctor called it. I knew it was over because the father yelled out, “No!!!!!” He turned toward the wall and started hitting it as he yelled out.

You could almost feel the screams go through your body and grip your heart with  pain, suffering and grief.

How had this happened?

It was my call. The type of call no one ever wants to respond to.  Unfortunately this wasn’t the first child I’d seen run over by a family member.

I had to leave. I needed to get out of there.

I told my sergeant I was going to the collision scene to speak with the driver as the father held the lifeless body. He just screamed as he rocked back and forth with the body.  It’s an image that will stay with me forever.

I walked toward the exit as his screams shook the walls like an 8.0 earthquake.

He poops where?


The other night I was sent to a hit and run call, which involved an assault and battery after the crash. I was told four people were sitting in a parked car at 7-Eleven when a vehicle backed into them. After the crash the victim was punched by the other driver.

I walked up to the victim and asked, “So, you were sitting in the car when it was hit?”

“Basically, we were waiting for the dog to take a shit.”

“In your car?” I asked.


“You just let the dog take a shit in your car? What was wrong with the grass?”

A female in her late teens, who was with the victim said, “We have a mat that he goes on.”

I shook my head and moved on as I took notes about the collision. When I was done I wrote the report number on a card and handled it to the victim.

That’s when I couldn’t resist and asked, “So, how did the dog do?”

“He didn’t poop.”

“After all of that he didn’t poop?” I asked with a surprised look.


Thinking there was a blog in this I pointed to the car and said, “I have to see these mats,”

The female walked to the car and pulled out a plastic car floor mat.

“Wait. Your dog poops on that?” I said with a look of disbelief.


“How do you clean that?”

“With water,” she said. “We put these in the house also.”

“He goes poop on the car mats in the house?”

“Yeah. He wont go on the regular doggie mats you buy at the store.”

Now I know I’ve heard it all. You just can’t make this stuff up.

We need to stop meeting by accident


It was a late Friday afternoon when I was sent to a hit and run crash. When I arrived, I saw both drivers sitting in their cars. Two other officers were already on scene.

After I interviewed both drivers, the suspect was detained for the DUI investigation. While we waited the suspect said, “I called my boss and told him I was going to get booked.”

“You called your boss already?” I asked.

“Yeah. I told him I wasn’t going to be there on Monday.”

That was pretty funny because he made that call before I got there. I guess that pitcher of beer and the shot of whiskey he drank told him which way this was going to go.

I made small talk with him and learned he was arrested for DUI about five years ago. I asked, “Did you crash or were you stopped?”

“I crashed.”

I asked him where and when. It just happened to be on a Friday night , which was my normal work day so I asked, “Was I there?”

I asked this because every so often I run into past crash cusomters. Well, actually they run into someone else and then I show up.

He starting giving me details about the collision and asked me, “Do you remember?”

“No. I take a lot of crashes, so it has to be different for it to stick out.”

He squinted as he looked at my name bar and said, “You were there.” He kept looking at my name and said, “I have a report at home with your name on it.”

“We need to stop meeting by accident,” I replied. At least he laughed because saying that never gets old.

A little while later I found his name in our records. He was in two different crashes in my city. One was the DUI crash he was talking about, but it was handled by someone else. The second crash was last summer. He was a passenger in that one and guess who wrote it?

Yes, Badge415’s name was at the bottom of that report. What a small world.

With a population of 350,000 people, I still find it amazing how I run into past crash customers.

I should start handling out Badge415 frequent customer loyalty punch cards with the words, “After 3 crashes you buy me Starbucks.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

The Sound of Music anyone?


The other night, I was sent to a hit and run crash where both the suspect and victim were standing by. When I arrived, I spoke to the suspect while the other officer contacted the victim.

The suspect, who we’ll called David, told me about the crash and taking off. After the collision, the victim told him to pull into a parking lot. David told the woman he would, but drove away instead.

He turned eastbound at the intersection and then into a different parking lot as the victim chased him. He drove out of that parking lot and back onto the street.

The victim pulled alongside and said, ‘Pull over motherfucker!’

This gem of a word was enough to get him to stop.

David said, “She was mad.”

I looked at this 18 year old kid and said, “You crashed into her and took off. Of course, she was mad. It’s not like she was going to be smiling with her hands in the air like the opening scene of The Sound of Music.”

He gave me a blank look. “You never saw The Sound of Music?”



We walked over to the other officer, who was in his late 20s and I told him what I said. The cop told me he hadn’t seen the movie either. What in the world……

To be funny,  I pulled my phone out and went to You Tube. I typed in “Sound of Music opening scene” and did the search. It came up and all three of us watched the first 15 seconds of the movie as Julie Andrews did her thing.

Thank goodness for You Tube. At least they both get my joke now.

And if you don’t know who Julie Andrews is, then double GASP.


Paper or plastic?


Tonight, I dispatched to a call involving a suspicious vehicle that was stopped in the right turn lane of a major road with no hazard lights on. When I pulled up, I saw a truck stopped in the lane just east of the intersection.

I walked up and saw a man in his 80s sitting in the driver seat with a two litter bottle of 7-Up in his lap. The man was lost and a bit confused. He was in no shape to drive and eventually agreed to let us give him a ride home.

The other cop on the call was going to take him home and I was going to park his truck in the adjacent parking lot, but there was one problem. He peed himself and his driver seat was soaked.

I saw that and wondered how I was going to get that truck into a parking spot without getting my pants wet. I shone my flashlight into the truck’s interior and saw a towel! That was a possibility, but the urine was going to soak through the towel within seconds.

Too bad there wasn’t a trainee working tonight. It would’ve been character building for them to figure this out.

Letting the guy drive into the parking lot wasn’t an option. Let’s just say it was a long story. Calling a tow truck wasn’t going to work either. I was just going to have to drive it.

I walked over to the other cop and asked, “Do you have any paper bags in the trunk?”

I asked this because paper bags are used for evidence rather than plastic bags like you see on TV or in the movies. He popped the trunk and there they were. Those large paper bags were my ticket to dry pants.

I pulled three out of his trunk and carried them to the pee-soaked driver seat. I placed them on the seat and carefully got in, making sure not to get my pants wet.

Once I was sitting on my paper bag throne I drove the truck out of the street and into a parking lot. I locked it up and happily walked away with dry pants.

Mission accomplished.

By the way, he wasn’t drunk. I checked the 7-Up bottle to make sure it really was soda.