That’s the best you can come up with?


You never know what’s going to come out of someone’s mouth when they’re worried about getting a ticket. The stuff people blurt out might’ve sounded good in their head, but not so much when a follow up question is asked about their excuse.

The other day I stopped a car for making a right turn on a red light without stopping. After the car stopped, I walked up on the driver door and asked, “Hi, how come you didn’t stop for the red light when you turned?”

The driver, who was in his mid-thirties, unshaven and wearing a buttoned up work shirt nervously said, “I’m in a hurry to study for a test.”

I raised my left arm up in an exaggerated manner as I looked at my watch, which said 6:15PM. I looked back at the driver and asked, “Is your test at 7 o’clock?”

“No, it’s in two months.”

“Studying for a test that’s two months away is the best you can come up with?” I asked as The Price is Right’s loser tone went off in my head.

At least he smiled at how silly his excuse sounded.  I guess it was worth a try, but he should’ve studied the part about stopping for red lights in the DMV handbook instead.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Always watch your back


It was a warm September afternoon and I had just gone 10-8 when I heard one of the cops put out a car stop on the radio. His voice was normal and everything sounded routine.

About ten seconds later a voice of urgency came on the radio saying, “Code 3 follow.”

I hit the lights and siren as my engine roared to life. The car sped by as buildings, trees and cars became a blur. I turned eastbound onto a major street and then a hard right into the driveway of an apartment complex.

When I arrived the cop had the driver, who was uncooperative, at gunpoint. He was given numerous commands to turn around and keep his hands up, but he wouldn’t comply. After some tense moments he eventually listened and was handcuffed.

It turned out the suspect had a loaded revolver tucked inside his waistband, brass knuckles, a large knife and bullets for reloading. This definitely could’ve ended up in an officer involved shooting. I wonder what he was thinking by not listening. It’s almost as if he was trying to get shot, but chickened out.

A few months later, I went to my favorite taco place at 1AM to get something to eat. As I stood in line, I looked around and scanned faces. Some were looking at their food and others were looking at me. Then I stopped at one face.

It was the guy from the car stop, who had the gun.

He had his back to the wall and he was looking at me. We locked eyes for a moment and I could see the wheels turning in his head as he tried to figure out if he’d seen me before. He then glanced back down at his plate, but he kept looking up at me.

After I ordered, I took a spot in the restaurant so I could watch him while I waited for my food. I’d bet money he had a gun on him again and I wasn’t going to take my eyes off of him, especially wth the way he was watching me.

I stood there and formed a plan in case he pulled a gun out. I looked at places to take cover, how to exit the front door and the people around him if I had to shoot back.

It’s funny. Most people go to a restaurant and order their food without a second thought. As a cop, you see the world in an entirely different way and ordering food can be just as dangerous as handling a call.

It might sound silly, but you just never know what’s going to happen and you don’t get a second chance.

“I have to poop!”


On Friday night I was responding to a traffic collision when I saw a car run a stop sign as it turned left. There were units at the collision scene so I decided to stop the car.

I put my lights on and the vehicle pulled over abruptly. I exited my car and walked up on the driver door with my hand on my gun. A shone my flashing into the car as I looked for the driver’s hands.

I inched closer wondering what was up with the driver because of the abrupt stop and the way he ran the stop sign. That’s when he turned toward me with a panicked look as he practically yelled, “Officer, I have to poop! I have to poop!”

“You have to poop?”

“Yes, I have to poop!”

“Are you sweating?” I asked.

“No,” he replied with a strange look.

“Then you don’t have to poop that bad then.”

“I do.”

“Why didn’t you poop at the toco place down the street?”

“There was a taco place?”

He was talking fast and looked like he was crowning. From his facial expressions, he probably had a turtle head going. At one point he leaned back in his seat like he was trying to keep the deuce back.

“How do I know you really have to poop?” I asked.

“Can you follow me to Walmart so we can talk about it there? Thats where I was going.”

At this point I figured he was legit. Maybe the poor guy really had to poop. I decided to have one last bit of fun before I let him go without a ticket.

I said, “Tell me a joke and make me laugh. Then you can go.” He closed his eyes and was deep in thought, but nothing funny was going to come from him. “And no number 2 jokes either,” I added.

With his head on the headrest and eyes closed, the driver licked both index fingers and rubbed his earlobes as he said, “My dad says this works.”


The earlobe thing made it weird. After his ears were nice and lubricated he said, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“That’s not a joke,” I corrected him, causing him to laugh.

Clearly this guy wasn’t good under pressure. He wasn’t the quarterback you wanted with the game on the line. He was just jello.

I laughed and handed him his license back as I said, “Go do that voodoo that you do.”

With a look of relief, the driver leaned out the window and said, “Thank you!”

What a crappy feeling it must’ve been when I stopped him.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

“Can I have a chance?”


I was driving down the street at dusk when I saw a car with its flashers on. It was heading in the same direction and was going very slow. That’s when I saw a 2015 registration sticker on the license plate. Since we were going so slow, I decided to run the plate. The information came back showing it expired 6 months ago.

The car was now sputtering and almost coughing up smoke as it limped down the road.  It was in critical condition at this point and  the only thing missing was a storm cloud above it. I put my lights on and the car slowly pulled to the side like it was giving up.

I walked up and smelled something burning from the tired and beaten up looking car. I’m sure it was just waiting to be put out of its misery.

I told the driver the reason for the stop and asked for his license. He replied by saying, “I don’t have it on me.”

This is usually code for “I don’t have a license” or “It’s suspended.”

“Do you a license or did you forget it at home?”

“It’s suspended.”

Code words confirmed.

I did a record check and found out he was driving the same car in March when he was given a ticket for a suspended license, no insurance and expired registration.

I called a tow truck and filled out another ticket for his collection. I walked back up with the citation and told him the car was getting impounded. I next waited for the, “Can I have a chance” request.

“Can someone come pick up the car?”

“No. Your license is suspended and you keep driving.”

“My brother has a tow truck. Can he tow it home?”

I looked up for a moment wondering if he was for real. What kind of question was that? I’ve impounded a lot of cars in my time, but no one has anyone asked to impound their own car.

As the tow truck hooked up the car, the driver came up again and asked for a chance.

“Did you get a ticket in March?” I asked.


“Yes you did. You were driving that car when you got stopped.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Did the cop take the car on that day?”


“Well, that was your chance.”

He didn’t have anything to say after that. He knew the car was going for sure.

He was a nice guy, but sooner or later you have to take responsibility for your actions. I have no doubt he’ll drive again. It just wont’ be in that car for the next 30 days.

“I made a slow down”


The other night a car made a right turn on a red light without stopping. It was as if the red light wasn’t there, so  I decided to stop the car.

He had a head start on me so I pushed down on the gas pedal to catch up to him. The engine revved on “old faithful” as my patrol car gained on him.

Once I was behind him, I threw on the overheads and the car pulled to the curb. After it stopped, I walked up as my red and blue lights flashed and bounced off houses and passing cars.

“Hi, can I see your license?”

The driver, who was 20 years old, reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. As he grabbed for his license I asked, “Why didn’t you stop for the red light when you made the right turn?”

The driver, who was understandably nervous, handed me his license as he said, “I made a slow down.”

“A slow down?” I asked with raised eyebrows. “The light was red. Why didn’t you stop?”

“I yielded,” he said as if  he was in a hot air balloon with a leak that was crashing toward he ground.

“What color is the light for yield?”

“Uh, yellow.”

That’s when an embarrassed look appeared on his face as he realized how silly his excuse sounded.

I have a feeling he’ll stop at this red light the next time he makes a right turn.

Where’s the steering wheel?


The other night I was sent a call on the eastern end of the city. I was near the freeway, so I decided to jump on and get there faster. I took the on ramp and started to accelerate.

I was up to freeway speed in a matter of seconds and looked into my mirror as I prepared to merge into traffic. Just as I looked, I heard the sound of skidding off to my left.

I turned my head just in time to see a car blowing by me as it was trying to slow down. Its brake lights were shining brightly like a lighthouse on a rocky coast on a foggy night for passing ships to see.

The car decelerated to 70 miles per hour in a matter of seconds.

It’s amazing how that works when you pass a police car like that. Of course, he needed to be stopped. I’m sure everyone else on the freeway wanted to see it too.

I turned on my lights as red and blue reflected off of everything around me. In defeat, the car pulled over and stopped on the shoulder. After the car stopped, I walked up on the passenger side as I used my flashlight to illuminate the inside.

I looked into the car trying to see the driver’s hands. That’s when I noticed there was no steering wheel. It just didn’t look right. How was he steering the car? I actually had to do a double take.

That’s when I saw a steering wheel on the passenger seat. That didn’t look right either. It was like a Twilight Zone car stop.

I asked, “Why is your steering wheel there,” as I pointed to the passenger seat.

“I wanted to show you I wasn’t going to take off,” he replied.

That actually made me laugh.

I never even thought of that one before. I took out my phone and told him, “I’m taking a picture of that.” I instantly knew he’d make the blog.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Do you know the name of your passengers?


The other night a two-man patrol car asked for a follow up on a car stop they had just made. I wasn’t far from the stop and headed that way. When I arrived up, I saw their patrol car in the middle of a narrow and old looking street. A beat up looking white car was pulled over.

As I walked up, the officer pointed to a gun on the trunk of his car and asked, “Does that look real?”

It was actually a pellet gun that looked like a semi-auto handgun. It looked like the real deal for sure. The driver had it under his seat at the time of the stop. Of course, he claimed he didn’t know it was there and said it belonged to his father and brother. After I looked at the gun I went to stand by with the driver and engaged him in small talk.

“What’s your name?”

The driver, who was sitting on the curb and in his early 20s said, “Frank.”

We talked about where he lived and what he did for work. I also asked him about the gun. After a few minutes I pointed to one of his passengers, who was sitting on the curb and asked, “What’s his name?”

Frank put his hands behind him on the ground as he leaned back to look at the guy. His jaw clenched slightly and his eyes squinted as he looked back at me and said, “I don’t know.”

“Really? How long have you known him?

“Two weeks.”

“How can you have some dude in your car and not know his name? How do you know him?”

“He comes around.”

“You mean he comes around like a cat?”

Frank smiled at that and said, “No. I just know him from around.”

“What about the other guy?”

Frank looked over at the other passenger and said, “Ah, Larry or something.”

“How long have you known Larry or something?”

“Almost two years.”

Here’s the funny thing. I didn’t get the feeling he was being dishonest. Those were just his answers because he really didn’t know their names. Most regular people know the names of their passengers, but not out here on the streets.

When you’re driving around a rundown neighborhood with a fake gun under the seat and trying to sell a laptop, people’s names aren’t that important to these guys. It’s just the way it’s always been.

“I gotta pee too”


When people don’t stop for red lights or stop signs they give all sort of excuses from “I didn’t see it” to “I stopped real fast.” Some will just lie about it and simply say, “I stopped.”

This past week an old favorite has come up again. A few women have tried using the old “I have to pee” excuse. I haven’t heard that one in a long time, but apparently there’s a reemergence of people relying on their large and small intestines to try and get them out of a ticket.

I applaud them for trying because it just gives me a reason to write a blog story. In fact, two women told me the “I have to pee” excuse while running the same stop sign on two separate days.

gotta pee

That excuse always reminds me of the movie Forrest Gump when he told the president, “I gotta pee” after drinking 15 bottles of Dr Pepper while at the White House.

Whenever I hear someone say, “I have to pee,” I simply reply back, “I gotta pee too.”

The look on their face is priceless. They always pause for a moment as if they’re thinking, “Did that cop just tell me he had to pee?” That’s the best part because they all have the same look. It never gets old. To show them I was reading their mind I’ve always wanted to say, “Yeah, I just said I gotta pee.”

The all time best is when a woman said, “I have to poop” after running a stop sign.

Even though I didn’t say it, I fought the urge to reply, “I gotta poop too,” but it would’ve made everything feel awkward if I had.

You never know when “number one” or “number two” is going to come up in a conversation. This is police work and people say the funniest things.

“Why didn’t you stop for the red light?”


People are funny because they tend to all say the same thing in similar situations when the police catch them doing something wrong. There are some answers that you can bet on to be the same every time.

These common answers can be fun to work with because you can see them coming a mile away. Of course, it depends on the situation, but there are times when I can be two questions ahead of someone because I’ve already been in that particular situation thousands of times before.

“I paused” is one such answer when it comes to failing to stop for a stop sign or a red light.

I recently stopped a man for making a right turn against a red light at an intersection without stopping. He did it right in front of me, so I pulled him over. After he stopped, I walked up on the driver side and asked him for his driver’s license. I then asked him about the violation while he looked through his wallet.

“Why didn’t you stop for the red light?” I asked.

“I paused.”

“You paused?”

“Yes, I paused.”

“Do you have a DVR at home?” I asked.

“Yes,” the man answered with a confused look on his face.

“When you’re watching a movie and you press the pause button what happens to the movie?”

“It stops.”

“So, why didn’t you stop for the red light then?

It was like the wheels were turning in his head as he squinted, trying to figure out what just happened. The look on his face was great because he wasn’t expecting that question. That might have been the first time he heard that question, but it was probably my one hundredth time asking it. This then set up my next question.

“So, you really didn’t stop, right?”

“No,” he said with a defeated look.

The driver who got a history lesson on my car stop

You just gotta have fun……

One night we were dispatched to a traffic collision in an alley with no details. The caller reported possibly hearing a crash after car was skidding up and down the alley.

We drove the alleys of the neighborhood, but couldn’t find any damage. We then saw a car that matched the description and stopped it.

It turned out to be the correct car except there was no collision damage. The driver confirmed everything the caller had described, which included the skidding and fast driving through the alleys. To top it off, he was unlicensed.

I thought we were going to impound his vehicle since he was unlicensed, but my partner, who was training as a new traffic officer, said the driver could keep his car. My mouth fell open when I heard that.

I said, “Hold on. You have to answer a question correctly or we’re going to impound your car.”

He pointed to the other officer and said, “He told me I could keep the car.”

“I know, but I’m in charge here,”

He looked back and forth at us, as I tried to keep a straight face.

“How many continents are there in the world?” I asked.

The confused look on his face was priceless. It was as if his head was about to explode.

“Um, Thirty four?”

“No, seven,” I said as I corrected him like a TV game show host with a buzzer in the background.

His head involuntarily bounced back as he rolled his eyes and threw his arms up in the air like he had just dropped the game winning touchdown pass.

“Ok, let’s try another question. Name the president who was assassinated in 1865.”

He couldn’t even answer it. I probably started with questions that were too hard. He was clearly not the Trivial Pursuit champion.

“It was Abraham Lincoln,” I said.

“Lincoln wasn’t president when he was shot.”

“Yes he was,” I said.

“No, he wasn’t.”

I had to take a commercial break to help educate this guy on where, when and who shot Abraham Lincoln.

After I was done I asked, “Did you finish high school?”


“Okay. What was Abraham Lincoln’s mother’s name?”

“I don’t know,” he said with a frustrated look.

“It was Mrs. Lincoln,” I replied with a smile.

Again the arms went up and the head went back in frustration.

That’s when I broke out the “rock, paper, scissors” game and said he could keep his car if he won.


He looked back and forth at us like he couldn’t believe this was happening. I put my hands in the starting position and said, “On three.” He reluctantly put his hands up to play.

Just as we started to hit our palms, I stopped and said, “Let’s make this interesting. If I win, you go to jail too.”

His eyes almost flew out of his head when he heard that. I was trying my hardest not to laugh at this point.

Now it was time to play. He bent his knees and raised his hands to the ready position. He tapped his feet as he crouched down like a tennis player at The French Open waiting for the serve to come his way.

The tension mounted as we started counting “1, 2, 3,” at the same time our fists hit our open palms.

We both had “rock” the first time.

Then we both had “paper” the second time. The competition was fierce.

The guy was totally into it now. He was concentrating as if every strike of his palm was his last. It was like sudden death overtime in a football playoff game. We then tied the third time as he both showed “rock” again.

I finally let him off the hook and said he could keep his car. The look of relief on his face was like the “Thrill of Victory” from the opening credits of Wide World of Sports. I could swear he was breathing hard after too.

I then asked, “What did you learn tonight?”

He said, “I learned Lincoln was killed in the movie theater.”

“No! There were no movie theaters in 1865. It was just a theater,” I said as I shook my head in disbelief.

“What else did you learn?”

“There are seven continents in the world.”

“What else?”

“Don’t drive without a f#^!ing license.”


After it was all said and done, I didn’t feel bad at all. He could’ve crashed and hurt someone.

Plus, he didn’t get a ticket, so entertaining me was the least he could do.