The candle call

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You just never know when something new or different is going to happen at work.

A few weeks ago, I responded to a major injury collision on the west end of the city. After the crash, one of the drivers was transported to the hospital and later died. The other driver and passenger remained at the scene and stood at the northwest corner.

A group of their friends showed up and stood by with them. Before I knew it, one of the friends was sitting on the sidewalk playing a guitar. There was a hippie like feel in the air as other people sat down next him. The only thing missing were candles.

A little bit later I saw a guy holding a Jesus candle walk into the street from the opposite corner. When he was told to stay out of the street he said, “I want to put the candle out for the guy.”

“Put it on the corner,” someone told him.

“But he died over there,” he replied.

The man figured out he needed to stay out of the street and put the candle down at the southwest corner. He lit it and a short time later the flame went out.

About an hour later I heard arguing at the same corner where the candle was. I looked and saw a two guys yelling at each other as they prepared to fight.

Didn’t they see the police cars and the cops standing in the middle of the street? First the guitar, then the candle and now a fight? Was it a full moon?

We walked over and separated everyone. It was just bizarre and we shook our heads at the madness.

When it was time to leave, we called for tow trucks and took down the crime scene tape. As the tow truck drivers cleaned up, something caught my eye. The was a candle with its flame shining brightly in the night at the northeast corner. I didn’t see who left it, but it was a symbol of just how different this call was.

Now there were two candles on opposite corners. This was the first fatal crash where candles were dropped off while I was still there. Even after all these years, there’s still room for plenty of “firsts.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

I only wanted Starbucks

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It’s amazing how doing one little thing can open the door to something else. Ask any cop and they’ll tell you stories how this happens all the time. The smallest vehicle code violaton often leads to other things like warrants, suspended licenses and other crimes.

The other night I was getting onto the freeway when I saw an SUV going a lot faster than everyone else. I had a perfect view from the on ramp as the vehicle raced past traffic.

The SUV came up to slower cars and had to slow down. It then accelerated again when a hole opened up. The driver’s only problem was I happened to be right behind her.

I still had Starbucks on my mind, but we were now going 83 miles per hour and passing other cars. I finally decided to stop the car and warn the driver. I just wanted to get my drink and use the restroom.

I put my lights on and the SUV took the off ramp where Starbucks was. This was going to be perfect. I put the stop out over the radio and dispatch told me the registration had expired 8 months ago.

The driver made a right turn from the off ramp and stopped within eyesight of Starbucks. I spoke to the driver about the violation and she told me she was on her way home. I also asked about the expired registration. She said, “This is my boyfriend’s car. I didn’t know. I’ll call him.”

I went back to my car and ran the plate on my computer just to make sure it expired in January.  After I confirmed it I went back to the car. The driver said, “I called my boyfriend and he didn’t know.”

I found that hard to believe. I could understand one or two months expired, but eight? The registration also showed parking violations on file.

“I’m going to impounded the car,” I said.

The driver simply said, “Okay.”

There was no drama or questioning the impound. It was as if she knew and expected the vehicle to be taken away. The tow truck arrived and Uber picked her up.

It’s funny how things work out. I only got on the freeway that night so I could get to Starbucks faster. If she had slowed down I would never have noticed.

By the way, I got my drink.

Do you pay for parking?

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On Monday I had to go to a deposition in Los Angeles County for a car accident that occurred 3 years ago. When I arrived, I couldn’t find parking and realized I had to park across the street in a private structure. I took my ticket stub with me in case the law firm validated parking.

I went inside and sat down in the conference room with the two attorneys and the stenographer. She swore me in and the plaintiff’s attorney said, “First of all, I’d like to thank you for your service.”

Wow. I had never had an attorney tell me that before. I told him, “Thank you” and we started the deposition. About an hour later we were done and it was time for me to leave.

As I stood up, the plaintiff’s attorney said, “Thank you for coming.”

I shook hands with both attorneys and the stenographer. I was about to leave when I realized I had the parking stub in my pocket. I looked at the plaintiff’s attorney and asked, “Do you guys pay for parking across the street?”

The attorney replied, “We don’t validate.”

It was okay because it didn’t hurt to ask. The attorney then surprised me as he pulled his wallet out. A few seconds he handed me money as he said, “It should be $6.”

Wow.

I thanked him and left thinking how much I appreciated his kind gesture. What a nice guy.

You  just never know what’s going to happen at work next.

No Parking

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The other night I was driving down the street when I saw a car parked next to a red curb and blocking a fire hydrant.

I decided to write a parking ticket and called a tow truck. After the car was hooked up I went a park around the corner and typed up the report.

Less than ten minutes later I was done with the impound report and hit the send button on my computer. As soon as my finger touched the screen the dispatcher broadcasted a disturbance call at the tow yard involving the same car.

It turned out a car load of guys followed the tow truck after it left the neighborhood. At one point, the car got in front of the tow truck as they tried to flag it down. Now they were there causing a problem with the driver.

I drove to the tow yard and saw two officers dealing with the car’s owner and four of his friends. I walked over to the group and asked who the owner was. A drunk guy stepped forward.

“Why did you park in front of the fire hydrant?” I asked.

“There was nowhere to park. I went inside to eat tacos.”

TACOS?

“How long were you there?”

“Maybe twenty to twenty-five minutes,” he said.

“Well, you can’t park in front of a fire hydrant. That’s why it was towed.”

With a bit of drunk attitude he replied, “Next time I’ll just park in the street with my flashers on.”

I wondered if he was always that dumb or if it was just tonight.

“If you do, I’ll just tow it again,” I replied.

That got a chuckle from one of the cops and it was also a conversation stopper for sure.

This was clearly someone who didn’t get it, but there was one thing for sure. Those were those most expensive tacos he ever ate.

She said turn left!

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The other night I responded to a single vehicle traffic collision where a car struck a fire hydrant. The driver, who was in his early 20s, told me he was driving down the street when his navigation told him to turn left.

“Siri told you to turn left?” I asked.

“No, Google maps.”

I noticed he had made a sharp left turn where the collision occurred and asked, “Was she yelling at you to turn?”

He let out a laugh and an embarrassed look as he said, “No.”

I imagined Siri yelling at him saying, “Turn left! Turn left now. Turn left or I’m going to kill you!” That would be the only reason why he turned the way he did. After my silly thought I said,  “At least no one was hurt. Do you know who Larry H. Parker is?”

“No.”

“Pull your phone out and Google him,” I said.

The driver pulled his phone out with a weird look on his face. One of the officers said, “He’ll fight for you.”

I laughed because I knew that was their motto for the commercials. They had been on TV since I was a kid and I had heard it a million times. The driver looked at us like he had no idea what we were talking about.

He typed in “Larry H. Parker” and hit send. I stood next to him as he clicked on the website. He started scrolling through the site and pointed like he found a prize as he said, “We’ll fight for you.”

“See I told you. They’ll fight for you.”

That’s just one of a long list of TV mottos that I bring up on calls all the time to get people to laugh.

I probably  watched too much TV as a kid…..

Was there a boom?

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The other night I was at a two-car crash where one of the drivers was a Mandarin speaker. Her friend, who was a woman in her 40s, responded to assist with translation.

We did the interview and I went to speak with the other driver. After I was done, I had to go back to the Mandarin speaker to ask a follow up question. The translator asked my question and the driver started speaking rapidly as she answered. At one point during her answer she said, “Boom.”

I looked at the translator and said, “Yeah, whatever she said and I got the boom part.”

The translator then said something about the crash being a “boom boom.”

“I wasn’t talking about the boom boom. Just the boom,” I said as a joke.

In accented English the translator said, “You’re on-duty right now. You can’t talk about the boom boom. After you get off duty, then you can talk about the boom boom.”

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The other officer and I burst into laughter. I almost had tears in my eyes.

You just never know when the Boom Boom is going to come up.

She Whipped him

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The other night I was sitting in my patrol car in the parking lot of the police department when a call went out over the radio about a family disturbance involving a woman with a whip.

I said, “I gotta see this,” and headed toward the call.

I arrived in the area and saw a woman with long hair running southbound across the street. I drove up and told her to stop. She stopped and started screaming at the top of her lungs. She wasn’t mad at me. She just had major issues. She was like a cavewoman with wild and unkempt hair and a heavy metal t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. For a moment I thought I was sent back to the 1980s like Marty Mcfly in Back to the Future.

I told her to sit down on the curb and I noticed a USB cable in her hand. I looked at the cable and wondered how that could have been mistaken for a whip.

“That’s it?” I told myself. It was like going to the ice parlor on a hot summer day and finding out the building had just burned down.

The woman was eventually arrested and I went to another call a little disappointed there was no whip. That’s not something you see every day unless it’s an Indiana Jones movie.

Later on I spoke to the handling officer and told him about USB cable.

“Oh, there was a whip,” he replied.

“There was?” I asked.

“It was a horse whip,” he said.

Well, that certainly made the story interesting again. I guess the ice cream parlor hadn’t burned down after all.

I still don’t know why they had the whip in the house, but lets just give a head nod and leave it at that.

You just never know how a call is going to whip into shape.

He popped his what?

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The other night, I was driving the down the street when I decided to pull a car over for a lighting violation. I put my overheads on and the vehicle started to slow down.

As it pulled to the curb, it seemed like the driver didn’t know what to do. Instead of stopping, the vehicle kept going and turned abruptly into a parking lot.

After the vehicle stopped, I walked up to door and asked the driver, who was about 18 years old, for his license. The driver was nervous as he tried to get his license out of his wallet. When he finally got it out he said, “I’m nervous. This is the first time I have ever been stopped.”

“I’m a lot of people’s first,” I said hoping he’d get my joke.

The driver smiled and said, “You popped my cherry.”

OMG. That had to be one of the funniest things I’d ever heard on a car stop. I laughed and handed him back his license as I said,  “That was funny.” I then waved at him and walked away.

You just never know what people are going to say at work.

He’s freaking weird

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Have your ever had a conversation that left you saying “WTF?”

The other night I was at a crash when the tow truck driver pointed down the street and asked, “Do you remember the crash where the car went through the wall?”

“You mean the fatal?”

“Yeah.”

“I remember it, but I wasn’t working that night.”

With a look of lust the driver tow driver said, “She had a nice ass. What a waste.”

“Who? The dead woman?” I replied.

“Yeah.”

“How did you see her? Was she still in the car?”

“No, she was in the street.”

“Didn’t she get ejected?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“So, you’re saying the dead woman had a nice ass?” I replied with sarcasm.

“She had a nice ass. What a waste,” he said as he shook his head.

I was speechless. That was the fart in the elevator moment that killed the conversation. There was no where to go after that.

As the tow truck drove away, I knew that tow truck man had just achieved Badge415 blog status.  Who says that? What a weird MOFO.

You just never know what people are going to say and you can’t make this stuff up.

She ripped him off

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On Saturday night, I was sitting in my car when I heard dispatch say, “The RP (reporting party) paid for sex and didn’t get any. He wants to report prostitution activity.”

Who calls the police about that?

Now, that’s not something you hear on the radio everyday! I was one block away from the call and decided to head over there to see what the story was. Before I drove away, I typed to one of the responding units and said, “I gotta see this.”

When I arrived at the motel, I parked near the front office. It was a two-story building that was at least 30 years old and stood in the shadow of the huge hotels across the street.

My friend Sean arrived about the same time. As he got out of his car he said, “I thought you were kidding when you said you had to see this.”

Another officer went into the office and spoke to the clerk about the room in question. While we waited, I asked, “Where’s the guy who called?”

“It was a refused RP,” Sean said.

“Damn.”

That was disappointing to hear. That was part of the reason why I went. Since I was already there I decided to have a little fun with dispatch. I keyed the microphone and asked, “Did the RP say if they had a receipt?”

There was a pause as the dispatcher asked me, “10-9,” which is radio code for repeat.

“Did the RP say if they had a receipt for the transaction?”

“The RP was refused.”

It was worth the attempt at humor because we laughed on the call. After that we went to motel room. As we walked up the stairs we passed tired looking tourist and I wondered if they had any idea about the prostitute who was ripping people off down the hall from them. I guess that’s the sort of thing that makes a vacation interesting for some people.

Of course, there was no answer at the door. Maybe it was our uniforms or the fact that we didn’t know the secret door knock. Since there was no answer it was time to move on to another call.

As I drove away I thought how funny it would be to put an add on Craigslist about the room. The add could have the motel’s address and the prostitute’s room number with a little warning like, “The cops already know about this place.”

I bet that would put a dent on business. Oh, the things you wish you could do……