Always watch your back

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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.

33 years?

 

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On Monday morning, I was sitting in a courtroom after working a graveyard shift the night before. I was in the corner with other cops, who were as unlucky as me to be there.

My head was in a tire fog as the judge spoke to lawyers about current and upcoming cases. There were also people in custody, who were in the caged area. I couldn’t see them from where I sitting, but I could hear them when they answered the judge.

I wasn’t really paying attention to what was being said until I heard the judge say, “You do realize you’re looking at 33 years in prison,” as she looked toward the caged area.

A male voice replied, “Yes, ma’am.”

“Are you sure you want to represent yourself at trial,” the judge asked.

“Yes, ma’am.”

Wow. 33 years?

The judge asked the man if he really wanted to act as his own lawyer at trial. He told her he wanted to. The judge told him about certain courtroom procedures that he was going to be expected to know. She also told the man he was going to be up against an experienced deputy district attorney.

The judge brought up the possible 33 year sentence again and asked him if he really wanted to represent himself.

“Yes, ma’am.”

The cops around me all shook their heads.

Wow. I guess that guy really wants three guaranteed meals for the next three decades.

4Runner target practice

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On Thursday night, I responded to a hit and run call in an alley. When I arrived, I found a parked Toyota 4Runner with front end damage and the front bumper from the suspect vehicle on the ground right next to it.

Another officer advised over the radio that he was out with the suspect and the victim at a 7-Eleven parking lot about a half mile away. I interviewed a witness at the scene and then drove to the suspect’s location.

It turned out the suspect, who we’ll call Tammy, crashed into the parked 4Runner when she was trying to drop someone off.

Right after the collision, a vehicle drove into the alley and stopped. Coincidentally, it was the owner of the parked 4Runner, who just happened to arrive in the alley.

The guy got out of his vehicle and saw that his 4Runner was just hit. Tammy decided she was going to split and started to drive away. The only problem was that Tammy crashed into the guy’s other vehicle, which was also a Toyota 4Runner!

After the second collision Tammy fled the scene as the victim chased after her. She finally gave up and pulled over in the 7-Eleven parking lot.

What were the odds of the victim owning two 4Runners and having them hit by the same suspect in two separate collisions?

You just can’t make this stuff up.

That’s just weird

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The other night, a gang unit came on the radio saying they were trying to stop a person on a bike who was trying to get away from them. I was close by and got there a moment after the suspect was caught.

When I arrived, the helicopter directed me into the alley where the officers were. I saw a Honda stopped facing eastbound and a police car behind it. There was also a BMX bicycle on its side.

One of the gang cops pointed to the Honda and told me the suspect broke off its passenger side mirror when he hit the car. After the collision, the suspect left the bike and fled on foot. That’s when they caught him.

The bicycle rider was the hit and run suspect? That’s a new one.

The victim was standing next to his car and I went to get his information for the report. Instead of a driver’s license, I got a blank look because he didn’t have one.

This call was already weird enough with the hit and run suspect being a guy on a bike. You might as well throw in another guy with no license to make it interesting. Maybe a circus was in town and we could have clowns too.

After I was done with the driver, I wrote down the suspect’s information. A record check showed he had a valid driver’s license.

What?

So, let me get this straight. The hit and run dude on a bike had a driver’s license, but the guy driving the car didn’t????

Weird, right?

Weird is actually pretty normal for me at work. I wouldn’t expect anything else.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

What was he thinking?

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The other night I was trying to get off early when I was sent to a non-injury crash an hour before I was supposed to get off. The call information was that the drivers were arguing and one of them was refusing to exchange information.

When I arrived, I contacted a male, who told me his vehicle was parked in the alley when it was hit by another car. Simple enough, right?

Of course, that plan fell apart because any time you want to get off early something always happens.

I contacted one of the driver’s and could tell he had been drinking. He was also unlicensed. I got his statement and another officer conducted the DUI investigation. In the end, the driver was arrested for DUI and taken to jail.

Here’s the best part of the story. It turned out the DUI guy was the one who didn’t want to exchange information with the victim driver. That was the only reason why the police were called.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Where’s my mommy?

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The call came out as a felony hit and run involving a pedestrian with witnesses following the suspect. Dispatch updated the suspect’s location as it continued westbound on a major highway.

A few minutes later we caught up to the suspect and stopped the vehicle in a parking lot. After the interviews, we learned that the victim was transported to the hospital because her foot was run over. The suspect was arrested for felony hit and run and placed in the back of a police car. She also was driving on a suspended license.

This wasn’t the typical hit and run story though. This one had a bit of a twist to it.

What made this one a little different were the passengers in the suspect vehicle. They weren’t a bunch of hoodlums or gang members. They were the driver’s 6 and 3 year old daughters.

After mom was arrested, I walked up to the vehicle so I could get her purse and cell phone for her. There was an officer standing at the car wth the children. The 6 year old seemed to be having a good time taking with the officer.

I looked at her and asked, “Where’s mummy’s purse and cell phone?”

“Right there, ” she said as she pointed to the front seat.

“Thanks,” I replied.

I was about to walk away when she asked, “Where’s my mommy?”

I was kind of hoping to avoid that one. What do you tell a 6 year old? You can’t just say, “Mommy went to jail because she ran over a woman.”

Instead, I went with, “Mommy is talking to a police officer.”

“OK.”

“Your daddy is coming,” I said.

“My daddy is coming?”

“He’ll be here soon.”

“OK.”

I took the purse and phone to the patrol car and gave them to the officer. He then drove her to jail.

A few minutes later I walked by the vehicle and the little girl asked, “Where’s my mommy?”

“She’s talking with the officer at the police station,” I replied.

“Ok. Do you have kids?’ she asked. It was the cutest thing.

“I do. Do you want to see a picture of them?”

“Yeah,” she said with a smile.

I took my phone out and showed her a picture of my kids. The little girl looked at my daughter and said, “She’s pretty!”

You can’t beat a child’s innocence.

We’re toxic together

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The other night I responded to a restraining order violation call involving a man and a woman, who have a child together. When I got there I saw them speaking to officers. The man, who was Caucasian and his 30s, was sitting on the bumper of a patrol car. His shirt was dirty and his hair was unkempt.

I stood there in awe as I listened to him ramble about all kinds of things. It was both funny and sad to know he was reproducing. I didn’t want to stand too close to him in case some of his dumbness tried to rub off onto me.

One of the first things he said was, “My record is a mile long.”

I had not doubt about that as I listened to him.

The subject of domestic violence came up and he had plenty to talk about since he’d been arrested before. He was talking to a cop when he said, “OJ fucked it up for everyone.”

I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard that. I wasn’t laughing at what happened with OJ Simpson. I was laughing because this guy said it in the middle of a domestic violence restraining order investigation.

The subject turned to his relationship with his ex and what she used to do for a living when he said, “She was a prostitute. It runs in her family.”

Who says that to a bunch of strangers? Just hilarious.

I then made small talk with the victim. “How long were you together?” I asked.

“For 17 years. We’re toxic together.”

She went on to tell me all kinds of stories about their drug use, their prison time and an 18 year daughter she gave up along time ago.

After he was arrested, the woman said she was going to call a friend for a ride. She walked to a fast food restaurant to wait. As she walked away, I wondered how much damage had been caused to their child by the “toxic” relationship they share.

Unfortunately, the poor kid doesn’t have a chance.

 

Don’t mess with the Bluecheck

image“Eddie Murphy Raw” came out in 1987. It was a stand up comedy video that is still hilarious almost 30 years later. The other night, I was on a call when I was reminded about a joke Eddie Murphy told on that video.

The joke was about a woman, who caught her man leaving another woman’s house. She confronted him and he replied, “Wasn’t me.” She accused him a few more times and his only response was, “Wasn’t me.”

Even though he was caught red handed he never admitted it. Now, jump in a black and white police car and you’ll meet plenty of people like that.

When I arrived on the call, an officer asked, “Do you have a Bluecheck?” A Bluecheck is a handy bit of technology that checks fingerprints though my work laptop. If the person’s fingerprints are in the system the computer will give you a hit in less than a minute.

“Yes,” I replied as I went to my car to get it.

I walked up to the suspect and asked, “What’s your name?”

“John Smith.” (I changed his name)

“Have you ever used a different name before?”

“No,” he replied.

I pulled out my Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire (L.L.P.O.F.) detector and put his right and left index fingers on it. The prints were sent to my computer via Bluetooth and a minute later John Smith’s picture popped up on my screen with a different name and date of birth.

I love it when that happens.

The picture and info meant he was booked at the department before. There was also a Department of Justice hit on his name. I asked the suspect again if he ever used a different name before. “No,” he answered.

I asked, “Who is Jim Thompson?”

“I don’t know.”

I took my computer over to him and showed him the picture. John/Jim looked at his picture on my computer and said he didn’t know who that was. As I walked away he said, “I have no idea who that guy is.”

At that point, I pictured Eddie Murphy saying, “Wasn’t me.”

Yeah, it was you. Your fingerprints said so. You can’t make this stuff up.

A Christmas Eve stabbing

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It was about 2:40AM when I pulled up to a stabbing call on Christmas Eve. I parked my car and walked toward the house where the stabbing was. I entered the house and saw a couple of people sitting on the couch. They obviously were sleeping when all the commotion started. I walked through the house toward the backyard where the other officers were. That’s when I saw the victim lying on his side with cops kneeling beside him. 

I stood there wondering what kind of person stabs another on Christmas Eve.

When the paramedics arrived, they surrounded the victim and went to work. One of the paramedics took out a pair of scissors and started cutting his shirt off. When the shirt was removed I was able to see numerous stab wounds on the victim’s side and back.

After a few minutes I looked at my watch and decided it was time to leave because it was the end of my shift. As I  headed back to my car the paramedics were right behind me as they wheeled the victim to the ambulance. They loaded him up and took off with their lights and siren on. 

The call was a perfect example of how some people don’t care what the calendar says. It wasn’t Christmas Eve to the suspect. It was just Thursday morning and he stabbed someone. It’s amazing how human life means so little to some people out here on the street.

It’s the dark side of society most people don’t know about. For most people this would be shocking to see. For me, it was just another “normal” day at work.

Now it’s time to enjoy the next two days off. Merry Christmas.

Two different types of drunks

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The other night we were in the 7-Eleven parking lot on a DUI crash. When I first got there, I saw a male standing in front and didn’t pay much attention to him. Where I work, it’s not uncommon to see people hanging around 7-Eleven with nothing to do. I figured he was just one of those guys.

I did my interviews and the DUI driver was arrested. He was a happy drunk and was very cooperative. He was a carefree guy and was handcuffed with no problems. After he was arrested the driver smiled and said, “Come on. Let me go.” The patrol officer then took him to the car and had him sit in the backseat.

That’s when the guy from in front of 7-Eleven started walking toward us with his hands out like a drunk zombie as he said, “Arrest me instead.”

What a guy, right? It was out of the ordinary for a stranger to act like this on a collision call, but then again, nothing is too weird at work.

We told the guy to step back and go away, but he wouldn’t listen. He kept coming closer and closer. He eventually got arrested and became a bigger idiot after he was handcuffed. The officers took him to the car so he could get a ride with the DUI driver.

Well, he didn’t want to get into the car. The officers took the DUI out and asked me to standby with him. During this time, the other drunk was yelling, screaming and telling everyone what he really thought of cops in his best Rated R language.

That’s when the DUI guy said, “Look at this guy. He’s full of shit. I’m not like that. Let me go.”

I told him, “We appreciate it, but we just can’t let you go. We have to do our jobs.”

“Come on. Let me go.”

“You were DUI and you crashed into that woman. Plus, you don’t even have a license.”

“I know, but look at him. I’m not like that.”

It was funny to listen to nice suspect while the other guy was being such an ass. It almost made me want to give the guy a freebie. Not really. I was kidding. It was amazing to see how a regular call could go downhill in a matter of seconds because of a drunk knucklehead who wasn’t even involved.

That’s police work for you though.