“Can you let me in?”


I walked up to the backlot doors of the police department the other day at 4:45AM after a late call. I had my computer and clipboard in one hand and a drink in the other. I also had a shot gun slug over my left shoulder that was slipping as I tilted my body to the side of keep it up.

My building pass was in my left breast pocket and I leaned against the wall so the sensor could beep and unlock the door. The sensor beeped and I pulled on the door handle with my finger tips, but it didn’t open.

I leaned against the wall again and the beep sounded a second time. The door was still locked though. I tried this a few more times, wondering if the dispatchers were watching me on their camera.

In defeat, I finally pushed the call button and asked if they could open the door. After they answered, I turned toward the door and pulled on the handle, but it was still locked. I kept pulling and pulling, but the door just wasn’t going to open.

Now, I knew they were watching me and laughing. That’s when the radio came alive as the dispatcher said, “729.”

I slowly turned toward the camera wondering what was coming next. I keyed the mic and replied, “729.”

“729, are you Code 4?”

I smiled and shrugged my shoulders at the camera as I replied, “I’m code 4,”

I eventually got in and laughed all the way down the hall at my door experience. Now that was funny.

What kind of animal was it?


A few weeks ago I was sent to a call where a car crashed into a tree on the east end of our city. When I arrived, I saw the car in the middle of the street with major damage and fluid running downhill.

There was a pine tree on the side of the road with a large battle scar from the impact. The tree stood upright and strong as if to say, “Is that all you got?”

The officers on scene told me the driver crashed because of an animal.  I had heard that one before. Which animal was going to be blamed tonight? I was guessing a dog or a cat.

The woman, who was in her 30s, told me, “An animal ran in front of my car.?

I couldn’t resist as I asked, “Was it a squirrel?”

The woman gave me a confused look as she shook her head. She said, “I think it was a coyote. I have a picture.” She reached into her purse and pulled out her phone. She looked at her phone for a few seconds and then showed me a picture of a coyote in her backyard.

“Is that the coyote that ran in front of your car?” I asked.

“No!” She replied with a hard shake of the head.

“Which way was the animal running? Was it going that way or that way?” As I pointed to each side of the road.

“It was in the middle of the street.”

“Was it a squirrel?”

“No,” she said again with a strange look.

“What did you do?”

“I closed my eyes and the airbag went off.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t a squirrel?”

“Why do you keep asking if it was a squirrel?”

“Because its funny,” I replied with a big smile.

She heard that and burst out laughing. I was glad she laughed because I wasn’t sure how she was going to take my joke.

There’s one thing for sure about police work. Sometimes you just have to have fun out here.

Tore up from the floor up


The call went out as a fight on the fifth floor of a hotel involving numerous subjects in a room. A two-man car was dispatched and went on scene. I happened to be driving by and decided to stop.

I took the elevator up and turned left when the doors opened up. There was an officer standing outside the room with a male, who was a hotel guest with five other people.

After talking with him for a few minutes, I learned his friend was a mean drunk and all-around party buzzkill. He told me she was out of control and yelling.

I could tell his shirt was stretched from being pulled on, so I asked him about it. He looked down at the stretch marks and told me the party buzzkill drunk had done that when they tried calming her down.

She sounded like a keeper.

We stood by while the other officer went to speak to the hotel management about the room. It turned out there were so many complaints about the room the hotel wanted them out. The officer came back and gave them the bad news.

The group heard this and started gathering their belongings while the drunk buzzkill was still on the floor. After everything was packed they tried to get her up.

I was still in the hallway when one of the female friends said, “She’s still swinging. You guys are going to have to get her.”

We walked into the room just in time to see her get up from the floor. Her hair was like she stuck her finger in the light socket. Her clothes were disheveled and she looked like a hot mess. In short, she was tore up from the floor up.

I walked into the hallway to get out of the way of “tore up from the floor up.” I stood against the wall as the group walked by. She then started walking down the hall like the floor shifted for her.

It was like she was a piece of metal and I was a magnet as a 170lbs hot mess went toward me in slow motion. There was nowhere for me to go as her head and body bounced off of my chest like we were a in a pinball machine.

The friends grabbed her as they looked at me and said, “Sorry!”

The party buzzkill next walked up to the fire door in the hallway and punched it. The door started to close as her friends said, “Calm down. They’re going to arrest you.”

When they got to the car she wouldn’t get in. She put her arms on top of the roof and leaned on the car as they tried to push her in. After a few tries they got her in.

The entire scene was hilarious. Too bad I didn’t get a picture of her hair. That would’ve made this story perfect.

Where’s the camera?


On Wednesday I went to court to testify on a case. When I got to the courthouse, I found out the elevators were broken, so I had to use the stairs to go up to the fourth floor.

I opened the door to the stairway and started climbing. Thats when I saw two small unopened Snicker candies on the right side of the staircase.

What were they doing there? Was it a trap?

I walked by the candy and kept going to my courtroom where I testified for about 25 minutes. After I was done, I went to our court liaison office and filled out my overtime slip before heading back toward the stairs.

As I descended the stairs, I wondered if the snack sized Snickers bars were still there. Not only were they still there, but they had been moved to the other side of the stairs!!!

I almost started looking for a hidden camera.

I still think it was a trap……

The bump in the night


I was stopped for a red arrow in the left turn lane when the dispatcher called me over the radio saying, “729.”

“729?” I responded as I gave my location.

The dispatcher came back on the radio and sent me to a crash involving a car that had struck a wall on the west end of the city.

“10-4,” I replied.

My light was still red, but the traffic signal for through traffic was green. I decided to move over and go straight rather than wait for the red arrow. I put the car in reverse as I quickly glanced into the rear view mirror. Apparently, I glanced up too quickly……

I started to back up and I felt a bump.

It was a bump, not a thump. It was a bump in the night.

A bump you say?

There was one problem with this bump. There was no Thing One or Thing Two. There was no Cat In The Hat or Dr Seuss to make this a funny story.

The bump in the night was my police car hitting the car behind me.

With an embarrassed feeling, I got on the radio and gave my location as I told dispatch that I was just involved in a traffic collision. I then waited for a sergeant to come out and take a look.

When it was all said and done, there there was no damage to the other car, but there were some minor scratches to my rear bumper. Another patrol unit was called to take my collision report. Ironically, I had taken his report when he was in training. This was the first time where a prior customer took my report.

After I cleared the call, I ran into one of my old traffic buddies. He heard what happened and just laughed at me. I laughed with him, but it didn’t make me feel any better.

Then someone pulled a copyright infringement on me and used one of my traffic sayings when they said, “You just can’t go around hitting shit.”

OMG. It was hilarious. I never thought that saying would be used on me.

Another fatal


It always seems like I handle two or three fatal traffic collisions a year. It always the same every year. The most I ever handled in one year was ten in 2006. The second most was eight in 2011.

Well, this past week I handled number five. It was a pedestrian who tried to play Frogger across the street. It would’ve been number six had I not been off another night a few months ago when a fatal went out at 1:30AM.

Five might not sound like a lot when you compare it to ten, but that’s still five too many, especially when one of them was a toddler.

This also doesn’t count my other traffic partners, who work different shifts and hours the rest of the week.

We still have all of November and December left in the year. When you work 5PM to 3AM, that still a lot of time for a lot of bad things to happen before 2017.

Be careful out there.

“Enjoy that feeling”


The other night I was working a patrol shift when I was sent on a call with a new cop. I had met him once or twice when he was in training and didn’t know anything about him.

We handled the call and then talked next to our cars. I guessed him to be 21 or 22 years old. He had a baby face and probably shaved once a month. His youthful appearance and wide eye look gave him the unmistakable look of a new cop.

“How long have you been out of training?” I asked.

He thought for a moment and replied, “Four months.”

After a few minutes of talking, I could sense an energy and enthusiasm about him that reminded me of myself when I was his age. I stood there and remembered when everything was new.

Every call was an adventure and I would’ve done the job for free.

I stood there and wondered what I looked like as a “Boot” with my shiny new badge pinned to my chest with absolutely no idea what I was doing in the new world of police work. After reflecting, I thought back to this new guy, who still had 30 years ahead of him.

He didn’t have the look of a cop who had seen dead babies, dismembered body parts, or sacrificed family time for the demands of the job. He also didn’t have the look of a person who had seen and done things regular people only saw in movies or read in books. He still had his “innocence”. The job hadn’t changed him yet.

After talking with him for a few minutes I asked, “Would you do the job for free?”

He got a huge smiled and said, “Yes.”

He went on to tell me how he couldn’t wait to go back to work from his days off and how fun it was to be out here on the street. I listened and silently remembered saying the exact same things when I was his age.

“Enjoy that feeling,” I said. “When I was new, I would’ve done the job for free too.” After he laughed I added, “I still like coming to work, but I want to be paid now.”

You can’t beat getting paid for what you love doing.

My junior negotiator


Last week I attended a 40 hour basic crisis negotiation class along with two other co-workers. We went to this training because we are the newest members of our department’s negotiation team.

On Wednesday I picked up my daughter from gymnastics. When she got in the car she said, “I tried some of the things you learned,” referring to the negotiator school.

She went on to tell me how she asked a girl at gymnastics how her day was. That particular question came from a negotiation book I just read. The goal was to ask that question and then use “mirroring” to get the girl to keep talking about her day.

The girl answered by saying, “It was good and bad.”

“It was good and bad?” asked my daughter.

The friend replied back and added more about her day. My daughter then repeated back the friend’s last words in the form a question just like she did with “It was good and bad?” This went back and forth at least five times as my daughter got the girl to keep talking.

With enthusiasm in her voice my 11 year old said, “I was shocked that it worked so well.” She was very proud of herself. She then said, “Can I be a junior negotiator?”

That made my day. The innocence and the smile on her face were truly a negotiator dad moment.

The candle call


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


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.