You get an F

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About a week ago I was stuck in late afternoon traffic that was heavier than normal. While I was stopped, dispatch put out an injury traffic collision involving four cars at the freeway off ramp just ahead of me.

I looked across the sea of cars and saw the crash north of the city limit and I requested the neighboring city respond for the report.

I turned on my overhead lights as I tried to move over to the left. Once in the left lane, I squeezed between the median and traffic as I moved at a snail’s pace. Getting through traffic was no different than trying to put on a pair of jeans that I wore in high school. It just wasn’t happening.

When I finally got up to the crash I saw car with a shattered rear window and its trunk in the backseat. The driver had a dazed look as he stood next to the paperweight that used to be his car.

A full-sized truck had rear ended him, which caused a chain reaction with two other vehicles. The driver of the truck told me he was on the gas while changing lanes and never saw the car in front of him.

I started the paper work and waited for the other officer to respond. Once the other cop arrived, I told the offending driver I was leaving.

He gave me a lost look and asked, “Do I get a report card?”

I knew he meant report number, but I couldn’t resist as I replied, “Yeah, you get an F.”

The F comment hung there like a silent but deadly fart traveling through the air searching out an unsuspecting victim. His facial expression then changed knowing he was just Badge415ized.

He smiled and said, “That’s fucked up.”

“You opened the door on that one,” I replied as I smiled.

The call no one wants

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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.

We need to stop meeting by accident

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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.

A dumb excuse

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A few weeks ago, it was a rainy Friday night when I heard one of the dumbest excuses ever.  It was 2AM when I arrived at a crash where an officer pointed to a driver and said he was unlicensed.

During the interview with the driver I asked, “Who owns the car you were driving?”

“My mom.”

“Does she know you don’t have a license.”

“Yeah.”

After I was done talking with the son, I spoke to mom.

“Did you know he is unlicensed?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Why did you let him drive.”

“He was practicing.”

Practicing? That was the best she could come up with ?

“In the middle of the night and in the rain?” I asked with a surprised tone in my voice.

In the end,  the car was impounded for 30 days. Mom and son both got tickets. Mom for allowing an unlicensed person to drive her car and son for being unlicensed. 

Here’s the ironic part. Mom was the one who called the cops because she thought the other driver was DUI…… He wasn’t. 

 

What’s in the box?

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The other night I went to a hit and run collision where a truck was rear ended at a red light. After the crash, the victim asked the bad guy for his information. The bad guy told him he didn’t have insurance, so the victim said he was going to call the cops.

The bad guy replied by saying, “I’ll go to jail.”

The bad guy went back to his car and returned with something in his hand. He walked over to the victim’s driver door and put something on the seat. He then went back to his car and took off.

The victim looked and saw a small red gift box with a yellow bow on top on his driver seat.

Was this some type of remorseful gift for the hit and run? Was there money or even jewelry to help the victim feel better about being left in the middle of the street with a damaged bumper and an injured wife?

What could it be? Was there something mysterious in the box? The feeling of anticipation was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

“What was in the box?” I asked.

“Nothing,” replied the victim. “It was empty.”

“Empty?” I replied as I heard the loser tune from The Price is Right playing in the background. WTF

The victim’s daughter held the box up in her palm and opened it up for me. I looked inside and saw that it was as empty as when Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s vault (Google it if you didn’t get it).

After I left the call I thought of something funny. It’s too bad I couldn’t leave the the gift box at the suspect’s door with a note inside that said, “Badge415 found you.”

Maybe this year Santa can leave a lump of coal for Christmas in this guy’s stocking.

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…..