Maybe it’s you

It was dusk on Friday evening when an officer requested a follow up on a stop he’d made on a residential street not far from where I was writing parking tickets. When I got there, I saw an older car parked along the north curb and a male in the driver seat. Another male was already sitting on the curb with two other cops standing by.

The driver was patted down and instructed to sit on the curb next to his friend, who had been the passenger. The driver was in his early forties, thin and was wearing a Green Bay Packers hat. As soon as he sat down he started complaining as he said, “The cops are always pulling me over.” He followed that up with some more nonsense about being a victim and how the cops are always picking on him.

He said all of this despite having a meth pipe and being on parole for robbery.

Rather than stare at each other, I engaged him in small talk because you never know what’s going to come up, so I asked, “What else have you been arrested for?”

“Robbery, but that was a long time ago. I stole something from a store and they called it a robbery.”

“What else?”

“They once said I tried to cash a forged check.”

“What else?”

“Aggravated assault.”

“So, you’ve been arrested for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, forgery and now you have a meth pipe?” The driver nodded, but still had the victim look on his face. “And you say the cops are always stopping you?” I added with a tone of skepticism in my voice.

He nodded again and said, “I can’t even sit in my car without the cops giving me a hard time. They’re always stopping me.”

This guy clearly has made poor life decisions and continues to do so. I wondered if there ever was a time he owned any of his tomfoolery or idiot missteps in life. This guy was the poster child for people who don’t accept responsibility for their actions.

I couldn’t resist and asked, “Did you know there’s a book called Maybe It’s You?”

He couldn’t help but smile at that one, but continued to talk about how the cops always stop him. That’s when I added, “Once again, maybe it’s you.” He shook his head and smiled because he knew I had zinged him again with Badge415 wit.

His attitude improved after some light humor and talk about his Packers hat and how they became the team. In the end he was cited for the pipe and sent on his way.

My comments were meant to be funny and to have a little fun at his lack of responsibility in life, but it was obvious this grown ass man has never looked in the mirror and figured out his biggest problem in life was him.

They keep crashing

On my first day in the traffic detail in 1999 my training officer told me to keep a log of every report I took. He suggested I get a steno pad and write down every report number by the month and keep a running total.


Over the years this number has grown and is sometimes the subject of conversation with other officers, who ask how many I’m up to now.


Today was my first shift of the new year and I added up my yearly total for 2020. The total was four hundred collision reports for the year. That was a little down from 2019 when I took four hundred thirty five and four hundred thirty eight in 2018.


Here’s what make my 2020 stats significant.


In April of 2020, we stopped responding to non-injury accidents, along with hit and runs with no suspect info. You’d think my numbers would be down significantly from the years before, but they weren’t.

It’s also significant because that doesn’t count the reports that trainees took when they rode with me. Who knows what that number would’ve been had I been solo those nights.

So, what does it all mean?


It means there are some careless MOFOs out there and you don’t want to end up in my log, which is 8,202 and counting as of tonight.


WOKE AF

Scripps Pier in La Jolla, CA

Where did the time go? I looked at the blog and saw my last post was in 2019. Now, at the dawn of 2021, I figured this would be as good as time as any to get these rusty fingers flying across the keyboard again with some sarcasm.

I’m not going to bore you with talk about how people thought 2020 sucked or how much better 2021 will be. If you ask me, it really wasn’t that bad at all. That, of course, depends on where you were sitting and what kind of view you had for the shit show.

What I really want to talk about is how I’m Woke AF now. Yes, that’s me, the awakened one. The one who was blind to all the un-wokeness of the past. I now view the past through the Woke prescription glasses of enlightenment.

In fact, I feel the Woke AF-ness flowing through me like The Force flows through Luke Skywalker.

You might wonder where this came from? What was my epiphany? Where was the U-turn sign in life that got me going in the Woke direction?

I’m kidding. I’m actually Sarcastic AF.

You might be an idiot if….

You might be an idiot if……

On Saturday night I walked into 7-11 (The NSUB for North Substation) to use the microwave. I noticed a woman in a short black dress standing by the beer cooler as she looked my way with a weird look on her face. There was a man with his back to me next to the coffee counter, which was across from the cooler.

I put my dish in the microwave and noticed the woman, who was in her mid-twenties, still looking at me the same weird look. What was up with her?

Since 7-11 has been locking the beer coolers and opening them up for customers, I assumed she was waiting for the clerk. I then walked to the bathroom while my food heated up.

After I was done, I took my dish out of the microwave and put it on the counter. That’s when the clerk confronted the man, who originally had his back to me.

There was a piece of fruit on the floor and the clerk pointed to it as he said, “You ate that without paying.”

The other clerk walked up with the empty plastic bowl, which was at the coffee counter where the guy was standing when I saw him.

I looked at the drunk knucklehead and asked, “Did you eat that?”

With a nervous low voice he said, “No.”

The clerk shook his head and said, “I saw him.”

“Did you eat that without paying?” I asked again.

“Yeah.”

He pulled out a hundred dollar bill and replied, “I’ll pay for it.”

What an original idea.

He picked the wrong 7-11 to be dumb in. This 7-11 has cops coming and going more frequently than arrivals and departures at the airport.

In fact, I’ve spent more time in this 7-11 than some new cops have time on the job.

Remember Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck if” routine? That routine can also be used in police work.

“You might be an idiot if you steal from our favorite 7-11.”

“You might be an idiot if you’re eating something without paying for it when a cop walks in.”

“You might be an idiot if you lie and think it’s okay to go inside that particular 7-11 and act stupid.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

They took my plant

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On Wednesday night, I was finishing up a crash report in front of an apartment complex when the manager said, “I have a question unrelated to this.”

“Go ahead,” I replied.

“I’m having a lot of problems with the homeless here. The other day a homeless guy was walking around the carport area and stole my son’s bike.”

She showed me a photo of him from a surveillance camera and told me she posted the picture on a light pole in front of the apartment complex.

After she was done talking about the homeless problem and the theft she pointed to her apartment window ledge and said, “Someone even stole my plant.”

“Your plant?” I asked.

“Yeah. Can you believe it? They took my potted plant,” she replied as she threw her hands up in the air. “The next day my husband went to the car wash down the street and he saw my plant there.”

I laughed as I said, “He saw your plant?”

“He came home and told me I wasn’t going to believe it. It was in front, so I went over there and took my plant back!”

She was definitely passionate about that plant and its liberation from the car wash. Wait until she finds the guy who took her son’s bicycle. He’s going to be in big trouble when she gets her hands on him.

 

Did he have egg on his face?

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A few weeks ago, I responded to a disturbance call involving a man and a woman at an apartment complex. It was the type of night where the AC was your best friend because it was so hot and humid.

This particular apartment didn’t have AC and was hotter inside than it was outside. I spoke the female half in her bedroom while the other cop spoke to the male in the front room.

It was like a sauna in the room and I made an executive decision I was going to conduct the interview outside because it’s as too damn hot inside.

During the interview the woman told me she was cooking an egg when her boyfriend threw water at her. She said, “I got mad and threw the pan at him.”

“Did he have egg on his face?” I replied.

The blank look on her face told me she didn’t get it. I guess I’ll use my corny jokes on someone else.

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.

People helping people

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What does a white driver with Nazi tattoos, a black witness, two Hispanic cops and an Asian bystander have in common?

Probably not too much, but add a car accident into the story and you have quite the combination of people.

One night, I responded to a hit and run crash where a car ran a red light and smashed into the victim vehicle. The victim driver was a white male in his 30s with Nazi tattoos on his face, neck and arms. A woman and a young child were also with him.

The witness was a black man in his early 50s and the other person was an Asian male, who didn’t see the crash, but stopped to help.

Then there were the cops. We were both Hispanic.

I interviewed the black guy first because he was the witness. He told me how the suspect run a red light and crashed into the victims. After the crash the suspect fled and he chased after the car until he lost it.

At the end of the interview, I shook his hand and thanked him for stopping. The man said, “We all work hard. We have to help each other out.”

Bingo.

Hopefully the guy with the swastikas on his face noticed that it was people helping people, no matter who they were.

Who needs a license?

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With shoulders slumped, the driver looked dejectedly at his crashed car with its crumpled metal and fluid spilling out onto the street like blood draining from a body.

The driver, who was about 18 years old, had a look of disbelief as the flashing police and fire lights bounced off our faces.

During the interview I asked, “Do you have a license?”

He replied, “No,” as his permit shook in his hand.

This was my fourth crash of the night and my second with an at fault unlicensed driver. Driver’s licenses and rules don’t mean anything anymore to some people.

Being responsible doesn’t seem to matter anymore either, regardless of how many people are killed or injured in crashes when an unlicensed person gets behind the wheel. I guess having a driver’s license is just a suggestion.

I asked, “Do you know you’re not supposed to drive?”

In a low voice the driver said, “I was going to the DMV next week.”

Well, that doesn’t help the mother and child who were transported to the hospital. That also doesn’t help all the copss at the scene who were tied up with traffic control, or the paramedics, ER staff and ambulance drivers, who treated these victims.

“I woulda, coulda, shoulda” doesn’t help anyone when an unlicensed driver sends you to the hospital.

Be careful out there. The guy next to you might be suspended or unlicensed and they’ll take you out.