Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Klaatu berada nikto

Cops have people come up to them just to talk all the time. Often it's a parent with a kid, and I like those interactions. Sometimes it's some drunk with nothing better to do, and I usually disengage myself from that immediately. And sometimes it's a seemingly normal person, who turns out to be from another galaxy.

A couple of us were at a truck stop having coffee - one of those huge places just off the interstate, with gas pumps, a convenience store, and an attached sit-down restaurant. The convenience store and restaurant are separated by a seating area, which is where we were. A woman, whose outward appearance was that of a normal Earthling, approaches our table:

Mrs. Gort: "Excuse me, officers, but what is this place?
(officers immediately sense insanity and begin exchanging nervous glances)
Officer Cynical: "What?"
Mrs. Gort: "What kind of place is this?"
Officer Cynical: "Well, it's a truck stop, if that's what you mean."
Mrs. Gort: (points to convenience store area) "So, is that a convenience store over there, where I can buy snacks and stuff?"
Officer Cynical: "Yes."
Mrs. Gort: (points to restaurant with huge "RESTAURANT" sign over door) "And is that a restaurant in there where we can sit down and have a meal?"
Officer Cynical: "Yes."
Mrs. Gort: "And we can get gas outside and pay for it in the convenience store, correct?"
Officer Cynical: "As I understand it, that's the way it works."
Mrs. Gort: (points to restaurant with no lights on and padlocked iron gate across entrance) "Do you know if the restaurant is open now?"
Officer Cynical: "It would appear not, but you could check."
Mrs. Gort: "OK, officers, thanks for your help and have a nice day."
Officer Cynical: "You, too."

(Mrs. Gort rejoins her family, who have been huddled together, gawking at us, and they wander off in the direction of the obviously closed restaurant.)

Officer Sarcasma: "So, my entire left side just went numb. Is that a stroke or a heart attack?"

Monday, March 30, 2015

Knock, Knock

One of the things I teach my trainees is how to serve arrest warrants. I keep tabs on who on my beat has felony-level warrants, and try to make the time to at least make an attempt to locate them. Now, most often the address we have for the wanted person is no good anymore - they've hightailed it a long time ago. But sometimes we get lucky.

One night, a trainee and I went looking for a guy who had federal drug warrants. I briefed my trainee on who we're looking for, we checked his mug shot out on the MDC, and headed to his address of record. I totally expected it to be an exercise in futility.

My trainee knocks on the apartment door, and.....the wanted guy opens it. So, now there's three of us standing there looking dumbfounded. I snap out of it and ask the guy to come out in the hallway to talk to me, and he does. As soon as he does, we put the grabbus on him and get him cuffed. His girlfriend is inside the apartment is screaming at us that how dare we come to her home and arrest her man in front of all the kids. The guy is going bananas, screaming that he's never done anything wrong in his whole life, and the whole thing is a  misunderstanding, and blah, blah, blah. We get the hell out of there and our boy goes to jail.

If you don't swing the bat, you don't get a hit.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Debtors' Prison

No, you're mistaken: it's not harassment when your former landlord, to whom you admit you owe money:

- calls you at home, demanding his money
- calls you at work, demanding his money
- calls your friends, neighbors, and relatives, trying to locate you so he can collect his money
- files a civil suit to collect his money
- tries to serve civil papers on you at home
- tries to serve civil papers on you at work

Hey, here's a thought: You have a pretty good job. Pay the guy what you owe him, and I'm betting he'll leave you alone. Don't call me because you don't pay your bills and your debtors don't like it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Yo, Boy Genius: If you're going to spray graffiti all over town, you might want to change your m.o. once in a while. I say that because when we caught you in the act today, it was easy to pin the countless other incidents of mindless vandalism all on you, because you spray-painted exactly the same stupid word and the same stupid logo every freakin' time. I'm glad I'm not the one who will get the five-figure clean-up bill.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Meet The Flintstones

ROSEVILLE, Mich. — A police video camera captured images of a 24-year-old Detroit-area man who tried using his feet to stop a runaway pickup truck with faulty brakes and caused multiple collisions, exhibiting "moronic decision making," a Roseville police official said Thursday.

Video posted by The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens shows a patrol car following the truck until it stopped. After the vehicle's brakes failed on a busy street in Roseville, about two miles north of Detroit, the man continued driving and stuck his feet outside the car to stop it, Roseville Deputy Police Chief James Berlin said. Witnesses said the man reached speeds of about 40 mph and was able to stop the car on at least two occasions. The car eventually struck four vehicles.

"This guy's no rocket scientist," Berlin said. "Citizens were calling in saying this guy is all over the road, using his feet." He struck two vehicles after being unable to stop at a red light, and continued on. An officer who pulled next to the man's car told him to shift into "park," but that didn't work and he rolled into two other vehicles before the car stopped. "He said he was going to fix the brakes when he got home," Berlin said.

He was arrested for driving on a suspended license and reckless driving. The man is scheduled "to explain his moronic decision making" during a court hearing next month, Berlin said.

Monday, March 23, 2015

It Looked Like Something

Airport security calls 911 and says they have a guy detained who has a gun in his carry-on luggage. The whole shift is doing 1,000 mph to get there before we make the national news. I go up to their little secure area, where a guard meets me at the door. He takes me back to their super-secret, James Bond, CIA-type room where they're holding this guy. Never mind, they tell me, it's not a gun. It's a cigarette lighter.

You couldn't figure that out before you called me? You couldn't bother to call and cancel me once you did figure it out?

Friday, March 20, 2015

You Kids Get Off My Lawn!

A few years ago, we had a natural disaster that made the national news. Crews from all over came here to report on it. We were working 12-hour shifts with no days off, and everyone was exhausted.

One day I found a national news crew set up in "the forbidden zone". There were actually a couple of reporters sitting at a makeshift desk, with lights and microphones and cameras - the whole nine yards.

This was an area that wasn't safe, and that had to be readily accessible to emergency personnel at all times.So that I didn't make some monumental political error (which I'm prone to do), I contacted my supervisor and asked what he wanted me to do. He told me in no uncertain terms to get them out of there. Right. Now.

So, I just walked up to this bunch and told them they had to pack there stuff and clear out. They looked stunned. One of them said, "But we're live right now!" I, in one of the best lines I've ever delivered as a cop, said, "And so am I. Now leave or you're all going to jail."

They packed up their crap and moved. I never heard a word about it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Birds Of A Feather

I do a traffic stop. The driver has a warrant  for felony shoplifting and goes to jail. One passenger has a warrant for misdemeanor shoplifting and also goes to jail. The other passenger has no warrants, but turns out to be a registered sex offender in two neighboring states, and shows me a bunch of subpoenas for his upcoming trials.....all for shoplifting. Sadly, he also has a suspended driver's license and so has to walk the rest of the way to wherever he was going.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

With Apologies to Henny Youngman

I get dispatched to a bar for a guy that's overly intoxicated. While I'm talking to him, the drunk falls off his bar stool 3 times, and I pick him up each time. I ask the bartender where the guy lives, get his address, and help the guy out to my squad car. On the way out, the guy falls 3 more times, and I pick him up each time. I get to the guy's house, open the back door of my squad car, and the guy falls out. I pick him up and walk him to his door. He falls down 3 more times on the way, and I pick him up each time. I finally get him to his door and his wife opens it. I say, "Mrs. Feldstein, I brought your husband home." She says, "So, where's his wheelchair?"

Thank you. Thank you. I'm here all week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Public Assistance

You have three kids, two dogs, and a cage full of pet rats. You live in a shitty apartment in a part of town even the cops avoid, and drive an even shittier car. What I want to know is this: With no job, how can you afford a drug and alcohol habit that would disable a water buffalo, two packs of cigarettes a day, and $5000 worth of tattoos?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hot, Hot, Hot

A couple of us are filling our squads with gas at the end of a shift, when a call comes out about an accident and car fire at a major intersection just a few blocks away. My buddy and I decide to head over there to see if we can help.

The road goes down under a railroad bridge, then up steeply to the intersection. Even before I crest the hill, I can see flames. I pull up on scene, and there is a pickup truck smashed into a light pole on the median, on fire from bumper to bumper. The amount of fire is astounding, and dispatch is saying the driver is still inside.

Three of us run up to this inferno with our little fire extinguishers. I'm right at the driver's window, shooting this tiny extinguisher into the passenger compartment and trying to see if there's someone in there. The fire is roaring, I can hear the tires popping, and the heat is unbelievable. I realize that, if there is someone inside that truck, we're too late to do anything.

About that time, the gas tank blows. It's not like in the movies - it's just a muffled boom and more flames. In reviewing the video from my squad later, all three of us simultaneously drop our extinguishers and run like hell. We still laugh about that.

Turned out the driver was actually a block away, giving info to another officer for the accident report. The street light, probably 30 feet in the air, is still scorched to this day.

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Flame On!"

I get sent to yet another suicidal guy. He is sitting in a dumpster outside an apartment building, atop a pile of his belongings, which include a bunch of swords, daggers and other Ninja-type crap. He has emptied a 2-gallon can of gasoline over his head, and is threatening to set himself on fire.

The fire department is on scene, but they won't get close until the situation is secure (am I the only one who feels knee-deep in irony here?). Understandably, the ambulance crew also won't approach. My partner and I are on our own.

We finally talk this Human Torch wannabe out of the dumpster, but he now wants to go into the apartment building with a pack of matches in his hand. Not a chance. When he pauses to wipe his eyes because the gas fumes are stinging them, we pig-pile him and get him cuffed.

The ambulance crew strips him naked, wipes him down, and hauls him off. I have to work the rest of the night with the stench of gasoline on my uniform.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Automotive Humor

I'm not making this up:

I was dispatched to a car floating in the river. I get there and, sure enough, there's an SUV submerged up to the roofline. The fire department dive team goes out to check on it, and reports that the car is empty. They winch it back to shore.

We call the owner and ask if his car is missing. He says wait a minute, he'll look out the window. Yes, his car is missing. We tell him where it is, and that it's ready for him to pick up whenever he'd like.

The dive team is packing up there gear, and I overhear one of them ask another, "Do you think it'll start?" And the other guy says "I doubt it, I think it's flooded".

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Hair Club for Loonies

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, is partly bald. There is no hair forward of a coronal plane through his sideburns, then quite a bit of hair from the sideburns back. Now, I have no problem with baldness. It is rampant among the men in my family. But Strunk White has made the tactical error of trying fashion what hair he has left into something from a circus. It is parted in the middle, and combed back at 45-degree angles from the part, in what can only be described as side-by-side semipompadours. He appears to be sporting twin loaves of bread on his head, each with its own sideburn. Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, apparently does not own a mirror. Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman, is a putz.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

False Alarm

One night I was driving behind the two crappiest bars is town. I ran the plate on a car going the other way, and it came back as stolen. I fell in behind it, and called it in. Dispatch confirmed the stolen hit, so I asked for backup before I attempted a stop.

As I was following, the driver of the stolen kept slowing way down - and at one point even stopped - and was leaning out of the window, gesturing me to come talk to him. It goes without saying that there was no way that was going to happen. I didn't even have my emergency lights on yet, and this yutz knows I'm following him and wants me to come talk to him. No. He continued driving through a residential area, periodically slowing down or stopping, waving at me, then driving off when I refused to get out of my squad.

Finally, the cavalry arrived. Once we were all in position, I hit the lights and we did a felony stop on the guy. I remember that he exited the car with hands up, as instructed, but he had an object between his right thumb and forefinger. In silhouette, it looked exactly like a gun barrel sticking up. Before things could go too wrong, he dropped it. It was his wallet.

It turned out, the guy was driving his own car. He had reported it stolen earlier in the day, then didn't bother to let the police know he got it back.

This is how people get hurt.

Monday, March 9, 2015


If you plan on dying at home any time soon, please start clearing out your stuff now. Twice recently I've been on calls where the deceased was a full-blown hoarder, and had keeled over amidst all the junk.

One old guy had died and fallen down the steps (or vice versa), and was essentially standing on his head at the foot of the stairs, propped up by all the crap stacked up in the stairwell. There was so much stuff in the living room that the front door was blocked. We had to go in the back door, then edge sideways the entire length of the house through the canyon formed by the ceiling-high accumulations. It took us an hour to move stuff around so that we could get him out of there.

Then there was the old lady who, despite the fact that her curtains were wide open and she was in plain view, laid there for about a week before her daughter, who lived right next door, called us. Mom was in rough shape by that time and the house absolutely reeked. She, too, was completely penned in by the unbelievable accumulations of crap filling the entire house. Getting her off the floor and out of the house was the stuff nightmares are made of. The weirdest part was her cat, who sat nearby and watched the whole process. We were never sure what it had been subsisting on during the previous week.

So, please support your local law enforcement officers by maintaining a tidy home in your final days.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Throwing A Dummy

Some people think that if they pretend to faint, it will get them out of trouble. It won't.

One night I arrested a guy for domestic assault outside his girlfriend's apartment building. As soon as I got the cuffs on him, he keeled over onto the grass. On the off chance something is actually wrong, I have to call an ambulance. They get there and quickly determine the guy is faking. I'd think it would be hard to maintain faux unconsciousness with an EMT grinding a knuckle into your sternum, but this guy stuck with it all the way to the ER, through the clearance process, and all the way to the jail. Various paramedics, nurses, doctors, cops, and jail guards hollering, "Ray, you dumbass, we know you're faking so knock it off!" didn't phase him. He was still "out" when I left the jail.

For added drama, some add agonal breathing. A guy was breaking into cars near a construction site, and made the mistake of trying to get into cars belonging to the construction guys. They caught him in the act and did a short "interview" with him before calling us. Right after I put the cuffs on him, down he went in the middle of the street. Right away came the gasping, heaving breaths. Oddly, as we rolled him over, he lifted his head and turned it so his face didn't get dirty, then laid it back down. So, we rolled him the other way. Up came the head, turned, back down on the other side. He persisted with this nonsense until the ambulance came, when he finally "came around".

The champ was the guy who took an NG tube while faking it. His eyelids were twitching and tears were streaming down his face, but he refused to give it up. He swallowed that whole freaking tube without a peep. Just watching made my eyes water.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mensa Candidate

We had a tip that this dipshit, who was an active burglar in our city and had a bunch of felony warrants, was staying at the crappiest motel in town. I drove over there with another cop on my shift to see if we could find him.

I figured the first thing to do was just check at the front desk and see if he was registered there. There was already a guy standing at the desk, so I lined up behind him to wait my turn. As I'm standing there, I notice he has his last name tattooed on the back of his neck. It is the very same long, unusual last name as the guy we're looking for. So, I just call the guy by his first name, and as he's turning around he says "Yeah?" before he realizes it's a cop standing there. We quickly arrest this genius, cuff him up, and take him outside.

Before he gets into my squad car, he gets searched. During the search I find syringes, a meth pipe, meth, pot, and various other niceties. Our boy is facing my squad car near the right rear wheel well during this process, and I take one step to my left to lay all this crap on my trunk lid. When I do, he takes off running out of the parking lot (still handcuffed behind his back), and tries to run across the street. Sadly, he loses his balance and sprawls face first in the street. We pick him up, haul him back to my car, and add the fleeing charge.

His explanation? "I had to try, didn't I?"

I guess.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

You Left Your Brain In My Back Seat

Don't blame me because you were so drunk at 8 this morning that you literally couldn't stand up, got transported kicking and screaming to the ER because you were having some alcohol-induced freakout, went additionally loco in the ER to the extent that I had to come put you in handcuffs to keep you from ripping all the plumbing out of your arms, then peed AND pooped in the back of my squad car while I was hauling your sorry ass to detox. Don't blame me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Somebody Up There Likes Me

I'm cruising up a main drag in my city, and turn off into the parking lot of a gas station/convenience store where I've found some interesting stuff in the past. On a hunch, I run the plate of a pickup that's pulling out. Stolen.

I turn around and get behind it, and call it in for confirmation. For whatever reason, it's taking dispatch forever to confirm the stolen hit. I keep asking - they keep telling me they're checking. This goes on for several minutes.

I can tell by the way the pickup is being driven that the driver knows there's a cop behind him. I can also see that there's a bunch of people inside. I'm confident that the stolen hit is valid, but I'd like a confirmation before I stop it. And some backup, too, which I ask for.

But, the pickup suddenly turns left into another gas station, and I decide to go ahead and make the stop before they do something really stupid. I hit the lights and siren, and the truck stops right in front of the doors to the store. I tell dispatch, "I've got like 5 at gunpoint".

I go into the whole felony stop spiel, but I don't call anybody out of the pickup without backup. I order them to put their hands up and stay put. Meanwhile, people are coming and going to the damned gas pumps and the store, gawking at this scene like I'm shooting a movie or something, and I'm screaming at them to get the hell out of the way.

Finally, my backup starts rolling in, and we begin pulling people out of the truck. The driver is very well known to all of us, and has outstanding armed robbery and burglary warrants. The others aren't wanted, but are held as accomplices.

When we search the truck, we find 3 loaded semiauto handguns laying right on the seats.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My Birthday Wish

Not getting fired for doing this the next time I'm behind someone in the fast lane, driving 10 mph slower than the speed limit: