I believe that if you ask any police officer, the vast majority of them will say arresting a drunk driver is the worst assignment they can get. Right off the bat, the cop gets swamped in paperwork which can consume many hours, forcing him to stay over into the next shift.

You almost always wind up going to court on your day off, or worse yet, when you’re on the midnight shift. Once in court, you sit there for hours, waiting for your case to be called.  When it is finally your turn, the defendant’s attorney requests a continuance.

This goes on until that fateful day that you inadvertently miss the court date and the attorney demands that the trial proceed. Seeing that you, as the complaining witness, are not present in court, the case gets thrown out. And, to boot, you will face disciplinary action for missing a court date. This usually involves forfeiting a day’s pay.


But this day was different.


Right in the heat of rush hour in Chicago, traffic was as thick as it gets.  I was traveling eastbound on Irving Park when traffic started to back up and the cars began to slow to a snail’s pace.


I swerved around both lanes of traffic until I was right behind the problem: An apparent drunk driver was veering from lane to lane at about fifteen miles per hour, preventing any normal driver from passing.


I stayed behind my subject and we both stopped at a red light. As the light turned green, I activated my overhead lights and tapped my siren. The vehicle crawled across the intersection and reluctantly pulled to the curb.


I positioned my squad car in such a manner that I would not get hit by any on-coming vehicles, and I started my walk toward the vehicle. As I got near the rear of the stopped vehicle, the driver’s door swung open and out came the obliterated driver.

I reached him just as his second foot landed on the pavement.

In only a second, he spun around like a top. He was balanced on his heels and he did a pirouette.  As he fell backwards heading into oncoming traffic, I lunged forward with both arms outstretched and caught him in my arms like a dance move.

With the drunk driver nestled comfortably in my embrace, he looked me in the eyes and with a huge smile said, “Nice catch.” After I finally stopped laughing, I gave our bleary-eyed driver a ride home in the back seat of my squad and had his vehicle driven home and parked in front of his house.

All’s well that ends well.

To all my brothers and sisters in blue, lock and load and protect one another. And as always, stay safe.

 “Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “

We couldn’t agree more.



Larry enjoys hearing from his readers – EMAIL

View Larry Casey’s website at StoriesofaChicagoPoliceOfficer and review his book by the same name.

Cartoon is the courtesy of Steve Burnett of Sunmesastudios.

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