Over the course of a thirty-year career, I’ve witnessed or learned of some great big accidents.  Mistakes that would probably have gotten the officer a day’s suspension at least.  I might have been the party involved, but I will never admit it.  I won’t admit it because I would like to retain a small amount of self-respect.

Way back in the summer of 1983, a wet behind the ears recruit, fresh off his FTO period, and working a one-man car for the first time ever responds to a call of a robbery in progress.  He turns onto the main street and is met with bumper to bumper traffic.  He bails out of his squad half a block away and runs to the store.  Bursting through the door he spots a man holding a sawed-off shotgun on a store clerk.  He tackles the man with the gun and recovers the shotgun.

Great job officer the other clerks tell the officer.  “Shame you didn’t get the other robber too.  You know, the one with the big silver pistol that was standing off to the side.  He ran out the door when you tackled the guy with the shotgun.  You got lucky, he could have just shot you.”  Of course, the witness said all this in front of the sergeant who just walked in.

Later, the sergeant mentions that it’s common practice to let the dispatcher know you are going on the job using your radio.  The officer clearly remembers shouting into the mike but now realizes he failed to key the mike.




Then there was the time the officer and his partner stopped several known gangbangers.  The partner had his gun out while the officer searched the young gentlemen.  When he went to holster his gun, he missed the holster and dropped his very expensive Colt Python on the cement.  The tang on the hammer snapped off when it bounced.  He picked up the parts while the officer and the gangbangers did their best not to break out laughing.



Then there was the day we learned not to aim for the head when striking a giant of a man.  One of our wagons got a call of a man who refused to get off the bus at the end of the line.  The two wagon men got on the bus and found an extremely large man with that dangerous 100-yard stare.  He refused to get up or even speak to anyone.

Eventually, the one officer realized he needed to get his attention and swung his wooden baton striking the giant in the side of the head.  The giant turned to him and said, “Don’t do that again.”  The officer took that as a challenge and swung again.  He said this time he went for the left-field wall.    The giant turned back to the officer unphased and stated, “I said not to do that again.”

The giant then stood up, grabbed the two officers, and threw them off the bus.  In the end it took the entire watch to get the giant in custody.  He kept breaking the flex cuffs on his ankles.  After it was all over and the uninjured giant was safely in a jail cell, there were at least five officers in need of the E/R.



When a giant says don’t hit me, you’d better not hit him.  The same applies to little fireplug Irish Fire Captains.  Seems a firetruck responded to a battery victim since there was no ambulance available.  The victim thanked the firemen but didn’t want to go to the E/R.

A man passing by, butted in and insisted the Firemen take the battery victim to the hospital.  When the fire Captain said everything was being taken care of, the passerby punched the fire Captain in the face.  The Captain shook it off and repeated his advice to the passerby that he should leave.


When my partner and I arrived on scene the firemen were giggly.  Their captain spoke to my partner while I spoke to the crew.  They told me that after telling the man to leave several times the fire captain was punched in the face twice.  They said he never flinched.  Finally, he threw one punch and knocked the passerby out cold.  That is why the passerby was still on the ground.

You know, that fire Captain’s street creds skyrocketed in the firehouse.  By the way, the original victim had already boarded his bus and gone home.



There was an officer in the district who made custom leather holsters for the officers.  One night he was fitting the holster to the gun and hadn’t realized the gun had been reloaded.  He fired one .45 cal. round striking the divider wall in the interview room.  It deflected downward then ricocheted off the floor striking the dividing wall to the youth office.  It never exited the wall.

The Watch Commander hearing the loud noise, came back to the interview rooms and assessed the situation.  He told the officer that if the hole wasn’t repaired when he got off work, there would be hell to pay.

The plaster and gauze material they use to make casts in the E/R makes great wall repair material – especially when hot coffee is used to actuate it.  It also tints the plaster to match the color of the wall paint.  A little smear of shoe polish rubbed on and then off made the ding on the floor and divider look like old damage.

The Watch Commander gave it a thumbs up and then told of the time he shot and killed the Coke machine in the hallway.



There was once a problem when an officer let a man bond-out and gave him back his property envelope with $400 in it.  Turns out there were two men with the same name in custody.  The officer failed to double-check the CB numbers.  You know the arrestee didn’t say anything about the mistake.

The watch’s flower fund took care of that and the officer paid it back on payday.



We all screw up occasionally.  Just remember like the old pilot’s adage – Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.  So, tell us about some you have walked away from.  Remember – no names.  We don’t want to get anyone in trouble.

Stay safe, run low and zig zag.

Robert Weisskopf (retired Lt. CPD)

At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.



Bob enjoys hearing from his readers – EMAIL

You can find links to all of his articles as well as his novels on his website www.bobweisskopf.com.   Please remember to go to the CopBlue home page and join the newsletter.


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