Brian Smith

Brian Smith

Cop Tales are true stories as told by law enforcement officers from all over the country. The stories are told in the first person. The actual officer’s initials follow each story.

Are they kidding me?

One afternoon while working as a captain for the highway patrol, I was in my unmarked commander’s car when I observed two vehicles driving erratically. It appeared one vehicle was chasing the other one. They exited the freeway and pulled over just as I caught up to them. They jumped out of their vehicles and started yelling at each other. I directed them to step away from each other as I tried to figure out what was happening.

When I questioned them, the first guy yelled, “I paid him good money for drugs and he ripped me off. He shorted me.” The other guy then stated, “I gave you what you paid for.” I asked myself if that conversation was really happening. I requested another unit and I continued to sort it out.

I acted like I was trying to settle their dispute and they went along with it. I asked each of them to show me the money and drugs that each of them had. Believe it or not, both of them pulled out drugs and money to prove their side of the argument. The other officer arrived and both suspects were arrested. I guess that is what you call job security. If someone told me I was the subject of a practical joke, I would have believed them.

- BS

We were lucky

My partner and I were patrolling southbound on the freeway for the highway patrol when we pulled in behind two stopped vehicles on the right shoulder. As we came to a stop, they pulled out onto the freeway. We then pulled back out into the traffic lanes and started to pass the rear vehicle when the driver put his arm out the window with a police badge in his hand. He advised us that the front car appeared to be under the influence and that driver stopped to urinate on the freeway.

We stopped the leading car and the driver had been drinking. My partner got him out of the vehicle and conducted field sobriety tests. I approached the passenger in the right front seat and he had a 16-ounce can of beer between his legs. I was just going to issue him a citation and spill the beer out, but he sat there with a grin on his face. He then picked up the can of beer and threw it forcibly at my head. I then got him out of the car and arrested him for assault on a peace officer. My partner arrested the driver for DUI.

There were two 18-year-olds in the backseat. They asked if they could drive the car away. I told them they could walk to the nearby restaurant. They begged us to release the car to them, but we continued to decline their requests. We arrested the original two and impounded the vehicle. We searched the interior of the vehicle, but didn’t check the trunk.

The next night, the sergeant advised my partner and I that we had to meet sheriff’s deputies at the tow yard because they had a search warrant to check the trunk of the vehicle we impounded. When they opened the trunk, there were four ski masks and two pistols. The four men we stopped had been robbing convenience stores all over the county. In one of the robberies, the driver of the car that we arrested for DUI shot a clerk in the knee just to see what it was like to shoot someone. The other two suspects that we released were arrested at their homes.

The people we stop know who we are, but we never know who we are stopping.

- DH

The father thought it was a good idea

One time while working as a lieutenant for the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team, we had a father who bought a raft and took his two young boys for a rafting ride down the river. He tied a rope around each of the boys in case they fell in the water. The boys did end up falling in, but the strong currents forced them under the water.

The father tried with all his might to pull them up, but the rapids were so strong that he couldn’t even budge the rope. He knew they were drowning. When we arrived, it actually took six of us to pull each boy out due to the strong current. It was a horrible experience. I couldn’t imagine what that father went through. I know it was tough on our team as well.

 - CS

Brian Smith served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and retired as an assistant chief with the California Highway Patrol. He resides in Bakersfield. If you have a personal “Cop Tale” to share, please contact Smith at

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(8) comments

Masked 2020

Defund this next week....its way to depressing ....father who bought a raft and took his two young boys for a rafting ride down the river. He tied a rope around each of the boys in case they fell in the water.


As said below, if you don't like it, don't read it. I, for one, enjoy reading these stories.


What is the purpose of these articles? What is the other narrative or perspective The Bakersfield Californian is offering?


Don't like it, don't read it.


You want a gangster perspective in the interest of fair and balanced!

All Star

The purpose of this weekly feature? You really don't know? It's to get people to read TBC. Why don't you just focus on the food reviews?


I agree 100% with oopsthereitis. If you don't like it, don't read it. I happen to enjoy reading these stories.


Obviously the purpose of these articles is to provide you with something to whine about... Since you obviously don't enjoy reading the recollections of Law Enforcement Officers, simply don't read them, there is no need to impose your needless censorship upon others who like myself enjoy these articles.

Welcome to the discussion.

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