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.

Don’t touch her again

I was off duty from the highway patrol and was driving to a restaurant with my wife when I observed a lone vehicle in a parking lot. Numerous cars were driving by, but I noticed a man was standing at the open driver’s door yelling at a woman in the driver’s seat. He then started to pull her hair as he appeared to be pulling her out of the car. I stopped my car, got out, told my wife to call 911 and told her to drive to the next parking lot so she was not in any danger.

I identified myself as an off-duty officer and told him to release her. He continued to pull on her hair and started to punch her as she screamed. I displayed my weapon and ordered him to release her and put his hands up.

He looked at me with fury in his eyes. I repeated my commands and after a slight hesitation, he let go of her. She moved away from him and continued to cry excessively. I held him there until the police officers arrived. As I was leaving, she looked at me and thanked me profusely.

- BS

I held him

Several years ago while patrolling as a deputy, I saw a large blast in the sky and knew a transformer blew. I immediately responded and found a pickup truck wrapped around the telephone pole. The truck was engulfed in flames. I noticed the driver, a drunk teenager, was still in the vehicle. I ran over and pulled him from the burning vehicle. I then sat down by the side of the road and held him while I comforted him. He died right there in my arms.

I pulled him from the burning vehicle so quickly that he never had a burn on his body; however, his parents sued me and the city because they claimed I should have had a larger fire extinguisher. The coroner’s examination revealed the rearview mirror post went through his head and killed him.

- ML

I had to shield her

I was a newly promoted sergeant for the sheriff’s department when my deputies and I received a domestic disturbance call where a man was attacking his girlfriend’s car with a chainsaw. As we raced to the scene, we were alerted by dispatch that gunfire was heard over the telephone as the woman ran down the street calling 911.

When I arrived on scene, a few deputies were already there, and she was lying on the ground in the middle of the street about 30 yards in front of my patrol car. Since we didn’t know where the shooter was, I advised my deputies that I would drive up to the woman and use my car as a shield to save her. The other deputies followed me to provide cover from the gunfire. We were able to get her out of the street to waiting medical personnel who saved her life.

While the deputies and I were standing near the fence, we heard a gunshot. It was scary because we didn’t know if he fired at us. After six and one half hours, we rushed the house and located the suspect’s body. He had taken his own life.

As I later learned, the woman victim met the suspect on a dating website four years prior and he was mentally abusive to her during their relationship. He never got physical until that night when she knocked over a bottle and glass shattered. He went into a violent rage and was choking her before she was able to run out of the house. He grabbed a chainsaw and started cutting her windshield. As she ran away, he shot at her and struck her in the shoulder area. When she fell to the ground, he walked up and shot her six more times. Miraculously, she survived.

The victim later praised the other deputies and myself to the media and stated, “It takes special people to do what they do and they saved my life. I will always be grateful to every single one of them. He really cares, all of them do.” As for me, that night really opened my mind to see human behavior. It was life-changing for me.

- MI

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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(1) comment

Masked 2020

Bingo.....lets doit......"Major California police unions call for reforms, removal of racist officers San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles Police unions call for a use of force standard and early warning system"

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