Editor's note: Cop Tales are true stories as told by law enforcement officers from all over the country. The stories are told in the first person.

One early evening, while working for the Highway Patrol as a 24-year-old officer, I was investigating an accident involving a woman in in her mid-twenties. I conducted field sobriety tests and determined she had too much to drink. I arrested her, handcuffed her and placed her in the back seat of the patrol car.

I sat next to her to complete my face page information while my partner took measurements of the scene. While seated there, she wiggled around so that the top of her dress would fall down thereby exposing her bare chest.

I told her to stop doing it as I barely touched the material to pull the dress back up to cover her. I then decided I would get her information later at the jail so she would not continue to play her games.

As I exited the patrol vehicle, I noticed a deputy was standing next to the accident scene. I approached him and told him the story about the girl I arrested.

He waited for me to finish with the entire story, then he pointed across the street to a girl running across the lawn away from us. He nonchalantly said, “Is that her?”

I looked up and saw my arrestee running away without any handcuffs. I couldn’t believe it. I took off in a sprint, and caught her. I guess I was so worried about putting the handcuffs on too tight that it allowed her to slip out of them. I made sure they were tight enough the second time.

The deputy was polite enough to wait for me to finish my story, but it would have been better if he interrupted me, so I didn’t have to run so far.

- BS

A preventable tragedy

In 1965, I was dispatched as a Highway Patrolman to a serious accident in front of the entrance to a cemetery.

When I arrived, a sergeant and his motor squad were directing traffic, so I could investigate.

There were two cars involved. One was a station wagon that was driven by a young mother and the other was a Chevy sedan driven by a 62-year-old male.

Ambulance crews were loading victims into the ambulances. Everyone had been removed by the time I arrived, except two small girls from the station wagon. They were screaming as they were being removed. The third sister was already in an ambulance.

I was informed by the crew that both drivers were deceased and the first little girl was also deceased. Tragically, the other girls died after they arrived at the hospital. The oldest of the three girls was five years old, and the youngest was two years old.

The accident was a head-on and the cause of the accident was a blown right rear tire on the station wagon, causing the driver to swerve across the center line and strike the Chevy. There were no skid marks, since neither driver had time to react.

I checked both vehicles, and discovered cord showing on the blown tire, which went over a rock in the road, causing it to blow out.

At the hospital, I found out that the woman and the girls were the family of an officer from a local city police department who was on duty at the time. It all occurred because of the poor condition of a tire. I was very thankful that I didn’t have to inform that officer that he had just lost his entire family.

- BB

But, they are delicious

I was working patrol as a deputy on the westside of town when I heard on the radio that other deputies had been dispatched to a report of a subject slashing car tires at my mother’s home on the other side of town. Without telling dispatch, I went across town to check on my mom.

Other deputies arrived before I did and confirmed that the suspect was gone. As I entered my mom’s house, I noticed a large plate of chocolate chip cookies on the kitchen counter.

My mom makes a great chocolate chip cookie and I grabbed a handful. Another officer, who had no idea of my connection to the house, saw me and asked what I was doing. I told him I was having a cookie and that he should try one. He emphatically said no.

About that time, I received a call on my own beat across town and had to leave without ever talking to my mom. I grabbed another handful of cookies for the road and left.

During debriefing at the end of the shift, my sergeant called me into his office and asked me to sit down. He told me that another deputy had reported that I had taken some property from a victim’s home.

I admitted the “theft” and watched for a few seconds while the sergeant contemplated his next move. After a few moments, I told the sergeant the rest of the story. He was able to laugh about it – the next day.

- DS

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 bmsmith778@gmail.com.

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