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.
My identical twin daughters just went crazy over the boy band One Direction, so of course, I had to take them to a few of their concerts. They went crazy at every show and always followed them on TV and social media. They asked if I knew them and I told them no.
One night, we all went to another highway patrolman’s house. He was one of the girls’ godfather. The girls were talking about One Direction and her godfather overheard them. He then told them that he just worked a movie detail that entailed a music video. He showed them the video and they freaked out.
The music video was One Direction's first music video for the song, “What Makes You Beautiful.” The video on YouTube shows the behind-the-scenes video. Her godfather can be seen stopping the boys in a van and lectures them on their unsafe driving tactics. The twins went crazy and told him how much they liked them. Her godfather wasn’t so impressed with them. You can watch it on YouTube, “What Makes You Beautiful, Behind the Scenes.”
A beautiful hike
Having worked 34 years as an officer with a couple of southern California police departments, you would think that I would have had my fill of public service. But, after moving to northern Nevada, I let my neighbor talk me into joining our local Sheriff's Search & Rescue Unit. I found the training to be a nice break from law enforcement and lost a bunch of weight in the process.
Being an all-volunteer unit, I must say we have people from all walks of life. We have former police, military and fire, in addition to a former airline pilot, an F-15 Eagle pilot, an auto repair shop owner, and many others.
On the night of our Halloween party, we got a call of a lost hiker on a local trail. My first thought was to wonder how anyone could get lost on this trail, as it circles the lake at an average elevation of about 7,200 feet. The person was staying in a time-share and thought that he would hike to the casinos on the lake. Partway there, he realized that he wouldn't make it before nightfall and turned around. Unfortunately, he missed the spur trail that went to his condo and ended up a couple of miles south of where he should have been.
As darkness fell, he was only wearing a Polo shirt and Dockers, and was not warm enough for the cold night ahead. He was also overweight and had just arrived from the San Francisco Bay area, which is at sea level. He called 911 and dispatch was able to identify his location on the trail.
Thinking he wasn’t going to survive, he texted his daughters and told them that he was sorry and that he loved them. We were able to use a 4x4 vehicle to get within about a mile or so of him. Two other team members and I hit the trail and were with him in no time at all. We gave him a coat, gloves, a power bar and water as we placed him in a warm truck. His mood greatly improved once we got him into the heated cab and headed toward his condo.
As I mentioned, that was the night of our Halloween party, so I asked the guy what he would have thought if my team member had shown up in his costume, which was a Klingon from "Star Trek." He responded, “Qaw'lu'chugh yay, I am a trekkie.” He was obviously very happy. I later looked him up on social media and he had a large number of selfies of him on the trail, but somehow, there was no mention of him getting lost or of the rescue.
You’re free to go
I retired as a commander with the sheriff’s department. Last year, I was at a supermarket when a guy stopped me and asked if I was Lieutenant W. I told him, “Yes.” He reminded me that years ago, he was an inmate at the county jail and I was a lieutenant.
At the time, the jail staff was very busy rehousing a large number of inmates to the jail. He told me that while they were moving, the inmate mentioned to another inmate that he was supposed to be released from jail already.
Apparently, I overheard him and immediately took the time to confirm his claim. He was correct and I was able to get him released right away. That incident occurred more than 28 years ago, and he still remembered it.