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COP TALES: They may be looking for a new job

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.

They may be looking for a new job

One afternoon, I was working as a sergeant at a state truck inspection facility. I received a call from an officer working in the inspection bay. He informed me that one of our civilian inspectors discovered a box duct taped to the rear axle of a trailer. I responded from my office to the inspection bay to decide what needed to be done.

The truck driver was unaware of this box being taped to his trailer axle. I decided this situation needed to be handled as a possible bomb threat. The inspection facility had to be evacuated of all personnel and the public that was at the facility. I made a risky decision with the help of an inspector. He volunteered to drive the truck out of the inspection bay. He parked the rig as far away from any building onto a dirt area at the facility.

The sheriff’s department, fire department, and an ambulance were called for precautionary purposes. Then I became the incident commander that coordinated all the other agencies actions upon arrival. The sheriff's unit determined their bomb squad needed to be called. I had my officer question the truck driver to determine what he was transporting and where he had picked up this load.

Based on the driver's knowledge and his paperwork describing his cargo, it was not a hazardous material product. My officers contacted law enforcement agencies where the driver picked up this load. They responded to the warehouse where this trailer was loaded and confirmed the cargo was not a hazardous product.

The bomb squad arrived and proceeded to go through their procedures to handle this situation as a possible bomb incident. The bomb squad removed the box from the trailer axle and detonated the box in an open area. Their finding was this was not a bomb. Further investigation revealed a prank was played by the warehousemen on the truck driver.

- BC

Now, the officer wants one

When I was the supervisor of a narcotics unit, one of the officers received information a suspect in our city was selling meth. The officer developed probable cause to get a search warrant for the suspected meth dealer's residence. We served the warrant and no meth was found. However, the suspect was arrested for a minor weapons violation.

A couple of months later, the officer received information that the suspect was going to a residence to pick up a new supply of meth to sell. He was riding his brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which he had just paid $18,000 cash for. We watched as the suspect left his supplier's house on his new Harley, with his juvenile daughter as his passenger. A marked patrol unit stopped him on his way back to his residence. He was concealing a large quantity of meth inside his boot. He went to jail that night.

The primary officer drove the suspect’s new Harley to our vehicle storage facility. It was seized and eventually sold under the state's asset forfeiture laws. The suspect went to state prison.

- BR

He had me covered

I was working as a new highway patrol officer on a rural freeway many years ago. The highway patrol airplane pilot had just given me several high-speed vehicles to stop and cite. The airplane was leaving the area to go back to the airport and I was finishing the last stop. The driver of the stopped vehicle had no identification. I checked the vehicle for registration through dispatch and was advised it was a reported stolen vehicle. I requested backup to assist with the arrest, but the closest backup was more than 30 minutes away. The airplane pilot told me on the radio he had me covered.

I thought he would circle over me until backup arrived. I then glanced back and saw the airplane landing on the freeway behind me. The airplane came up behind my patrol car and made a quick turn as it stopped sideways on the dirt shoulder. The pilot jumped out and ran up and assisted me in completing the arrest. After the suspect was placed in my patrol car, I drove back about a mile and slowed traffic to allow the airplane to take off on the freeway. I didn’t remember practicing that kind of stop at the Academy.

- DG

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