Cop Tales

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.

After being involved in my second fatal shooting with the Highway Patrol, I decided to take the family and drive back east to my hometown for awhile to try to get away from all the stresses of the job.

We had a great time and I started to feel better. After the vacation, we were headed home on a freeway in a Midwest state when all of a sudden, traffic came to a complete stop ahead of us. It was 4 a.m. and it was raining.

I pulled to the right shoulder, got out of my car and went to see what had occurred. I ran up and observed a female adult lying on the pavement in front of a big rig. The woman was a homeless lady who ran across the freeway and was struck by the truck. Rain was falling as people started to gather around her, but no one made any attempt to help her.

I immediately dropped to my knees and felt her pulse. She initially had a pulse, but then it stopped. I didn’t have a CPR mask and she had blood around her face, but I knew I had to do something.

I gave her mouth to mouth and compressions for what seemed to be hours, although I know it was more like 10-15 minutes.

A state trooper finally arrived, and I gave mouth to mouth while he gave the compressions. I could taste cigarette smoke from her mouth in my mouth. It was all worth it as we actually brought her back to life.

Unfortunately, my excitement of saving her ended when I was advised that she died five days later due to her injuries. So much for taking a vacation to get away from the stresses of the job.

- BS

The runaway

As a rookie officer you are assigned to work midnights. That’s just the way it is.

Well, just before the sun comes up is the hardest time to stay awake. One late fall morning, I was dispatched to a check the welfare of a juvenile walking alone down a main street in town.

I was the first officer to arrive in the area and I located a little boy who was about 5 years old. He was all alone. The sun was coming up and the heavy morning commute was starting. I pulled my patrol car over and said hello. I introduced myself and asked him his name. He said, “Ryan” in his cute little voice.

Ryan was carrying a pillow and a backpack. I asked him what was going on, and in a little pouty voice with the lip quivering he said, “I’m running away.”

I asked him why he was running away. On the verge of tears, he said his mommy and daddy were getting a divorce and it must be because he was bad. My heart was officially breaking.

I asked him to show me what he had with him. He had a pillow, his teddy bear, a toothbrush, toilet paper, underwear, pajamas, a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a butter knife.

I convinced him to show me where he lived which was about five blocks away. I banged on the door for quite a while and finally woke mom up. When I showed her Ryan in my car and told her what he said, she just cried and cried.

She was in a bad marriage and was doing everything she could to take care of her son. We both explained to the boy about divorce and how it was in no way his fault. I left when it seemed we worked everything out.

Christmas came along about three months later and I anonymously left some Christmas presents on the doorstep for Ryan. I never saw them again, but 29 years later, I still think about that little boy… a lot.

- AP

I swear, it was Megan

I was a Sheriff’s correctional officer when my soon-to-be wife and I acquired from relatives a yellow Nape parrot named Megan.

Megan was tame and learning to talk along with every day loud screaming. We kept Megan on a perch in the dining room of our apartment. We seldom ate in that room and her perch was close to the patio door.

Keeping her in the dining room helped quiet the noise while we watched television or entertained guests in the living room.

Over time, Megan would continue to scream loudly and run through her vocabulary. She is a master at the “wolf whistle” and “calling a dog” whistle. She can say “Ooh Baby,” “hi,” “Here kitty, kitty,” “bye bye” and “help”.

On one of my days off, my fiancé and I were sitting in the living room watching television. We had just finished dinner and had the dishwasher running in the kitchen.

A funny thing is that dishwashers and vacuum cleaners get Megan fired up and she starts her routine. When she started yelling, we just learned to tune her out.

One day, there came a knock on the door, then another knock. My fiancé opened the door and to our surprise, there were six to eight police officers peering around the door jam, past my fiancé and looking at me. I was still sitting on the couch.

One officer asked her if everything was alright and if I had been hitting her. We were both surprised by these comments. By the looks on the officers’ faces, they were ready to take care of business.

My fiancé told the officer there was nothing going on, and we were watching television. The officers were not buying the story. The officers stated a neighbor had called them because someone was yelling for help from our apartment.

My fiancé turned to me and said, “It’s Megan.” The officers wanted to know the identity of Megan. When we said she was our parrot, they were still in disbelief and ready to kick my @#%#.

It turns out that the whole time we were watching television and tuning out Megan, she was in the dining room, with the sliding door slightly ajar, screaming at the top of her lungs over the sound of the dishwasher, “Help, Help, Help.”

The officers insisted on seeing and meeting Megan as proof. And wouldn’t you know it, she never said a peep while the officers were there. They eventually believed us and everyone left laughing.

- MW

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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