Cops see some crazy stuff, there’s no debate about it. It really doesn’t matter if you work in a big city, in a rural area, or in the suburbs like me. The only difference between the settings is the frequency in which you get exposed to what Arsenio Hall would call the “things that make you go hmmm”. The one constant is that if humans are involved, there will be some odd shit from time to time.
I’ve worked days, middle shifts, and night shifts. I’ve seen some pretty weird things on each of them, but it seems like once the sun goes down and most of the “normal” folks are asleep, all bets are off. If it just so happens to be one of “those” nights, the graveyard officer will bounce from call to call without even having the opportunity to wrap his or her head around what the hell just happened. I’ve been told that women who live or work in close proximity long enough eventually sync their menstrual cycles, so maybe it’s possible that those people who are prone to nutty behavior also manage to get on the same kind of cycle too.
It’s not just driven by those with mental illness, although those folks will usually jump in on a busy night to add their own flavor to the shit sandwich. If it’s one of “those” nights, someone will drive a car into a building because they confused the gas pedal for the brake pedal and wondered why the car went “go” instead of “whoa”, so they mashed it even harder to drive it deeper into the building before coming to a stop and swearing that the brakes went out.
If it’s really one of “those” nights, the obviously drunk pilot of the wrecking ball with wheels will get out of the vehicle covered in powder and burns from the air bag and be adamant that someone else was driving the car, or that it was in park and suddenly had a mind of its own and decided to crash into the building.
After the building is properly secured and the drunk gets jailed, if it’s one of “those” nights the pending file will be full and the next several hours will be spent running from call to call trying to figure out how someone at each location was able to get the beans above the frank. You may even be lucky enough to roll up on a young driver whose car died in the middle of the street, and as you try to help you learn that the youngster decided to get gas and somehow managed to put diesel fuel in the car instead of gasoline.
As soon as the tow truck collects the now ruined car and a thoroughly pissed off father picks up the teenaged driver, if it’s one of “those” nights, you’ll get dispatched to a sword fight in progress on the sidewalk down the street. As you roll up in the area, you’ll see that the sword fight is between a party of one, and that the sidewalk samurai is fully engaged in mortal combat between his own two arms. At this point in the night you begin to have the internal debate as to whether you should just video it and not engage the samurai as he continues to shit talk himself and clang the swords together with all of the gracefulness of a fully grown toddler.
Once you are able to return Billy the 40 year old pirate virgin to his parent’s basement sans swords with a belly full of Mountain Dew Code Red and the newest World of Warcraft game at his disposal, you may consider the possibility of taking the rest of the night off. Unfortunately, it’s one of “those” nights, so you’ll already be at minimum staffing because “those” nights never happen when there are plenty of officers at work.
Dispatch will snap you out of your pity party and will send you to assist another officer on a road rage incident with “shots fired”. When you arrive on scene, you’ll see your partner providing medical aid to one of the drivers who is suffering from a gunshot wound to the thigh. He’ll gesture toward the pistol on the ground nearby, and as you start to understand the situation you’ll learn that the gunshot victim actually caused the entire scene by being a jackass driver who brake-checked the car behind him and jumped out to play tough guy to the driver of the little Volkswagen behind him. Little did the jackass know, but the Volkswagen driver was a big ol’ boy who had his family in the car and commenced to delivering an ass beating to the jackass because he felt like his family was in danger. Once the jackass grew tired of getting hit in and about the face, he decided to unholster his Glock but forgot to keep his booger hook off of the bang switch and shot himself in the thigh when his heater cleared leather.
When that scene finally gets sorted, if it’s one of “those” nights all of the electricity in one area will suddenly go out and you’ll get to direct traffic at the busiest intersection in your jurisdiction until someone can return electric service to the area. Even though it’s officially zero-dark-thirty, the intersection will be busy as hell and you’ll have to frantically wave a coned Maglite at drivers for at least an hour while avoiding being struck by the motoring public.
If you’re especially lucky you’ll have an extremely full bladder and won’t have a chance to make a fluid adjustment until you try to creep to the tree line during a break in traffic. As soon as your bladder starts to feel some relief, you’ll hear the doors closing on a van emblazoned with the local television news logo as the reporter and cameraman walk up to ask you what happened to cause the power to go out.
As soon as the lights flicker on and the traffic lights start to operate as usual, you’ll try to get some paperwork done. Since it’s one of “those” nights, every computer terminal will be updating the report writing software and it won’t be accessible for at least another hour, which will give you about 30 minutes to do two hours of paperwork before your shift ends.
When you finally get the voodoo doll that looks like the IT guy put together for always scheduling the updates while you are working, you’ll get dispatched to a domestic in progress at the residence of the local walking DSM-5. He seems to have all of the mental illnesses at once, yet somehow managed to convince another person to come back to his apartment from the bar at closing time. After you and your shift partner enter the apartment and speak with the known resident who is only wearing boxer shorts, you’ll hear another man groaning from the bedroom.
Expecting the worst, you handcuff the walking DSM-5, leaving him with your partner. When you open the bedroom door, you’ll find a nude paraplegic man who asks you to help him get dressed. When you ask him what happened, he’ll tell you that the two of them have been dating and went out for drinks before they came back to the apartment. He’ll explain that he was too tired for sex, so he went to sleep but woke up with two of the DSM-5’s digits up his exit which created the loud verbal disturbance that woke the neighbors and prompted your appearance there.
After you unsuccessfully try to convince the on-call prosecuting attorney to accept some version of “finger sodomy” charges on the walking DSM-5 via telephone, you make contact with his caretaker and arrange for her to come and monitor the pair for the remaining part of the night. When she arrives, your shift partner will “accidentally” tell the walking DSM-5 “now don’t fuck us” as he begins to tell him that he will not be charged criminally for “finger sodomy” and will be left at the apartment. When you finally regain some sort of bearing, you’ll excuse yourself from the apartment and find that it’s 15 minutes past quitting time and you haven’t even started paperwork.
Before heading back to slay the paperwork dragon, you send your better half a quick email explaining that it’s been one of “those” nights and you’re fine, but will be late getting home because of paperwork. As you finish up the paperwork, you’ll get a text message from your better half asking you to pick up diapers and baby wipes before you come home.
When you walk into the store to get those items really quick, you’ll encounter no less than three jokesters that will say something terribly original like “I didn’t do it”, “here’s the guy you’re looking for, officer”, or “out of donuts at the station, huh?”. After taming the anger sharks and faking a smile, you grab the diapers and wipes and remember that your wallet is inside the car. Wallet in hand, you pay for those items at the self-checkout lane so you don’t have to engage in any more conversations with human beings and hurry back to the car.
After you get home and start to take off your equipment, you’ll start to reflect on the night you had and you’ll wonder how in the hell you were lucky enough to find a job where someone pays you to do what you do for a living. “Those” nights are much better after they are done than when you are in the middle of them, but they can be pretty entertaining, too.
Misery loves company, so feel free to share one of your own versions of “those” nights or some of the crazy stuff you’ve encountered in the comments section or on my Facebook page.
For now, it’s time to go patrol the Donut…