After a while, a police officer can get into a sort of 'routine' with certain calls. They get the feel for how certain calls usually turn out and tend to expect those outcomes for any future calls. The following stories prove that no call should be considered 'routine' since the unexpected can happen at any moment.
Content has been edited for clarity.
The Doctor Didn’t Take Her Meds
Got a call of some lady refused to get out of the bathroom. It’s around 2AM and the cleaning crew of a restaurant let her inside, but she didn’t want to leave. It’s raining and cold outside, I think it was January. We get there and another set of officers from a nearby precinct respond because it’s boring when it’s cold and raining.
The lady comes out dressed in simple pajamas, no shoes or socks, holding an infant wrapped in a baby blanket. No jacket. No coat. No warm anything. Just button-down pajamas and her tiny infant. All of us are like, ‘Hold up.’ They aren’t dressed for this weather at all. The mom looks pretty normal, as in she’s not a transient. We learn later she’s a brain surgeon and lives in a very swank condo. Turns out she walked 6-8 blocks down the street in the rain dressed like this.
Then the mother displays behavior attributed to mental health disorders. Starts screaming ‘They’ are trying to kill her, gets incredibly manic. Hunches down and her eyes go wild. But, she’s holding that baby tight. We know she needs to go to a psych hospital, but we have to get the baby away first. We plead we want to help her, just let us hold the baby. She won’t of course, because in her mind we’re all trying to kill her.
At one point she whispers (kind of spooky), ‘Give me a weapon and I’ll do it myself.’ We swarm her. Two for the baby and two on her and she’s screaming bloody murder. It was unnerving to say the least.
My partner and I took the call (report). We get a hold of dad and take the baby back to him. He didn’t realize she had left. He’s a doctor too. He mentioned she didn’t want to take her psych meds anymore and hadn’t taken them in about a week.
We took the mother to a psych hospital for a 72-hour evaluation. Hope she got back on her feet, but we don’t know.
Lesson learned: If you need psych meds, please TAKE your meds! Don’t ever think you’re all better without them.”
An Unexpected Confession
“I was on my coach officer phase and responded to a call where one of our repeat ‘customers’ was involved, the individual in question usually called us to resolve nonsensical issues with his neighbors. It was usually entertaining to go to his calls just because of the sheer hilarity and stupidity of it all.
Well one time during a boring shift where pretty much nothing happened, my coach officer and I, along with pretty much the entire sector responded. Pretty much the entire shift in our division congregated there since we all know it was going to be a fun one.
Well my CO starts talking to him, ‘Hey boss, what’s up?’ And this individual who we’ll call Vlad (Not his name), starts explaining the situation; ‘My neighbor’s at it again, he keeps looking at me through his window all scared like. I didn’t do anything to him yet. But I will eventually.’ And the conversation keeps going. Eventually my Coach Officer at the time asks him about his other neighbor:
‘So boss man, how’s Bob (Fake name again) treating you?’
‘Oh you don’t need to worry about him anymore. He ain’t gonna bother anyone anymore, know what I mean?’
‘Oh yeah? Why’s that?’
And so we’re expecting some hilarious reply, you can see us grinning from ear to ear waiting for comedic gold. Then Vlad replies: ‘Cause I killed him, I done slit his throat, he tried to take my veggies.’
As you can imagine we went from grinning to bursting out of laughter. My CO didn’t laugh, at that point we all took the hint, my Coach Officer was a 10 year vet and a war time cop who knew his stuff. If he thought something was up, so did we.
Vlad then showed us the body of Bob of which had been decomposing for a few days. Arrested immediately and charged. He didn’t even go to court. He got off and was put into a mental health facility for the criminally insane. Kind of like a Sanatorium/Asylum. Guy turned out to be schizophrenic.
Moral of the story: If a schizophrenic dude tells you he murdered somebody, chances are he did.”
What He Saw On The Other Side
It was a Saturday night and I had a call for an erratic vehicle (unable to stay in lane, speeding, etc.) Everyone assumed it was a routine driver under the influence because it was Saturday night.
Well she passed me on a main road, so I turned around and conducted a traffic stop. She stopped her car in a terrible place, so I approached on the passenger side. She was very angry and disrespectful and she wouldn’t turn to look at me, just looked forward. I could smell adult beverages, wasn’t sure if it was coming from her or the vehicle. I asked for her license and registration to run her information. I decided I was going to talk to her more on the driver side to see if I could find signs of impairment.
When I walked over to her side I saw the entire left side of her face was bruised and blood was coming out of her mouth, also a bruise on her neck in the shape of a hand and fingers. I had her step out to ask about it.
She informed me her boyfriend got wasted and thought she was cheating on him and decided to hold her down by the neck and punch her approximately 10 times. She had major swelling and the blood was a cut from her cheek against her teeth.
It took 25 minutes to convince her to give me his information. She told me he lives in a neighboring state and the incident occurred there. I called the neighboring state police and informed them.
Found out the guy had 3 felony warrants and they have been looking for him.
She stated she drank a little before the incident occurred. I ran her through Sobriety Testing before she left. She had a few clues in her eyes but not enough for me to believe she was impaired. Did fine on the other two tests. I think her driving was from emotional stress and ya know….the concussion. I wouldn’t have given her any flak either way, she had been through enough.
She was heading home. About an hour and a half drive for her. She didn’t want to go to a hospital and refused medical attention when EMS showed up.”
Not So “Run Of The Mill”
Went to a ‘run of the mill’ slow time domestic appointment single crewed, arrive at the address and both parties are present and it’s a small 1 bed flat. Try to speak to both separately but neither speaks much English and the male wouldn’t leave the female, who was the victim, alone.
My attendance was due to a call the previous night from a friend of the female due to her not speaking much English.
Neither party spoke much English, but they know enough for basic questions, I asked simple questions and got told nothing was wrong. Began questioning on information that I already had from the call and the female has denied everything but things didn’t feel right. I begin to arrange for one of my colleagues who spoke the same language to call the female and speak to her over the phone to ask questions that the male couldn’t hear. As I was doing so she goes to the bathroom and comes back out a short time later. She stood back by her partner but slightly behind him and when he is speaking to me she pulls up her sleeve of her t-shirt and has written ‘help me’ on the top of her arm just above where her sleeve stopped.
I have quickly got another unit on scene with me and my colleague spoke to her on the phone after we managed to separate them, and she has disclosed an assault the night before where he has grabbed her by the throat and thrown her into a window sill. He gets locked up and I have arranged for her to come and speak to my colleague back at the station where she discloses this wasn’t the first occasion but is the first time she had spoken to the police. Where he had previously beat her with a golf club for being late.
I would hate to think what would/could of happened if I had left after she said she hadn’t called the police.”
“We Need The Real Police”
“Not a cop, this happened outside my college residence and I imagine they had a laugh at this before they showed up because my roommates and I sure did.
This kid was all messed up on something and was screaming and beating the snot out of a backhoe loader that had been left there overnight due to some construction work going on on campus. Obviously construction equipment is generally made out of pretty thick steel so it’s not like he was doing much damage. By this point campus security had been by and I’m assuming were like ‘forget this, we need the real police’ because they just stopped for 10 minutes and then kept driving. I’m assuming this is the point where the police were called.
Turns out some idiot left the keys in the machine, you know cause that’s what you do on a college campus full of wasted teenagers. So this kid somehow figures out how to start it and proceeds to drive straight forward into the backup generator for the residence building across from mine knocking it off its concrete pad and crushing it up against the wall, then tried to back up but the cops have arrived at this point and blocked his escape. He then tries to drive over the lawn to get away but since he can’t figure out how to raise the bucket up he can’t get over the curb and ends up bending the bucket by hitting the concrete repeatedly.
Obviously was arrested on the spot.”
“She Was Pretty Shaken Up”
“Not a cop but this is a story from my criminal justice professor from college (who was a cop in North Carolina).
There was this house she and her partner had to visit frequently for domestic disputes between a grown son and his wheelchair-bound father. It was never that bad, mostly just yelling and the neighbors would call the police to check on them. No charges were ever pressed, so they’d usually just check in and be on their way.
They got another one of those calls one day thinking it’d be the same as usual, this time the son is waiting outside for them. The partner is still questioning the son, and thinking the old man wasn’t going to be a threat she goes inside to deal with him on her own. She announced herself and approached him to talk, he doesn’t say anything but suddenly grabs for her weapon. She pinned the weapon and his hands to her side and tried punching him, pepper-spraying, anything she could think of to get him to let go. Eventually her partner heard her screaming and ran in to disarm him, and he was taken away. He later admitted he was going to shoot her and then his son, and she was pretty shaken up after that.”
Watch Out For Traps
“When I graduated from high school, I got hired by my pd as a community service officer (CSO). We handled minor calls, transported prisoners and served arrest warrants.
One day I was dispatched to go investigate a hulk vehicle. A hulk vehicle for those who don’t know is a vehicle that has been abandoned on someone’s property and the property owner, who doesn’t have the title, wants it gone. Law enforcement can come out and issue what is known as a hulk vehicle permit which allows the property owner to have the vehicle towed. So I get on scene of this large, wooded property (I’m guessing a couple hundred acres). The property owner is a management company and they want to build houses on the property and they discovered several hulk vehicles during their site visit.
So I go about walking through the woods and investigating the vehicles as I came to them. They had been abandoned for at least 20 years so it wasn’t much of an issue. I finally reach the last vehicle which was pretty far into the wood and as I’m checking it I realized there was an active substance lab operation next to me. I couldn’t see anyone around and I backed out the same way I came in fearing traps. Got back to my car and called for immediate back up. Officers surrounded the scene and SWAT got called out to clear the woods. The found 4 suspects hiding, all were armed and they discovered a pipe bomb trap less than 50 feet from the car I was inspecting. Had I gone out a different way or approached the lab I would have been killed.
Fortunately I listened to my gut and didn’t touch anything and went out the same way I came in.”
A Love Triangle Gone Wrong
“Former Police Officer,
Dispatched to a possible disturbance as soon as I got to work to relieve the day guys. Call came in that the neighbors are having a heated discussion and ‘there might be a weapon’ but they didn’t see one. I got a car as quick as I could, and headed that way. Dispatch advised the suspect had left and was driving east (towards me). I found the vehicle matching the description and tried to do a traffic stop but he wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t high speed or anything he just didnt want to stop, using turn signals and everything. He finally pulled over. Due to the possibility of a weapon, and having no context as to why the caller thought there was a weapon I was cautious. I drew my weapon and had it in low ready, gave orders for him to step out of the vehicle like in any felony stop. He ignored them. Back up arrived, so we decided to approach with caution and lethal cover. I got up to about 15 feet of his door, and he kicked it open, stuck the weapon to his head and committed suicide.
Turns out, he was involved in some kind of old love triangle. The ‘caller’ was not the ‘neighbor’, but his old squeeze and the suspect had just left his wife, showed up to the victims house, pointed a weapon at her husband and said he was there to kill him. The wife called us under the guise of just a witness, despite them having multiple conversations. The suspect wanted her to leave her husband and the suspect left his wife assuming that was going to happen but it didn’t. Then I got behind him and turned on my lights.
I’m glad he didn’t make me kill him but I wish it could have gone a different way and after a small stint in a psychiatric hospital and maybe a month or two of jail time he would be alive.
This may not seem to serious quickly but about 6 months before that, I did a ‘routine’ traffic stop and as I walked up to the driver door to get his license, the bullet he shot himself with barely missed me. He had a felony warrant from another state and was going to spend a very long time in prison. So needless to say, traffic stops are never, and never should be considered ‘routine’.
“City cop here.
I was driving to a call for service and saw a vehicle that was stopped in opposite lanes of traffic. There were about 7 vehicles stopped behind it, but a green light was the stopped car.
I made a u-turn at the next intersections and went back to the stopped car. I approached the passenger side on foot and I saw an elderly driver alone in the drivers seat.
She wasn’t responding at all to me from outside the vehicle, she was just looking straight ahead with two hands on the wheel with the car in gear.
I waked to the driver side and saw that she had a gash on the left side of her head about 4 inches long and so deep I could see her skull. Blood was running down her face and neck, pooling in her lap.
I smashed the back window to get access to the gear shift and out the car in park, then called for medics.
As they were en route, she started having a seizure. I had to keep her wound closed, neck in a neutral position, and make sure her tongue wasn’t getting bit off.
The medics showed up, so I left the scene and went to her house (checked the plate registration for the address) as it was right around the corner. I show up there and interrupt a burglary in progress. Two idiots apparently thought they could get away with a home invasion by knocking out the old bird and taking their time—they didn’t figure her to be tough enough to get up and flee her house when they were upstairs.
After all this, I learned she had terminal cancer and was near death anyways, but we at least got a couple lower criminals off the street.”
“Former 911 operator but not a cop. I had a call on 911 from this guy who was very meandering and then it got really real.
‘Hi, so like…I’m calling because there’s this caaarrrr…I think it’s a Taurus? Ford Taurus, I guess? Anyway, it’s got one headlight on…I guess the other one’s burnt out. And it’s just…it’s just running, with that one headlight on. Annnnnd it’s in this parking lot for a commuuuunity center, y’know, but it’s…it’s…I think it’s closed? So I guess it’s like, what’s this car, doing in this parking lot, right? Just one car in the parking lot…and it’s on, and like, one headlight….oh yeah, and there’stwoguysinsideslumpedoverandthey’renotmoving.”
Turned out they were overdosing pretty hard.”
The FootPrints Gave It Away
“Back when I was 18, I got into a bit of a Blackjack habit at the local casino (Canada so only need to be 18). I walked out of there one night around 2:00 am, and was having a smoke outside my truck when I see this semi-old man walk across the street to the parking lot. He wasn’t on the crosswalk, but like 20 meters or so from intersection. A vehicle came straight through the intersection (not speeding, driving perfectly normal) and this guy just froze like a deer in headlights. I imagine he was thinking that the car would swerve and avoid him. It was late at night so no one else was on the road, but with all the snow on the ground you simply cannot break and steer the vehicle. It just locks up, and slides while turning sideways.
The car hit the man, but relatively minor impact for a car hitting you. The side of the car hit the guy and the snow kind of helped soften the impact to the ground. I immediately called 911, the driver got out and started helping the man. After I run over, he says he needs to go call someone and goes to his car. No biggie, the man is shaken but no major injuries and I thought the driver was just really shook up from hitting someone. Police and ambulance get there a couple minutes later, tend to the man and the driver and I both give statements to different officers. I painted the guy in a good light, said he wasn’t speeding and tried to break but the snow and ice made him slide. I’m waiting to be told that I’m good to go when an officer finds a freaking weapon in a snow covered planter. The idiot driver took it out of his car, went and dropped it in a planter on the sidewalk and walked back over to his car on the road. Smart idea, but there’s only one set of tracks that go from his car to this planter and then back, and an obvious hole in the fresh snow that’s been piling up. He’s arrested and they search the car. So yeah, he gets put in cuffs and into the cruiser. They search the car and I found out later they also convicted him for substance possession.
Little did the cops know I also had a quarter ounce of weed in my truck.”
Not A Smart Escape Plan
“Not a cop but I guarantee the ones involved remember this one. They were originally there to arrest a guy selling substances on campus. They passed me in the stairwell (on their way up) while I was going to borrow some notes from a classmate.
A few minutes go by and I’m back in the stairwell and get passed by the same cops (on their way down and moving quick).
Turns out they handcuffed the guy, sat him down, did God only knows what, while homeboy Superman’d out the window head first. From the ELEVENTH floor. So that was an interesting day. He lived and he’s somehow not a vegetable.”
Good Thing He Noticed
“Sheriff Deputy here.
During patrol, I started noticing at one house that their packages being delivered at their front door weren’t being taken inside. A lot of these packages were groceries. I also noticed their mail wasn’t being brought in. Usually the postal service mentions something when they see this but I brought it upon myself to do a welfare check.
I arrived at the door and knocked. No answer. I knocked a few more times, no answer. I started thinking maybe the person that lives there maybe gone for a while. I decided to take one peek through the front window and I saw an elderly woman laying on the ground. I announced to dispatch what I saw and I’m entering the house immediately. Luckily I didn’t have to kick the front door down and instead discovered the back door was unlocked.
I entered the house and the lady was alive but due to her older age, she wasn’t able to stand back up on her own strength after falling and has been laying on the ground for 2 days. I got paramedics to arrive and take her to a nearby hospital. I found her phone book with personal numbers in her kitchen and called her adult children and notified them of what happened. They were very relieved and drove to the hospital to help care for her.”
The Cops Went To Smirks To Serious
“Not a cop..but as a McDonald’s worker, we called 911 on a group of teens who came in wasted and unruly.
We called because one of them was a little more wasted and tipsy and sat down, put his head down and passed out. His friends thought it was hilarious. Cops showed up with a smirk at first figuring it was just stupid teens.
When they poured a little cold water on Mr Passed Out and he did not flinch, they stopped smiling. When they looked at his medic alert bracelet they got REAL serious. Paramedics came and worked on the kid. He survived but nearly died. He was diabetic, and suffering from drink poisoning, his blood sugar was WAY off. Cops said he would have died if we did not call them. Seeing the cops go from smirks to serious like that was scary.”
The Last Thing He Expected
“Not me but my dad. He wasn’t a police officer at the time, but a constable.
He was going to a guys house to serve him a summons, as is usual and routine. He got there and went up to the house and the guy answered. As he was talking to him and serving him the summons, the guy pulled out a weapon. My dad pulled out his and told him to drop the weapon.
Instead, the guy then turned the weapon on himself and pulled the trigger. My dad was a cop before this though so it wasn’t the first time seeing something like this.”
Natural Selection Working Hard On This One
“It was dumb and routine BEFORE we got there….
It was a local, well-known, wasted criminal (jack of all trades) who was playing with fireworks.
Not an uncommon thing.
However, he was in his living room. And they were very powerful and illegal. He was entertaining himself by lighting the wick and putting it out.
He wasn’t quick enough one time. The mortar went through his roof. Blasted the storm door off the hinges into the front yard. His torso lacerated. Intestines needed to be pushed back in and sewn up.
About a year later (almost to the day) he got in a fight with his girlfriend on the interstate highway. At some point they pulled over, he got out, doors were locked, so he climbed on the hood. She started driving and he fell off. Wasn’t even in very bad shape. He was shirtless, of course, and I saw the surgery scars from the year prior.”
Check well-being call from neighbor of two early 20s longshoremen. She’d heard them yelling and screaming on and off throughout the night, and what sounded like glass breaking, then silence.
I get there, guy opens the door. Apologizes, says he and the roommate were playing a video game in their separate rooms and were just really into the games. He hadn’t heard the breaking glass, and his buddy in the other room had been away from the game for a while. He assumed he was getting high or whatever.
Go to other guys room, knock, don’t hear anything. Announce that it’s the police doing a wellness check. Nothing. Open the door, and the guy is dead, on the ground, meatball sub in hand. Some of his stomach fluid has come out his nose and ran up over his eyes, and it’s all burned from the stomach acid.
I’d had a few noise complaints from neighbors about these two in the past, so was expecting more bylaw. Definitely not a sudden death.”