Just Open The Door, Ma’am
“I responded to a woman ‘locked out’ of her vehicle. We’re a smaller town and I love responding to things like that because it’s one of the easier ways to genuinely help someone have a better day. It took me quite some time to get across town, find her in the giant mall parking lot, etc. The woman was crying hysterically when I get there about how scared she is about ‘never being able to drive her car again.’ I calmed her down, took a look at the car, and opened the passenger door. Just, opened it. She only locked the driver door on accident and didn’t try any of the other doors to open the car.”
There’s No HOA
“I had my old neighbor call the cops on me for cutting my grass shorter than his so his house looked ‘trashy’ in comparison. I refused to adjust my lawnmower because I didn’t want to cut my grass twice as often.
The cops show up and talk to him, knock on my door, and preface it all by saying, ‘Your neighbor is an absolute idiot, but we have to talk to everyone involved…’ The situation then continued with the cops and I joking around on my porch for 10 minutes about random stuff while my neighbor watched, fuming.
He was then given a verbal trespass warning and told to not come to my door anymore. The rest of the neighborhood heard of the cops ordering him to leave me alone and anytime he went on his weekly crusade to tell people what’s wrong with their yard in comparison to his they called and had him given trespass warnings so the next call would be criminal and could lead to arrest. He moved after he couldn’t be the self-appointed lawn cop of the place, and no we didn’t live in an HOA.”
An Unexpected Smell
“Oh boy. I’m not a cop anymore due to medical reasons but it’s hard to only share one story.
We went out to this house on a domestic dispute call because a woman and her husband were getting into it and arguing. They said they weren’t physically fighting but when I got there I thought differently because of the amount of crap thrown all over the place. The male had some bleeding above his eye. So I’m talking to them and of course, they’re giving me conflicting stories like they always do, and the woman says something along the lines of, ‘I just had it. I snapped and threw the darn fan at his face!’
Now, this is one of those big fans with maybe like a four-foot pole as a stand, used usually for an entire room. She said that when they were arguing, she went into the living room to get away from her husband, sit down, and cool off. But the dude comes over with the fan, positions it next to her face, turns it on, and proceeds to fart into the fan. So she flipped. I look at the dude and he’s just kind of standing there, giving me that face of guilt like he’s acknowledging the fact that I’m judging him, but he’s too embarrassed to vocally admit he did in fact fart into the fan to annoy his wife.
Firstly, they were both in the late 30’s, and this is was the reason why I’m at their place. Secondly, she just admitted to assaulting her husband so unfortunately she’s got to go to jail. I wouldn’t say that the call itself was a waste of time, it was a genuine domestic dispute with an offense we could charge. But the circumstances that led up to it were extremely stupid.
So next time it takes them forever to get to your house for your theft report or whatever, remember that people like them exist and keep us busy.”
Brown Mystery Goo
“I’m a reserve deputy now, but in the past, I was an intern for my hometown’s police department for two summers. I saw a lot of calls that ended up being wastes of time, but this one was special.
The officer I was with got called to deal with a family issue involving a minor and some healthcare-type stuff, so I stayed in the car listening to the radio. With things like that, sometimes it was better I gave the family some privacy. There were three other officers on that day. One was being trained by the field training officer, so they rode together. The other had his own car. Anyway, I’m sitting listening to music, and a call comes out. It was along the lines of ‘323, [City Dispatch], can you head to [Address]? The caller is advising there is a brown goo in his alley.’
‘[Dispatch], 323. Brown goo?’
’10-4; he says it smells bad.’
I’m still in the car waiting for my officer to get back because I want to go see what this mystery goo is. More voices on the radio:
‘[Dispatch], 323. I’m 10-23 (on the scene). There’s definitely brown goo. It definitely smells bad.’
And more voices:
‘[Dispatch], 316 and 324 are going to be out at [Address] investigating that goo as well.’
The Field Training Officer had brought his trainee along. My officer hurries back to the car and we decide we need to also investigate this goo. We get to the address and pull into the alleyway. Now the entire city’s police force is sitting in this tiny alleyway talking to the homeowner/caller. In the grass between the gravel of the alleyway and the back of the caller’s garage is this foamy brown goo. It was baking in the summer sun and smelled like a combination of roadkill and a ham and cheese sandwich that had been left sitting in a hot car for about a week. We all stood around making jokes for a while before a sheriff’s deputy joined the fun. I poked the goo with a stick, which didn’t do much more than release more bad smells. The caller had a rake, which only spread the goo around further. The FTO got this dumb smile on his face and said: “You know…this seems more like a fire department issue.’ He got on his radio:
‘[Dispatch], can you start Fire to our location? For the goo?’
‘316, [Dispatch], 10-4.’
A few seconds later we hear a fire page (series of tones unique to each department in the county) go out over the radio and start laughing. In about 3 minutes, two firefighters show up in basically a big Ford-F350 with some rescue gear on it. They get out, demand to know why we called them, and then also start poking at the goo. They start to smile.
‘You know,’ one of them says, ‘we don’t have any water on this truck…’ The other firefighter starts laughing, and the first one picks up his radio. ‘Start an engine to [address].’ They back their truck out of the alley. Finally, the engine shows up with four firefighters on board and the lights flashing. The driver actually pulls this giant truck into the narrow alley and drives up to where we were gathered around the goo. They get out and walk up to us.
‘Why are we here?’
Officer points to the goo; the first two firefighters laugh.
‘What is it?’
‘Goddang, it smells bad.’
‘Yes. Yes, it does.’
The firefighters sit for a moment in silence. ‘We could…hose it down maybe?’ We tell them that they 100% should hose down this goo. The homeowner/caller agrees. The firefighters unload a hose and attach it to the front of the engine. They tell us to stand back, then blast the everloving crap out of this rancid mystery goo. They send goo and gravel alike flying into this poor man’s yard, coating his garage with it. Now everyone but the firefighter manning the hose is laughing, even the homeowner. As the firefighters packed up their hose, we decided there was no more protecting and/or serving to do, so we headed back for our cars. As we were leaving, one of the officers turned to the homeowner and said ‘Remember, this is the fire department’s fault,’ and everyone laughed again.
This all took maybe 25 minutes at most. Such are the joys of small-town policing.”
Is Your Refrigerator Running?
“I’m a dispatcher and I once had to send an officer out to a lady’s house because she had left town that morning and suddenly couldn’t remember if she’d closed her refrigerator door before she left. The call came in at like 1:00 am and she wanted us to send someone out to look in her windows to see if the fridge was closed (and possibly break in to close it if it was open, to which we said no).
An officer was sent. The fridge was, in fact, closed.
We’re an extremely small department in an equally small town, so we send for most things just because we can. I’m sure larger departments wouldn’t send on a lot of stuff like that just because they’re busier and need their resources for other things.”
It’s All Locked Up
“I had a woman call the police on me for not turning the air conditioner down at the restaurant I was working at. The air conditioner controls were locked and I didn’t have the key. The keyholder was the owner, who was out of town. This woman called and said I was trying to assault her by heat. I couldn’t turn the air conditioner any lower. It was set to 75 I believe. She wanted it 52 in there I guess. You can’t make this stuff up.
The cops showed up. They heard 30 seconds of her story, looked at me, and told me to tell her to leave and never come back, and they would happily come back to enforce the ban if she ever tried to come back in. By the way, it was July in Arkansas. It was 101 degrees with 90% humidity. No air conditioner, my big sweaty butt!”
Foam Sword Fighting
“I’m not a cop, but once at a previous house, all my college housemates and I were throwing our last party before we all moved out with a ‘Viking’ theme. We had a whole pig we were roasting on a spit over a fire, drinking horns and a ton of foam swords with which we were beating each other with at various times. I’m in the house when I hear the doorbell, which I was expecting the inevitable neighbors calling about us being excessively loud. This time is different, however, this time there are about a dozen cops, a paddy wagon, and they all look very on edge.
I ask what’s going on, and they tell me there has been a report of us having knife-fighting in the backyard and brandishing weapons (again, in our backyard which is fenced in). I burst out laughing and invite the main cop talking to me to come to see what is actually going on.
We walk through the house to the backyard and he sees just a bunch of nerds with foam swords, fake Viking helmets, and one kid in a chainmail shirt. There are some Coronas around and everyone goes a little quiet when they see the cop, then one of my friends asks if the cop wants some pork.
I follow him back to the front door where all the other cops are and watch him explain to all of them what was happening. The looks on the faces of the cops were some of the best expressions I have ever seen.”
“I responded to an assault in progress in an alley – the caller said she heard grunting and what sounded like a woman yelling for help. My dispatch alert toned the call and I went all out to get there as fast as possible.
When I pulled into the alley, my brakes were smoking and I was ready to kick some butt. I jumped out of the car and ran to the sounds, which were still intense and close by. I rounded the corner to find two raccoons straight up duking it out. I’m talking squared-off, throwing punches, etc. It sounded terrible but it was awesome to watch. The little bandits scampered away, unfortunately.”
It’s A Public Road, Lady
“There’s a nicer area of town near me that used to be the officer’s quarters for the air force base that was in the town until the 50s. Now, all of those old buildings are condos and the oval grounds the soldiers marched around is a public road with a soccer field in the middle. Nice area. People jog around there often, very low traffic and it’s nice.
I’d jog at around 10:00 pm after work and once a woman yelled from her window ‘What are you doing near that building?’ Uh, I was sitting on the steps of the city gym (that took over one of the buildings) to tie my shoes and set up my running app.
She said, ‘This is a private neighborhood, we don’t want you here after dark.’
‘Lady, with all due respect, these are public roads, I’ll run where I want.’
She called the cops on me. They caught up on me at 3/4 of a mile around and asked what happened. I told them and they laughed and told me to have a good night.
I was running on a fully lit road and people run at night there, just fewer people than in the day. I sat on steps of a well-lit entrance of a closed gym in full running gear.
She specifically said she didn’t like people here in her ‘closed’ community.
It isn’t closed. It’s a public road.
She just didn’t like being rich and having people run in her area that didn’t live there.
I ran the next six one mile laps and flipped off the general direction of her 4th-floor window each time around.
And every other time I ran there. It was my way of keeping track of my laps.
She slammed her window a few times.”
Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You
“My parents live across from an older lady who is the self-proclaimed neighborhood watch. She has called the non-emergency line for the local police station so many times that she is not allowed to call that line anymore. The only way she can get a hold of the police is to either call 911 in an extreme emergency or actually drive to the police station to make a complaint. This woman is a terror to the neighborhood. She reports to the cops the most useless nonsense.
My favorite complaint that she has ever made was the time that two stray cats were doing it in her driveway. This woman took pictures and a video of the two cats doing their thing instead of going out there and trying to get rid of them herself. She printed out the pictures, put the video on a CD, and brought it to the police station the next day. Obviously, the police couldn’t do anything about it.
The best part of this story is the one cop that she complained to put up the picture in the common room so everyone could have a good laugh at it. We know this part because my parents have become really good friends with the cops over the years of living across from her.”
You’re Getting A Ticket
“I wear a hijab and my husband is an Arab with a big beard; we live in a fairly affluent area in New Jersey. One night, we were invited to a house party in a neighboring town. We park in front of the neighbor’s house because it’s packed in front of the party. There are about 10-15 cars clearly there for a party. While getting out of the car, we noticed someone staring at us through the window and quickly close the blinds. A little while later, someone comes into the party and says someone’s Honda is getting a ticket.
My husband and I walk outside. We weren’t getting a ticket. Someone had called the police in a state of panic that two suspicious people dressed all in black (I was wearing a rainbow confetti scarf by the way) were casing their neighborhood and gave them our license plate number. It was so uncomfortable when the cops figured out why they were called.”
“I’m a former cop. I was dispatched to a burglary in progress. A lady called and said she was locked inside her bedroom and people were rummaging through the living room of her apartment. She was hysterical and begging for us to rescue her. I mean she was beyond frantic. So my partner and I raced there as fast as possible. Lights and sirens hoping to get there before she is brutally murdered.
We got there, surrounded the apartment, and I’m about to kick the door in. Then the door opened and the lady was standing there with the most embarrassed look on her face, hair a mess, and disheveled pajamas. She locked herself inside the bedroom in attempts to keep the ‘Intruders’ in the living room out. She forgot that she decided it was hot and opened her balcony door which created the desired breeze she wanted and blew some papers off her coffee table. That was it. The wind.
It actually never bothered me when innocent people make mistakes. I helped straighten her living room and locked her balcony door for her. It was much harder to have patience with the guy who gets caught with smack in his pocket and says to me ‘but these aren’t my pants, I didn’t know that was in there.'”
Trapped By A Gas Leak
“I was the dumb caller. I was home alone in my dad’s house when I smelled gas. I went to the stove to find out it had been on, and I turned it off. Everything still smelled like gas so I hid outside and googled ‘house smells like gas’ which of course turned up results like ‘there’s a gas leak call the cops now.’
I called the cops, and I actually forgot my address, and they had to find me (I was in the backyard and the gate was locked so I couldn’t see the numbers). When they did show up, they couldn’t find any gas because I’d opened all the windows. I was feeling pretty embarrassed for wasting their time at this point, but then it got worse.
I was a minor, and after calling I found out they couldn’t legally let me go without an adult to take custody of me; that, or they could discharge me to a hospital. I tried calling my dad, but he wouldn’t pick up the phone. The only person who answered was my sister who lived thirty minutes away.
So an ambulance and a cop car had to wait with me for thirty minutes for her to come get me because I freaked out over a stove. The morning after, my dad texted my sister asking where I was. She called up my dad as soon as she got the text and chewed him out.”
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