As you can well imagine this new world was quite a challenge to me. One of my first assignments was as a downtown walking patrol. This meant that I was on my feet all day and there was no carrying anything but a ticket book. And I also had to wear one of those saucer hats whenever I was not in the car. My hair was long and thick so it was a challenge to keep that hat on and still look presentable. The ticket book was not in a metal holder it was just placed in the back pocket of my pants. Besides carrying the leather belt, gun, handcuffs, radio and holder, flashlight and case and baton and holder around my waist I had to carry the ticket book. One particular cold morning I went to the ladies room and took off the leather belt and went in to the stall and forgot about the ticket book. As I started to sit down I heard a 'PLOP' in the toilet. I turned around and OMG it was my ticket book! I fished it out and it was sopping wet through and through. Since we were accountable for all the tickets we signed out I placed this book in my locker and hung it up in hopes that it would dry and I could use the remaining tickets. After all it was only water. After a couple of days the book was dry enough to use. My training officer asked me why they were so wrinkled? I told him what had happened in a short and sweet statement. After he stopped laughing and with tears in his eyes he said I was the first officer ever to issue Scratch and Sniff tickets!
I never spent a lot of time around guns growing up. Handguns nor rifles nor shotguns as I was raised in the city.
Although I was a decent shot with the handgun I was afraid of the shotgun. To load and unload it was not something I enjoyed. One early morning as I was finishing up a graveyard shift at 6am I had parked my patrol unit and was unloading the shotgun by ejecting them one at a time. I had the barrel of the gun pointing at the driver's side window. Once all the rounds are ejected you were supposed to pull the trigger to release the tension on it before storing it. Usually we kept 4 rounds in the gun and as I looked in my lap I thought I counted 4. Unfortunately, there was only 3 which meant there was one in the chamber. So as I pulled the trigger it went off and I watched every single piece of glass fall out of the driver's window in slow motion. I also blew buckshot onto the patrol unit parked next to me and damaged the overhead light bar. I calmly radioed for the dispatcher to send my Sergeant outside to my location. I didn't know whether to cry or just what to do. I could not hear anything and I was scared.
Most days one of my fellow officers would stand beside the door and chat with me before we finished our shift. This morning thankfully he did not do it.
I was suspended a day without pay and I went for extensive training with the shotgun. Then it became a friend and would one day be the catalyst behind keeping me safe as I encountered two burglars in the middle of the night.
It doesn't rain much in Texas but when it does there is usually puddles everywhere as it is mostly rock and it doesn't absorb water very well if at all. One night myself and another officer were chasing a suspect through an apartment complex. The other officer was behind the suspect a few feet and I was coming at them from the left side hoping to distract him. As I was running across the courtyard my feet slipped on the wet grass and I fell face first in to a huge mud puddle. The suspect stopped running to watch me fall and the other officer was able to arrest him. They both were laughing so hard at my expense. It was a collar for the both of us even though I never touched the suspect or came close to him!
Quarterly the entire department had to qualify at a firing range with our duty weapons. This particular time they decided we would run an obstacle course. Climbing a small fence was the first obstacle. I got up one side of the fence but as I went over it my leg of my jeans hung up on the top of the fence. Needless to say, I was left hanging there for several minutes while all the guys had a good laugh at my expense. When I did it again I got right to the fence and simply ran around it. As long as I got to the other side was all that mattered.
When ever the dispatcher sent us to a major call we normally responded with overhead lights and sirens.
I was sent to a major accident in the rain one afternoon on the main road through town. As I got to the scene and exited my car the lights and the siren was still on. Much to my chagrin I locked the doors of the car when I exited. I had to humble myself and call for another officer with the same model patrol car to come and unlock my unit. So my car sat in the middle of the road with the siren going and the overhead lights revolving for about 15-20 minutes. Traffic was backed up so it took the responding help a little longer to get to me. Talk about embarrassing!
These are just a small sample of some of dumb things I did over my career. If these stories brought a smile or a chuckle to you then I have brightened your day. In another segment I will reveal more to show that being a street officer has to have some comedy to offset some of the horror you see everyday.