(Courtesy of WikiMedia)

Coming up on Christmas, I’m reminded of the ones I worked over the years. That got me thinking about good Christmas stories. Two stand out, one of which I’ll share here: a cautionary cop tale that eventually came to be. The others are from friends of mine who are still working the roads or streets.

Christmas Tree

This Christmas tree was in the driveway on Christmas Eve. Never a good sign.

Not long after I came on, one of the longer-serving deputies told a story about going to a call around Christmas at his first department – somewhere else in California.

“If you ever roll up on a call and find a Christmas tree in the front yard, hold up, just call for everybody.”

Right before Christmas one year, he had been sent to a family disturbance call. When he arrived, what was in the front yard? Nope, not a sleigh and eight reindeer. It was the Christmas tree. While the specific details are gone from my memory, it was clear that he needed more than a few more cops to resolve that call because of the family.

Over the years, it remained a cautionary tale I’d share around Christmas. Fortunately, I never experienced it – until I did.

Years later, I was working a swing shift out of our main office on Christmas Eve. A couple of our younger deputies got a family fight call in a busy, lower-income neighborhood. The call was on a long, narrow, winding court with a bit of a reputation for calls that required a bunch of cops to resolve.

Anyway, they arrived, and quickly called for – you guessed it – everybody. I wasn’t the first one to get there, but I was not the last one, either. I had to walk past several patrol cars to get up to the house. Why is it that “we” – as a profession – have a hard time parking on just one side of the road?

Getting up to the house, what is lying in the driveway? In front of the garage door? An actual Christmas tree. It wasn’t decorated yet, which was probably the only good thing about it.

It took a few hours and nearly the whole shift to resolve that one.

Santa wears Danners

The sign told him to Keep Right, he didn’t.

This comes from James, a Colorado cop – I was t-boned on Christmas Eve, running hot to a deputy needing emergency assistance. Turns out he didn’t, but the story continues.

At one intersection, I waited forever for all the cars to stop. When I was confident that they had all stopped, I creeped out into the intersection lights and siren blaring. Along comes the one car that didn’t stop, hits the patrol car (last of the Crown Vic’s) broadside on the passenger side and starts me spinning toward a center median on the other side of the intersection taking out the “Keep Right” sign and wrapping the driver’s side of the Vic around a light pole.

With both doors smashed I had to kick out the driver’s window and shimmy out the window.

Those sadists at the fire department were all mad that I climbed out. They were ready to cut up a cop car.

I was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. Then I was sent home for the night.

Christmas morning arrived, and I found that Santa had delivered and propped up the “Keep Right” sign to the snow drift in my front yard. Familiar-looking boot prints were going to and from the sign’s location.

Apparently, Santa wears Danner’s.

Be On The Look-Out

Be On the Look-Out for an older White Male, with a beard (courtesy of WikiMedia)

As much grief as we give administrators, there are good ones. Scott, who offered this, is one from the Midwest:

I’m sure we aren’t alone in letting this happen—but every year, our dispatch center puts out a BOLO ‘attempt to locate suspicious activity’ broadcast on a county-wide in clear frequency, advising all units of suspicious aerial activity on Christmas Eve. It’s been read by the same dispatcher for 20-30 years. She retired early last year, but we brought her back just for the Christmas Eve broadcast. She’s getting a little older so we taped last year’s BOLO, so now, even after she is gone, she will keep making the same broadcast that she has done each year.

Surprisingly, we have scanner listeners tune in every year for it, and generations of LE/Fire/EMS kids have grown up on it.


Ghosts of Christmas …

The Ghosts of Christmas (courtesy of WikiMedia)

Another James offered this one – “I was on probation on Christmas Eve in 1999, working in East Los Angeles. My TO (training officer) and I responded to an additional unit request at the Evergreen Cemetery, which is the oldest cemetery in LA.

“The call was for a 415 Man (disturbing the peace) that was screaming inside the cemetery. We arrived and could hear screaming and what sounded like a voice speaking in tongues.

“By this time, the whole watch had shown up, and we were waiting for the keys to unlock the gates. An airship was also overhead with a night sun and FLIR. He couldn’t see anyone on either.

“Eventually, the gate was unlocked. The second we opened the gate, the screaming stopped. we fanned out in patrol cars and on foot, expecting to find someone. No one was ever found.

“As we exited the grounds, someone said in a scary voice over the radio, “Must be the ghost of Christmas Present.”

“The observer in the airship said, “Or the ghost of Christmas past.”

“That was one of at least 3 or 4 “supernatural” calls I responded to in that division.”

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Seasons Greetings to you and yours!

Your humble editor, back when he was a patrol sergeant working Christmas.

Hope you all got a smile, a chuckle, and maybe a good feeling reading these. It did me good to gather and write the above stories. Thank you for another year of following and supporting AmericanCop.