Roman: Police work is full of head-scratching moments


“You can’t make this stuff up.”

That’s a saying in police work that everyone can relate to. It’s a simple sentence that describes so much of what we see and hear during our “normal” shift.

The other night, my friend Sean and I were talking about some old stories related to that subject.

I told him a story about a crash report I took on Wednesday night involving a guy with an ignition interlock device installed on his car. The driver was heading to our jail to stay the night as part of his drunk driving sentence.

He was talking on the phone and trying to blow into the machine while driving at the same time. He was too busy blowing into the machine and ended up crashing into the car in front of him. He described it to me as trying to multitask.

Sean said, “That guy can’t get a break.”

“No, he can’t. He said he lost his job that same day too.”

See, you can’t make this stuff up.

Sean then asked me, “Do you remember The Chief?

“I took the crash when he was killed,” I told him.

The Chief was a famous transient because he was a mean drunk who liked to fight with the police. I never met him, but I was there for The Chief’s final call for service.

On that night, the Chief got hit by a car while riding his bike. The car took off and left him lying in the street. That’s when another car ran him over while driving in the opposite direction. The second driver stopped and said she thought she hit him. I looked under her front bumper and saw a bunch of blood. I said, “Yeah, you hit him too.”

After I cleared the scene I drove to the hospital that was down the street. I walked in and a nurse asked me if I had been at the crash.

I said, “Yes.”

“Was that The Chief?”


“Was he killed?


“Good. That means he won’t come in here again.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

Last week another friend named Timi told me a story that had me laughing for days. About 18 years ago a man called the police because his poodle was taken by another man.

Timi went to the suspect’s location and knocked on the door. A man answered and Timi asked him if he had a dog. The man replied he did. Timi told him she was there because someone called about a stolen dog.

That’s when a recently painted purple poodle appeared. The man told the officers that his poodle was purple and the other dog was white so it couldn’t be the same dog. Nice try, but the purple dog gave it away.

Another reason to say, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

And then who can ever forget the drunk driver who crashed the other night? She was DUI and six months pregnant.

After crashing into a pole, she pulled her pants down and used the sidewalk as a toilet.

I’m still shaking my head at that one.

Once again. You can’t make this stuff up.

Editor’s NoteJohn Roman is a traffic officer for an Orange County police agency who writes a blog, Badge 415 ( His posts focus on the human side of police work and safety tips. Roman, a cop for 20 years, has handled more than 5,000 accidents as a collision investigator. will share some of his columns.