My wife and I just watched “Let’s Be Cops” this past weekend. I’m not much for cop movies — dramas or comedies. They are too farfetched from reality for me to really enjoy without being critical.
But it was one of those “there’s nothing on” nights, so we took a chance.
There is one scene where Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. have to wrestle a very large naked guy in a supermarket. My wife was busting a gut and in tears as Wayans Jr. screamed in terror.
He ends up buried under this massive, passed-out suspect while screaming his lungs out as the suspect’s most intimate body parts are in his face.
As my wife’s laughter subsided and she wiped the tears from her eyes, I could only look on with complete sympathy for the actors.
This wasn’t some farfetched unbelievable scenario. This was real life.
It is the one call all cops dread.
Police officers don’t talk about it much and they pray it never happens to them. Some who have experienced it still have reoccurring nightmares.
Police officers train for almost every foreseeable scenario. They train to handle shootings, bombings and uncooperative suspects. They even train for active shooters and terrorist attacks. No one I’ve ever talked to has trained for wrestling the naked guy.
How would you run the scenarios? Who would play the role of the naked guy?
I’ve seen officers paralyzed in their decision-making when confronted by the naked guy.
My most memorable naked guy call happened back in the 1980s. It was a hot, sweltering summer night in Anaheim. A family called for assistance for a psychotic family member.
Little did we know what we were in for. Dispatchers sent four officers based on the information they had from the distressed caller.
We contacted family members and discovered we had a language barrier. The family was Asian and their delusional son was locked in the bedroom and they were unable to control him. We were able to get the gist of what we were dealing with through a child translator.
Did I tell you it was a hot Southern California night? It was one of those little converted apartments with no air, and everyone was gleaming with sweat.
Of course, our own body temperatures were even higher because of the wool uniforms and body armor we were wearing.
We got no response at the door but could hear the guy ranting on the other side. We decided to rush in. Bursting through the door, we were surprised by a short, sweaty, skinny naked guy.
Ask any cop: It’s not the big guys that are the most difficult to handcuff. There’s more to grab onto. It’s the skinny, wiry, quick ones that cause you the most problems.
He just stood there ranting and alternately smiling. Using calm voices, we approached. I don’t know who grabbed first, but the minute he got touched the fight was one.
I should rephrase that. It wasn’t a fight. It was a human greased-pig contest.
I grabbed an arm only to have it slip out. Another officer attempted to tackle the man, only to have the subject jump and pull out of the way. A swing with a police baton missed and managed to skim my leg. Ouch!
We scrambled all over the place and decided to make a tactical retreat about the same time naked guy decided now would be a good time to urinate.
Yes, you read that right. The naked guy resorted to chemical warfare. We all ran out the door and closed it behind us.
It was only when we were on the other side that we realized we had left a man behind. We could here the grunts and thuds from the other side of the door.
We regrouped and ran back in to find my former academy mate lying on the bed trying to hold onto the naked guy in a bear hug.
With a renewed effort, we all grabbed for some body part. Arms, legs, whatever — all the time hoping his bladder was empty.
We ended up in a dog pile on the bed with my academy mate stuck underneath. It was an R-rated scene you never saw in the “Keystone Cops.”
It was a group effort, but naked guy eventually was handcuffed. I can only imagine what a picture we must have painted. Luckily, the only things bruised were egos.
Naked guy was transported to the hospital for evaluation. We went back to the station for a uniform change and a shower. It didn’t seem to be enough.
I reached out to some of my fellow retirees and asked if they recalled any other naked guy stories. Most had at least one.
The naked guy in the bathtub. The naked guy in the shower. The naked guy running across the rooftops. The naked guy running through the Disneyland parking lot with a motorcycle officer in pursuit.
The one that was not funny at all was the drug-crazed naked guy in the middle of a busy intersection screaming and yelling as he poked himself in the rear end trying to get the bugs out of a body cavity — a story too graphic to share in any more detail.
So whenever anyone tells you what a glamorous, exciting job police work is, just remember: It’s all fun and games until you have to wrestle the naked guy.
Joe is a retired Anaheim Police Department captain. You can reach him at email@example.com.