When Dad became a cop, the stories ‘got amazing’


Welcome to Behind the Badge OC – where we hope to share stories about police officers and firefighters.

One of the things that has always intrigued me is the stories that cops tell. Not the ones you see in an episode on prime time television or on the big screen but the ones spoken in briefing rooms or shared with family and friends by the officers themselves.

My father was a cop. He didn’t get into police work the way most people do (but that’s another story) but rather at the age of 33 years. By the time Dad became a police officer I was already 12 years old.

Prior to becoming a cop, Dad was a sanitation engineer – or trash man. Now dinner conversation about picking up trash was never really that interesting go me.  About the most interesting I remember involved burning trash trucks having to dump their entire load in the street. You have to admit for a 12 year old that is great stuff.

It wasn’t until Dad became a police officer that the stories changed and got amazing.

During the police academy, Dad would come home on weekends and share stories of brutal tactical officers and exercise regimens; it was a live-in police academy back then.

Once he was patrolling the streets the stories only got better. He would regale us with stories of drunks chasing cars and other “dumb crooks,” which were my favorite.

His stories inspired me, one of my brothers and some of my friends to become police officers.

After I became an officer I had my own stories to share – more than 30 years worth.

I sometimes forget how intriguing police work can be for people outside the business.

I remember a woman who convinced us she had inside information about major drug traffickers – only to find out later she was “receiving” the information from satellites controlling her brain. There was a domestic dispute on Thanksgiving that involved a pie fight between a husband and wife. You had to be there. More than 20 pies were thrown and the mess would have made Soupy Sales proud. (If you’re under 40 you can look up Soupy Sales on Wikipedia).

It is my hope that Behind the Badge OC provides everyone the chance to read the kinds stories that inspired me to pursue a career in policing.

 As we venture to share the real police stories of Orange County we hope you will begin to see officers not as “the police” but as men and women who also happen to work in policing.

And as you get to know them and the outstanding work they do maybe you will be as proud of them as I have always been.

Contact Joe at JVargas@behindthebadgeoc.com