Beat cop exposed … in Playboy magazine!
I was an FTO and I had a trainee. We clocked a car at 75 in a 55, so we pulled him over. It was an unlicensed driver who looked deuce, and he also had a toddler squirming around in the car with no car seat.
I told my trainee to balance the guy out while I kept an eye on the kid. That little tyke was bouncing all over in that old heap, but I just let him, because there was too much traffic and I could tell that Junior would be a runner.
As I was watching the FSTs, I made sure I kept the kid in the corner of my eye. I saw the little fella reach down into the door tray and pull out a big baggie of green death (that’s what narcs called marijuana back in the days when it was a felony). He then looked directly at me, held the bag out to me and said, “Here. Bad!” That kid was the easiest snitch I ever turned!
So we hooked the driver up and filled his booking sheet with felony sections from as many codebooks as we could think of. My watch commander saw it as an opportunity for some good PR, so he had me write up a press release before I went OD. I finished it up by 0200, hit the locker room and headed home.
At 0800, I got a call from our public affairs office. They told me that my press release was “going around the world” — they were taking calls from all the major national news outlets, and also cable networks in Europe. He tried to talk me into being interviewed, but I reminded him that no, as a public affairs officer, he was holding the short straw. For the next week, he had to get up at all hours of the night for live interviews.
One day about a month later I showed up for briefing, and we all saw the sergeant thumbing through a Playboy magazine. Not wanting to be part of the IA, we got quiet … and nervous. I finally found the courage to ask him just what the hell he was up to. “Oh, this?” he replied. “I only buy these for the news stories. I was just reading more about your famous bust!”
Indeed, a regular old road dog like me had reached the holy grail of public exposure. I never lost a bar bet again because I was featured in Playboy!
— Mike Marostica
Oxnard (California) P.D., 1993–2020
Is that a dragon in your backpack?
I should have known it was going to be one of those calls when I answered the radio in briefing. I headed west to take the DV call from the day shift units that were trying to go home on time. Arriving shortly after they did, I got a quick rundown of what they had so far: a stranger-than-fiction domestic violence case with several visible injuries and a good description of the suspect and his location.
Due to a busy evening on swings, I wasn’t able to find the suspect until almost midnight. I was heading westbound on one of our darker, unlit country roads when I saw a figure appear out of the darkness that matched the suspect’s description perfectly. I was able to detain him without incident, and like clockwork, he proceeded to tell me almost exactly the same story, admitting to everything that was being alleged.
When I notified him he was being arrested, he was absolutely thrilled, telling me he wanted me to be part of his movie and asking if I would mind if he called his cameraman to film his arrest. Luckily, I declined. At this point my partner had arrived and was helping with the booking paperwork as I prepared to inventory the suspect’s backpack. I asked my usual questions, the “Is there anything that will cut me, stick me or poke me?” speech, to which he answered no. He proceeded to tell me he had his Bible, a notepad, some papers, socks and other little stuff. With my flashlight under my arm, I opened the bag and saw almost everything he mentioned: the Bible, notepad, socks, etc. As I started removing the items, complacency got the better of me and I reached in the backpack blindly. I felt the flush of adrenaline as the jaws clamped down on my hand. I responded by screaming, more than likely higher-pitched than I remember, jumping back and drawing my gun at whatever was in the bag that had just bitten me.
Once I had regained a little composure, I slowly opened the bag from a safe, full-arm distance to see a very large, very angry, bearded dragon lizard staring back with open jaws. As the adrenaline began to wear off and the realization set in that I would probably survive the incident, I remembered the BWCs my partner and I were wearing captured the entire incident, including the bearded dragon attack. As I sat writing my report that night, I could hear my sergeant laughing from his office as he watched the BWC footage.
— Rob Dillon
Sonoma County (California) Sheriff’s Office