By Detective Eric Bradley – Lodi Police Department
As police officers, we handle dozens of situations each day. Most are “routine” but we occasionally find ourselves in humorous circumstances, often at our own expense. I sat down with veteran officers Lieutenant Fernando Martinez and Corporal Roger Butterfield to have them provide me with a story or two.
One night Lieutenant Martinez was on graveyard shift as a new sergeant. He was patrolling and saw three of his four officers cruising the streets, but for some reason he couldn’t find the fourth. A short time later he saw one of his officers driving with a determined look on his face. A call for service had not gone out over the radio or the computer so Lieutenant Martinez decided to follow the officer and find out what was going on.
He soon found himself following the officer down the railroad tracks behind some businesses. It was then he discovered the reason why the officer was in such a rush. The missing officer had been patrolling the railroad tracks and became stuck up to his door in dirt. I suspect some might ask what was he doing there in the first place, but the tracks are a known area for criminals to cavort. The determined officer was there to help dig out the marooned cop.
When Lieutenant Martinez exited his car he found the stuck officer had piled boards, rocks and just about everything else he could find around his tires in an effort to get some traction and free his vehicle, hopefully before the incident became widely known. Unfortunately for him it was now too late. The responding officer had quietly obtained a shovel to aid in this venture. Eventually the officer was freed. The next shift the officer who was stuck was presented with a V.E.K. aka Vehicle Extrication Kit. The kit contained a little plastic sand castle bucket complete with baby shovel.
Corporal Butterfield provided me with a story of about the World’s Dumbest Criminal. Literally this story made it to the TV show.
One day while working as a narcotics detective, Corporal Butterfield responded to a local drugstore’s photo department back when people actually had to take film rolls in to be developed. There he found photos of an illegal marijuana grow. One of the photos included a shot of the suspect standing proudly with his crop. The guy’s address was on the photo envelope. Butterfield quickly wrote the search warrant and arrested the pot head. I guess that’s why they call it dope!
Lastly, I would like to share a personal story. I was in my first month of field training with now Sergeant Chris Jacobson as my training officer. For a new officer, knowledge of the area is of great importance and is a subject that we are evaluated on daily. Needless to say, being relatively new to Lodi I didn’t know the streets too well.
So one evening I had arrested a person for dunk in public, a relatively easy call for a rookie. I was transporting the subject to the LPD jail and I soon found myself practically driving in circles, looking for any main road that I would recognize. I was hoping that Sergeant Jacobson wouldn’t notice my quandary. Finally I came to stop sign, completely lost and unable to hide the fact. Sergeant Jacobson apparently had enough of my wandering and stated the obvious, “You’re lost.” That’s when the drunk in the back gave a chuckle and said, “Turn right, the police station’s right down the road.” Needless to say that was the last time I failed to find my way back to the station!