Non Sequitur

GUMSHOE-DANNY-PITOCCO[su_dropcap style=”flat”]W[/su_dropcap]ELCOME BACK again kind readers to this time a “triple” in which I will present for your reading pleasure three different short accounts when I worked uniform patrol.

These are in no particular order and are not related to one another but I definitely found them amusing and I trust you will also!

Some of you may know from one of my earlier accounts entitled

“Adventures in Espanol” when I first started seriously learning my “street Spanish” when I worked for the Santa Ana Police Department in California. Well this is just another adventure in Espanol that still had my follow-up officers scratching their heads when they arrived at the felony car stop I made one late night.

It was about 0200 hours (2:00 a.m. civilian time) when I was working the north end “Santiago District” when the police dispatcher hit the emergency alert tone “beep! Beep’ that always got my attention and raised my blood pressure as well as my adrenaline level. (Think of Pavlov’s dog – conditioned response)

“Shots fired in the vicinity of 17th and Grand, possible gang drive-by shooting; suspect vehicle described as a grey Chevy “low rider” occupied by four male Hispanics; unknown direction of travel”.

The police god was smiling on me in that instant (I was parked a few blocks away in an alley facing 17th (drinking my beloved cup hot chocolate) as I immediately observed said suspect vehicle with the four “cholos” inside speed west bound 17th past the front end of my black and white. Yippee!

Nothing like a possible pursuit on a relatively quiet graveyard shift to get the blood flowing! I immediately hit my lights and sirens and I pursued these “bangers” as I notified dispatch to send me the cavalry for back-up assistance. I guess the “bangers” did not know that they had been “made” on the drive-by and shaved-head driver pulled into the 7-11 (“stop and rob” in police slang) parking lot at Flower and 17th.

I shut off my siren and before you could say “Jumping Jimmy Cricket” I had already racked a round into the chamber of my police issued Remington model 870, 12 gauge shotgun as I took aim from in between the crease of my open left front door and the door frame adjacent to my spot light.

Keep in mind now, I learned to take several deep breaths (survival breathing) just to slow my heartbeat and steady my aim and my voice). Also dear readers, I had not mastered any intelligible Spanish at this time in my career, but I did memorize the Spanish phrase for “Put your hands up!” Which was in Spanish, “Lavanta sus manos!” However, I firmly ordered (with the emphasis of the racking-sound of my shotgun) “Lavese las manos!” Which when translated to “American” was: “Wash your hands!”

All four “cholos” (still sitting inside the low rider) raised their hands above their heads and made washing gestures very obediently and somewhat quickly. I suppose that the well-aimed shotgun (just point and destroy anything in front of the barrel) and my somewhat bizarre order had them all think that this crazy Gringo “5-0” (gang talk for the police) would definitely shoot them – they were absolutely correct on that point!

Moments later (always seems like a long time when you are alone facing a car full of armed and felony suspects) several follow-up officers arrived at the scene and they thought that I had developed some new tactic to watch the hands of the suspects.

No complaint though, just some after hand-cuffing laughing, and four more “cholos” found lodging for the night at our jail. Oh, several pistols along with a sawed-off shotgun and a bag of weed were seized from the low-rider. We never found any victims from the shooting and no witnesses came forward. Nothing new about that “business as usual” I may add.

Okay, short story number dos (two in American speak). Once again I’m on the north end working my graveyard shift and it was about 2330 hours (11:30 p.m. civilian) when I got an “Animal Control” complaint from one of the expensive home residential area. You see kind readers; cops get called for everything since we are the always “open” 24/7 arm of the local government year around.

I arrived at the dispatched location and I met with two men (both appeared in their early 30’s and in good shape) and one woman (of the same description) as they were all gathered in the front doorway foyer adjacent to the living room. The woman told me that a raccoon had entered her downstairs bedroom from an open sliding patio door and that this raccoon was presently still residing there. She had initially watched the raccoon make entry at which time she screamed as she ran out of her bedroom slamming the door behind her.

The two “stud muffins” ran out of their respective bedrooms and calmed her down while they waited for my arrival.

This is the part where I get to have some fun since I thought about how “wimpy” these two “hunks” really were (a poor example of red-blooded American manhood). I looked at them and cautioned in my “official” police “take charge” voice: “No matter what you might hear after I go in, don’t follow me!”

I then took out my trusty three-cell maglight and unsnapped the thumb-break of my Smith & Wesson model 645 semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol as the woman pointed out the closed-door to her bedroom. I opened the door and I slammed it behind me. The sound of this “slam” immediately caused the startled “Ricky Raccoon” to make a quick exit from beneath the bed and right back out the open patio door that I simply walked over and closed.

I then checked around the room to make sure the “Ricky” did not leave any young ones or co-conspirators. When I opened the partially closed walk-in closed I spied a very nice dark fur hat on the near-by shelf that I grabbed for closer examination. Ahhhh ha! Just the thing I needed.   “Thank you police god, I thought.” and

(This protocol is no where to be found in the official rules and procedures of the Santa Ana Police Department by the way.)

I started to stamp my size 12 boots on the carpet and make some loud grunts as I quickly opened the bedroom door (the two “studs” and the woman were standing directly outside) and they saw me wrestling with the dark fur hat. They all screamed and jumped on top of the near-by living room couches and chairs. I then tossed the “critter” onto a vacant couch and exclaimed in triumph: “I got it!”

A slight “pregnant pause” by the three terrified residents ensued when finally the women got down from her perch and said that that was her “go to the mountains” winter hat. She started laughing and she looked at the very embarrassed “stud muffins” who looked at her very timidly and neither of them would make the slightest “manly” eye contact with me.

I then advised the women to keep her patio door closed so that “Ricky” would not consider another nighttime visit. She thanked me while the two slightly embarrassed “all looks but no brawn” roommates each slipped back to their respective bedrooms.

Who says that animal control calls can’t be fun? I have to readily admit folks, if either of the roommates had called my watch commander to complain, I would have gladly taken the reprimand!

Now for number three kind readers.

Many years before, I wore the uniform of the City of Orange Police Department (still in California). This time I was assigned to day watch and I was working a very nice residential beat. The patrol protocol at the time was that any fire department paramedic call that was dispatched would automatically have the assigned beat police car to also go to the location.

Most of the time these paramedic calls were routine in nature and did not call for one of Orange PD’s finest. However, on this bright, warm, sunshiny summer day, yours truly got to the dispatch location before the paramedics regarding “person trapped”.

Apparently, a near-by neighbor to the house in question heard the shout of a woman from the upstairs bedroom in which she asked the neighbor to call the fire department because she was trapped. Well, the Good Samaritan neighbor pointed to the upstairs window where he heard the woman’s request. I then shouted up to the window and the woman toward me where the hidden key was (beneath a front porch flower-pot) and if I could quickly come inside and help her. I made entry and ran up to the master bedroom and heard her voice from the master bathroom. I followed her voice and I saw all of her lying in her depleted bubble bath and with her right big toe tightly wedged (stuck?) into the bathtub faucet.

She explained to me (while I proceeded to hand her a large fluffy white bath towel to at least retain her dignity and modesty before the crowd of firemen arrived) that during the course of her bubble bath she had absently mindedly placed her right big toe into the end of the faucet and for some reason she just could not pull it free? (I did not take time to look for the reason simply because the stuck toe was self-evident!)

Well, I looked around for some baby oil and she allowed me to coat around her big toe as I asked her if she could wiggle her toe a wee bit more into the faucet. (I just thought that this could not get her stuck anymore than she already was?) Nevertheless, this “jury-rigged” solution did not seem to accomplish my desired goal. I waited for the firemen/paramedics who managed to unfasten the faucet and push her trapped toe out with a robust use of the said baby oil from the other end.

The “trapped woman in the bath tub” story made me the “local hero” at the next day’s patrol briefing – somehow a bottle of baby oil mysteriously appeared in my mailbox that day. Even cops have a good sense of humor at the expense of one of their own!

There you have it kind folks, three accounts (without any guts or gore) from the annals of Gumshoe. The truth is always stranger than fiction! Till next time, love the ones who love you.

Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.


Newest Oldest most voted
Notify of
Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson

Next time I’m in a stick-up I will ask the police officer if he wants me to raise my hands or wash my hands. I’m wondering if there was some latent priest coming out there, Danny.

Next time a furry critter invades my premises I’ll know who to call for help. Only thing is, my furry critters are tiny versions of rodents called mice. They love cappuccino, by the way, but totally turn their noses up at hot chocolate. (Your favorite hot drink is safe.)

HaHaHa if I had been there, I would have been the one putting the baby oil in your mailbox. There is no way I could resist that one. I believe you too because something similar happened when I was watching a passel of toddlers one day. We have a dozen kids and the noise level is at higher than normal decibels, but suddenly we heard this high-pitched blood curdling scream. I whirled around to see about 6 kids all clusters on the little people slide. Nothing seemed to be wrong, really, but I investigated. Holy cow! One little boy managed to put his hand into a hole in the platform of the slide and then couldn’t get it out. OMGoodness. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It took effort but I finally worked it loose. No big, white fluffy bath towels or baby oil were used in obtaining freedom.

I sure enjoy your stories – the ones we can laugh through as well as the ones that reveal the realities of law enforcement.

Ken Vincent
Ken Vincent

Danny: Thanks for giving us a chuckle to start our day. I am reminded of an event when I was faced with a squirrel trapped in my fireplace. But, that is a story for another day.



Must Read