By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
I was a uniformed police officer assigned to night watch patrol with my regular partner Frank Isbell. It was barely dusk, and we just turned onto a quiet residential street when we hear a call, “Ambulance, injured child.”
The address was in the next block and was a child-care facility in one of the old homes in the area. We were close and decided to respond.
The turn-of-the-century house set back from the street had a fenced in front yard littered with toys, tricycles, and a play house. At the top of the front porch stairs stood a young woman holding what appeared to be an unconscious child, 3-4 years of age.
The woman has been crying and was on the edge of hysteria. Frank took the child while I calmed her down. The young boy has what appears to be an excessive amount of dried blood coming from both ears which has run down both side of his face before drying. She told me she found him “unconscious” on the floor of the closet with the “blood” and was unable to rouse him.
At this point Frank, who sometimes has a flair for the dramatic, states, “I have a diagnosis. It’s not blood. It’s chocolate.”
It seems our young friend found a stash of soft chocolate candy. So, hiding himself in the closet he stuffed as much as he could in his mouth. When he could hold no more, (boys being boys) he then stuffed both ears full of chocolate. Having overdosed, he fell asleep at which time chocolate did what chocolate does, it melted and ran down his face and when dry gave the appearance of dried blood.
The ambulance crew was able to wake him up, clean his ears and then treated the woman with smelling salts.
A few moments later while waiting at the stop sign we looked at each other and burst out laughing.
Another time, still working with Frank, it was late night and traffic was almost nonexistent. We were stopped waiting to turn onto a major street when a lone vehicle filled with screaming party-goers slowly passed in front of us knocking over traffic cones one after another. We were in a major construction area and there were cones everywhere to guide traffic through a maze of detours. We swung in behind him and with our lights off, follow him for a least a block or about 50-60 cones.
When I lit him up, he was so startled he did a 90 degrees right turn and hit the curb.
He was cold sober, embarrassed and apologetic. I assured him we knew that he meant no harm. As a matter of fact, I offered, “I am sure you were just about to park your car and pick up and replace all the cones. Correct? And we are going to stay here and help you by making sure the line is perfectly straight.”
He thanked us for not arresting him and sending him to prison. One of us just “may have” mentioned the newly invented, “TRAFFIC CONE HIGHWAY DISRUPTION ACT.”
They say baseball is a game of statistics or numbers. In a way, so is police work. How far did you drive, how many calls, tickets, stops, time consumed for each and on and on?
Known as recap, the ear candy and traffic cone incidents would not have credited us with any meaningful stats. So, even though not part of the numbers game we did what we were sent out there to do. Since most police activity is nonconfrontational we were protecting and serving.
They say character is what you do when no one is watching……..