5 Things I Learned As a Cop Movies Won't Show You (Part 2)

#2. A Search Is Like the Slowest, Most Intense Game of Hide and Seek Ever

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First of all, chasing people is actually a surprisingly awesome part of the job. I have the legs of an Oompa Loompa and was clearly never meant to run, but chases are a hoot. There's a primitive, dog part of your brain that makes you love chasing, and police are allowed to do that. It's socially acceptable. If you're a businessman or a barista and you see some dude running down the street, you can't chase him. But cops sometimes get that chance, and it's just the best.

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"Why do we waste our time with these cars, anyway?"

But then you have the slow, tedious version of this that is a building search. This is where you slowly check every possible hiding spot big enough to house a human. Your average building has hundreds of those. Once we got a call from some federal agents guarding an unnamed bigwig in my city. A door had been left ajar at this huge building. We had to go room by room, opening every cabinet, closet, locker, anything big enough hide a human being. It took forever, and in the end it turned out that some janitor had left the door open by accident when he went home. We found this out because we were still clearing the place when he showed up for work the next day. And we still had to finish clearing the rest of it before we could let him in.

And you have to check everything, because I've found suspects hiding everywhere from under desks to water heater recesses in the maintenance closet to ice chests in the break room. And we have to open them, one at a time, gun at the ready (you have no way of knowing who is in this building and what they might be carrying until you check, and it's considered bad if he's got a gun out and you don't). We busted a stash house once with no running water, so they'd torn a hole in the floor of one closet to use as a toilet. During the bust, one guy decided that would be an ideal hiding place. We found people in rafters, a guy in a fridge, closets, everywhere.

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"Come on, guys, it's like you're not even trying."

Here's a Pro Tip: When hiding from the police, choose the absolute nastiest hiding place you can imagine. Dry-clean-only uniforms exist and are a total bitch (oh, and ask the dry cleaner politely if they'll get out blood, feces, fleas, and so on. See how that goes), so cops tend to not want to get disgusting unless they have to. It'll definitely cut down on your odds of being found. I've gotten fleas twice from the nasty places I've had to search. And we just accept that our (expensive) boots should never go home with us.

But if you are caught, surrender immediately. Procedure demands that we get you out of there. I've had to taser people out from under garbage dumpsters. One guy tried to hide by locking himself in his car, which can end up leading to a SWAT call. We were able to pre-empt that by spraying pepper spray in the A/C vents. One ambitious gentleman got himself PepperBalled off the top of a piece of construction equipment. One guy was in the middle of the living room -- all he'd done was overturn the couch and hide underneath it, as if we'd take one look at an overturned couch and not check under it.

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"False alarm, it was just some sneezing furniture."

If you're thinking that guy was probably drunk off his ass, well, that brings me to ...

#1. God Loves Drunks, but We Hate Them

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Once upon a time, a dude in a Jaguar decided to pass my patrol car ... via the sidewalk. As funny as that sounds, catching drunken drivers can be an unholy pain in the ass. When you smell liquor on his breath, you're signing away hours of your life to testing and booking. I didn't have to deal with that too much because I was never a DWI Squad person -- the DWI system is special.

You'd think that drunken people almost spot themselves, but no -- like murderers and drug dealers, they get their own police. It's actually a huge industry. The whole process behind deciding whether a driver is drunk has become so elaborate that it necessitates specialists. The point being, if you're driving hammered, there are cops around with literally no job but to catch you.

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"Eh, it's just an armed robbery. We'll chill here unless somebody swerves."

And you would be amazed at the shit intoxicated people survive. One fine spring night, two young women were on their way home from a party where, despite their age, they may have imbibed a bit more than their systems could handle. Witnesses tell me that their little sports car was traveling around 100 mph when it left the highway, went up an exit ramp, and tried to make it into the U-turn lane without loss of speed.

Now, in this particular city, the median is decorated with these really big concrete boxes filled with bushes or trees to trick people into believing every inch of dirt hasn't been paved over twice. And it just so happens that huge concrete boxes are heavier than tiny sports cars. The two collided, and believe me, that girl was pissed at her now-totaled hot rod.

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"I spilled three of my four vodka gimlets!"

She was probably more upset, however, when she looked over at her passenger and saw that her lady friend had not been wearing her seat belt, and that inertia had taken her by the hand and led her out of the car via the front windshield. She hadn't fully made it out, which might be why her (dumb) friend tried to pull her back inside. Fortunately for the passenger, a witness happened to be an EMT driving home. He saw this stupidity happening and proceeded to dive-tackle some sense into the driver, who had dragged her passenger out of the vehicle at this point.

Just to cap the whole thing off, the passenger initially refused ambulance transport. They took her when she fainted, one step later (she lived, by the way).

Related Reading: Cracked loves talking to people with crazy jobs, like these paranormal investigators who know the meth-stained secrets of that job BEHIND the TV screen. We also talked with a doctor and let him share the things he can't tell you to your face. A member of Scientology's secret space navy talked to us about about his escape and this Bangladeshi atheist talked to us about nearly dying thanks to religious extremists. If you've got a story to share with Cracked, reach us here.

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