Police officers are often portrayed in movies and television shows as rugged, thankless public servants who arrest criminals, rescue kidnapping victims, and take down large criminal enterprises. While that may happen every once and a while, a cop's typical day is spent answering calls like those found in the following stories.
A few dozen police officers, security guards, and military officials recently shared some of the most ridiculous cases that ended up being a complete waste of time. Take a look at some of the stories that have just about everyone scratching their heads. Each of the stories have been edited for the sake of clarity, so read up.
"I've only been a cop for a few months now, but I've already had quite a number of annoying calls. I think it's in part due to do with the size of the town I'm in (roughly 2,000 people), but here are some of the more memorable ones:
I got called to a woman's house to verify that her power was actually out. It was.
A woman was blocking the road on the main street in town because someone was in her favorite parking spot and she wouldn't move until she could park there.
I received a call that a man's friend wouldn't return his DVDs a night early (they were shortly returned).
A woman called saying that she lost a ring and a pack of smokes. Upon arriving and after looking for about 10 minutes, she realized she was wearing the ring, and she had finished all of her smokes.
A man stormed into the police department, furious that his wife had opened a new savings account under her name without the bank getting his permission. He seemed to be more ticked off at the bank, saying something about possible identity theft. Unfortunately (or fortunately), he actually lived over the town line into another town, so I had to refer him to that PD, but I did warn them to keep an eye on him for a possible domestic.
This was all just within a few months of starting out. Needless to say, it's not all shootouts and car chases. I had to respond to all of these calls. Since it is such a small town, just about everyone knows everyone. Most people I meet on these calls know my name even though I've never met them, and since it is such a small PD, having good relations with the community goes a long way towards making things easier in the future."
"The most irritating calls are the ones about suspicious persons based solely on race.
One guy was an older black male in the alleyway. He was standing next to a utility truck wearing a hard hat and yellow vest. There was a second black male in the utility truck bucket that was suspended in the air near electrical lines.
A call came from the same elderly white couple that without hesitation employed a known burglar as a handyman and gave this same man unfettered access to their house solely because he was not a black male.
The couple had several items stolen from them and they believed these black males they were calling on were, in fact, casing their home for their next hit."
"At my school, the cops were called because some bum asked a sorority girl for money and she flipped out and knocked over her frappuccino.
Obviously, he didn't have the money to pay for it, and so she called the cops. When they got there and figured out what they had been called for, the police officer went to the counter and bought a frappuccino. He then proceeded to give it to the homeless man and walked him off campus.
He seemed pretty irritated he had been called."
"My friend, who was young, bought a house with a very strict Home Owner Association. He had the police called to his house because his grass was an inch too tall.
Yes, someone actually came out to his house, with a stick and measured his grass. This was after he received a notice earlier in the week about it being half an inch too tall. They wanted him cited for not following a local ordinance.
The cop told them to get lost because my friend could prove he had a weekly contract with a lawn company.
The HOA had a company where they were receiving kickbacks for every customer they had on board. They were pretty much trying to bully him into using the lawn service they wanted."
"I was a police officer in a smaller city for several years.
One night, we got a call from someone about a suspicious black male on their front porch. As we were en route to the call, the caller became more and more frantic with dispatch and began saying that the man was trying to break into their home. I arrived on the scene, and the first thing I saw was a car parked in the driveway with its headlights on and the pizza delivery sign illuminated and attached to the roof. I then saw a black guy in a pizza delivery uniform standing on the front porch holding a couple of pizzas.
I started laughing and walked over to the guy and told him that someone called us and told us that he was trying to break into the house. He was really cool about it and we talked for a bit. I then radioed dispatch and asked them who the caller was. Turns out, the caller was inside that house and they had ordered the pizza 30 minutes earlier. I was astonished that they had called the police on someone that they were expecting to show up.
I ended up telling the pizza delivery guy that they had called the police on him and then I left him there to do with the pizzas whatever he felt necessary. I hope that justice was served."
"Neighbor called the cops on me one day, accusing me of taking my dog out to poop in their yard. When the officer arrived to assess the situation, the neighbors gave him a Ziploc bag with a dog turd in it as 'evidence.'
The officer came to my house, and I answered the door. He informed me that my neighbors had issued a complaint and even went so far as to collect 'evidence' and showed me the Ziploc bag which contained an almost human-sized turd. About this time, my 11-pound Pomeranian came bounding out the front door to viciously beg for attention from this new potential petter. I just smiled and told the officer that if my dog had left that turd, he'd still be walking funny, because it was about the size of his head.
The officer apologized for the interruption and left. I'm not sure if he noticed the huge pit bull my neighbors kept, but they haven't tried to complain about my dog crapping in their yard since."
"During my rookie year, I went to a lady's apartment for a possible burglary. When we got there, she told us the birds on her roof were annoying her, and we had to clear them off.
My sergeant went ballistic and told her if she ever misused 911 again, she would be arrested."
"I work in a city that has houses starting at $500,000, which, for North Texas, ain't too shabby. In other parts of the city, the houses start out about a quarter of the price. There is a car wash that is on the nice side of town and it backs up to a creek. A patron that was having her car washed and detailed, called us up to tell us there was a turtle and she was concerned about other peoples' safety. I thought it was a snapping turtle when we got the call. Nope, a small box turtle.
Another call had me respond to the neighborhood adjacent to the golf course. Someone called in a suspicious truck and trailer cruising around the neighborhood. I got there, it was Hispanic landscapers with their equipment. The lady called up because she thought it was suspicious they were there on a Wednesday when she gets her lawn done on Thursdays. The thought didn't cross her mind that other people use the same or similar company on different days."
"I work in a decent sized town on the night shift. One of the calls I went on was for a disturbance where a lady was upset because her husband said her food tasted like poop, and she wanted him to apologize. The food was burnt. I told her I was leaving and that she should go take cooking classes or taste her food. She refused and said I was unreasonable. I told her that she might be right, but If she wouldn't eat her own food, why should her husband.
Another one was we had a lady screaming in an AT&T store because they didn't have the newest iPhone. She was screaming that they were trying to steal from her because they offered to order one for her or she could purchase another phone.
This was madness! An outrage! As an upper-class white woman, she deserved what she wanted right then and there! When she called the store clerk a racist slur, he said he was offended and she received some nice silver bracelets after she wouldn't leave on her own.
One night, I received a call about people inside this old lady's home. Needless to say, we rushed and got there and walked up to the door. Oh, the horrid stench that filled my nostrils. The lady urinated in anything she could find and placed them wherever she was at, like a cup by the door, a pot on the stove, and a plastic tub in the hallway.
Well, now we were in the house and realized the 'people' inside her house are the people on TV. Apparently, she forgot to take her meds and these con artists on 2 am Bible TV wouldn't get out of her house. So needless to say, we contact EMS to transport and things get even funnier.
The two EMS guys that showed up just added fuel to her fire; one spoke in a heavy French accent, and the other sounded very feminine but looked like a big burly man. She began asking for the female doctor and the frog.
To top it all off, she believed there were feral cats in her house and would not go to the hospital until I got them out. So there I was looking like a crazy person chasing invisible cats, full on running and chasing them outside, yelling 'Git!' at like 3 am because that was the only thing I could think of that may work. It actually did, and she went to the hospital to find out she was very sick."
"One year, my high school principal called in a bomb threat in the middle of the winter, up north, with several inches of snow on the ground.
They sent everyone outside and no one was able to go to their lockers for jackets or anything. They told them that the bomb was placed in the soccer trophy. It was later called off because one of the teachers found out what they were looking for the soccer state championship trophy that got stolen a few days ago and had a note in its place stating that they wanted something brought back to school or the trophy got melted down.
Thus, the principal called a fake bomb threat in order to search the entire school for his precious trophy. Nothing ever happened to the principal."
"I used to be Military Police on a base. One day, a spouse in our on-base housing called the emergency line while I was Desk Sergeant (dispatch) to report she was locked out of her house. I could hear a young child crying in the background and asked her if she locked the child in the home because that could be considered an emergency and she stated no, the child was in her arms. I informed her to contact a locksmith as we didn't deal with lockouts and not to utilize the emergency line for this kind of matter unless it was a real emergency.
She quickly informed me that she was a captain's wife and that she would have my stripes because this was an emergency because she couldn't get into her home.
I informed her yet again that it was not an emergency and politely informed her to call on the non-emergency line and I could give her the numbers of some locksmiths in the area but I had to let her go to clear the line.
She started to rant again and I hung up. She never called back and I didn't hear of it again or lose my stripes."
"Right after the academy, I spent a short period as a university cop because I needed a job.
One day, we got a call from the university president's wife about 'horrible vandalism' that had occurred in some bathrooms over near the track. I got there and she pointed to a seemingly blank wall. After looking at the wall, and looking back at her like she was crazy, she pointed out a small spot where someone had written 'Aaron was here' on the wall... in small letters...in pencil.
I went to my car and got a pencil and erased it, but my boss still had me take a report because that department was a joke, and might as well have been private security owned by her. All the administrators over there did anything she asked."
"I had the cops called on me for a first-world problem.
Set-up: outside a Safeway around 10 pm. As I am walking out, I saw a lady yelling at a mentally disabled man (he is somewhat known in the neighborhood, he lives in a group home nearby, is really nice, but isn't altogether there. I think he's in his 50s). The guy (Josh) was nodding and saying, 'Yes, ma'am.'
She kept repeating, 'You aren't getting it! It's inhumane! How would you like it?'
'What are you, an idiot?'
She was yelling at him about leashing his dog to the bike rack while he went inside - something he does daily, and something required by leash-laws in our city. She was saying it was inhumane to have a dog on a leash - not just tied to the rack, but on a leash at all.
She was an upper-middle-class former hippy. Long grey hair, wore long dresses, etc. She also felt it is her solemn duty to stick her nose in everything and inform everyone about whether they are right or not.
I walked over and said, 'Hey lady, enough, he gets it.'
This caused her to launch into a tirade about how it was none of my business and why did I care. Because, of course, it was perfectly okay for her to harass other citizens but not me. We got into an argument, and I watched as Josh quietly unleashed his dog and walked away - mainly what I was going for, to run interference for him.
Now she wouldn't let me just walk away. She was just pushing and pushing, following me towards my car, asking if I have ever been in jail because then I would 'know what its like to be a dog on a leash.' I told her I used to work in one if that helped. She then went off on how I was probably an abusive pig who deserved to be locked up, not on the other side of the bars, and revolves back to why was it my business and why did I care.
I told her I was 'sick of snobs who stick their noses in other people's business.'
Bingo. She called the cops right there. She told me if I left, she was going to report I fled the scene of a crime. I shrugged and unloaded my groceries. Cops showed up, she told them I threatened and insulted her. Between the time when she called and when the cops showed up, however, Safeway's manager had come out after watching the exchange.
The manager told the story from her own perspective. In the end, two more cops have arrived and they asked me if I wanted to press charges against the woman for harassment or assault. I said, 'No, but you should make it clear she could have been charged for that for what she was doing to Josh.' The cops also knew Josh and were not pleased about the way she treated him.
In the end, they walked her to her Mercedes SUV and stood in the parking lot until she drove off."
"I work as a Mobile Social Worker for a county in New Jersey that has some really nice areas, and some of the worst areas in the state. We focus on children with behavioral and mental health issues. So parents or schools can call us when the kids are having a crisis, and we show up to assess the situation, and figure out what services are right for them. Sound fun yet? Some awesome situations include:
'My 4-year-old is still awake. I think she has ADD. She doesn't follow my directions.' To be fair, it was a little late (8:30 pm.) for a 4-year-old to be awake.
'My daughter threw a cookie at her brother. She's getting more and more violent. We are in crisis.' This would have been the fourth time we dispatched to that home for similar issues. Tough to get the woman to understand that her Developmentally Disabled Daughter, who had services for her disabilities, was going to have these baseline behaviors.
'My boys won't stop playing Xbox.' This woman told the boys that they could play, and never set any limits to how long. So when she told them to stop playing, of course, they gave her a hard time. That went further because once we showed up, we started talking to the boys, she left the room, and took the Xbox out of the room. We told her to put it back, and to do that on her own time. We are not her personal muscle when she feels that she has to enforce something in the home.
Probably my personal favorite:
'My daughter is spending too much time at her mother's house.' How much time is too much time? Every day after school, because nobody is home at her dad's house until about 6 pm.
One of our protocols is to ask a series of safety questions, like if they want to hurt themselves, anyone else, start a fire, etc. If they don't answer the safety questions, we have to call an ambulance, which usually means a police officer has to come as well. I feel bad for doing it, but my governing body tells me I have to, even if the kid is just being a disrespectful little fart. So then I have to call the police, and they show up, being judgmental towards myself and the parents, and I get to try and explain that it isn't my call. My supervisors require me to make that phone call. Most officers understand that, but every now and then you have those officers that have had the terrible days, and they don't want to be responding to a 6-year-old who won't stop jumping off the couch."
"I had the police called on me about a month ago.
I am a white male living in East Asia. I got home to my apartment building at about 6 pm after work, and on my way into my apartment, I noticed my neighbor going out. He gave me a strange look, and 15 minutes later, I had a knock on my door. I opened it up and it was the police. They asked the following questions:
'Who are you?'
'Can you provide proof that you live here?' (Have lived here for two years now)
'Can you provide proof that you are a legal resident in this country?'
'What is your home country?'
'Why are you currently living here?'
'Are you still married to your wife?' (You can't make this up)
Every answer I provided incited a 'Hmmm?' response that indicated skepticism in the language. The cop was apologetic towards the end (in an incredibly half-hearted and condescending way) and explained that my neighbor was surprised to see a foreign resident living next door to him. My neighbor had moved in that same day.
I ended up calling the police department to complain about the officer's conduct, and they explained to me that many foreigners in this country commit crimes, so the officer was completely in line with his interrogation. When I told him it's a pretty horrible way to treat foreign residents who work and pay taxes to support their old prejudice idiots who call the police on people for simply being another skin color, the guy basically just repeated what he said."