Cop Tales: I’m just trying to get home

By Brian Smith
Special to the Sun

It was about 3 a.m. on a Saturday in downtown Los Angeles and I was training a new officer. We were backed against the rear fence of a very well-known donut stand (made famous by the super-sized donut on its roof), overlooking the freeway. Our unit was strategically positioned alongside one of my Academy classmates who was also training a new officer. We seasoned officers were standing outside our units with the obligatory cup of coffee in hand and one foot poised on the push bumpers, while our respective trainees sat in the patrol cars writing reports.

Our efforts to verbally solve all the problems of law enforcement were disturbed by a crashing noise to the side of the donut stand. We turned our attention in time to watch a mid-sized sedan finish bouncing over the curb and through a newspaper box (yes, this did happen way back in the day when there were newspaper vending boxes at donut shops.)

The sedan driver must have recognized the surprise and shock on our faces, as he drove over to our parked cars and crawled out from behind the steering wheel. In his left hand was a California Driver’s License which he extended to me as he asked, in Spanish, where his house was located. My keenly honed powers of observation immediately detected an extremely strong odor of an alcoholic beverage and noted my newest acquaintance to be very unsteady on his feet.

Despite his best efforts to properly perform a series of basic balance and coordination tests, I was compelled to arrest the driver for Driving Under the Influence. Although I did not know proper directions to the man’s house, I was perfectly prepared to find him a safe “home” for the night.
Oh yes, I did finish my reports as my Trainee was finishing his so we could again “Hit the Streets again”. -EW