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Stories From The Lancaster Police Department, Fun At The LPD

Updated on October 2, 2011

When I went to work on the street at the Lancaster Police Department Sgt. J (not his real name) had been there for years. I worked under him in Patrol and with him in the Detective Division later. He was a huge black man and one of the stories I heard was that someone back talked him and was a SLAPPED through a window for it. True or not, I heard that story more than once and believed it then and now.

Like Big John from the old song by Jimmy Dean and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, everyone knew you didn't mess with Sgt. J which proves how crazy Jimmy Balkcum and I were.

We were working third shift when Jimmy found an abandoned car somewhere that had a rubber snake in it. He brought it in and tried to scare me with it as I ran the desk that night. He was disappointed when it failed to scare me. But he had a plan .... and somebody fool enough to execute it, me.

I took an evidence bag and tore up some paper to put in the bottom then placed the snake at the top. Next I filled out a bogus evidence label to go on it. I put a handful of staples in the top and laid it on the corner of the desk where Sgt. J was bound to see it.

Toward the end of the shift, Sgt. J came in to check reports and found the bag at the bottom of the pile. At first he just looked at it, then mumbled something about it to me. I pretended to be busy. Then he picked it up and read the tag. Finally, he began to pull the staples out.

When he finally got it open and saw the snake on top, he tossed it into the air and slapped it all the way across the room! Only then did it dawn on me that I might be next. I slowly rolled my dispatch chair out of reach.

Sgt. J just looked at me, for it seemed like twenty minutes. Then his huge shoulders shook and he went "Heh, heh, heh."

Sgt. J Got Promoted.

Way back in the dark ages when Ford still made police cars and cops drank coffee instead of cinnamon dolce lattes, I worked in the Detective Division with Lt. J. We had a string of daytime burglaries that were happening mostly on Sundays while people were at church.

We had a limited description of two suspects. They were two black males in their early twenties; one tall and skinny, the other short and sort of stocky. I don't remember how I found them one weekday afternoon, but I did.

The old Chesterfied Avenue school had been converted into a storage facility and was surrounded by an eight foot chain link fence with barbed wire at the top. The two guys were on the outside of the fence when I spotted them from the inside and my copy intuition told me they were the burglars. I didn't have a clue who they were and called Lt. J before I even got out of the car, he knew everybody.

I kept the guys talking and waited on the LT. One of them had an old camera in his hands that he said belonged to his aunt. Right! Many items had been stolen, but no camera.

Lt. J pulled up, got out of his car and joined me at the fence. He spoke to the shorter of the two.

"Hey, Rodney," he said. The look he gave me told me he thought we were on the right track.

"Hey, Big Dog! What's up?" Rodney said. I swear the fall afternoon suddenly got cloudier, cooler, more sinister in that instant.

"What'd you call me," Lt J demanded.

"Nothing Mr. J," Rodney stammered. "I didn't say nothing."

The fear from the two was palpable and both young men backed away form the fence.

"Don't think I won't climb this fence," Lt. J said.

"He didn't mean nothing, sir." The tall one chimed in.

Both young guys backed up a couple of more steps then Lt. J told them to come back to the fence. They complied, I jotted down their information, and then we let them go. The Lieutenant drove away without a mention of the nick name and you can believe I never said anything about it.

The report on the burglary where the camera had been stolen came in the next day. We solved a string of burglaries with the information we had gathered that evening.

I never heard anyone call Lt. J, Big Dog again to his face or otherwise.

Sgt. J/ Lt. J is still with us, about 130 years old now and on dialysis but still...........

"You don't pull on Superman's cape,"

Pistol Team

Back when a "person of interest" was a suspect, a "home invasion" was a burglary, and we got out of our cars instead of "exiting our vehicles", the States of North and South Carolina sponsored two state pistol matches. (Before I retired they had started with tennis and golf and by now it's probably Zumba and Angry Birds. Don't get me started!)

Me, Jimmy, Terry, Ronnie and Rabbit were Lancaster's Pistol Team and we headed to Winston-Salem for a match. One of the newest recruits was female and tagged along even though she was not on the team. We'll just call her WW for now.

The first afternoon we got a tour of the Schlitz Brewery complete with samples from their business. To get there we all piled into someone's big vehicle and followed one of Winston-Salems finest to the location. When we pulled up, Jimmy waved a thank you to the guy. That wasn't good enough for WW, probably because the guy was young and good looking.

"We need to let him know how much we appreciate the help," WW said from the back seat.

"I told him thank you," Jimmy said. "You want me to kiss the SOB?"

"Well, you know what they say about a woman wearing red lipstick?" WW asked.

The best line I ever heard came instantly from Terry:

"I don't know what THEY say, but my daddy always said it means they been kissing a fox's ass in blueberry season."


There was an initiation for guys who were attending their first two state meet: You got pushed or thrown into the hotel pool. The second afternoon I either forgot about that or had too many free adult beverages and stood, fully clothed, too close to the pool.

My buddy, my pal, my dear friend, Jimmy pushed me into the deep end. The first time I bobbed up laughing he yelled "Can't you swim?"

The second time I came up I spurted "Not a lick!" and went back down.

I was busy drowning and didn't see what happened next. The guys told me that WW came running, preformed a near perfect dive and came up yards away from me on the other side of the pool. By then I had floundered to the edge and drug myself out, still laughing.

The awards banquet was that night.One of the guys overheard WW telling someone that she had saved a life that day. She tried to put the nick name Aqua Man on me but it never stuck.

She was Wonder Woman ever after.


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    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina


      "Ya' think?"

    • profile image

      Jimmy 6 years ago

      You guys sound like a bunch of weirdos.

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Get him to write the story, sounds like fun except to the vertically challenged of course! Appreciate the read!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      My husband tells the story of being called to a riot with a man locked out of his car. He showed up and all these people are standing around laughing at the height handicapped man jumping up and down, cussing at all of the people who are laughing. It was a dwarf and he was locked out of his car. It was a convertible and the top was down but the windows were up.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "I may run out of these stories eventually and have to start making them up!"

      That's exactly what I do!

      Welcome to the world of fiction, and if you do start writing fiction, may I say again, move over, Joseph Wambaugh.

      You are a fine writer.

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks WillStarr. I may run out of these stories eventually and have to start making them up!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      These are just great! I read the first one to my wife and she said she could picture the whole thing.

      Up, funny as hell, and awesome! I think you have found your writing niche. Move over, Joseph Wambaugh.

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks, Storytellersrus. I'll try to dredge up a few more.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      resspenser, about time!!! You spin stories of the past into fascinating reads. Thanks so much for your humor and your service. I also want more!

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina


      Beats me, you had to be there! Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago

      Great stories, but I'm just way too literal-minded to get the one about kissing a fox's ass in blueberry season. Wouldn't the critter's butt be blue rather than red? Or do too many blueberries make him bleed? Or?

      Where was I....

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Your right. Typo mind here.

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      What a compliment! Thanks.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 6 years ago

      What a great story. One if my favorite writers is Joseph Wambaugh, and your style is very similar to his. I for one would love to see more of these stories from you.

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Actually Alastar she didn't. I got myself out while she ended up on the other side of the pool! Thanks for reading.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      "Everybody knew you didn't give no lip to Big John," or Big Dog in Lt.J's case. Awesome anecdotes from those police officer days resspenser. Don't get you started, Zumba and Angry Birds- funny,- but I know where your coming from. Can see you now bobbing up and down saying "not a lick" and then WW saving you. Takes a real man to admit that my friend. Fun read!


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