By Trey Rusk
I've seen some really great practical jokes that cops play on each other. Thinking back, I'm surprised somebody didn't get killed. I'm not saying hurt, because I saw that happen on more than one occasion. Just like all pranks, some didn't turn out to be funny.
Here are the best and worst practical jokes I witnessed at the cop shop.
1. Opossum put in a drawer at dispatch. When the dispatcher opened the drawer to get a case number, the Opossum jumped out on his lap then played dead! The dispatcher pulled his gun but couldn't shoot without hitting himself. One of the pranksters picked it up by the tail and threw it outside.
2. Bag of dead shrimp placed under hood of patrol car in the summer. Trusties had to clean it up because the smell was unbearable. Car was taken out of service. The Chief was PISSED OFF!
3. Fake draft notice mailed to young cop at the PD. The mailman (a reserve) was in on it. It was all fun until he called his Mother. The Vietnam Police Action was still going on. He cried , his Mother cried and the cop behind the prank apologized. His real Dad had died in Korea. Nobody knew it. The Chief of Police was PISSED OFF!
4. Tear gas/mace sprayed in the radiator of a patrol car in the winter. I saw this happen at a Waffle House. The cop who drove away had to bail out of the car with tears in his eyes.
5. Dead snake placed near the booking desk. It would have been funnier if it had stayed dead! When it started to move cops were break dancing!
6. Holding cell telephone. There wasn't a telephone in the holding cell. When a unruly prisoner would be screaming and banging, he would be instructed via intercom to push the silver button to talk. The shower would start.
7. Buried body behind the PD. Detectives had a suspect sitting at the booking desk. The two detectives went around the corner and began telling a story about having to bury the body of a known associate behind the PD. The suspect was released. A couple of weeks went by before the FBI showed up and started probing the field behind the PD. Nothing was found. They were pissed off but not as pissed off as the Chief. He was really PISSED OFF! One of the pranksters was a CID Captain.
8. The new rolling block safety. This wasn't a practical joke but it was funny. Two detectives were standing in the building foyer. One of them says let me show you my knew pistol with the rolling block safety. He pulled his pistol and was showing how the rolling block safety worked by blocking the hammer. He then pulled the trigger to demonstrate and shot his partner in the leg. Not a very serious wound, but serious enough for a couple of days in the hospital. We didn't see the shooter/detective for a month and he arrived back at work carrying his old wheel gun. When he walked in, his partner hit him in the face and said there's no safety on this hammer, asshole! They remained life long friends.
9. The break out. A call went out directing units to a fight at a local bar. A detective jumped in the back seat of one of the patrol cars to assist on the scene. It was a brawl that had rolled out to the street and several people were arrested. A drunken prisoner was placed in the back seat with the detective. On the way to the jail the detective acted like another prisoner. He leaned over, said "We're busting out" and showed the drunk his gun. The prisoner started crying, pee' d himself and said he didn't want to die. The detective fessed up and the patrolmen were pissed.
10. The broken telephone. There were four lines at the PD. This was before 911. The phone at the booking desk was broken after having been slammed up against someone's head several times over the years. Two of the lines could be used at the same time on the broken phone. The trick was to call two separate area cop shops at the same time and connect them together. Each would answer and then want to know what the other wanted. "You called me!" "No, You called me!" We had to stop this prank because a complaint was filed between the dispatchers and the phone company found the culprit. The Chief of Police was PISSED OFF!
Policing was tough and not for the weak hearted. My first Chief of Police was an autocratic man who would tell you how it was. I once heard him tell a patrolman who had fucked up to stay out of his way for a while. You know what you said to the Chief of Police? Yes, Sir or No, Sir. The Mayor insisted that the Chief fire an officer. I heard him tell the Mayor that he wasn't going to fire an officer for wrecking a patrol car under bad circumstances. He said, "I'm going to give him 15 days off. He needs a job. His wife and kids didn't do anything wrong." The Chief really had a heart of gold.
That's the way I see it.