(Notice the containers of Starbucks coffee nearby)
Some of the dumbass questions cops get are kind of like some of the same dumbass questions a soldier gets who’s been to a war. “How many people have you shot?”
Since my self esteem is improved by my inciting laughter when ever possible, I have a pocket full of good stories to tell about the cop job. One of my favorite stories is the one about me catching “Big Foot.”
Now, we all know that there may not really be a Big Foot monster, but we had a homeless dude that I nick named “Big Foot”.
Big Foot had been homeless for over 20 years. The rumor was that he had a good job and family and all. Then one day his wife took the kids and left him. Big Foot just started to wonder the streets and talk to himself. Somedays he’d do some really odd things, and some passing citizen who was not from the area would call the police to report this dude walking back and forth in the cross walk talking to himself. He was totally harmless.
When I worked into the late afternoon, I’d always see Big Foot standing outside one of the local Italian restaurants. Everyday like clock work at 5 PM, one of the cooks would walk out and hand Big Foot a pizza. It was good pizza to. He’d sit on a bench outside, because he was too smelly to come inside, and he’d eat his pizza. He never harmed a sole in his life.
Then one day, the county had started a Mental Health Task Force. Cops, shrinks and social workers. This was a bleeding heart liberal crap thing that was supposed to go around and try to help the really nutty folks. It may have helped in a few cases, but from the cases I saw, it was a bunch of mis-guided folks trying to save the world—on a budget. For some reason, they focused in on Big Foot. They all felt that they could bring him in and get him help. But he didn't want any help.
So they went out with the butterfly net one day. He was an easy guy to approach at the time…and they brought him in to the county nut factory. Big Foot didn’t like that at all. He was out the door within 15 minutes and a county Be On the Lookout (BOL) was broadcast on all channels to all stations.
Big Foot knew if the cops saw him, they’d capture him and bring him into to have his marbles sorted out. So he was like the elusive creature of myth and lore…there were only brief sightings of him. He’d come out of the hills and take clothes off lines in citizen’s back yards, he’d come down to the restaurants and take food out of the trash. But he was fast. A blurrrrr…..sometimes people called in and said that they thought they saw some kind of hairy man or ape run by. This look was made possible by his hair and beard getting longer and the many layers of clothes he put on.
So when we sat at our police briefings before going on duty,hearing about his stealing clothes and stuff. I told the boss “it’s Big Foot.” And the name stuck. He was fast. Nobody could catch him. That is no normal cop could catch him. But if you had a cop who’d had experience in the infantry and stuff like that…it could be done.
Big Foot made the mistake of always coming out of the hills about the same time each morning. He started a routine. So all I had to do was hide in the area, wait for the call…then sneak into the woods where I knew he was going to run back to.
I waited behind some trees…when he ran back from his foraging mission I waited for him to sit down and eat. I quietly walked up behind him…oh what a smell--- months in the woods without a bath or clean clothes (much like Iraqi insurgents I smelled years later).
Big Foot was so surprised, that when I put the handcuffs on him and walked him down the hill to my patrol car, he just kept saying: “How? How? How? How?”