As police officers, we’re often presented with the opportunity to meet various celebrities and other important people. Sometimes, we’re even placed in the unfortunate position of having to arrest a few of those VIP’s.
For example, I once served as training officer to a rookie who stopped a large, fancy tour bus for speeding, and the officer was quite surprised to see one of his favorite musicians behind the wheel—a very famous musician. The singer/guitarist was quick to announce his identity, as if the verbal identification had been necessary, hoping his fame would be enough to satisfy the appetite of the officer’s squalling radar unit.
The still wet-behind-the-ears officer, totally starstruck, tongue-tied, and rubber-kneed in the presence of the legend of stage and Radioland, immediately knew what he had to do. That’s right, my babbling trainee, with the speed and grace of a wild cheetah, was quick to snag the driver’s autograph, and then send the celebrity and his bus on their way to the next concert on the tour. And, when the officer returned to our patrol car he was grinning from ear to ear, like a mule eating briars.
The rookie officer shoved the signature-clad paper into my hands so I, too, could have a look at his prize. Sure enough, scrawled across the bottom of the traffic summons was the signature of one of the all-time greats of the music world. A golden voice and fancy guitar, though, do not qualify as exemptions to posted speed limits, especially when driving 82mph in a 45mph zone. I’d taught the young officer well.
Of course, I’ve had my own share of encounters with well-known celebrities and other people of fame, and such was the case of the man from Mars who insisted his use of a rusty ax to hack his sister-in-law to death was a direct order from his superiors on the red planet.
“You see,” he told me, “she wouldn’t allow the mother ship to return to earth. I had no choice. She’s evil, you know. Besides, she wouldn’t give me no money for cigarettes.”
Then there was the time I responded to the call of a man walking in the median between the north and southbound lanes of a major interstate highway. When I finally located the man, I pulled my patrol car off the roadway and approached on foot. He stood waiting for me in the center of the median strip, in the soft light of a near full moon. My gaze was immediately drawn to his sandal-clad feet and long, wavy brown hair fluttering gently in the night breeze. He held out his right hand for me to shake and, in an unusually soothing and calm voice, introduced himself as …
I must admit, I paused for a second before moving along to serious questions, like, “Do you have any identification?” Of course, when I did ask, he gave me that look. You know the one. The “Seriously, you need to see MY identification?” look. Well, as luck would have it, the guy wasn’t the Son of God after all. Instead, he was a slightly out of touch homeless man from Richmond who actually thought he was Jesus. And to think that I could have been the first in line to meet Him when He returned.
Of course, there was Elvis, the rock and roll legend I had to remove from an elderly lady’s refrigerator once or twice each month so she could watch TV without the interruption of endless choruses of “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Jailhouse Rock.” Not to mention how annoying it can be when Elvis slips in behind the cheesecake to steal our radio and TV signals.
Things could have been worse, I suppose. At least I never encountered one of today’s politicians. Although, I did stop the speeding car of a diplomat, and that was a can of worms I wished I’d not opened. And then there was the time I arrested a man who was wanted by the Secret Service and FBI for threatening to kill President Clinton.
If my handcuffs could talk … oh, the stories they could tell.