Cop Talk 2, Working the Street

My son Bobby is a Detroit Police Officer. He is nearing retirement and has had an exciting career. He sent me this short story about an incident he was involved in.

We responded to a police run at Aurora hospital on a disturbance. It was about 4 AM. I talked to the female security guard, who said there was a guy in the lobby who had been walking around outside with his "Thang" out. He was now seated inside, and she directed us to him. We turned the corner to see your standard homeless guy. He had on multiple coats, he possessed several ghetto suitcases (garbage bags) and had a box containing a number of returnable bottles.

The tell tale sign of people living on the street is the shoes. He had on classic Old Chuck Taylor All-stars. Apparently they were once white, but were now a muddy black. The left one had only the sole, worn like a sandal. Two wraps of duct taped secured it to the foot. The other was complete, but very tattered. His right baby toe was completely exposed through one of the holes. It was a very poor looking toe. It was apparent to us that the pony was back in the barn, so we could talk to him.

The first question I posed, was what was he doing at the hospital. He quickly answered he was there to meet the head doctor in order to purchase the hospital. I informed him of the 4 AM hour, but he was sure the meeting had been set for this time. Trying to keep him calm, I continued going along with his story. Our intentions were to get him to peacefully go to the Crisis Center. Nobody wants to fist-fight a guy who bathes once a year and poops in a field.

The next question I posed was what does a hospital go for these days. Without missing a beat, he stated a million dollars. I had him there, because I knew he didn't have a cent to his name, let alone a million bucks. It is kind of the street way of saying you need help.

“So you have a million dollars?” I asked. Reaching behind the row of chairs he was sitting in.

He pulls out a six foot by two foot "Price is Right" type check. You guessed it. It was filled out to cash for a million dollars. One of the only times on the job, I started laughing out loud. The man and his possessions made a quiet trip to the Crisis Center. He got us one more time before it was over. I was working with a rookie, and after I checked the "Hospital Buyer'" in at triage we started walking toward the doors to enter the crisis center. In a calm tone, he ordered my partner to, "Get my bags boy". Like a true rookie he picked up the bags and walked about four or five steps before he realized what he was doing. I've never seen anyone throw something down so hard. This was the second time I got to laugh out loud.

Please send any comments or stories you may want to appear on Cop Talk to Bob Haig at

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