Have no fear, the police are here…


  • This story has been around awhile. It was written several years ago by another police officer and has been revised a bit, with his permission, for posting here. It serves to illustrate we are never certain what the dangers are.

It was a simple call, very routine. Yeah, I know—we’re not supposed to use the “r” word.

“… see Mr. Patel on the first floor regarding someone knocking at his rear window. He stated someone broke that same window last week and he’s afraid that they’re back.”

“Ten-four, we’re on our way squad.”

My partner and I headed to the address and decided to drive through the alley first. We rolled slowly down the alley with the lights off but couldn’t be sure which building it was. We circled and headed to the front, found the address and parked the car. Our complainant could probably give us a little more background into the problems he was having so we went into the three-flat and rang his buzzer.

Sure enough, Mr. Patel, appeared all 98 pounds of him. He was a short, barefoot, slightly built east-Indian dressed in pajamas. There wasn’t much more of a story behind this call so we decided to check the yard and see what we could find. Mr. Patel decided he would follow us and wait at the mouth of the gangway. Assuring him that we would check things out, my partner and I moved cautiously toward the rear of the building with one hand shining our flashlights and our other hand on our pistols. Mr. Patel watched from the far end, intense and wide eyed.

The gangway was narrow, completely dark with not even enough room for us to walk side by side. Just as we were about to reach the backyard, our good sergeant pulled into the alley behind the building. He would cover the rear, and also write us down on his log. There was just one problem. His squad car scared a skunk that was out for a midnight stroll. The skunk shot directly up the gangway, right at us. Retreat was our only option.

With a quick loud yell, my partner and I turned and were running at full speed, right towards our startled complainant. Our keys were slapping together, nightsticks clanking against our radios, and the beams from our flashlights were going from ground to sky with every stride. Mr. Patel could also run fast, very fast. He must have been a half a block down the street before we caught up to him and assured him we were only running from a skunk. He never blinked his eyes or said a word to us as we explained that there was no one in his yard. I still laugh thinking about what he saw. Two of Chicago’s finest, twice his size, running straight for him with fear in their eyes. No doubt it took him awhile to calm down and get back to sleep.

He hasn’t called us back since that night.


6 Comments on “Have no fear, the police are here…”

  1. Kaye says:

    Good one, Jim. Thanks!

  2. Darlene says:

    Thanks for a good laugh!

  3. Maryann S says:

    Living in suburbs in my retirement—did skunks frequent Lawndale? Skunks stink but racoons are just plain mean…Enjoyed the story Jim and I’ll laugh the next time a racoon crawls out of my garbage can.

  4. Rich Rostrom says:

    I live at Howard and Ridge (the far north side), and I’ve seen skunks several times in the last few years. Usually late at night. They probably live in the scrub woods along the Skokie Swift tracks a block north of Howard.

    Further west, where the Forest Preserves are, I’m sure there are lots of skunks. Also near the North Shore Canal, where the scrub woods along the banks would provide habitat.

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