This column is written by a retired Ann Arbor detective sergeant and this column was about police pranks. It was pretty good and included a prank about putting rocks in hubcaps of a fellow police officers car. (The graphic with the story showed a fancy wheel - see photo with this post- but not a hubcap. It may be more a factor of young people not knowing what a "hub cap" is). The columnist was referring to an episode at the Milan Police Department that had gotten into the news.
As I have mentioned here before, I worked for two California police departments for seven years before going back to MSU to study journalism.
And as the AA2.com writer said pranks are as much a part of police departments as ticket books.
Here's a few that I remember from my days in uniform.
We had our own firecracker episode at our police department. We had one officer, Paul F, who was very skittish about noises. One night he was sitting at the dispatch desk relieving the dispatcher during her dinner about 3 a.m.
An officer had a stash of firecrackers that he had confiscated in the trunk of his police car. Parking down the street from the police department he snuck up and lit a string of the firecrackers under the dispatcher's window.
Not wanting a good practical joke to go unwatched, several of us had parked nearby and watched as Paul F dove under the desk at the first sound of the firecrackers. He then put out a call over the radio and we all pulled up and fessed up to the joke.
In today's world, that probably could have gotten us all fired. Back then it was just part of the job.
All the police cars were keyed the same, in other words all the car keys worked in all the patrol cars. We had been ordered not to idle the cars (to keep them warm) while we were at lunch or on a call. All of us had duplicate keys and could let the car run while locking it from the outside.
If we found one of our co-workers cars locked and running outside a restaurant and knew that it was out of view of the officer inside, we would often drop off our riding along partners to unlock the car and drive it back to the station. It was always fun to sit in the station to hear the frantic call from the officer trying to explain to the dispatcher that his car had been "stolen."
The high school had a 1/4-mile running track and in the middle of the night we would drive there and do our own version of NASCAR around it with our lights off. That was until a neighbor noticed the cars speeding around the track and called the police department.
From a distance they couldn't tell the racing vehicles were police cars. When the dispatcher put out the call about the racing cars at the high school, one of the officers responded that they were in the area and would check it out. Then they quietly left.
One of our officers used to brag about the gas mileage in his foreign car. Every day he would come to work telling us he was getting 30 or 35 miles to the gallon. So for a month we started adding a gallon or two of gas to his tank every shift.
Each day he would excitedly come to work and brag that he was suddenly getting 40-45-50 miles to the gallon. We, of course, would scoff at him and tell him he was crazy, but the ruse went on.
Finally, after a month of adding gasoline, we started siphoning it out of his car a gallon or two at a time while he was out on patrol. He started coming to work loudly complaining that there was "something wrong" with his car. His mileage had dropped from 50 to 20 and he was not happy.
At the point we found out he took it back to the dealer to complain about his now "horrible" gas mileage, we brought him in on the joke before he did something stupid to the dealer.