The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, April 27, 2014
We asked 10 local law enforcement leaders: Got a favorite knucklehead arrest story, one that still makes you shake your head?
Do they ever.
Chief, University of Illinois Police
"One story that stands out was when the Chicago Bears were playing at Memorial Stadium. It might have been Monday night against Green Bay — the game when you looked up into the stands and there were so many fights at one time, it was like a scene out of 'Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.'
"We had an intoxicated fan who had been disorderly. He was in the police processing room and we were explaining to him that he had two options. The first option: Leave the stadium, go back to his outside gathering in the tailgate area, have fun with his buddies and continue to — responsibly — enjoy the festivities. His second option: If he refused to leave Memorial Stadium immediately, he would be arrested, transported and held at the Champaign County Jail.
"He took a long, decisional breath, rubbed his chin and replied, 'That's a tough question. I'm gonna have to think about it.'
"He was taken to jail."
Sheriff, DeWitt County
"I was once dispatched to investigate an armed robbery at a smalltown bar. Our robber entered the bar, pushed down the elderly bartender after displaying a 'gun' and carried the entire cash register with him as he made his escape. The cash register's tape caught on the door to the bar as he left, and proceeded to unravel behind him as he ran away on foot.
"The robber lived in a house right next to the bar, so I was able to follow 100 feet of cash register tape leading from the front door of the bar to the front door of the robber's house. After the robber was arrested, he couldn't believe how I figured it out so fast."
Deputy, Vermilion County sheriff's office
"I think of a recent incident where a suspect during questioning told me that meth lab I found in his burned-out trailer was put there by a fireman who was dispatched.
"I was like, 'Are you telling me that fire personnel put the lab in the trailer?' And the suspect was like, 'Well, you know, a couple of them ..."
Chief of Police, Mahomet
"The fun part of the job, at least years ago, were the characters we dealt with on a regular basis. Most were not bad people; they just seemed to need help sorting out everyday life.
"We dealt with an old couple on a regular basis. They drank regularly and when they did, they argued loudly. Also, clothing was optional. When they weren't drinking, they were the sweetest people and we got along famously.
"On one occasion, we responded to a domestic during which the female half had made a big skillet of ham and beans for dinner. The male half made some less-than-complimentary comment about his wife's cooking, so she hit him over the head with the skillet full of beans. The News-Gazette famously — at least in my mind — reported the female half beat me up during the course of the arrest."
Captain, University of Illinois Police
"Many years ago, when I was on the midnight shift, I was involved in a foot chase on the south side of the Illini Union. I don't even remember the reason I was chasing the suspect.
"I was having a difficult time running the suspect down, so I decided to yell, 'Stop — or I will let the dog loose.' I then proceeded to bark like a dog. The suspect apparently thought a dog was chasing him and he slowed down enough for me to catch up with him."
Chief of Police, Hoopeston
"We often say that Hoopeston is like the old TV show 'Twin Peaks' due to some of the quirky cases we have. Law enforcement is a front-row seat to the greatest show on earth.
"We've had the cases that I'm sure most departments have: the person who breaks into a business and leaves his cell phone behind or the person who steals a cell phone, then answers it when police call the number.
"Some of the retired officers here used to recount how during senior week a student tried to gain entry into the high school and got stuck in the chimney. And, of course, there's the former Hoopeston resident who was naked and stole a fire truck in Indiana and was arrested for DUI."
Chief of Police, Oakwood
"I had a suspect with illegal drugs that were in a heat-sealed bag. When I asked if he knew it was illegal, he said, 'I thought it was only illegal if the bag was open.'"
Sheriff, Douglas County
"I was a rookie on patrol in 1970 when I responded to a local chief of police request for assistance. It was around 3 a.m. and the chief found glass broken out of the front door of the local bar. I arrived a few minutes later and we observed a subject inside the bar walking to the front door. He had three or four full bottles of whiskey in his arms and one empty. He fell to the floor two or three times and then attempted to crawl out the broken window.
"He was a very large young man and somehow got through the window opening, falling directly on his back and breaking some of the bottles in his arms. He was very surprised when he observed two uniformed officers standing over him. He was very pleasant and offered us a drink from the one bottle that did not break. He was not pleased when he was taken to the county jail."
Chief of Police, Monticello
"I made a traffic stop on a vehicle that passed a school bus that had its flashing red lights and stop arm extended. The driver said they weren't sure what they were supposed to do as they had recently moved from California. I told them the law is the same — you have to stop for loading and unloading school buses.
"When I returned to their vehicle to issue the summons, I asked where they worked. She said she worked for the school district in a neighboring community. She then said she was a bus driver."
Sheriff, Ford County
"Several years ago, I was a Ford County Sheriff's Deputy on traffic patrol, heading northbound on Route 115 between Roberts and Piper City. I was enjoying the hot, sunny day and cruising with my window down. I noticed a vehicle topping a hill heading my way. It appeared to have smoke coming out of it and to be flying at a pretty good clip. I turned on my radar antenna; the vehicle was traveling at 97 mph. As it drove by me, I could smell hot anti-freeze. it sounded like the old maroon Oldsmobile was about to come apart.
"I turned around and began pursuit. After about five miles, I was able to get the driver to pull over. As I approached the car, I noticed the bright red idiot light on the dash was on and now the windshield was covered with steam. I asked him if there was any reason why he was going 97 in a 55 mph (zone).
"He stated: 'My car is overheating and I was going that fast to try and cool it down.'"