Dealing with death in all types of circumstances is a major part of an Officers duty. The Police are usually the first ones on scene and often times must face some very gruesome conditions. Although done professionally and with respect for the dead, a little humor on some occasions can go a long ways when having to deal so much with some of these situations all the time.
My partner, who was new on the job, and I were working day watch when the dispatcher gave us a call, “Unit, respond code 3 to the freeway overpass on a possible dead body.” We had just finished lunch, spaghetti, and little did my new partner know he was about to taste his lunch for a second time.
We arrived on the scene and walked up the slope of the freeway to get underneath the overpass. “There is a four-foot space under there,” I said with an experienced tone, “it’s a common camping place for the homeless… shine your flashlight so we can see what’s under there,” pointing curiously. There was a body all right lying face down on top of what looks like an old blanket, flies were all over and the smell was obvious that it had been there for a while. “Better call for additional units… this is a crime scene now,” I ordered.
On every death, the Fire Department and Paramedics will respond to the scene to determine if there is any chance to render medical aid. Detectives arrived and began to investigate and the Highway Patrol shut down one lane of freeway.
When the investigation concluded, the County Coroner arrived to pick up the body. “How long do you think the body has been here,” my partner asked the Coroner who was putting on her gloves. “Looks like about six weeks… pretty decomposed,” she replied. “What are those beetles all over the body,” continued my partner, “Oh, they’re just eating the body,” said the Coroner. My partner stepped away quickly and started to throw-up his spaghetti lunch. “Ha, ha… I knew it,” I chuckled. The Coroner reached down to turn the body over and to our surprise; the head came off and started to roll down the embankment. “Partner, STOP that head!” I shouted. My partner was about five feet away down the slope finishing throwing up and the head was rolling right towards him. He must have acted out of a natural reaction because he stopped the head with his right foot and then gave it a little kick, like a soccer ball, to get it back up to where the Coroner and I were standing. The head landed perfectly back where it belonged. The Coroner and I looked at each other with disbelief. “No one better yell, GOAL,” said the coroner, placing her foot next to it to make sure it would not roll away again.
We finished the investigation and helped the Coroner load the body into the van. “You alright,” I asked my partner who was just getting some color back in his face. “Yeah, I’m good,” he mumbled. “How was that spaghetti the second time,” I laughed. “Shut-up and let’s get to the station to wash up,” he said wiping his chin.
We arrived at the station and began walking through the parking lot. The Sergeant and a small group of Officers were standing there talking, “Hey Serge,” I shouted, “Does our Department have a soccer team?”…”No,” he replied, “Why do you ask?”…“oh, no reason, just wandering,” I said snickering as my partner punched me in the arm.