Detectives Dan and Dave talk about what Hollywood gets right – and gets wrong – about police work, and which shows are their favorites. Then they take a quiz to see if they know which obscure laws are from which state. It’s a blast!Read Transcript
Yeardley: [00:00:07] Hey, Small Town Fam. How are you doing? I hope you’re all well. Whether it’s winter where you are or summer, it’s still February. And Small Town Dicks is still on hiatus. Boo. So, today, we thought we would share a doubleheader from our Patreon vault with all of you, because more Detective Dan and Dave in your ears is always better. First step is a delightful sit around the kitchen table kind of conversation about all the ways Hollywood pretends law enforcement works. This leads to a couple of real-life stories about cops who clearly failed the class on how to read a room. Here is Hollywood Versus Cops.
Yeardley: [00:00:56] Hey, Small Town Fam, welcome to Patreon. Thank you for subscribing. Here’s a little nugget of snackable content. In my business, which is entertainment, we have a way of doing things in television particularly, sometimes in film that I know you guys take umbrage with in real life in terms of law enforcement, like you can’t get a DNA test back in nine hours.
Dave: [00:01:22] That is true. There is no shoe print database. “Hey, can you run this shoe print?” “Yeah, that’s the size nine Nike, that was bought by John Doe at- [chuckles]
Yeardley: [00:01:32] In 1986.
Dave: [00:01:33] -at Dick’s Sporting Goods.”
Yeardley: [00:01:35] [giggles]
Dave: [00:01:35] Yeah, it doesn’t work that way.
Yeardley: [00:01:39] Tell us what are some of the other pet peeves you have with the way we do things in my biz.
Dan: [00:01:47] For me, if you watch a cop show, it’s how their uniform is. When I see how their duty belt is organized, and where they put stuff on their duty belt, or where they have their badge pinned on their shirt, and their nametag and their other stuff. It’s just always off if they have keepers, because you were two belts. You’ve got a belt that goes through your pants, like an actual belt. And then, you have your duty belt that goes on over, and keepers are these straps that basically bind those two belts together so your duty belt isn’t spinning around, and everything’s tight and close together. So, you see people and they don’t have keepers on, things like that.
Yeardley: [00:02:33] You think they have supervisors, law enforcement supervisors saying, “For this jurisdiction, you wear your badge here and your nametag here, and you need a keeper.”
Dave: [00:02:44] Well, it’s clear on some shows, Southland.
Dan: [00:02:46] Oh, they’re squared away.
Dave: [00:02:47] Really enjoyed that show. You could tell that they had somebody who was a law enforcement person advising on that show because their officers look squared away. There’s other shows, particularly detective shows, where you will see how a detective is dressed in plainclothes, but the way they have everything set up like a cross-draw holster where you have to reach across your body.
Yeardley: [00:03:11] Does nobody do that anymore?
Dave: [00:03:13] I’ve never seen somebody do that, ever.[Yeardley giggles]
Dan: [00:03:16] Yeah, it drives me nuts.
Dave: [00:03:17] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:03:18] So, if you’re a plainclothes detective, where do you keep your gun, in your sock?
Dave: [00:03:22] No, I keep my gun right on my left hip, I’m left-handed. I’ve got my holster, my dress belt, slides right through the holster. I put my badge on the same side as my gun because people see guns and like, “That guy is armed.” But if you get your badge right next to it, “Oh, he’s a cop too. He’s got a badge with it.” So, it’s little things like that that’s in accurate. Or, there’s a show on right now, The Rookie, which I’ve watched it. These rookie officers, they’re not even cut loose yet and they’ve all been in like seven shootings. [Yeardley chuckles] I was like, “How? I know it’s LA, but give me a break.”
Yeardley: [00:04:02] [chuckles] What’s inaccurate about that? Couldn’t you on your first day be in a shooting?
Dave: [00:04:05] You could, but you wouldn’t be working the next day. You’re going to be off for a while.
Dan: [00:04:10] You just flush it, Dave. You just flush it, you walk away. Once the shift’s over, that shooting that you were just in it doesn’t count anymore.
Yeardley: [00:04:17] Because the episode is over, so.
Dave: [00:04:19] Yeah, I get. It’s not true like episode 1 was day 1. Episode 2 is day 2. I get it. But these guys are all still in there, what 16 to 20 week FTO program, and one of them’s been in like six shootings. [Yeardley chuckles] Damn, dude. You need to work on some de-escalation techniques.[laughter]
Dave: [00:04:42] Why do you keep using deadly force? That kind of stuff, come on, tone it down a little bit.
Dan: [00:04:50] And the shooting. You see the form on the shooting like the grip on the pistol. I described saucer and cup where the butt of the gun is resting in the palm of your left hand and your right hand is wrapped around the grip. It’s not how we hold the gun, that’s not a good grip. The gun that we have is a Smith & Wesson M&P .40. That grip doesn’t work for that. If your booger hook hits the bang switch, it’ll go off, but it’s not going to be very accurate shooting like that.
Dave: [00:05:19] Right.
Yeardley: [00:05:20] I noticed often actually in TV as they go through the door, their finger is on the trigger, and I know you guys, you never put your finger on the trigger unless you’re absolutely prepared to shoot.
Dave: [00:05:30] Yeah, your finger doesn’t go to the trigger until you are ready to pull the trigger. So, trigger finger outside of trigger guard.
Dan: [00:05:38] Up on the slide, if you got a rifle, it’s on the frame.
Dave: [00:05:42] Even people that take pictures with guns showing off, “Hey, I went to the range today. I’m shooting,” and they take a selfie or somebody takes a picture of them, they got their finger on the trigger, drives me nuts.
Yeardley: [00:05:53] Bad form.
Dave: [00:05:54] Bad, bad, bad.
Dan: [00:05:55] Stupid.
Dave: [00:05:55] That’s how people get shot, doing stupid stuff.
Dan: [00:06:00] What else?
Dave: [00:06:01] We could talk about the old Charlie’s Angels. Are you ready?
Dan: [00:06:03] Yeah. Where the barrel is pointing up in the air?
Dave: [00:06:07] Yeah. “Hey, we’re going to go search this house and you got the barrel pointed up, your two hands together and hold it like you’re praying.”
Yeardley: [00:06:13] Now, did anybody ever hold a gun like that?
Dave: [00:06:15] Yeah, Farrah Fawcett did. [Yeardley chuckles]
Dan: [00:06:17] Dirty Harry.
Dave: [00:06:19] Yeah. Or, shooting one handed, you hit a target from like 30 yards one handed. Or, you do the turn it sideways. Just pouring rounds downrange, you’re like, “Argh.” You’ve got to account for every one of those rounds that’s going down range.
Dan: [00:06:36] Here’s one that I always see too, is a cop gets out, and they’re getting ready to go in and search a building and they rack the slide to put a round in the chamber. Dude, if you’re doing it like that, you are doing it wrong. I mean there should always be around in the chamber of that thing.
Dave: [00:06:49] Yeah. Before you start your shift.
Dan: [00:06:51] So, you see them and they go, [mimics gun cocking] like that, and cock their gun, you’re a moron. Cops don’t do that.
Yeardley: [00:06:57] As a cop, you always already have a bullet in the chamber?
Dan: [00:07:02] Yeah.
Dave: [00:07:03] Already ready to go.
Yeardley: [00:07:04] Okay.
Dan: [00:07:05] Yeah, they stack up at the door, and then they pause when they’re in the door. They’re right in the funnel. You’re like, “Move, dummy, [chuckles] you’re going to get shot.”
Yeardley: [00:07:13] You mean dead center in the funnel?
Dan: [00:07:15] Yeah, or even you want to be out of the funnel. You don’t want any part of you in that funnel. So, if you’re even peeking your head around the corner or whatever, you’re still in the funnel.
Dave: [00:07:24] Get through the doorway.
Dan: [00:07:25] Get through the doorway if you got another guy or even if it’s just you, you got to know how to clear a room. You don’t just burst through the door and go to the middle of the room. You’re going to move in a certain direction, and I’m not going to give it up because it’s tradecraft for us.
Dave: [00:07:39] Yeah. Or, this one, cops, they’re searching the house and they got the gun way out in front of them and they walked through a door.
Dan: [00:07:45] With their arm totally extended?
Dave: [00:07:46] Yeah. Two and a half feet of arm that gets into the room-
Yeardley: [00:07:49] Before the person?
Dave: [00:07:50] Before the person. If somebody’s sitting on the doorway, they go, “Oh, well, there’s a gun right there. Thank you.” Grab the person’s arm, wrestle the gun away from them.
Dan: [00:07:58] You’re not extended. It’s in tight.
Dave: [00:07:59] It’s in tight.
Yeardley: [00:08:00] To your chest, people can’t see you.
Dave: [00:08:02] Yeah. I’m not offering you my gun.
Dan: [00:08:06] Well, in Hollywood, you also see this too. When somebody runs out of bullets and the gun goes click, and then they go click, click, click–[crosstalk] That only works for a revolver. If you got a semiautomatic pistol, you can’t go click, click, click.
Yeardley: [00:08:22] What happens?
Dan: [00:08:23] After the last round goes off, the slide locks back and you have to eject the magazine.
Dave: [00:08:28] You’ve got to reset the trigger, the firing pin. Once your gun goes dry, you’ll get one more click because the trigger has reset, but you won’t get one after that. You got to keep racking the slide to get the trigger reset.
Yeardley: [00:08:41] Oh, and that wouldn’t make any sense because now you know that gun is empty, and then you just look like a big dope on TV.
Dave: [00:08:48] Right. I’m not big gun guy, so I’m sure there’s going to be some gun nut cop who’s going to be like, “This idiot doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” It’s the gist of what we’re talking about here.
Yeardley: [00:08:58] There may be exceptions. Okay. What about evidence collection? I do notice, oftentimes, if you watch true crime, like on Oxygen or ID Discovery, and they’re doing what they call “recre,” recreations, half the time they’re not wearing any gloves.
Dan: [00:09:15] Well, I notice that sometimes with regular cops, they’re not wearing gloves.
Yeardley: [00:09:20] That’s crazy.
Dan: [00:09:22] They’re handling evidence, you’re like, “Dude, what are you doing, man?” Handling guns too, with no gloves on, especially when there’s a question of whose gun is that and you’re not wearing gloves and you’re touching that gun? That’s not smart.
Dave: [00:09:36] Here’s a question. You ever seen a chalk outline of a body?
Dan: [00:09:40] I haven’t. It’s like a ghost.
Dave: [00:09:42] I’ve never seen one.
Yeardley: [00:09:43] Really?
Dan: [00:09:43] I’ve never seen a chalk outline.
Yeardley: [00:09:44] No. How did that become part of the zeitgeist?
Dan: [00:09:48] I’m sure they did it back in the day. They just don’t do it anymore. Probably before we had photographs, and now we have digital cameras and things like that.
Dave: [00:09:57] We have 360-degree scanners that you can rebuild a crime scene. So, we don’t need the chalked outline. I was thinking about the other day, I was like, “I’ve never seen a chalk outline.” I’m kind of pissed off about that.
Yeardley: [00:10:13] [laughs]
Dan: [00:10:14] Now, there’s evidence collection.
Dave: [00:10:16] Yeah. It’s just the return on evidence where I’m always like, “God, I wish I worked with Gil Grissom in the CSI lab. That is cool stuff. And you got it back within an hour.
Yeardley: [00:10:28] Awesome. They put a rush on it in the middle of the night, and what do you know?
Dan: [00:10:31] It doesn’t quite happen that way.
Dave: [00:10:33] But here’s another Hollywood thing. You walk into the lab for CSI, or a lot of these interview rooms, it’s dark.
Dan: [00:10:40] I was thinking about that too.
Dave: [00:10:41] Dark and dramatic. It’s not always the swinging light bulb, but these interview rooms, they’ve always got them so dark.
Yeardley: [00:10:48] They’re moody.
Dave: [00:10:49] Yeah, our rooms are bright.
Dan: [00:10:51] I wouldn’t say they’re cheery.
Dave: [00:10:52] You’ve got this hanging light down right over the center of the table that they can take the light and shine it in your face so the spotlight’s on you and the shadow’s on the detective. I’ve never interviewed somebody in a facility in the dark.
Yeardley: [00:11:06] [laughs]
Dave: [00:11:08] Not once.
Yeardley: [00:11:09] Fair enough.
Dave: [00:11:10] Radio traffic.
Yeardley: [00:11:11] Yeah.
Dave: [00:11:12] When they say over. [laughs]
Dan: [00:11:15] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:11:15] Oh, you don’t say over?
Dave: [00:11:16] No.
Yeardley: [00:11:17] What do you say?
Dave: [00:11:18] You just say what you’re going to say and then you let your finger off the mic.
Yeardley: [00:11:24] Oh, off the– right.
Dave: [00:11:26] Right. So, you’ve got a button on your mic.
Dan: [00:11:28] Or, people who talk for a long, long time on the radio.
Yeardley: [00:11:31] I know that’s a peeve of yours.
Dan: [00:11:33] Yeah. Get off the radio. What if I’m in some stuff and I need that channel to be open? People just rambling on the radio.
Dave: [00:11:41] We say break.
Dan: [00:11:42] So, if you want to continue, you say your sentence, you say “break.” You let off the mic, allow somebody else, because if somebody else has some priority traffic that they need to get through, then they can pipe in. But some people only take, they’ll go, “break.” And one second later, they start back up, they don’t even pause enough.
Dave: [00:12:04] It’s some officers have diarrhea of the mouth.
Yeardley: [00:12:07] Sure.
Dave: [00:12:08] Where you like, “So, you gave me a dissertation. I did not need all that information. Why don’t you just say clear, resolved, two words?” And you’re off the radio.
Yeardley: [00:12:19] [chuckles] Off you go. I noticed that in television crime shows like Law & Order, it seems like they never write reports. Whereas 10% of your job is breaking down doors and 90% is writing reports.
Dave: [00:12:34] Yeah. That is interesting. End of Watch did a good job–
Dan: [00:12:41] Yeah.
Dave: [00:12:41] –In that movie, because Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, he is sitting there in the station– and police reports. These are the lifeblood of police investigations. He goes into it. That’s accurate. The other stuff maybe not so much. But if you could piece together like End of Watch and Southland and some of the stuff that we’ve gotten out of The Rookie, you could put together a pretty good police show.
Yeardley: [00:13:07] Excellent. The Rookie is kind of out of hand. I really like Southland.
Dan: [00:13:12] It’s too bad. I don’t know why that got canceled.
Dave: [00:13:14] Hollywood people.
Yeardley: [00:13:16] You know.
Dave: [00:13:16] Yeah, they make great decisions.
Dan: [00:13:18] End of Watch with Jake Gyllenhaal, and what’s the other guy’s name in that movie?
Dave: [00:13:21] Michael Peña.
Dan: [00:13:24] They did a good job, and they were believable as partners too. But there’s a part in that movie too at the very end in the alley where they’ve got their flashlights out. I’m like, “Turn your fucking flashlight off. What are you doing? Why do you have your flashlight on?”
Yeardley: [00:13:38] Talk about that, I know you guys have a thing. In television and the movies, they always pull up to the house that they’re about to investigate.
Dan: [00:13:46] Oh, and they pull up and they park right in front of the house.
Yeardley: [00:13:49] And you guys don’t do that, right?
Dave: [00:13:51] Try to park down the block. I don’t want you to see me coming. I don’t want to give away too much. But yeah, when I see people with flashlights on for extended periods of time, they might just see the flashlight because you’re behind it. But people shoot at flashlights because they know somebody is holding that flashlight. So, we practice flashlight on for a few seconds, flashlight off for a few seconds. Especially if you’re behind another officer, you’re backlighting them.
Dan: [00:14:20] People fight over that.
Dave: [00:14:22] [chuckles] Other officers, “Stop. Stop backlighting me.”
Dan: [00:14:25] That was the worst when I was a canine officer. Every now and then you get a rookie officer. Maybe it was innocent and they just weren’t paying attention, and all of a sudden, they backlight you because I’m canine, I’m out in front, so everyone’s behind me, and they backlight you. That’s an uncomfortable feeling when you’re like, “I’m pretty sure the bad guy knows exactly where I’m at right now and I have no clue where he’s at.”
Yeardley: [00:14:50] That’s fascinating.
Dave: [00:14:52] You canine guys walk too fast.
Dan: [00:14:54] You’re getting pulled by a landshark.
Dave: [00:14:58] I was walking behind Darren the other night and I’m like, “Jesus, we’re on like a six-minute mile clip here.”
Yeardley: [00:15:02] [laughs]
Dave: [00:15:03] Slow down.
Dan: [00:15:05] They’re great for hills, pull you right up the hill.
Yeardley: [00:15:08] [chuckles] You need a little red wagon, you can hop in, or a Segway. So, you’ll see undercover cops in these shows or sometimes movies actually doing the drugs or seducing the prostitute, is that a stretch or does that actually happen?
Dave: [00:15:25] I’ve not heard of any other officer doing drugs, like testing the product where they put, “All right, if you’re going to buy this, I need to see you take a hit.”
Yeardley: [00:15:33] Right. Ethically speaking, that never happens. Obviously, there’s bad actors in every profession.
Dan: [00:15:38] I thought that’s how you’re supposed to test cocaine, rub it on your gums.
Yeardley: [00:15:42] They don’t do that?
Dan: [00:15:43] That’s how they teach us in the academy, right?
Dave: [00:15:45] Miami Vice style? Yeah. You’ve got to rub it on your gums, you get the tingle, that means it’s working.
Dan: [00:15:50] Or, you use the NarcoPouches.
Yeardley: [00:15:52] What’s a NarcoPouch?
Dan: [00:15:53] Those are the little plastic bags and they have these ampules and you put the cocaine in the bag, you break the ampule, which has a chemical in it. There’s a chemical reaction and it tells you if it’s positive or negative for whatever substance you’re testing for.
Yeardley: [00:16:07] Does it turn to color or something?
Dan: [00:16:08] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:16:09] I see.
Dave: [00:16:09] There are ethical standards that we need to maintain hooking up with prostitutes, can’t test the product.
Yeardley: [00:16:18] Frowned upon?
Dave: [00:16:19] Doing drugs, don’t test the product. Yeah, there are boundaries. I’m sure that there’s been police officers out there who break those standards. But I don’t know any officers that are out there, like, “Hey, before we complete this deal, I want to take a hit of that meth to make sure it’s meth.” “Oh, that’s pure Colombian yayo.”
Yeardley: [00:16:41] [laughs]
Dave: [00:16:42] No, they’re not out testing the products.
Yeardley: [00:16:45] But you do have undercover cops who sort of mingle with the drug dealers, right?
Dan: [00:16:52] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:16:53] I’m sure you have officers who go and try to pick up prostitutes to figure out who the pimps are, I’m guessing, mostly.
Dave: [00:16:59] We’ve done prostitution stings like that. Yeah.
Dan: [00:17:01] But usually we act as the prostitute.
Yeardley: [00:17:04] Oh.
Dan: [00:17:05] We try to bust the johns. We don’t try to bus the girls.
Yeardley: [00:17:08] So, you will have a female police officer.
Dan: [00:17:11] Sometimes, we do.
Dave: [00:17:12] We’ve done those reverse ones.
Dan: [00:17:14] Stings like escorts, backpage.com escorts.
Dave: [00:17:19] But when we do those, we’ve also got people from victims’ advocacy agencies. In the event, a woman’s being sex trafficked, after the police are done dealing with them, we also hand them off to an advocate who can help them get out of the situation they’re in.
Yeardley: [00:17:38] That’s cool.
Dave: [00:17:40] It’s like an assembly line. Cops deal with them. We hand them off to the person that we hopefully can get them out of that. But those are interesting.
Yeardley: [00:17:49] Do you encounter people who have a misperception of cops because they’ve seen cops on television do something, but in real life, they can’t actually do that?
Dave: [00:17:58] Yeah. We talked during the last episode about the frequency of police officers shooting people, which is exceptionally rare. I dealt with a call the other night where somebody thought that just because they told us, “Hey, that person has my property, you should write a search warrant, get into their house right now, and get my property back.” I was like, “That’s not how it works.” “Well, I’m telling you that the stuff is in there. I want you to get a search warrant, go in there and grab it.” [sighs]. I wish it was that easy. It is not.
[00:18:31] The misconception is that we have the ability to violate people’s rights or privacy on a level that we do not have those rights. The other thing is a lot of people after watching the news, or watching TV shows, think that they are now lawyers by proxy, like they know the law better than I do. They know what they are capable of doing, what their rights are. We have issues with that with juveniles. “You can’t arrest me without my mom’s permission.” I’m like, “Oh, is that what you believe?” “Well, my mom said that you can’t arrest me without her permission.” “Call your mom, bring her down here.”
Yeardley: [00:19:15] [chuckles] Because your mom’s not right about that.
Dave: [00:19:17] It’s that stuff. We had a recent appeals court case where somebody calls in and says, “My dad is killing my brother. Get here now.” The police show up, and the 911 call taker in this case, instead of writing down “brother” wrote “mother,” so it’s just a typo. They wrote “mother,” so the officers when they get there, they’re at the door and they knock and this dad answers the door and he’s covered in sweat, and he is pissed off, fired up. And the officers ask, “Hey, somebody called the police said that “father,” you was killing their mother.” And he’s like, “Their mother’s at work. What are you talking about? There’s no mother here.” They got it wrong, it’s killing the brother. There’s a brother in the background who looks like he’s been in a tussle. These officers are not thinking brother, they’re still thinking mother, and they get into this argument at the door. The officers like, “Well, we need to come in and do a welfare check and make sure that mother is not dead.” He’s like, “I’m telling you, if mother was here, her car would be in the driveway.” And this situation devolves.
[00:20:30] The officers go in, force their way in, and have to use force on this guy. And it turns out, the officers had the facts wrong, all because of a little typo. So, this family files a lawsuit against police for the use of force issues. The police are basically saying, “In good faith, we’re going in there trying to make sure that mom’s not dead.” Well, on the 911 call, you can hear it clearly says, “fighting brother.” Long story short, this goes through all kinds of appeals, court decisions, reaches the appeals court, and the appeals court says, “No, the officers in good faith are trying to do what they think is right. They didn’t do anything wrong. They are immune from this situation.” So, that helps us.
[00:21:15] We get a lot of situations where someone’s like, “You can’t come in my house.” I say, “I just got a report of child abuse in your house,” or it’s a domestic, “I got a report from the neighbor that says they can hear a male beating the hell out of a woman and she’s screaming ‘help me.’ I am coming into your house. I guarantee it. I don’t need a search warrant. I’m coming in.” Those types of things, people will get standoffish because they know the law better than you.
Yeardley: [00:21:41] Right.
Dave: [00:21:42] That’s when you call a watch commander in. You say, “Hey, we’re going to have to kick this door. You want to start heading this way?” That’s when we show up, and basically say, “Yeah, given those facts, we’re kicking in that door.”
Dan: [00:21:56] Here’s another misnomer, I think, that is out there. The feds versus the local cops. We don’t really have a rivalry with feds. The FBI, we work with the FBI quite a bit. They don’t ever come in and treat us like we’re numbskulls, like we’re little brother. No, we just all work together. That’s what we do. There’s no rivalry there.
Yeah, sure. I mean if I’ve got a case, and the FBI comes in and says, “Hey, I want you just give me all that stuff,” yeah, I’m a little butthurt because I want to finish my case, but at the same time, I’m not going to get in their way. We’re going to solve it together, and I’m going to provide any assistance I can. It’s not going to ruin my day.
Yeardley: [00:22:37] Because you’re all going for the same win.
Dan: [00:22:38] Yeah.
Dave: [00:22:38] Same team. Even with fire. See these rivalries sometimes where I’ve seen videos where a police officer arrested a fireman for parking his fire truck on the freeway to block a crash scene. It’s all for protection. And this officer [chuckles] goes to arrest this firefighter who–
Yeardley: [00:22:58] Was that on TV?
Dave: [00:23:00] No, this is real life.
Yeardley: [00:23:01] Why would he do that?
Dave: [00:23:02] Because he wanted to open up the freeway because it’s clogging up traffic. So, this trooper is frustrated because this accident scene is clogging up the freeway, and he wants to get traffic open back up. So, he’s telling these firefighters, like, “Get your fire truck off out of the roadway.” The firefighter guys are like, “Oh, we’re still dealing with this.”
Dan: [00:23:23] And they park in a specific manner that basically creates like a safety pocket for them.
Yeardley: [00:23:28] Sure, that makes sense.
Dave: [00:23:29] Somebody’s going to hit their truck, not them, when they’re out on their feet. This officer takes this firefighter into custody, and I’m just watching this going, “You might be the stupidest police officer on the planet. If you’ve got that kind of lack of discretion and common sense, what is your deal? You’re stupid. I don’t want to work with you.”
Yeardley: [00:23:50] That’s ballsy. If you don’t get that– again, we’re all on the same side here, safety is our number one priority. That’s– Wow.
Dave: [00:23:58] Mm-hmm. There’s another one in another state where a detective was in an emergency room and a nurse wasn’t doing what the detective wanted. The detective went hands on with this ER nurse.
Yeardley: [00:24:11] Arrested her?
Dave: [00:24:12] Yeah. Because she wasn’t doing what he was telling her to do.
Yeardley: [00:24:18] That might not work out for you.
Dan: [00:24:19] Dude, time, place-
Dave: [00:24:20] You’re doing it wrong.
Dan: [00:24:21] -and circumstance.
Dave: [00:24:23] You’re doing it wrong.
Yeardley: [00:24:24] I have to tell you, if I saw that on television, I’d be like, “Come on. You’re just trying to create some drama for me at 9:30 at night, that never would happen.” And yet, once in a while, truth is stranger than fiction.
Dave: [00:24:37] Yeah, I’ll say this, every occupation’s got them, right?
Yeardley: [00:24:40] Sure. Absolutely.
Dave: [00:24:42] Mindless idiots. [crosstalk] You make us all look bad. Thanks.
Yeardley: [00:24:46] Yeah, thanks for that.
Dan: [00:24:47] We’re not all like that.
Yeardley: [00:24:48] [laughs] And there you have it, some snackable content. Happy Patreon.
Yeardley: [00:25:07] Small Town Fam, I swear you cannot make this stuff up. We thought a fabulous part deux to Hollywood Versus Cops would be the Patreon episode where I quiz Dan and Dave on strange laws that are on the books. I read the description of the law, and they have to guess where that law would be enforced. Let the games begin.
[00:25:31] Hey, Small Town Super Fam. How are you? We are so pleased that you’ve decided to join us here on Patreon today. I have a really funny little snackable nugget for us today. We’re going to talk about stupid and strange laws in the United States, all of which have been active within the last 20 years. Some may have been active much, much longer than that, but none of them ended in 1789. That’s just a random number. I have with me Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:26:04] Hello, Yeardley.
Yeardley: [00:26:05] Hello, Daniel. And we have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:26:08] Daniel, Yeardley.
Yeardley: [00:26:10] Sir David, as I like to call you. We also have Zipper the cat, who woke up from her nap as soon as I hit record. I don’t know how she always knows that we’re about to do something where we need her to actually be quiet, because she’s stone deaf. Literally, the cat is deaf as a post, but she knows. She always knows. Anyway, we’re recording from home.
[00:26:34] First, I want you to guess which state this silly law is in. [laughs] “No person shall feed garbage to swine without first obtaining a permit from the Associate Director,” and it goes on. “All permit shall be renewed during January of each year.” So don’t go trying to get it in February or March. “This does not apply to any person who feeds only their own household garbage to swine, which are raised for their own use.” So, I guess you can feed your own pig your own garbage. Just don’t cross the street for this. Any thoughts? You’ll never guess.
Dan: [00:27:12] Indiana?
Yeardley: [00:27:13] That’s a pretty good guess. I wouldn’t have guessed that if I was guessing.
Dave: [00:27:17] My thought was Arkansas, like the Arkansas Razorbacks football team.
Yeardley: [00:27:23] Yeah, that’s a good guest too. It’s actually Arizona.
Dave: [00:27:25] I got the AR part right.
Yeardley: [00:27:27] You did. I didn’t know Arizona was such a swine hub.
Dave: [00:27:33] News to me as well.
Yeardley: [00:27:34] [laughs]
Dan: [00:27:35] You think about Arizona, and that’s hot garbage.
Yeardley: [00:27:38] That’s some [chuckles] hot garbage. You are not wrong. Okay, here’s another one. “Any person may possess any number of live frogs to use in frog jumping contests. But if such a frog dies or is killed, it must be destroyed as soon as possible and may not be eaten or otherwise used for any purpose.”
Dan: [00:28:06] It got to be Calaveras County. I don’t know what state that is in though.
Yeardley: [00:28:10] [chuckles]
Dan: [00:28:11] Isn’t there like a famous frog jumping race in Calaveras County?
Yeardley: [00:28:17] There is. I don’t even know how you know that.
Dave: [00:28:19] I’m trying to think of a place with ponds and an abundance of frogs with potentially enter a contest. Have you had frog legs?
Yeardley: [00:28:31] I have actually a long, long time ago. I don’t really remember what they tasted like, but I do remember that they looked like frog legs. They looked like the little legs of a frog, and that was a no go for me.
Dave: [00:28:45] Yeah, they taste like amphibious chicken.
Yeardley: [00:28:48] Yeah. Which– what? [laughs] So, I’m going to give the point to Dan, because the state where you can’t eat frogs is California. And Dan said Calaveras County, which is in fact, in California. So, Dan, you have one point.
Dan: [00:29:08] Did I win cash and prizes?
Yeardley: [00:29:10] Yes.
Dan: [00:29:11] Did he get all the quiz answers?
Yeardley: [00:29:13] He did not.
Dan: [00:29:13] I have not seen these laws.
Dave: [00:29:15] I have to go on trust with that.
Yeardley: [00:29:17] [chuckles] Are you calling me untrustworthy?
Dave: [00:29:18] No. I’m just saying I’m setting up my protest and appeal.
Yeardley: [00:29:23] [chuckles] Okay. Here’s another good one. “You must obtain a permit to modify the weather.”[laughter]
Dan: [00:29:34] Well, I know where I grew up. I wanted to change the weather all the time, because it rained a lot. I would have needed a permit for that.
Yeardley: [00:29:41] You would have.
Dave: [00:29:43] Modify the weather.
Yeardley: [00:29:44] Yeah. Here’s a hint. Think of it as a place where weather impacts the economy.
Dave: [00:29:51] Well, when I first started thinking about it, I was thinking about snowmaking machines. So, a ski area. I’ll say Utah.
Yeardley: [00:29:59] So close.
Dave: [00:30:01] Oh, close? I was going like Florida.
Yeardley: [00:30:01] No, Colorado.
Dave: [00:30:07] That was my second choice.
Yeardley: [00:30:08] You’re right about the ski thing because the PS says, “Ski resorts have burned silver iodide, which can stimulate precipitation when it gets into the clouds.”
Dan: [00:30:19] Cloud seeding.
Dave: [00:30:19] Cloud seeding.
Yeardley: [00:30:20] I didn’t know that was a thing.
Dan: [00:30:22] Pretty standard.
Dave: [00:30:23] Pretty standard. I got an A in meteorology in college.
Yeardley: [00:30:26] You did?
Dave: [00:30:27] I did.
Yeardley: [00:30:27] I didn’t even know you took meteorology.
Dave: [00:30:30] I did.
Yeardley: [00:30:30] You’re a man of many talents.
Dave: [00:30:32] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:30:32] Billboards are prohibited in these States. There are four states.
Dave: [00:30:38] I know it’s not Ebbing, Missouri, certainly three billboards there.
Yeardley: [00:30:42] [laughs]
Dave: [00:30:45] So, they banned billboards in–
Yeardley: [00:30:46] These four states.
Dave: [00:30:47] So, we need to name four states?
Yeardley: [00:30:49] Even if you get one right, I’ll give you a biscuit.
Dave: [00:30:52] Um, I’ve driven through almost every state in the continental US.
Yeardley: [00:31:00] What’s funny is billboards are such a ubiquitous part of the landscape.
Dan: [00:31:03] I’ve got two right off the top of my head.
Yeardley: [00:31:05] You do?
Dan: [00:31:06] Alaska and Hawaii.
Yeardley: [00:31:08] Goddamn!
Dave: [00:31:10] This is fucking rigged.
Yeardley: [00:31:11] You’ll never get the other two.
Dan: [00:31:16] I know it’s not South Dakota because if you drive in South Dakota, there’s a billboard, it seems like every half mile. And it’s all advertising for the same thing.
Dave: [00:31:26] Montana.
Yeardley: [00:31:27] No.
Dave: [00:31:28] Whatever.
Yeardley: [00:31:28] Close though. I mean, it’s an M.[Zipper meows]
Dave: [00:31:33] Mee-chigan?
Yeardley: [00:31:34] [laughs] No. It’s Maine and Vermont. So, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, and Hawaii have prohibited billboards.
Dave: [00:31:43] [scoffs]
Dan: [00:31:44] I got one point.
Yeardley: [00:31:46] One point. [chuckles] “A liquor store cannot sell cooled or iced water, cooled or iced carbonated soda cooled, or iced grenadine or cooled or iced flavor extracts,” which assumes they can sell all of those things warm, although you can’t sell warm iced water. So just forget that.
Dave: [00:32:06] Delaware?
Yeardley: [00:32:07] [laughs] No, I like it though.
Dan: [00:32:09] And this is in the United States?
Yeardley: [00:32:11] It is.
Dan: [00:32:12] It sounds like a communist country.
Yeardley: [00:32:13] [laughs] I just don’t know, what’s the basis of such a law?
Dave: [00:32:18] Well, it might impact somebody else’s sales.
Yeardley: [00:32:21] I suppose.
Dave: [00:32:22] Maybe somebody complained.[Zipper meows]
Yeardley: [00:32:24] What do you say, Zip?
Dan: [00:32:25] Or the immediate availability to drink a beverage using those things. Maybe they want you to get it home and refrigerate it. I’m really trying to problem solve right now. and use logic, my frontal cortex.
Dave: [00:32:40] If it’s not Delaware, it’s Kentucky.
Yeardley: [00:32:42] Zipper.
Dave: [00:32:42] I got that wrong too.
Yeardley: [00:32:44] Yeah.
Dave: [00:32:44] Whatever.
Yeardley: [00:32:45] [laughs]
Dan: [00:32:46] I’m going to go with Iowa.
Yeardley: [00:32:47] It’s an I.
Dan: [00:32:49] Idaho.
Yeardley: [00:32:49] No, it’s Indiana.
Dan: [00:32:51] Damn!
Yeardley: [00:32:52] [giggles] Okay, here’s one. “Every legislator, public officer, and lawyer must take an oath stating, “I have not fought to duel with deadly weapons within this state nor out of it. Nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge nor aided or assisted any person thus offending. So, help me God.”
Dan: [00:33:20] Virginia.
Yeardley: [00:33:21] No.
Dave: [00:33:23] Pennsylvania.
Yeardley: [00:33:25] No.
Dave: [00:33:25] I’m thinking something colonial because that would have come over from Europe or from England.
Yeardley: [00:33:31] Kentucky.
Dave: [00:33:33] The Commonwealth.
Dan: [00:33:35] The Commonwealth of Kentucky, yes.
Yeardley: [00:33:37] Yes.
Dan: [00:33:37] Wish I had a glove and I could slap Dave in the face with it and say, “I challenge you to a duel.”
Dave: [00:33:42] I hope you have a great dental plan, Dan. [Yeardley giggling] that would result in you drinking your meals for the next several weeks.
Yeardley: [00:33:49] Oh. Okay. Moving on before things get heated.
Dave: [00:33:54] Pretty aggressive.
Yeardley: [00:33:56] [chuckles] This one, you’ll guess just because of what I’m going to tell you. But it’s sort of funny and silly. “When cooking traditional jambalaya, you can disregard the health code.”
Dave: [00:34:08] Definitely not Louisiana.
Yeardley: [00:34:10] Definitely not. [laughs] Yes, Louisiana.
Dan: [00:34:14] It’s Louisiana, right?
Yeardley: [00:34:16] Yeah. They’re looking at me, like, “What? That’s impossible.”
Dave: [00:34:21] I mean, if it was Maryland, we’d be talking about crabcakes.
Dan: [00:34:23] That’s right, and football.
Yeardley: [00:34:25] That’s true. Okay. “A pinball machine can’t give away more than 25 free games to a player.”
Dan: [00:34:33] New York.
Dave: [00:34:35] Pinball machine?
Yeardley: [00:34:36] Mm-hmm.
Dave: [00:34:36] Who’s known for their arcades? New Jersey Boardwalk.
Dan: [00:34:42] What about that deaf-dumb-blind kid?
Yeardley: [00:34:43] Arkansas.
Dave: [00:34:45] What?
Yeardley: [00:34:45] It’s Arkansas.
Dave: [00:34:46] Known for their pinball.
Yeardley: [00:34:48] We think this has to do with gambling. It’s not saying that it’s illegal for a pinball machine to give away that many games. Rather, it’s saying that a pinball machine will be classified as something other than an amusement device if it gives away more than 25 games.
Dave: [00:35:06] Got it.
Yeardley: [00:35:07] It just seems like a bunch of hooey.
Dan: [00:35:09] I’m a little disappointed that you guys didn’t get my– Hey, Gary or Logan or Soren, one of you guys would know this. What’s that song “that deaf, dumb, blind kid?”
Gary: [00:35:18] TheWho.
Yeardley: [00:35:19] Pinball Wizard.
Dave: [00:35:21] Sure plays a mean pinball.
Dan: [00:35:22] Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve played the silver ball.
Yeardley: [00:35:25] Ah, okay. This is terrible. Okay, this is terrible. “A person may not knowingly sell barter or offer the fur or hair of a dog or cat. This could be punishable with up to $2,500 fine, and a ban on owning a dog or a cat for 15 years after the conviction.”
?Dave: [00:35:50] I’m going back to like Oregon Trail times and fur trading and trapping.
Yeardley: [00:35:55] [laughs] No. Well, I mean it might have been in those times. But shall I tell you?
Dave: [00:36:02] Missoura.
Yeardley: [00:36:03] It’s Delaware.
Dave: [00:36:04] Ah, fuck.
Dan: [00:36:05] It’s Dave’ favorite state.
Dave: [00:36:06] I should just answer Delaware on everything because I just wanted to get one right.
Yeardley: [00:36:10] [giggles] Another subsection of this same law sets the same penalties for trying to sell barter or offer dog and cat flesh. So, it falls under the animal cruelty codes.
Dave: [00:36:25] Let’s shave Zipper, send it to Delaware, see what happens.
Yeardley: [00:36:29] She’s looking at you like, “I’m sorry, what? Don’t talk about me like that.” Oh, okay. In this state, no person afflicted with venereal disease can marry in the state.
Dan: [00:36:42] Nevada.
Yeardley: [00:36:42] Close. I don’t know why I said close. It’s an N.
Dave: [00:36:47] New York.
Yeardley: [00:36:48] Nebraska. [laughs] There’s no way you could guess these. We just imposed that extra layer of gamesmanship upon you.
Dave: [00:36:57] I just want to point out the quality work that lawmakers are doing out there–
Dan: [00:37:01] –And our state legislatures.
Dave: [00:37:03] Impactful statutes.
Dan: [00:37:05] Really got their eyes on the prize.
Yeardley: [00:37:07] Yes. Okay. “If any person shall carry away or collect for the purpose of carrying away any seaweed or rockweed from the seashore, below the high watermark, between daylight–” How do you have daylight in the evening? “Between daylight in the evening and daylight in the morning, he shall be guilty of a violation.”
Dave: [00:37:28] Kansas.
Dan: [00:37:29] Wyoming
Yeardley: [00:37:31] The shore, gentlemen. The shore.[laughter]
Dan: [00:37:33] They’re landlocked.
Dave: [00:37:34] There’s hundreds of miles of shoreline in Wyoming. Seaweed. [Yeardley laughing] There’s not a lot of seaweed on the East Coast. It’s like kelp forest on the West Coast.
Yeardley: [00:37:42] There’s a fuck ton of seaweed.
Dave: [00:37:44] Florida.
Dan: [00:37:44] On the East Coast?
Yeardley: [00:37:45] Yes.
Dave: [00:37:46] Florida.
Yeardley: [00:37:47] No.
Dave: [00:37:47] Florida Man takes seaweed unlawfully.
Yeardley: [00:37:51] He may have but that didn’t make it on their books. Go north, young man.
Dave: [00:37:57] Go north. Connecticut.
Yeardley: [00:38:03] Oh, you’re so close.
Dan: [00:38:05] Rhode Island.
Yeardley: [00:38:06] You’re close too. It’s New Hampshire.
Dan: [00:38:08] Oh.
Dave: [00:38:09] Oh.
Dan: [00:38:09] I was thinking Old Hampshire.
Dave: [00:38:10] I was starting to think Maine. But I was like, “They’re not going to have a repeat.”
Yeardley: [00:38:13] Can have a repeat. Oh, here’s one. Let’s put it this way. In a couple of states in the United States, you can’t actually pump your own gas, like self-serve. You have to use a gas station attendant. Do either of you know why that is?
Dan: [00:38:29] Wonder if there’s a union involved.
Yeardley: [00:38:31] A gas station attendant union?
Dave: [00:38:33] Petroleum transfer engineer union.
Yeardley: [00:38:36] Huh. “I’m a petroleum transfer attendant.” I like that.
Dan: [00:38:41] I know that they suspended that in my state during COVID.
Yeardley: [00:38:45] Oh, really?
Dan: [00:38:46] Yeah, for a portion of time. But now, the rural areas of my state, you can pump your own gas in certain situations. In the more populated areas, you must use a gas station attendant. I don’t know why. It certainly would make fuel transfers much more efficient–[chuckles]
Dave: [00:39:07] Timely.
Yeardley: [00:39:07] Sure.
Dave: [00:39:08] After living in all these other states where you can pump your own gas and then you go to my state, you’re like, “Argh, I just want to pump own gas. Get me out of here. Let’s go.”
Yeardley: [00:39:17] [laughs]
Dave: [00:39:18] “I can do it. I promise.”
Yeardley: [00:39:19] On the flip side of that, I would say one of the luxuries that I allow myself is for somebody else to pump my gas once in a while. There aren’t actually a ton of gas stations in LA where you can have a full-time attendant, but there are a couple. Also, it sometimes depends on what I’m wearing. Like if I’m dressed up on my way to someplace fancy, I’m happy to have somebody put the gas in the car, when we used to be able to go someplace anywhere. [chuckles]
Anyway, we got a little sidetracked there. The state you can’t pump your own gas are New Jersey and Oregon. You also can’t pump your own gas in Weymouth, Massachusetts, or Huntington, New York. So, don’t go trying that. Don’t do that. The reason why some states have full-time gas station attendants, you can’t pump your own gas is because of weather. It’s a liability issue. They don’t want you to slip on the pavement and sue their asses.
Dan: [00:40:22] But you can do it in Alaska where there’s ice on the ground for six months out of the year?
Yeardley: [00:40:27] Whatever.
Dan: [00:40:27] It’s probably illegal to buy scissors too.
Yeardley: [00:40:29] [laughs]
Dave: [00:40:30] Too much government.
Yeardley: [00:40:33] Okay. [chuckles] Here’s one. “Every person who shall voluntarily, maliciously, or have purpose put out an eye, slit the nose, ear or lip or cut off, bite off or disable any limb or member of another, shall be imprisoned, not exceeding 20 years, nor less than one year.” So, it’s a minimum of 1 year, a maximum of 20, if you’re going to chew on somebody’s person.
Dave: [00:41:04] California has a mayhem law. I’m going to say it’s California.
Yeardley: [00:41:07] Oh, you’re not right.
Dave: [00:41:09] Well.
Yeardley: [00:41:10] [laughs]
Dave: [00:41:11] In keeping with tradition in this quiz, I am not right.
Yeardley: [00:41:15] Are you guessing, Dan?
Dave: [00:41:17] Mike Tyson law of Nevada.
Yeardley: [00:41:18] It’s Rhode Island, which in fairness, the mayhem law in California may read very much like that. This one happens to be the language of Rhode Island. So, I’m going to give you half a point.
Dave: [00:41:32] Okay.
Yeardley: [00:41:33] What do we got here? Do you want to keep going?
Gary: [00:41:36] Let’s do one more.
Yeardley: [00:41:37] All right, we’ll do one more. [chuckles] Here’s a good one. “If you start playing or singing The Star-Spangled Banner, you better finish it.”
Dave: [00:41:47] Texas.
Dan: [00:41:48] Alabama.
Yeardley: [00:41:49] Those are good guesses. It’s Massachusetts.
Dan: [00:41:52] Oh.
Dave: [00:41:52] Why wouldn’t it be?
Yeardley: [00:41:53] Why wouldn’t it be. Plymouth Rock, da, da, da. “Whoever plays sings or renders The Star Spangled-Banner in any public place, theater, motion picture hall, restaurant or café, or at any public entertainment, other than as a whole and separate composition or number–” Good God. Somebody’s just like, “I’m just going to put more words in there.” “–Without embellishment or addition in the way of national or other melodies.” Now, I don’t even know what I’m reading, “–or whoever plays sitting surrenders The Star-Spangled Banner, or any part thereof as dance music, as an exit March, or as a part of a medley of any kind, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100.” [Zipper meows] Zipper is like, “What?”
Dan: [00:42:44] Does it say why though?
Yeardley: [00:42:45] It does not.
Dave: [00:42:47] I’m thinking about bad national anthems over the years.
Dan: [00:42:50] Roseanne Barr.
Dave: [00:42:50] Carl Lewis.
Dan: [00:42:51] Fergie.
Dave: [00:42:53] To me, you would want them to stop.
Yeardley: [00:42:55] To stop.
Dave: [00:42:57] They probably heard Whitney Houston and they’re like, “You better finish that one.”
Yeardley: [00:43:00] [laughs] I really did get lost in all of those parenthetical phrases. Are they saying, “You just have to finish no matter where you are, no matter what the circumstance, finish The Star-Spangled Banner if you start it., Otherwise, we’ll fine you $100.” Is that your interpretation?
Dave: [00:43:21] That’s my takeaway.
Yeardley: [00:43:22] Maybe it’s also to prevent people from sampling The Star-Spangled Banner into dance music and stuff because if you’re just sampling it, you’re obviously not going to finish the whole song. But really, probably the takeaway is that the founding fathers or whoever wrote this law figures, “The Star-Spangled Banner is sacred. It’s the anthem of the country. So, don’t go fucking cherry-picking your pieces for your own shit. Just do it right.”
Dave: [00:43:52] Don’t start something you can’t finish.
Yeardley: [00:43:54] That’s pretty much it, or we’re going to slap a fine on you. Brilliant. Wow, there you have it, Small Town Super Fam. [chuckles] Quizzes are fun.
Dave: [00:44:06] I just got a zero on my SAT.
Dan: [00:44:08] You mean again, Dave?
Yeardley: [00:44:10] Oh, boy.
Dan: [00:44:10] You get 200 points just for signing your damn name.
Dave: [00:44:13] Yeah, let’s get the boxing gloves out. There’s going to be a fight.
Yeardley: [00:44:15] [laughs] And with that, I’m going to leave it right here. Thanks for joining us. You guys are awesome. See you next time.
Dave: [00:44:23] Bye-bye.
Yeardley: [00:44:24] Bye-be.
I can’t never get enough of our Dan and Dave. I hope you feel the same. If you want more of that kind of fabulous sit-around-the-kitchen-table kind of conversation, please join us over on our Patreon patreon.com/smalltowndickspodcast. You guys are the best.[Small Town Dicks theme]
Yeardley: [00:44:52] Well, that was delicious. Here’s how it happened. Just like our main episodes. Small Town Dicks on Patreon is produced by Gary Scott and me, Yeardley Smith. and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. And Logan also composed our Patreon theme music. So, that’s fancy. Finally, our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell. The team is forever grateful for your support.