Bringing Home the Bacon

Officer Rick Keel’s brush with death on the job

Spotted pig with black spots standing in a farm field

I’m often asked as a law enforcement officer, what was the worst call I have ever handled. I thought I’d take a few moments and tell you about my personal worst.

This happened when I was fairly new on patrol in our area and was out looking to save the world one speeder at a time. Things were slow and I was essentially driving in circles when I heard dispatch send another officer on an animal problem. Apparently there was a pig in a resident’s yard that would not let her enter her house. Naturally, I couldn’t resist checking this out. I was close to the area and knew I’d be there before the other officer. I also thought I’d be nice and handle the call for him.

As I approached the area, I had no idea what I was looking for — Wilbur guarding a door, perhaps Piglet from Winnie the Pooh lounging in the entryway, refusing to move — but nothing had prepared me for what I happened upon.

As I rolled up, I saw a very distraught young lady that appeared to be running for her life, and about three inches behind her was the biggest, most athletic, most ferocious-looking swine I had ever beheld.

I exited my vehicle and the lady ran toward my truck, pig close behind. As they rounded my vehicle, I told her to get in and close the door. Meanwhile, I nudged the pig to take its attention away from the young lady — not realizing just how badly I had just called its wrath upon me. The next thing I knew, I had three hundred pounds of black and white uncured bacon rounding on me.

Now, I had been through the academy and countless hours of scenario training, and I believed that I possessed the courage to stand to any challenge. However, “assault by pig” was never covered in any of those scenarios. I had about half a second to decide and execute a course of action.

I ran for it.

I’ve been chased by people, dogs, bulls and once even a moose (though that’s a story for another time), but nothing had prepared me for this. I had no idea how nimble a pig could be if properly motivated. I began running circles around my vehicle and through the yard, trying to get some distance between us  to no avail. A few minutes into this and I began to tire, but my assailant was showing no signs of slowing. Questions began to run through my head: Am I going to have to put the animal down? Is “consumed by pig” covered by my life insurance policy? Why hadn’t I done more cardio?

Every time I attempted to slow down enough to open the door to my vehicle, I felt the hot breath of this beast on my backside and was forced to make another lap. Finally, I managed to put enough space between us to make it into my vehicle, just missing the hog’s snout with the door as I slammed it shut.

As I tried to process what had just happened and took stock of all of my appendages, I realized that I still had the young lady sitting in the passenger seat. I looked over and saw her out-of-breath, wide-eyed gaze and realized that I must look about the same. She asked me, “Now what do we do?” I replied with the only logical answer I could think of. “I’m calling for backup.”

No pigs or people were harmed in this fiasco, and the pig was returned to its owners, who it was very friendly with. Now, every time I hear an officer say they’ve “seen it all,” I wonder if they too have narrowly avoided being turned into roadside pig chow.