Some people throw parties. Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood throws news conferences.
While most news conferences are sterile and uneventful, full of boring officials saying politically correct things, Chitwood’s news conferences are anything but.
He curses. He calls suspects names like “scum” and “bum” and “scumbum.” He even had himself Tasered at a news conference once.
Sure, Chitwood has his detractors, those who say he is hungry for the spotlight. Behind his back, they give him nicknames like “Media Mike" and the “TMZ Police." But he never minded.
Chitwood, who started as a cop in Philly in the 1960s, was old school and wasn’t afraid of saying anything.
Now he’s retiring, so in the spirit of Chitwood, we offer you his best on-the-record quotes (with links to the related stories) since he took charge of the Upper Darby Police Department in 2005.
On a woman using her granddaughter as an unwitting accomplice in a theft: “Not only is this lady ‘Grandmom,’ stealing from Sears, she’s stealing this child’s innocence. This goes way beyond Take Your Child to Work Day. "
On getting Tasered before a throng of reporters: “There’s ladies around or I’d tell you where my anatomy is right now."
On arresting an alleged pharmacy thief: “Score one for the Upper Darby police vs. stupidity."
On finding fugitives naked during an early-morning raid: “I don’t think some people even own pajamas."
On arresting a suspect wielding a samurai sword: “We dubbed George Rogers the ‘Last Samurai’ because he’s not going to be swinging any more knives or swords trying to kill cops anymore.”
On a prisoner who, let’s say, kept himself busy while in the department’s holding cell: “We only fingerprinted his left hand."
On getting sued for libel: “He’s not suing a virgin."
On a pizzeria owner who hid mice in his competitor’s ceiling: “It’s the great pizza wars of mice and men."
On a shooting outside a nuisance bar: “Any of these bars, I don’t care what community you are in, if they are a toilet, eventually they overflow.“
On putting a Christmas tree in the police station lobby: “I’m waiting to get sued. I want them to sue me.”
On getting a tattoo as a teen: "I heard [my dad] say to my mother, ‘That son of a bitch!’ When she asked him what it was, he said, ‘Some kind of weird man thing or something.’ I heard my mother say, ‘Oh, my God! I hope it doesn’t say 'Mom!’”
On a home in turmoil: “You could sit out front of the house, sell birch beers and popcorn, and watch the horror show."
On an interesting hiding place for drugs: “The woman says, ‘I have crack up in my vagina,’ and she pushed out 36 vials of crack cocaine that were in a bag.... Thank God the lady didn’t have a snake or a crocodile, or we’d really have been in trouble.”
On 25 bicycle cops who stumbled upon an unusual scene: “These officers go on a tour of Upper Darby to see the sites and neighborhood, and instead get taken to Sex Incorporated."
On parenting: “You can’t leave your children alone. Whether it’s buying vodka or going to your recording studio, it’s unacceptable for any reason.”
On being the subject of a book: “I told him it’s not going to be a tell-all. I told him if it was a tell-all I’d have to move to a third-world country and I ain’t doing that."
On arresting an alleged murderer: “Not in my town, Pookie.”
On a preposterous potato caper: “He says to himself, ‘Self, I’m going to clog up the toilet with potatoes and have that overflow and I’ll call maintenance again.'"
On a wanted man who got his hand stuck in a gas tank: “It’s dumb all the way around on his part. Stupid is as stupid does. "
On an alleged drunk driver who parked at the police station: “Normally people avoid the police station, but this guy was seeking it out. I’m surprised he found it, as drunk as he was."