WTF Fun Fact 13670 – Female Kangaroo Fights with Officer

In a bizarre turn of events, a female kangaroo recently found herself the protagonist of an unexpected adventure in Ontario, Canada.

Born in captivity and accustomed to a life far from the Australian outback, this marsupial made a daring escape during transportation to a new home. She set off a series of events that would leave the local community and police force both baffled and amused.

Kangaroo on the Run

One Thursday evening at the Oshawa Zoo and Fun Farm, during a routine rest stop, the kangaroo seized an opportunity. She hopped over her handlers, darting into the wild unknown of Oshawa, a town located about 37 miles east of Toronto.

The news of a kangaroo on the loose quickly spread, capturing the attention of residents and media alike. Videos of the marsupial sprinting along roads surfaced on social media, painting an almost surreal picture against the Canadian backdrop.

Female Kangaroo vs Police Officer

The search for the runaway kangaroo continued into the early hours of Monday. Finally, the officers on patrol spotted her on a rural property. With guidance from the kangaroo’s handlers, the police attempted a capture by grabbing her tail, a technique advised for handling such animals. However, the kangaroo was not ready to surrender her newfound freedom without a fight.

In a surprising act of defiance, she punched one of the officers in the face, adding an unexpected twist to the already unusual situation. Staff Sergeant Chris Boileau remarked that this incident would undoubtedly become a long-remembered story among the force.

Safe Return

Despite the scuffle, the kangaroo was safely captured and received medical treatment to address any potential stress or injuries. The Oshawa Zoo decided to provide her with a few days of rest, ensuring she was in good condition before arriving at the zoo in Quebec.

Kangaroos are naturally curious and energetic animals, traits that might have contributed to this particular individual’s decision to explore beyond her familiar surroundings. In their native habitat of Australia, kangaroos are known for their powerful hind legs. These allow them to leap great distances and reach impressive speeds.

These adaptations, while beneficial in the wild, can lead to unpredictable behavior when the animals are kept in captivity.

In the end, the kangaroo’s brief taste of freedom will go down as a peculiar tale in Canadian history. For the police officers involved, it was an encounter they are unlikely to forget!

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Source: “Escaped kangaroo captured after punching Canadian officer” — Reuters

WTF Fun Fact 13518 – History of the Mug Shot

The mug shot has always been relatively controversial. But do you know it’s interesting history? It all goes back to the history of photography itself, and it all starts in Belgium.

The History of the Mug Shot

The 1840s were a revolutionary period for the art of photography. While William Henry Harrison became the first US president to be captured in a photograph after his inauguration speech, it has been lost to time. Another iconic daguerreotype featuring John Quincy Adams, exists as the oldest known presidential photograph.

But enough about presidents. The point is that while photography was primarily aimed at capturing the nobility and prestige of the subjects, it would soon find an unlikely application in law enforcement.

The concept of the mugshot emerged in Belgium during the 1840s. The primary goal was simple: photograph prisoners to facilitate their identification if they ever re-offended post-release.

Recognizing the potential of this innovation, police forces globally began to toy with the idea of incorporating photography into their operations. Thus, the U.S. saw the birth of the rogues’ galleries, which showcased collections of criminals’ photographs and, at times, even made them public, urging citizens to remain vigilant.

Alphonse Bertillon and the Art of the Mug Shot

It wasn’t until the 1880s that mugshots became relatively standardized. Alphonse Bertillon, the chief of criminal identification for the Paris police, played a pivotal role in achieving this.

Bertillion introduced the concept of pairing two photographs: one frontal and one profile. Alongside these photos, physical descriptions and specific measurements, like ear or foot size, were documented. This compilation was termed a “portrait parlé”—a speaking image.

Bertillon’s vision was clear: even if criminals adopted disguises or aliases, their unique physical characteristics would betray them.

As a testament to his dedication, the New York City Police Department, in 1908, provided guidelines on correctly executing Bertillon’s method. This documentation even described how to handle uncooperative subjects during the mugshot process.

However, despite Bertillon’s contribution, his descriptive methods were soon overshadowed by the more efficient process of fingerprinting.

Yet, the mugshot itself was here to stay. It became an integral part of identification processes everywhere.

Mug Shots in Contemporary Culture

Today, mugshots serve multiple purposes for the alleged criminal themselves. In fact, for celebrities, these images can sometimes even enhance their mystique, further ingraining them in pop culture. Johnny Cash, for instance, turned one of his brief incarcerations into a song, and today, his mugshot-themed merchandise sells as a testament to his “rebel” image.

While some celebrity mugshots serve as tabloid fodder, others, in specific contexts, represent symbols of resistance. Notable figures from the civil rights movement, like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., had their mugshots taken during their arrests. For them, these images were badges of honor, symbolizing their unyielding fight against systemic injustice.

Since its inception in 1840s Belgium, what started as a mere tool for identification now serves as both a mark of shame and a badge of honor. For some.

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Source: “A Brief History of the Mug Shot” — Smithsonian Magazine

WTF Fun Fact 13413 – Drug Sniffing Squirrels

Here’s a headline that’ll make your eyebrows do a double-take: drug-sniffing squirrels in China are redefining the scope of law enforcement.

A fuzzy new force for good

These petite yet potent, law enforcement allies are as cute as they are formidable. Unlike the typical police dogs, we’re used to seeing sniff out illegal substances, these squirrels are a new addition to China’s crime-fighting team, bringing the notion of ‘community policing’ to a whole new level – or should we say, tree branch!

For those skeptical at the concept of a squirrel cracking down on crime, allow me to expound. Through a training regime crafted with surgical precision, China’s authorities have managed to harness the squirrels’ extraordinary sense of smell. Their olfactory prowess rivals that of dogs and, with their small size and agility, they can access locations that might prove challenging for their canine counterparts.

How do you train drug-sniffing squirrels?

What about the training, you ask? Well, it’s not your ordinary game of fetch. These tiny recruits undergo an intense program that would have even Rocky Balboa trembling. It starts off with simple scent recognition exercises, progressing to more complex tasks such as distinguishing between different drugs. Talk about high stakes hide-and-seek!

But there’s more to this bushy-tailed bunch than meets the eye. Unlike dogs, squirrels are inherently more cautious, making them perfect for covert operations. Their nimble bodies can slip into tight spots, making them invaluable in search-and-seize missions. The very inconspicuousness of squirrels allows them to operate under the radar, so drug traffickers are none the wiser.

Now, don’t get too carried away picturing these squirrels donning tiny police vests and racing off to chase down criminals. The reality, while just as intriguing, is a bit more down to earth. Primarily, these squirrels assist in identifying and locating substances hidden in inaccessible places. Nonetheless, their role is crucial to China’s ongoing war against drug trafficking.

Squirrely success

Moving on to the stats, China’s squirrel squadron started with six members in 2017, handpicked from infancy for their prospective roles in the force. After a year of intense training, these six squirrel soldiers successfully completed their mission in locating hidden substances. Their hard-earned success has sparked a potential revolution in law enforcement practices.

However, this strategy isn’t without its critics. There are questions regarding the ethics of using wildlife for law enforcement purposes. Yet, it’s hard to deny the tangible results these squirrels are producing. So, the debate continues. For now, though, these bushy-tailed heroes are keeping the streets safer, one nut at a time.

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Source: “A squad of drug-sniffing squirrels is training to join China’s police” — Washington Post

WTF Fun Fact 12999 – Nikka The Police Dog

The Vaughn, New Mexico Police Department has quite a recent history – and we just hope 2012 was the low point. That’s when the police chief and only officer were barred from carrying guns due to their criminal past. As a result, the only certified member of the force was Nikka the police dog.

Vaughn, NM goes to the dogs

In September 2012, the attorney for the town of Vaughn announced the resignation of Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo.

News stories revealed that Armijo had been carrying a fake gun for months because he was not allowed to carry a real one. First, he was convicted of a felony back in Texas for owing tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent child support payments. But perhaps more concerning is that a few months prior he was also accused of illegally selling someone a police rifle and then keeping the cash for himself.

The town did not release the official reason for Armijo’s departure. But we have some good guesses about why the job didn’t work out for him.

There was another officer in Vaughn’s police force at the time. But he had just pled building to domestic violence charges that prevented him from having a gun. At the very least, CBS News (cited below) implied that if he was still part of the force, he was not a certified officer, and that would not only prevent him from carrying a gun but from making arrests as well.

According to records, that left only one certified member of the police force in good standing. Their drug-sniffing dog, Nikka.

Nikka the police dog gets a promotion

According to CBS News at the time: “Officials in the town of 450 people, about 100 miles east of Albuquerque, are considering whether to hire another police chief or keep the department staffed with just one officer...” It was unclear if the town would be able to keep the police dog since it was in Armijo’s care.

Residents said they were largely unconcerned because Vaughn had always been a quiet town with little crime.

It’s unclear how it all played out for the town or Nikka the police dog. Today the town is listed as having just one full-time sworn officer – and we’re going to assume it’s a human.  WTF fun facts

* Thanks to the reader who sent in this gem!

Source: “Nikka the police dog is only cop in N.M. town after chief resigns” — CBS News

WTF Fun Fact 12445 – The Sprinkle Police

In what can only be described as an absurd abuse of the country’s emergency police services number, a woman called 999 (the English version of 911) to report her ice cream man.

He didn’t steal anything from her or harm her in any way. She was just really upset that he hadn’t given her enough sprinkles. Yes, she was a grown woman at the time.

The police declined to give her name but did release the audio from the absurd 999 call.

During her full minute of complaining, she told the operator: “It doesn’t seem like much of an emergency, but it is a little bit.” In fact, it is not.

In light of the call, police warned citizens of the dangers of abusing the emergency system.

There’s no word on whether the woman got justice following the grave insult of getting a mere sprinkle of sprinkles. – WTF fun facts

You can listen to the call here:

Source: “Woman Calls Police Because There Aren’t Enough Sprinkles on Her Ice Cream” — Time Magazine