'Reno 911' cops come to S.F. to clear their names 

The officers of Reno's emergency-response division can be forgiven if they seem a bit out of sorts.

Still reeling from their well-documented trip to south Florida, where a leisurely retreat turned into a grueling test of competence - and yes, they failed it - Lt. Jim Dangle, Dep. Trudy Wiegel and Dep. Travis Junior are weary of the spotlight. (Actors Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney and Robert Ben Garant, who play them, respectively, on the long-running Comedy Central series "Reno 911!" could not be reached for comment.

Having seen their latest misadventures on the big screen in "Reno 911! Miami" (a top 10 box office hit), the three are tired of being cast as the laughingstocks of law enforcement. They recently visited San Francisco not to protect and serve, but to strike back against the movie they claim has sullied their reputations.


(Courtesy photo) Reno 911 cops display their undercover cool in totally chic and inconspicuous Miami street outfits.

"If the shoe were on the other foot, and you pointed cameras at any normal citizen for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and then projected it 90 feet wide, there would be uncomfortable moments," Dangle says, slumped lazily on an overstuffed couch at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, clad in his signature hot-pants. "Those things happen, but we're not always trying to pork each other in some horrible bathroom."

"You could choose to paint whatever picture you want of that citizen," Junior adds helpfully. "You could make him into a hero or make him into a disgrace, and it's very clear that the Hollywood liberal-agenda folks who made this movie, [producer] Danny DeVito and the rest of them, wanted to make us look like a short bus full of incompetents."

To the principal members of Reno's fictional men and women in blue, the most important footage from the "Miami" shoot ended up on the editing-room floor.

"You won't see the remaining acts of heroism that we do on a regular basis," Dangle explains. "Like parking and restaurant-code enforcement. We make sure those workers are washing their hands. It's not always glamorous. Sometimes we help with the removal of a dead animal's carcass. Why doesn't someone make a movie about that?"

Despite his avowed dedication to the Reno unit over which he presides, Dangle freely admits that he recently attempted a transfer to Aspen. Needless to say, the dalliance was short-lived.

"I've always considered myself slightly more cosmopolitan than most of my colleagues," he says, "mainly because I drink a lot of cosmopolitans. I have a certain joie de vivre, and I thought my style would be better suited to a more metropolitan police unit, but the folks in Aspen thought I was subconsciously giving off a really, really strong homosexual vibe."

Now, Dangle, who stumbled into law enforcement after losing his real-estate license, is content to be returning to Reno (an "ugly, ugly town," he says), though he's hardly bursting with professional pride.

"If you've got marketable skills, then you should do anything but police work," he says. "If you have spicy A-cups or 10-plus inches, that's a talent that is economically viable. The futureof America's youth is in Internet pornography, but we ended up here because we have no discernible skills, qualifications, anything like that." Travis was turned down by Arby's, and Trudy has a 50 IQ, which is retarded, but not functionally so.

"Still," Dangle says, "We stay the course. We're giving 110 percent, around 15 percent of the time — which, if you think about it, adds up to 17 percent, so we're doing our best 17 percent of the time. And that's about normal."

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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