El Paso is mourning the loss of its police chief Greg Allen who passed suddenly at the age of 71.

Chief Allen led the police department since 2008. His years as chief included some of the worst of the cartel violence in Juarez. Despite the proximity to Juarez, it was during those years that El Paso was consistently ranked among the Safest Large Cities in America even coming in number one on that list multiple times.

Shortly after becoming police chief, Greg Allen helped the Buzz Adams Morning Show pull off one of the greatest April Fools pranks ever. Here’s how it happened.

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It was 2010 and a citywide ban on talking on cell phones was set to go into effect…on April 1!

Marjan Blan via Unsplash
Marjan Blan via Unsplash

Now, the official plan was that the rule would go into effect on that date. But, police wouldn’t start issuing tickets until May of that year.

Our prank that year was that we were telling our listeners that police were going to be carrying ball peen hammers with them and that they would smash violators’ cell-phones right there on the spot. We called the Chief’s office and told them what we had cooked up. I halfway expected Chief Allen to ask us NOT to do it. To my surprise…he actually decided to go with it and help us with the prank.

I often wondered why Chief Allen decided to play along with our silliness. But, he did, and it turned an “OK” prank into a viral sensation. The story, including the video of Chief Allen, got picked up by the Associated Press. After that it got picked up around the country and even in places as far away as Ireland and Kuala Lumpur.

The loss of Chief Greg Allen comes as even more of a shock because he wasn’t in poor health so far as anyone knew. Also, as anyone who knew the Chief could tell you, he was one of the most physically fit people you could find at any age.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Chief’s family and all the LEO’s that loved and respected him. He was a great El Pasoan and will be sorely missed.

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