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HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Denzel Washington attends the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Denzel Washington is known for portraying police officers in his films, so why not ask a real-life police office for advice on how to bring the character to life?

As it turns out, the actor did just that years ago, going to Detroit Police Chief James Craig for help.

Washington’s ride-along in the 1990s with Craig back when he worked in Los Angeles helped shape his portrayal of cops in all of his police roles, Fox 2 reports.

“Denzel called me, and I didn’t know it was him,” Craig told Fox 2. “He said ‘Hey man.’ I said hey man? and (he said) ‘Denzel, Denzel Washington.’ And it was kind of a shock to me.”

Craig was reportedly a bit blown away when Washington gave him a ring so many years later. “The most amazing part is the fact that he remembered that encounter, and it framed an impression of what we do – that one encounter,” Craig said.

As the story goes, Washington wanted to follow a Los Angeles cop to prepare for his 1991 film, “Ricochet.” A mutual church friend hooked him up with Craig.

That ride-along lasted for a lengthy eight hours. Washington says what really stood out to him was how Craig responded to a call of a mentally ill man with a gun.

“(He said) ‘How you de-escalated the situation to me, that’s what defines who you are and what the vast men and women who serve in police and military,’ and so that meant a lot to me,” Craig said.

Read the full interview with Craig via Fox 2.

Anne Erickson's love for music drew her into radio, and she started shortly after graduating from MSU. She has a passion for rock and metal, plus local music. She also fronts the band Upon Wings. Email Anne at [email protected] and tweet at her @AnneErickson!