By Hal Collier, LAPD Retired
We are happy that 35-year veteran Hal Collier is sharing his ‘stories behind the badge’ with us.
The following stories are true and instead of a long rambling story they are short remembrances.
To some, Hollywood is the glamour capital of the world. Movie stars, fancy restaurants, expensive houses and night clubs. To cops who spent too much time in Hollywood, know it for what it is, a town of broken dreams, runaway kids and violence. To keep your sanity, cops had to find humor in little incidents.
First, you can’t live in a big city without seeing some strange sights. I’m sure farmers see strange things too but I don’t think you want to hear about animals having sex in the back seat of a rusted out Chevy. Photos available if you have a note from your therapist.
I’m still amused when I recall this story.
I worked all night and then went to court. I spent all day in court, so I’ve been up for about twenty-three hours. I’m dead tired and the freeways are jam-packed with rush hour traffic. It’s November and cold. I drive up Temple and I’ll take Glendale Boulevard to the 2 freeway and head home to Eagle Rock.
So did everyone else.
I’m sitting in bumper to bumper traffic as I’m passing Echo Park Lake. Echo Park Lake is a city lake, filled with used diapers, tossed hand guns, and any other trash that our lower IQ population throws in. Oh, I forgot to mention, there’s something resembling water in the lake. I wouldn’t put my hand in that water on a double-dog dare.
As I’m sitting there I look over at the lake and see a man swimming out toward the middle of the lake. Yew, I can’t imagine what would make a man swim in that filth and then I see it. One of those $200.00 remote controlled boats. It’s dead in the water in the middle of the lake. He obviously didn’t use the Energizer batteries. I wished I hadn’t had the sixth cup of coffee at court, I almost peed in my only court suit.
This is a very old story (early 70’s) but still makes me smile. One night, my partner and I stop this car for a traffic violation. The driver jumps out and tells us how important he is—he’s a defense lawyer and doesn’t like cops. He’s already late for a court appointment and we shouldn’t waste the tax-payers’ money detaining him any longer.
He has already committed three ‘contempt of cop’ violations. I write him a ticket which he says will cost me my badge. My partner checks him for warrants and the gods shined down on us that day.
That’s right. This fine upstanding member of the legal community has an unpaid $10.00 parking ticket. In 1971, a warrant required immediate arrest. We took this very important lawyer’s ass to Hollywood Station where he was booked. He immediately paid the $10.00 and was free to go. Only an hour delay in his important life. He had the nerve to ask us for a ride back to his car. Ha Ha. We only give rides one way. By the way, I kept my badge.
One more story. An off duty LAPD officer was brought into the station for an alleged act of misconduct involving illegal drugs. The officer was placed in the captain’s office, unattended, until his lawyer could arrive to represent him. After the officer was removed, a sergeant, asked: what if that officer hid some drugs in the captain’s office?
A K-9 dope-sniffing dog was requested. The dog started his search of the office. I was present as the dog made a quick trip around the space. Suddenly the dog did what most policemen would have paid a month’s salary to do. That’s right, the dog squatted and crapped right on the captain’s carpet. It wasn’t the solid kind either. It looked like the dog had a Pink’s Chili Dog on the way to the station. The dog left a trail of squirts from the captain’s office all the way out the back door.
Next week: August 16th, 2015 will feature “The Character who is somewhere between the street people who inhabited Hollywood and the cops who gave color to the station–Howie Lesser.”