By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
Here’s when things really changed. Around 1974/75, women were introduced to patrol. Now, I like women. My wife and daughter are women. Some of my favorite partners were women and I worked with a few women as captains and lieutenants. All great cops and people. My only complaint was that they showed their mother instincts when it came to code 7. They didn’t think that a juice dripping hamburger was all that healthy. Pink’s at 1 A.M. was out of the question and a Tommy burger was ok—but only once in a while.
What’s happening to my LAPD?
One more thing about eating with women. They usually took a doggie bag from the restaurant. Then we spent an hour driving around Hollywood looking for stray dogs or cats to give the food to. Once my partner spotted a kitten with a potato chip bag stuck on its head. There were two of LAPD’s finest chasing a kitten around the street trying to get the bag off of its head. Thank goodness this was before everyone had video cameras.
Now, when working Morning Watch (11:00 P.M. to 7 A.M.), your choices were pretty slim for fine dining on the hood of your police car. At that hour most of your food choices catered to the bar crowds. That’s when I started brown bagging. Once I brought in a big pot of my wife’s homemade chili. I shared it with my partner who said she enjoyed it but didn’t ask for seconds. The next night she made Matzo Ball soup. I declined seconds. We also ate in the police station break room, not fine dining! Before I knew it I was eating salads at Sizzler and potato skins were a no no! I was also taught to dip my fork in the salad dressing instead of pouring the dressing on my salad. Less calories. The change was probably for the better but every once in a while I feel the strong urge to eat something bad for me on the hood of my car.
The following stories all happened to me on code 7.
My first story didn’t have an interruption but had a real impact on my career! It was August 21, 1975, and I was dining at the Copper Penny at Sunset and Hudson. As preferred, I was sitting in a booth seat with a window view of my parked police car. Keep in mind this is when we only had radios in the car and if something big happened you didn’t know until you got back into the car.
After dining I get in my lowest bid official police cruiser and start the engine. The radio is abuzz with chatter. I detect an urgency in the dispatcher’s voice as she is directing units to block intersections.
The SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army-a domestic terrorist group) placed a pipe bomb under the police car of John Hall and James Bryan at the IHOP at Sunset and Orange, only six blocks from where I was eating.
See—another reason why I hated IHOP. I suppose it could have been under my car except I was seated where I could watch it. The bomb failed to detonate due to a stroke of luck. Both officers would have been killed instantly as well as quite a few diners.
For the next thirty years, I got down on one knee and looked under my police car for bombs. True story.
Next typical code 7 interruptions.