By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
If you respond to a good suspicious package call, you have to cordon off a 300-foot perimeter. That’s large in a dense area like Hollywood. We closed major streets, denied employees access to their work locations and more importantly they couldn’t get to Starbucks! We basically pissed off the citizens who will vote for my next pay rise.
Building evacuations might be required but we usually leave that to the manager or boss of the targeted location. Most businesses don’t want to shut down, so they tell their employee’s to remain at work. To some money was more important than their employees’ safety.
Schools were different, the principal would send the kids out of the buildings in a flat minute. I once received a bomb threat at a private high school. Before I arrived the principal had sent most of the students’ home. It was a test day; did the caller sounded like a student? Of course there wasn’t a bomb! The next week when a bomb threat was called in the principal kept everyone in their classroom.
Here’s one for the books. I respond to a suspicious package at a residence. The lady tells me she was delivered a package at her house by the U.S. Post Office. The name on the package was not hers and she didn’t recognize the sender. She took the package to the local post office and explained that the package was suspicious. The post office clerk told her to take it home and call the police, “It might be a bomb!” The lady put the possible bomb in the trunk of her car and drove back home and called the police.
No bomb and the bomb technician said he would have a serious talk with the local post office.
This still makes me mad. Reserve police officers are volunteer cops who go through training and work one day a month as a cop. Now I worked with a lot of reserves and loved them. They took the same risks as me, all for the pay of one uniform cleaning a month. We got a call of a suspicious package at a large apartment building. We were searching the area behind the building when the reserve officer spots a suitcase. He immediately drops down to one knee and opens the suitcase. Thank goodness it was empty or my kids would be writing this Ramblings.
After, we had a long discussion in a vacant Hollywood parking lot.
Next week: 9/11/2001