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 story is true. The story is not humorous but once in a while we did real police work. And you thought everything I wrote about was a waste of tax payers’ money. The character is real and again another red headed cop. Darryl Dyment
Here I am again on morning watch and responding to an alarm. This alarm was different than most alarms in the middle of the night. It was a robbery alarm at the Gap Store on Hollywood Boulevard. Robbery alarms go off all the time but not usually when the business has been closed for six hours.
It’s a slow night and half the division responds. We surround the business which sits on a block of two story buildings. The doors are checked and there are no signs of a break in. As with most cops, we’re standing around and bad mouthing the new sergeant who can’t find Hollywood Boulevard in the daylight.
My probationer comes up to me and asks what the difference between a burglar alarm and a robbery alarm? I’m a little annoyed because I have a really good story about this new sergeant. I tell him that burglary alarms are activated by a perimeter break in the alarm system. I then tell him that a robbery alarm is usually set off by a button pushed by an employee during a robbery or when the bait money is taken from the cash register. For my non-police friends, bait money is taken from a slot in the cash register that triggers a robbery alarm when removed. Banks use bait money.
My probationer then asks me, why we did we get a robbery alarm when the business has been closed for hours? Oh shit, this kid has some smarts. I’ll probably be working for him some day, I’d better stop calling him a dumb ass.
We go back to the glass front door and look inside. It’s dark inside except for the red light over one of the dressing rooms. Ok, I don’t like shopping for clothes and usually let my wife buy everything I wear. This probationer apparently buys his own clothes and tells me that the red light over the dressing room alerts the staff that someone is in the dressing room. The dressing rooms have a sensor on the floor. I guess it’s some kind of an anti-theft device.
We stand there and watch for a minute. I’m missing my chance to tell a really good story about this sergeant. Guess what? A guy peeks out of the dressing room door. I’m pretty sure he’s not an employee who stayed after work to try on the women’s lingerie, but then it’s Hollywood.
We break up the coffee clutch and surround the building again. After a search, we discover that two guys tunneled into the Gap from an adjacent stairwell, took the cash (bait money) from the register and then hid. I had to buy breakfast for my probationer. I think he remembered when he was my boss.
Hollywood Character: Darryl Dyment
Hi, I’m Larry and this is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl! I’m pretty sure this character was one of those Darryls. I’m not sure how my Darryl spelled his name but I’m sure people who knew him will know who I’m talking about–he was colorful to say the least. Darryl was a sergeant in the Los Angeles Police Department and saved a lot of cops butts.
Darryl was one of the sergeants who took care of his officers but in a unique way. Darryl’s ways were not always by the book, but by God he got the results the department wanted and cops loved him.
I was a patrol cop when Darryl breezed through Hollywood but I got to know him when we jogged together after work. We would go on a 3 1/2 mile run which seemed like a marathon because Darryl had you laughing most of the way. Darryl carried a small revolver and tear gas. It was all I could do just to keep up. Darryl would use the tear gas to spray loose dogs who chased us and the gun to chase away the bigger predators.
Once Darryl wanted to change our running course. We jogged down Hollywood Boulevard. What a mistake. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is washed every night, even in drought years. When wet, it’s as slippery as a female mud wrestler. Use your own imagination.
Darryl was never one to shy away from a good practical joke and cost was not a problem. Darryl apparently had some front teeth knocked out as a youth. He had caps that he could remove. Darryl had his dentist make him up a few extra sets of caps for special occasions. One set had long hairs protruding from the gap in his front teeth. It was impossible to talk to Darryl and not look at those disgusting teeth. Darryl would engage you a long conversation until you broke down and looked away.
Darryl also had a set of teeth that he would put in around Halloween. One of his caps was broken and it came to a point, kind of jagged. He would put this set in and then talk to a citizen or command staff officer. The tooth had a small pouch attached and when Darryl would squeeze the pouch with his tongue a puss like liquid would come out of the jagged tooth. I only saw this happen once but I still have the scar.
That was Darryl, he was a captain’s nightmare but a real good cop and another Hollywood Character.