By Hal Collier
The following is not really a practical joke, it’s just funny as hell. I worked a Morning Watch Foot beat on Hollywood Boulevard in the late 70’s. As I’ve said before, it was probably the best job I ever had. For my police friends, yes, there was plenty of work to do on morning watch. Remember, Hollywood never closes and after midnight most of the crime involved drugs, prostitution and street crimes. I actually walked my foot beat until 5 A.M.
It’s about 2 A.M. and I’m talking with my sergeant, a former Metro cop, and a good guy. I’m about a half of block from the famed Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard. We’re discussing our new lieutenant who would need a street guide to find Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Ave. We see two obviously intoxicated fellows walking toward us. They need the entire width of the sidewalk to keep from falling into the street. As they near, we notice that one of the chaps has a Metro door panel under his arm. For my non-police friends, a Metro door panel is a magnetic panel, 4 ft by 3 ft that Metro officers attach to the doors of their plain cars. It has a city seal and the cars shop number.
Ok, my investigative senses kick in and I stop the pair. I’m thinking they stole it off a parked Metro police car. I ask where did they get the door panel. The least drunk of the two slurs, “Hello chaps, we traded for it”. I detected a strong accent and an even stronger odor of numerous alcoholic beverages. I asked where they were from and they said they were Bobbies (cops) from England, in America on holiday. I asked again where they got the door panel. The spokesman said they met a couple of our comrades who invited them to their training site for a few pints. That would be the Police Academy Lounge. They traded a real Bobbie helmet for the door panel. I looked at my Sergeant and he just shrugged his shoulders. Thank goodness, they were not driving.
Somewhere there is a retired Metro officer with a Bobbie helmet in his den and a retired Bobbie with a Metro door panel on his icebox.