Roll Call

Roll Call: Rampart and the Baby Powder Caper

68 Plymouth Belvedere labeledBy Mikey, Retired LAPD

March 25, 2018



In the summer of 1973, as a rookie copper in Rampart Division, I was learning the ways of the LAPD. Every day was exciting for me. I was assigned morning watch, so I got to work at 2230 for a 2400 roll call.


One night, I was in the locker room talking with another copper when four sergeants swarmed into the room and began taking names and serial numbers. One of the senior officers asked what the deal was, and he was told that he would find out later.  At the conclusion of roll call our lieutenant told those of us who had had their names and serial numbers documented to report to the Area Commanding Officer’s (CO) office. 


In the hallway were five officers standing outside of the CO’s office. Just as I got in line, an officer exited the office, looked at us and said, “that was B**l S**t!” and stomped off. All the guys before me said pretty much the same as they exited.


Then it was my turn. A sergeant and lieutenant (LT) were in the room. The sergeant stood by the light switch and the LT was behind a desk. On the desk was a lunch box, the kind that is rectangle at the bottom and half oval on the top.  

The LT instructed me to approach the desk and put my hands out in front of me. He then told the sergeant to turn out the room lights. I heard the lunch box lid open and suddenly an ultraviolet light came up, illuminating my hands. Barely visible were some very little shiny “flakes.”  The LT called the sergeant over to the desk and told him to look at my hands.


 “What is that?” the L.T. asked.


 My response, “I don’t know, sir.” 


 “Well, it’s on your hands!”  


The sergeant turned the lights back on and I found them both eyeing me suspiciously. 


“What’s up” I asked.


Silence. Then, “you can go. What car are you working?” 


I replied, “2 Adam 3.”


Something told me I’d be talking to the LT again, very soon. My training officer asked me why I had been in the CO’s office, but I did not have an answer for him. 


Sure enough, 15 minutes later, “2 Adam 3, see the watch commander.” 


Back at the station, I reported to the watch commander and he told me to go back to the CO’s office and report to the LT. In the LT’s office, I was again asked me again what the flakes on my hands were. This time I had an answer for him.


In a somewhat weak voice I said. “Baby powder, sir.” 


“Baby powder?” 


 Johnsons_Baby_Powder_1,5_OZS_talc,_pic1I told him that in the summer I used it because I sweat quite a bit. 


The LT looked at the sergeant with that “ah, ha” look and said to me, “well then, it should be all over your person.” With that he told me to take off my uniform shirt. So, I removed my Sam Brown put it on the desk, pulled my shirt out and unbuttoned it. The LT told me to pull my T-shirt up and he instructed the sergeant to kill the lights. The UV light came back on and wouldn’t you know it, there were flakes all over the place.


Not satisfied with that, the LT had me take my belt off, and pull my pants down. Oh yeah; this is 1973 LAPD, no union rep, nothing. Just as he is working his way down to my knees, the door came open, I heard a hand being slapped and the light came on. From where my watch commander was standing behind me, how do you think it looked? The LT was practically kneeling down in front of me and my pants down to my knees? 


 “Young lieutenant, that’s disgusting!” My watch commander shouted. Then to me, “Diaz, get yourself put back together and get out on patrol!”  God, I felt so, I don’t know, used?


So, here is why this happened. There had been locker break-ins, so the CO’s adjutant had powdered several lockers with the secret stuff and had a couple of the lockers bugged to set off an alarm if they were disturbed.  The night I was there, the alarm tripped, the sergeants arrived, and the baby powder made the LT “hot” and all for nothing. 


The next night, my training officer brought in a super sized container of baby powder. All the guys powdered up their hands, banged on every locker, went to roll call to await the dreaded “swarm” of sergeants, but nothing happened.


I stopped using baby powder. Just saying.


Roll Call


By Mikey, Retired LAPD

It was 1978 and I was assigned to Northeast Division Vice. From time to time, we had loanees from patrol, so they can better understand how we do the job. It was also an effective way to size up future vice cops. Ron was on loan and assigned to me. After a few nights of learning how to work bars and identify things like serving an obviously intoxicated person(s), gambling, prostitution, Ron was good to go solo. We were working a bar on Glendale Boulevard and it was about 9:30pm when Ron entered the bar. If he observed a violation of any kind, he was to exit the bar and give me a sign that we had work to do. I’d meet up with him so he could brief me on what was occurring. Then, we would decide what we had to do to work the problem. I was across the street parked in a vacant gas station, so there was no else around. Across the street was a Bank of America located just north of the bar.

man sitting on bus benchAt about 9:45 I noticed two gangster-looking males sitting on a bus bench in front of the bank. A short time later, I observed a vehicle in a driveway south of the bank. The car was traveling west from the rear of the bank to the front. The vehicle stopped next to the building and I observed two men, in business suits exit the vehicle. One had what appeared to be a small object in his right hand. Both were approaching the night drop deposit door when the individuals got up from the bus bench and approached the two men.

I heard a male voice scream “no,” and then a gunshot. The suited man carrying the objectnight depository 800px-BankOfPilotMountainND fell to the ground. One of the gangsters from the bus bench reached down and took the object from the fallen man. Then both gangsters then ran north from the incident.  The other man began yelling for help. As I approached the scene, I put out, “officer needs help, shots fired, one victim down!”  I identified myself to the uninjured man and discovered the victim had been shot once in the stomach. I had observed a robbery. The men were the manager (the injured victim) and assistant manager of a shoe store that was located two blocks north of the bank and were making a night drop of the funds earned by the store that day.

As the cavalry arrived, I passed the information onto the uniform coppers. They set up a crime scene. The watch commander asked me to brief him and after telling him the story, he asked me why I hadn’t intervened. There I am, looking every bit “non-cop,” driving a rent-a-wreck piece of crap and he wants to know why I didn’t go “cop” and intervene?  My sergeant heard the question. He also saw that I went spring loaded to the pissed off position and was about tell the watch commander where to stick it. My boss pulled the man aside.

inside bar at nightDamn, forgot all about Ron. So, I went into the bar to get him and the look on his face said, “what, did I do something wrong?” When we exited, Ron saw the air unit, all the flashing lights, the coppers and he turned to me an asked, “is this all for me!?”

No one in the bar, including Ron had heard a thing. After explaining things to him, we headed to the station. The two men had been set up by one of their female employees—the girlfriend of one of the gang members. The manager survived his wounds and the gangsters as well as the employee were all held to answer for the crime. Ron decided that he did not want to be a vice copper. After all, it’s not for everyone.

Oh, and the watch commander commended me for “not over-reacting.”


Simple, you don’t play the game until you know who the players are.


Ramblings by Hal Roll Call

Ramblings and The Call Box: Patrol Areas

By Ed Meckle #7612 1956/1976, Retired LAPD


Fitzgerald House in Sugar Hill, Los Angeles


Our patrol area was known on the streets as “Sugar Hill.” Back in the 1890’s and turn of the century there were dozens of old mansions in our area—former homes of the rich and famous. All now fallen on hard times, some abandoned, or rooming houses, shooting galleries and just plain old flop houses. My partners knew every location and most of the street people.


We drove the main streets in the right lane with the flow of traffic, cruised the side streets and always the alleys, sometimes with lights out. All windows open regardless of weather. Sometimes late at night we would park, engine off and just listen.

We were there to see and be seen. Let both the good folks and the bad guys know we were there. 

Sometimes we ran from call to call with no patrol time. When we did cruise, we stopped and talked to suspicious people and sometimes were rewarded with narcotics, a gun or felony pinch.

We had no decent eating spots and always ate at a local greasy spoon. Food was free, with 25 cent tip. We ate what they put in front of you. 

Lots of coffee, drink and drive. More than one cup was tossed out the window to answer a hot call. 

It was a rare night without at least one cutting or shooting. When the relief checks came, and it coincided with a hot Saturday night, the area turned into Dodge City, a very violent place

The calls varied from reports, to assaults, to disputes and all I ca n say is I loved every minute of it.


Hal Collier #16336 1970/2005


Hollywood Boulevard from Kodak Theater

When on probation I was assigned a Basic A Car, first 6A17, the Beachwood Canyon car with little crime in the middle of the night. Two months later I was assigned 6A41 the basic car assigned to the Fairfax District, but again other than the occasional business burglary not much to patrol for. We spent most of our time on the busy streets like Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard. During the early morning hours, Hollywood was wide open. Even after the bars and clubs closed there was something going on. There were restaurants that stayed open all night to feed the rockers leaving the clubs. One restaurant on the west end of the division was known as “Rock and Roll Denny’s.” The drunk drivers were trying to negotiate the busy streets and the prostitute trade was just getting warmed up. I laugh whenever I hear someone say, “Prostitution is a victimless crime.” Ask all the johns who got robbed, wallets picked or just cut with a knife. The crime was when they tried to explain the loss to their spouse.


Like Ed, we also patrolled the side streets just off the main boulevards. I always had my window rolled down, not only to hear possible activity but if someone took a shot at you, it was possible to hear from what direction the shot came. I remember one cold winter night my training officer told me “Put some glass in that porthole.” I rolled it up half way. I once was driving down a dark side street with my lights out. We stopped a suspect and he told us “I knew you were the cops because I could see your rabbit ears on the roof of your car.” He was referring to our tin can red lights. I later decided to turn on my high beam lights which blinded my vehicle silhouette. You can always learn new tricks. 

free police picAs Ed mentioned, he would often park and shut the engine off. I seldom did that, but I found the hardest thing to teach a rookie cop was patience. Wait until the crime occurs before you jump in. An example: we got a call of a possible burglar at an apartment building. We did all the right things, approach with lights off, radio turned down and we quietly approached the building. We peeked around the corner of the building. We saw a suspect step into the bushes next to an apartment window, my probationer jumped out and yelled, “police freeze.” The DA refused to file charges, stating we stopped the suspect before he committed a crime. 

Hollywood was crazy with radio calls. Most nights, after briefing, you got five calls (the maximum). Some were hours old. I once got a call four hours old of a fight on a street corner. I told my partner of there still fighting after four hours I don’t want to tangle with them! We called it, “chasing the radio,” and seldom had spare time for investigative police work.

Like Ed, I loved every minute of it!

Next Ed and I will describe RTO’s from different decades.


Roll Call

Roll Call: Northeast Vice and the 265 Pound Arrestee

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

February 4, 2018

Griffith ParkAt the time that I worked Northeast Vice, we owned Griffith Park and part of the Hollywood hills. Complaints about lewd conduct occurring in several areas of the park required the unit to enforce these laws so that the public could better enjoy the park, it’s many hiking trails and spectacular views of the city.

A particular trail which afforded a magnificent view was a hot spot for the ‘complained of’ activity. Accordingly, the unit focused its efforts on the location which sported an 80-foot drop from the trail to the ground below. The actual 80 feet distance had a slight angle to the bottom, so it was not a straight drop. At the time, one of the lewd conduct violations was the grabbing of one’s private part which was considered foreplay. Once that happened, the vice copper would identify himself and with the aid of his partner, effect the arrest. It was 1978 and if you aren’t old enough to remember, it was a very wet winter.

Wonder view trail Griffith ParkRick, my partner, and I were assigned to work that trail. I drew the short straw and would be the ‘trick.’ Rick hid in the bushes where he could cover me and be a witness to the violation while I stood on the trail, the bait. Soon enough came this rather large individual—about 265 pounds and about 6 feet. I was playing with a twig and my arms were chest level. The individual stood about 10 feet to my right and slowly worked his way toward me. Now, the deal was when the violation occurred, I was to step to the side, Rick would emerge from the bushes, we would identify ourselves, advise the guy why he was being arrested, hook him up and off to jail.

With his left hand the guy grabbed me so hard I grabbed his hand and yelled, “LAPD vice, you are…” He took a swing at me and as I tried to block his punch, we fell off the trail. We quickly traversed the 80 feet I was talking about earlier. Now, I was wearing combat boots and several feet from the flat ground we stop! I say we, because I had a hold of him. My right foot has wedged into a rut, remember the rain, and my foot was supporting us both.

rugged trail Griffith ParkI was laying on my back holding onto the guy when I hear Rick sliding on his butt down the hill, shouting for me to hold on. Then, I heard a “snap,” and I found myself looking at the ground, my left leg out to the side. I let go of the guy as the pain started to get serious. Rick sails past me toward the soon-to-be-arrested violator as I am attempting to dislodge my leg. The boot slipped out of the rut and down I went, landing on my left shoulder.

So, the guy has violated me, caused me to break my foot and screw up my shoulder. I was on the ground watching Rick attempting to place a choke-hold on the guy (we could it then). But Rick can’t get the guy in a seated-up-right position to affect the choke. I crawl over to the two, place my right hand on his left buttocks and my left hand between his thighs in an attempt to push with the right hand and pull with the left.

Rick chokes the man out, as the guy goes down, urinates.

Uh, huh. Groped, broken ankle, messed-up shoulder, wet left arm up to the wrist.

Foot still bothers me to this day.





Roll Call

Roll Call: Northeast Vice and the Loanee

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

Sunset BlvdWhen you are assigned to patrol on the LAPD, it’s mostly working the field with a lot of coppers. The situation also depends on the watch and division as well as the number of units in the field. In specialized unit assignments, the number of coppers is limited, depending on the task. I worked Northeast Division vice from 1978-1980. We had two supervisors and eight vice officers. In 1979, both of our supervisors took vacation at the same time, so patrol loaned us a patrol sergeant to watch over us. Now this supervisor wanted to make good on his loan, so he was very critical about us “doing it right.” I think you can see where this is going.

We are working hookers on Sunset Boulevard. Taking it one step further, we have a cab, yellow in color, with everything intact, the roof light, and a radio and a meter that actually works! I’m the driver and Gary from patrol is on loan to us—he looks very Asian Indian, dark complexion and his accent (made up) is spot on. Then we added a turban and we have a “trick” ready step out.

HookersThe first hooker to go down bought Gary’s accent and his want of “Elpoah.” That was a made-up thing, but the girls knew what he wanted. After a couple of arrests, the word got out. We hit a dry spell, Gary got out, and were about to call it when the sergeant asked me to drive the boulevard to check for any girls.

I stopped for a light at Sunset and Bronson and was sitting there when the back door flew opened and a woman said, “Highland and Melrose.”
Crap, hadn’t locked the door!

In the rear-view mirror, I saw a heavy-set woman and a skinny dude. Well, I am driving a cab and they don’t know I’m the heat, sooooo, I hit the meter and proceeded to Highland and Melrose. I pulled to the curve at the destination and the lady hands me $5.00 and says, “Keep the change.”

Heck, I hadn’t thought about that, making change. So, with the fare and tip, I proceeded back to the staging area and reported to the sergeant that no hookers were present, and I got a fare and a tip.

police yellling (2)_LI

The sergeant’s water broke, and he started his period, at the same time, right there and proceeded to melt down. “G#d D—n it, G#d D—n it, holy s**t, G#d D—n it!!! You, you, G#d D—n it!” This went on for what seemed a very long time but was 2-3 minutes.

The paper work was worth it!


During this time of the sergeant’s loan, it was Super Bowl time. The unit gets a tip that a certain bar in the division is getting kickbacks or “Vigorish” from customers who bet on sports pools. Vigorish is “a charge paid on a bet,” illegal in California.

So, two of the senior vice coppers are assigned to enter the bar, look the pool chart over, see what the pay off is at the end of a quarter and do the math. If the figures don’t add up and a “charge” is apparent, you’ve got Vigorish. The vice guys enter the bar as the remainder of the unit sets up outside in plain cars and “Code 5,” or stake out. We are listening to the game and shortly after the first quarter the coppers approach the sergeant’s car. We all duck into and alley to hear what the coppers have discovered.

They tell us that there is no Vigorish and that, wait for it…………they had won $125.00!

Yeah, they bought a square and won!

graphicstock-illustration-of-a-cartoon-angry-policeman-cop-_rFR6Esf2Kb_thumb“G#d D—n it, G#d D—n it, holy s**t, G#d D—n it!!! You, you, G#d D—n it!”

The two coppers told us that the paper work was worth it. Our supervisors came back from vacation and the loan sergeant went back to patrol. I don’t think he looked at the vice unit the same way as when he first started his loan.

Besides he looked better in uniform.

Roll Call

A Christmas Story from Mikey


Written December 24th, 2007

cop christmas treeFor the last ten years, I have worked Christmas Eve for any young sergeant who should be home with his wife and babies. They don’t know until December 23rd, and then I tell the chosen one, “I got it.” Tonight, is the last one for me. I will be 6L20 watch 3. Start of watch is 1815 until 0700 Christmas Day. I got a true story to tell you about Christmas Eve 1992. Its’ a really good one.

I was set to work with another sergeant and a lieutenant at Rampart Division. The other sergeant was Brenda Gordon who had an umpteenth number of family in from out of town and pleaded and begged as she might, she did not get the night off. The LT., Mike Mines and I are car pooling so enroute to the station I convince him that I can handle the street supervision myself and Brenda should stay home. He agrees and when we get to the station, we call Brenda. She cries like a baby. When her family asked why she was crying, she told them. Her family went nuts; made Mike and me feel good.

About 2030 (8:30 PM), Mike calls me into the station and tells me that there are several gifts still under the Christmas tree in the station lobby and I should find some kids to give them to. I get the gifts out and see that there are 4, two marked “girl” and two marked “boy.” Now before I get to do my Santa thing, I want to smoke a Christmas cigar I’d been saving.

woman pushing carHere is where it gets good, but at the time I did not know it was good. There are several hills in Rampart that allow some cool views of downtown L.A., so I go looking for one to enjoy the view and have that smoke. I found myself going up a side street off Temple Street that I’d never been on before and could see that I was going to have a really neat view of downtown. The street is steep, so I know I will get a great view. About three quarters of the way up I see this small-framed woman pushing a shopping cart up the hill. Well heck, I am there to “Protect and Serve,” so I stop the cruiser and get out to help. The look on her face told me I was the last thing she expected.

We get to the top of the hill and for the first time I see two little girls, maybe 4 and 5 years old tagging along behind her. Their little noses are running and their hair is in disarray and they are wearing shawls instead of sweaters. It was a cold night.

Boom, the light comes on and I say, “Wait here.” This is all spoken in Spanish from here on and lucky for me I know just enough to embarrass myself. I get the two “girl” packages from my car and start walking toward the three waiting up the hill. As I get to the girls I say, “Merry Christmas” and hand the gifts to them. They are holding on to each other and look at mom. Mom has her hands over her mouth and she is trembling. She nods and gestures to them to take the gifts. They do, and I turn and ask if she has any more babies and she says, “two boys.” Heck, I got some for them too and go back to the car. When I get back to mom, she is crying softly, and the girls are smiling just a big as they can and just cradling those gifts. I place the boys’ gifts in her basket, which I see now contains clothes, either for washing or ironing.

When I turn to say goodbye, mom grabs my left hand and starts kissing it! She is still crying and starts with in Spanish, “Christ, oh thank you. Christ, oh thank you. Father, thank you. Thank you, Christ. Bless you sir. Bless you, sir. Father, oh Father, thank you.”

Guess what, this cold, tired middle-aged sergeant brought their only Christmas to these folks. Actually, I didn’t. Go figure, four gifts, the timing, the unfamiliar street, two girls, two boys. I got in my car and started driving off, when I looked in my review mirror, mom was crossing herself and did so until I couldn’t see her any more. Couldn’t tell that story without crying for many years. Wonder if the little girls remember that Christmas Eve when a sinner (I’m only human) brought them Christmas in the back of a Black and White. The whole thing did not hit me until hours later. Tonight, I just might take my cruiser to Rampart and finally have that cigar that I missed on that hill Christmas Eve, 1992.

Merry Christmaschristmas1

Mikey, 6L20


Roll Call

Roll Call: You Know it in Your Soul

A year or so ago, I was exchanging emails with Mikey. He was interested in sending me his stories for Just the Facts, Ma’am but was understandably cautious. This is an email I’ve been saving for the right moment to share with our readers. Our topic was what kept us in demanding, suck-the-life-outta-you careers. This particular email was significant to me and I thought you might like it, too.

You Know it in Your Soul

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

In the exchange of emails, you said it is “in your blood.” Nope, it’s in your soul. I’ve spoken to dedicated professionals in other fields and I have the same “feel for the talk,” and it is in your soul. I see it in your words, everyone. You don’t know why or really can’t explain it. Screw the folks who try and explain it to us. Take the third-grade teacher in the Bronx who gets crap for a salary buts does it anyway. The social worker who sees the worst but does it anyway. The copper who has a BA and can pretty much go state or federal but chooses to work the street. Or the writer who really needs to focus on something better, higher, more meaning, but does not.

No, it’s not in your blood, it’s in your soul. I know, and so do you. The key to knowing. You really never wanted to turn your back to it.

LAPD Crown VicI truly, truly miss it, but I’ll share this with you and it is gospel. I intended to work until May 15th, 2008. On May 2nd I turned 60 and my wife and the station threw me a surprise party—kinda cool. On May 3rd, I was on patrol with my best bud, John Schick, yup, that guy. At 2100 hours, on the dot, I am stopped at a red light on Hollywood and Vine. I hear this (I did, ‘cause I was there) “You’re done.”

Brings tears to my eyes this evening cause in my soul, 41 years of being a copper was over. I told John 0400 was a long way off and I was feeling tired. I shut the ignition down for the last time, John took a pic, unloaded the cruiser—shop 88420 and walked into the Watch Commander’s office. The young lieutenant looked up at me and I said, “LT, I’m through.”

His response, “What took you so long?”

Witnesses and all, hugs all around. I got released, not by the LT, but by the hand that held my soul.

This is a message, me to you. You giving us the opportunity to tell our stories, priceless. Thank you, I like sharing with my new and old family.

Roll Call

Roll Call: Short Dog #3

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

Prison doctorDoc Moggie and the Burglar
Doc “Moggie” was a medical doctor who was the pre-misdemeanor booking MD who screened arrestees for any medical issues prior to booking. He lived in the Highland Park area of LA, which was patrolled by Northeast Division.

One evening while at home Doc Moggie was confronted by a burglar who pretty much had his way including leaving the Doctor seriously injured from a severe beating. Several months passed before the good doctor returned to work, but considering the beating the man received, he recovered well enough that he had no signs of the injuries.

Fast forward a couple of months after the doctor’s return to duty. A Northeast morning watch patrol unit made a drunk-in-public arrest and transported the man to jail division. Prior to him being booked, the officers took him to the dispensary for his medical check. It was about 0200 so the nurse had to go and wake Doc Moggie for the exam. Now, the arrestee was handcuffed, sitting in a sofa-type chair and leaning back on his handcuffed hands. One officer was filling out the paper work and the other standing next to the seated arrestee. The nurse reentered the dispensary followed by Doc Moggie. The doctor seated himself behind his desk and started to ask the arrestee the medical questions, when for the first time, Moggie looked up at the arrestee.

Police-Station-Booking-Los-Angeles-Filming-Location-1024x682According to the officers, Moggie yelled, “You son of a bitch,” leaped over his desk ran to the seated arrestee and began to knock the hell out of the man. The stunned officers and nurse could not believe their eyes!

The officers, thinking Moggie had “lost it,” pulled the still swinging doctor off the arrestee and got between the two.
The nurse yelled, “Stop.”

Doc Moggie’s response, “That’s the son of a bitch that broke into my home and beat me!”

So, Doc Moggie got his physical revenge, the arrestee was booked for burglary, the coppers saw old fashion justice and the nurse never looked at the doctor the same way again.

Noxzema and the 5150

Original_Noxzema_cobalt_blue_jar_2014-06-19_15-42At 0740, near our end of watch, my partner and I were northbound Figueroa St. at Marmion Way. We were returning from jail division just having booked a man with a warrant.

A group of pedestrians saw us and start frantically pointing at an apartment building. There for all the world to see is a naked man standing next to an opened 3rd floor window throwing records, vinyl’s, LPs, you get it, out the window. We stop the cruiser, enter the building and proceed to the 3rd floor to the man’s apartment. The door was unlocked so we pushed it open.

For the first time, I see what we are up against. He has covered himself with Noxzema and his own fecal matter. The odor was overbearing! Before we could attempt any form of dialog, the man charged us. The fight was on!

Back up units arrived shortly after we had the guy handcuffed, but the officers would not enter the apartment. The LAFD paramedics arrived and they wrapped the guy in several sheets to transport him to county general hospital. My partner and I were not very popular at the hospital or when we arrived back to the station.

We proceeded to the garage where we disrobed and were given arrestee gowns. Our equipment remained in the garage while my partner and I showered. The unit was towed downtown for whatever. I don’t think it ever came back to Northeast.

I can’t remember what the new equipment and uniforms cost, but I’ve still got that pungent odor playing itself around in my head.


Roll Call

Roll Call: Northeast Vice, the Queen and the Motor Cop

By Mikey, Retired LAPD


Hollywood and Western–looks different in the daytime


During my vice tour at Northeast, from late 1978 to 1980, I had some very fun times, dangerous times and stake-out boring times. But not everyone saw my job as fun or even tolerable. Because Hollywood Vice was the premier divisional vice unit, vice units’ city-wide were required to send several of their vice coppers to Hollywood for a two-week loan—fresh faces. My partner Sam and I were working the corner of Sunset and Western where the drag-queen community owned the vice business there.  At about 7pm (summertime, still light), Sam dropped me off on Western near the 101 Hollywood freeway and he drove the target area.


Five minutes later, he picked me up, saying he’d gotten a lewd conduct violation. We drove back to make the arrest. Instead of slowly driving up to the location and pointing out the violator, Sam went in like the cops, fast and furious, right up to a group where the violator was.

Sam yelled, “That’s him,” pointing at a 5’2” blond who bolted. Now, at the time I was heavy duty weight lifting, NOT running. This is gonna hurt.

The queen is running northeast across Western toward Sunset. No way am I going to catch him so, I yell, “LAPD, stop!”

He stopped, yup—all 5’2” right there, right in front of me and no way was this vice cop gonna come to a stop. I hit him and we both ended up on the street on our butts face to face.

He says, (I heard it ‘cause I was there,) “Why did you hit the queen?”we-talked-to-the-worlds-oldest-performing-drag-queen-on-tour-1970s-1463240357-size_1000

I answered, “You stopped!”

He says, “You told me to stop!”


Well, he is bleeding from his forehead so it’s off to get him MT’d (medically treated and cleared) then to misdemeanor booking. The booking line was a bit long so I started on my paper work. My arrestee was standing to my left and there was a motor cop with his arrestee standing to my right and I can see he was not casting a favorable eye on my arrestee. The four of us are there for about 10 minutes, when the queen asked if he can go pee.

“Ok, over there,” and I point at the rest room just adjacent to the booking counters. This is jail after all and there are bars only, no wall, no privacy.

I watched as he sits down to pee when I heard two hands smack together.

The motor cop flashed past me saying, “That’s it!”

Crap, he was headed for the queen so I start after him not knowing what is going to happen.

Now towering over my arrestee, the queen looked up at him in horror as the copper reached down lifting the still urinating man up over his head and yelled, “You are a man, stand up and piss like one!”

The queen was screaming, the copper was cursing and talking in tongues. I was very focused on my arrestee and the fact that I don’t want to spend the night in a hospital with him in the event he is seriously injured. I grabbed the motor officer by his Sam Browne and yelled at him to let the guy go. But noooooo, he keeps screaming and shaking the queen and the queen keeps screaming and peeing!

Booking roomA jail division sergeant grabbed the motor officer’s right arm which brings the copper out of his trance. He slowly lowers the now very hysterical queen down who fainted as he fell back onto the toilet in the sitting position exactly where he started.

The motor cop is escorted out of the rest room and I shook the queen. He came to with a start and screamed! I reassure him that he is OK now and I will not leave his side. We got to the front of the booking line and finished without further incident.

All of this for a misdemeanor!???

Roll Call

Roll Call: Short Dogs #2

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

Ventura pursuit, the CHP and the spike strips

lapd cruiser rollingIt was early Summer ’93 and I was working Rampart Day Watch as the Watch Commander with the usual inside staff, a couple of desk officers, an assistant Watch Commander and eight units out on patrol. It was a Sunday, quiet and everything was going well until about 12:30 pm when a patrol unit broadcasted that they were in pursuit of a stolen vehicle northbound on Alvarado approaching the 101 freeway. The pursuit then proceeded onto the Northbound 101 and because traffic was light the stolen vehicle accelerated away from the officers.

I knew that we would lose communications with the unit if they got too far north so I asked for an air unit to respond. Communications said there were no air units available. I then called the CHP and asked if they had a unit with a spike strip that could intercept the pursuit and their watch commander told me that there was a pursuit coming south on the 101 freeway and when they were through with the southern pursuit, they’d assist us.

I told my assistant watch commander to handle the division, grabbed one of my desk officers, the watch commander’s cruiser and off we went. From the time I left the station until we got into Ventura all sorts of things went through my head. With no radio contact to keep me briefed, it really sucked! From about a mile out I saw my first view of the worst I could imagine, a column of thick black smoke! When we finally reached the scene there it was, the suspect vehicle, upside down, burning. My officers were standing at the rear of their unit watching the fire department extinguish the fire.

I asked the officers if they were all right and they said, “Yes.”

Then, I wanted to know how the driver got killed and asked, “What happened?”

The officers explained the pursuit and how they had a tough time staying up with the vehicle, how finally the CHP spiked the bad guys tires, how it went out of control, went off the road into the grass field and how it rolled a couple of times.

ktla car crash w lapdCrap. I was getting ill just thinking of the s—t storm this was gonna cause and making notifications. I asked, “How many people were in the car?”

One of the officers pointed to the back seat of his unit and said, “Just him.”

JUST HIM, the guy handcuffed in the back seat of the cruiser, the guy who didn’t get seriously killed, the guy who crawled away from the burning car, THAT GUY?
I was so fixated on the burning car that I didn’t see the suspect seated in the police car just inches away from us.

The ride back to Rampart was wonderful.


The Lieutenant and the new watch commander’s car

When you hear a LAPD officer refer to a “shop” he is talking about a police car. Each car is issued a “shop number,” meaning repairs in the auto shop were generated using this number. If the Air Unit was working a call with you and he wanted to direct vehicles on the ground he referred to the last three numbers of the shop. For example, “Shop 592, cover the intersection,” etc. So, in 1992, in Rampart, the PM Watch Lieutenant was out and about in a brand-new Watch Commander’s car when Northeast units go in pursuit.

The lieutenant was not fond of pursuits and if the thing sounds even a bit askew, he would terminate it.

lapd heloBut this was Northeast, not Rampart, in the pursuit. The pursuit wound its way through the hills of Northeast heading toward Rampart, so the lieutenant headed in that direction. The road narrowed and the lieutenant saw the air unit. He realized that the observer in the air unit was screaming, “Shop 592, the pursuit is coming at you; Shop 592, the suspect vehicle is approaching you, “Shop………………” Well, guess who driving shop 592? Yup, the lieutenant. He terminated the pursuit with a classic TC (traffic collision)!

Guess he hadn’t noticed the shop number of his “new” cruiser. For the next few days he wasn’t moving around the watch commander’s office as fast as he used to.