Roll Call

Roll Call-Short Dogs

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

On the LAPD, if I say the 647f (drunk in public) had a “Short Dog,” I’m talking about his wine bottle. I have several “short stories” that I call “Short Dogs,” so readers will know they are short stories.

The Locker Room Ghost

Highland Park Police Station LAPDI was working Northeast Division morning watch (12 midnight to 0800) with my partner, Ruben. He has been in court most of the day prior and did not get a lot of sleep so around 0200 we take code 7(meal break) at the station. Now, this is the old station on York Boulevard built in the early twenties so it is old even in 1977. It’s the LAPD museum today. Ruben crashed in one of the old holding cells so I headed to my locker to get some change for the food vending machine. Our roll call and locker rooms were in the basement of the station, so down I went. I had the door open and was grabbing some change when I felt “something” brush my back. It was as if a person had walked past and brushed up against me. Startled, I turned around and saw that there was no one there. Then a feeling “get out,” came over me. I slammed the locker door shut and shot up the stairs, landing in a chair at the desk area. I was still breathing hard when the watch commander walked in, took one look at me and said, (yes, he did—he said,) “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” The second I finished my story, two coppers and a sergeant, guns drawn, were in the locker room looking for whatever. If you are an old Northeast copper and experienced the paranormal, you ain’t alone brother.

Rich H. and the Spider

night opsOn another night working Northeast morning watch, my partner Scott and I were asked to switch channels at the request of another unit. The officers asked that we meet them at a location near Eastern Avenue and Huntington Drive. Rich H. and Steve F. are two of the best street coppers I’ve ever worked with; their tactics are rock solid. They inform us that they thought they had heard a shot and it sounded like it had come from a location down a narrow alley. To either sides of the alley are car ports and garages so we have plenty of cover as we make our way through the alley. Scott and I are on the right side of the alley and Rich and Steve are on the left. With guns drawn. off we go. There was some overhead lighting on the streets to either side of the alley so we were not in total darkness. Using our flashlights was not an option as we did not want to give the “who-so-evers” targets. All was going well, I mean we were mini SWAT going up that alley using hand signals and all, very impressive. I saw Rich move into a car port and take cover behind a wall. Just as Steve started to move, Rich yelled “Holy S—T, Holy S—T” and started the weirdest gyrations I’ve ever seen a man do WITH GUN IN HAND! “Spiders, Spiders. Get them off me!” Well, cover blown, flashlights on, illuminating Rich, to heck with the “shooter,” get the friggin spiders! You see, Rich has this thing for spiders. He walked into a web and the rest is history. Coppers are only human too.

Well, sort of.


Read Thonie Hevron’s books: By Force or Fear, Intent to Hold, and With Malice Aforethought are all available through Amazon.


Roll Call

Roll Call: The Calling

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

Today is June 15, 2017, a day after the shooting in Virginia and the near massacre that was thwarted. Everyone there, the politicians, the aides, the whosevers, and the coppers heard their calling. Our politicians are huddled in a dug-out knowing that “this is it.” The last good byes, the argument not finished because the point was not made, the question about a bill to in act, the next appointment, a staffer you’d like to complement and now this, the end? The end of your calling as a politician?

NO, one of you said, “a gun stopped a gun.” Let me rephrase that, a “calling” stopped that. The coppers,’ CNN calls them LEOs or Law Enforcement Officers–but they are coppers, true and blue. Trained like no others. You go into the valley of death because that is what you do, trained to do, and you don’t look for an exit, the way back, or the cavalry. You are the cavalry, the troops, or just the one solider. You may ask for back up, or you don’t have the time, but it doesn’t, matter, the whole thing just landed on you.

AdobeStock_102706188So now you work the problem and everything that implies. You face it head on, frame by frame, still shots, video, very little audio because all your adrenalin is focused on viewing what you are up against. When those coppers put the shooter down, it wasn’t over, in their minds things were still being processed: “Is he the only one, is there a lay off shooter, why here, why now,” and on and on. If being a LEO was easy, everyone could do it, but it’s not and not everyone can.

Why the bonds are so tight among coppers says reams about the calling. And it does not end after you “pull the pin” (retire).  Back in ’08, the year I retired, Rick Alatorre along with Joe Gonzalez and Art Placencia and I started meeting for breakfast once a month at a local restaurant in the Inland Empire. Hal Collier and I started one at about the same time in the Glendale area. As time went on, the “gathering or roll call,” caused both groups to seek larger haunts. Work, (yup, couldn’t stay at home) caused me to focus on the local gathering and Hal ran with the valley group. The local group now has 85+ attendees and we meet the fourth Thursday of the month.

From to run or not to run photo by policemag

There are coppers in attendance of Ed, Hal’s and my generation and our common thoughts and conversations are the exact same! Just read Ed’s stories and compare them to Hal’s and mine, different incidents and years to be sure but the calling is interred woven in the “Themes.” I have a commercial pilot rating, multi-engine and helicopter. Yup, was gonna be a zoomie for life. I got to do what I wanted to do with that, but ended up doing what I was supposed to do. I answered the calling, my calling. What was, is yours? How fortunate to have been chosen to do and be something bigger than yourself, to mean something to so many and still, today be able to share that others who heard and surrendered to it.

Roll Call

Roll Call: The Female Chippie and the DUI

250px-LAPDacademyBy Mikey, Retired LAPD

The year is 1983 and I am working as a PT (Physical Training)/Self-Defense instructor at the LAPD academy, then located in Elysian Park. At that time, recruits had 16 weeks to prepare for their self-defense test which was administered in the 17th week. If the recruit did not pass the test, they were not allowed to go with the rest of their class on a month’s patrol assignment. Those who failed the first time were given additional remediation and three weeks later were tested again. During the 14th-16th week, the PT/ Self-Defense staff offered after hours review practice prior to the 17th week’s testing.

CHP_HOV_traffic_stopOn average my day as an instructor during this time ended at about 1900 (7 P.M).  During the summer, there would still be daylight for the drive home. My wife had business in down town LA so she offered to drop me off in the morning and pick me up that evening. When we finished training at about 1845, my wife was there so off we went. She was driving, east bound on the I-10, San Bernardino freeway in Rosemead approaching Rosemead Boulevard when I observed a CHP unit stopped behind a car and a CHP officer struggling with an individual. I yelled at my wife to pull over and just like a copper’s wife did a heck of a job of pulling to the shoulder.

We were in front of the CHP unit so I had to run back to where the two were standing.

So, the Chippie is a female. Couldn’t tell from the freeway because she had really short hair. The male arrestee—he’s hand-cuffed—was pretty drunk but not “falling down drunk.”

Women in CHPI ID’d myself and asked how I could be of help. She asked me if I speak Spanish and I tell her that I do. She told me the (DUI) guy does not want to get into her cruiser and asked that I find out why. No problem.

So, in Spanish he tells me, “Sir, I’ll go with her but I have to pee really bad and I don’t want to do it in her car.”

I told her and she said, “I’m taking him to Temple City substation (LA Sheriff’s) for booking. Tell him to hold it and I’ll get him there as fast as I can.” Remember sports fans, she still has to wait for the tow to arrive to hook up the arrestee’s ride.

I told him and he said, “Sir, I really gotta pee!

So, who will win the standoff?

I told her to take the handcuffs off, “because I am here and we can handle him.”

She said, “No.”

She then looked down at his groin area, then at me then back down. With her right hand, she pulled the man’s zipper down, took a long look, at me, then at him, then back down and said, “I’m not pulling it out!

What was she thinking!!??

shutterstock_136738280.jpg“Remove the handcuffs, partner,” I told her. “I’m here and I think we can take this guy if he acts up.”

She finally relented and removed the handcuffs.

He whipped it out and the whole time he peed he was shaking his and saying, “Gracias, señor. Oh, gracias señor,”

English translation, “thank your sir.”

Dude peed for a long time. He stopped just as the tow truck arrived.


WMA on Amazon

Thonie’s new book, With Malice Aforethought is available on Amazon, eBook only for now. Watch here for print copy release. Don’t forget to leave a review when your finished!



Roll Call

Roll Call: LAPD’s First PIT Maneuver

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

During 2005, the department was training its officers on the Pursuit Intervention Technique or PIT maneuver. [The link here is for a recent PIT incident in LA. Looks to me ike the agency is primarily CHP with other agencies backing up. This is a 12+ minute video. The most illustrative moments are in the first 2 minutes. The rest of the video is interesting because it shows perfect police procedure for removing suspects from a vehicle.–Thonie]


The PIT was to be performed at speeds below 35 MPH and other rules and procedures were in cooperated in the pursuit training/policy. So, by May 21, 2005 there were a number of field supervisors and officers PIT qualified. Saturday, May 21, 2005 at 0100 Air 11, our Central Bureau air support reported the CHP in a low speed pursuit of a stolen vehicle leaving the freeway and entering Hollywood Area. I was the Assistant Watch Commander to my partner Don who was the Watch Commander. The CHP was asking the LAPD to take over the pursuit and as they were in Hollywood. That meant us.


The suspects attempted to run over a CHP officer and ram a CHP cruiser so these guys were crazy but not playing around. To really push the pursuing officers into the pissed-off spring-loaded position, the suspects would stop, then take off, stop get out of their vehicle and do vulgar things with their fingers and back side. You figure it out. As Hollywood units began to follow the stolen vehicle, the suspects pulled the same nonsense. One of the pursuing units asked permission to utilize the PIT maneuver. Reported speeds were never more than 25 MPH so the suspects met the first PIT criteria.

Now, I had just attended PIT and were told that to perform a PIT, the primary, secondary and third had to be driven by PIT qualified drivers. Then, and field supervisor also had to be PIT qualified. So, Don, not having gone through the school, handed the reins over to me.

One of the pursuing units broadcasted that there were two air units above the pursuit and stated he thought it was a news helicopter in addition to Air 11. I was the guy who was going to give permission for the PIT to occur so the with the aid of the air unit, I jockeyed the pursuit package into position. After what seemed an exhaustive period, we got all the players in their places and I gave the supervisor on scene permission to coordinate the PIT with the pursuing units. I told Don the pursuit was heading our way and we jumped into the Watch Commander’s vehicle and proceeded to intercept the package near the station. Everyone was doing their jobs. The air unit was coaching the officers on the ground to keep their units tight (all three) as the primary unit executed the PIT, he would pass the spun-around suspect vehicle and cars 2 and 3 would box in the bad guys. The primary would make a U-turn and complete the box.

The PIT went according to plan and high fives were being passed all around when I heard from the mystery helicopter, incidentally, one of ours. I heard Staff—-, a high-ranking department brass someone say, “Keep all of your assets there, I will be responding to your location in twenty minutes.” 

So now we are scratching our heads wonder who is responding and why? We were standing in the intersection of Argyle Street and Selma Avenue. I was surrounded by “my assets” when we observe a staff car pull up and the driver exit and begin walking toward our group. I then recognize Deputy Chief H and realize that I am standing by-my-self as my “assets” have withdrawn from my part of the street. 

“Hi Mike,” he says.

I respond, “SIR.” 

“Who authorized this PIT?” 

I replied, “I did, sir.” 

“I don’t recall it being OK’d to begin its deployment.” 

So, I told him how at PIT school it was “when you do this, you gotta do that, when you do that, this will happen and when that happens, all will be good and when all is good you will be impressed, have fun.” Nothing was said to the effect of a starting date, time, month, year, NADA! 

“So, sir, I took the initiative when I saw and heard that we were in policy. If anyone needed a PIT, it was these guys.”

His response; “I’m a Deputy Chief, I like what I see, good job.”

Then my “assets” quickly rejoined the Chief and me on my part of the street. That is when I realized Hollywood had performed the first LAPD PIT. We were so consumed with getting these guys and doing it right. As is always the case, we went for the fastest remedy and the PIT was that remedy. 

Two weeks later, I received a call from a watch commander friend of mine working the Valley. His division had just performed a PIT and he wanted to take claim as being the first LAPD patrol division to have employed the maneuver—until he found out about Hollywood Patrol.

Second ain’t bad; ask Buzz Aldrin.


Roll Call

Roll Call: The Mexican Restaurant Robbers and Sarge

By Mikey, Retired LAPD
The LAPD has many specialized units that do some pretty spectacular things. With few exceptions, the officers who work these units all started in patrol, the back bone of the department. Wilshire Division is in the mid-city part of Los Angeles and I had the opportunity to work patrol as a police officer and as a supervisor. During that time as patrol officer, my rank was Senior Lead Officer. These officers have two stripes and a star and are responsible for the running of a basic car. They can choose their watch (shift) to work. My basic car was 7A33, and it goes like this:
7= Wilshire, each division has their own number, A=two officer patrol unit, 33= the patrol beat.
Located near 7A33 on Western Avenue was a very good Mexican Restaurant that was well visited and always crowded. Reports started to come in that folks who parked on the streets were being robbed at their vehicles after their stay at the restaurant. It didn’t take long to figure out that someone inside the restaurant was sizing up “victims” for the robbery suspects outside. Those who flashed cash, bright jewelry or just looked like they were worth something got a visit at their cars.
It got so bad that even “extra patrol” did not deter the crimes. So, the specialized units were called in to supplement Wilshire’s patrol units. Try as they might, the robbers alluded the department’s efforts to capture them and the robberies continued. One evening, Wilshire units received a call that a victim had been shot and killed on a street near the restaurant. The victim was laying on his back, his pants pockets pulled out as if he had been showing the robbers that he had nothing to offer them. The weapon used was a shot gun. If these were the Mexican restaurant robbers, their MO had just changed.
I mentioned this to the homicide detectives and that would have been all had my watch commander not followed up with a phone call to my home. It was a Saturday and I was off when at about 11am he called me and asked if I had been drinking. I said, “It’s 11 o’clock in the morning Sarge.”
He asked the question again and I told him no. He said he wanted me to come in and work the restaurant robbery problem. Seriously? He was serious so I asked that he call my partner and I would be at the station at 1700. In the locker room, Nick, my partner and I were talking about the sergeant’s phone call. Nick asked if Sarge had asked me the “drinking” question. In the cruiser, without any real plan, we began cruising the area of the restaurant. At about 1830, communications instructed us to call the Watch Commander so we stopped at the nearest call box and phoned the station.
Sarge answered the phone and asked what we were doing.
I said, “Looking for the 211 suspects.”
“Then why am I talking to two robbery victims from the restaurant?” Oh crap!
The victims told us the suspects were last seen in a late model black Mustang or Cougar and the suspects had used a shot gun. It was summer and we still had some daylight left so Nick and I went out again this time with suspect and vehicle description. If there is a patrol patron saint, the saint was riding with Nick and me this day. We were west bound Pico Boulevard at Saint Andrews Place when I looked south on St. Andrews and saw a black Mustang or Cougar northbound approaching Pico.
They saw us. I made a U-turn, waiting for the vehicle to arrive at Pico. At the time I felt the vehicle should have arrived, nothing happened! I drove to St. Andrews and saw the vehicle heading south, away from us at a high rate of speed. I lit the roof up and saw the vehicle turn west onto 15th Street. Turning west onto 15th Street, we saw the vehicle come to rest in a front yard on the south side of the street. The doors stood open—the occupants had bailed before the car came to rest on the lawn. Looking around for any evidence of where the suspects had fled, we observed an elderly couple sitting on their porch.  Rocking back and forth in his chair, the man “gently” pointed at a house and shook his head up and down.  Additional units arrived and after several minutes, we located one suspect. With the assistance of a K-9, the second suspect was located a short distance away.
So, on the way back to the station I’m thinking, “How the heck did Sarge know, think, feel, this was gonna happen. HOW?”
After securing the suspects on the holding bench, I went into the watch commander’s office. There was Sarge, feet on his desk, smoking his pipe. Before I could say anything, he said, “I was right there and heard it. What took you so long?”
I asked him the how and why questions and all he did was shrug his shoulders. Go figure.
Roll Call

Roll Call: Accidental Discharge

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

…or “how I almost got fired,” as a recruit!


250px-LAPDacademyIt was probably the second month of my LAPD academy training and we were in formation preparing to march up to the combat range to do some shooting. Now at that time, in 1973, we were issued a small canvas bag which held our practice ammunition and on top of the stack were our .38 caliber dummy rounds (6) affixed to a speedy loader. They were clip mounted side by side. I asked my shooting instructor if anyone had ever accidently placed a live round in the loader instead of the dummy round. I heard him because I was there: He said, “It’s never happened and that is why you check each other’s bag.”



So now we are at the range facing a 4’ wall practicing “dry fire” as we wait our turn to step onto the range. I pull the trigger 6 times open the cylinder and with speedy loader in hand insert the dummy rounds. I pull the trigger once, twice and on the third pull, a round went off. Oh yeah, a live round that is not supposed to be there because my instructor said it had never happened. Because I was still looking at the little hole I created in the wall, my instructor says n my right ear, “Did you just try to make a point with me?” 


Before I could answer, he said, “Get the hell of my range.”

Now I am sitting in the locker room contemplating my future with the LAPD. I thought about calling my former employer and asking if my job was still there. But I knew they’d ask why I’m asking so I nixed that.  Thought about calling my wife and telling her, but I didn’t want to mess up her day. So, I’m just sitting there when my squad advisor, a senior training officer tells me to go home and bring all of my LAPD stuff back in the morning. I car pool with a classmate and tell him we should ride separately to the academy in the morning. That night I shared with my wife the events of the day and told her I’d be fired in the morning. Not a good night.

Next morning, I’m sitting in class when my squad advisor opens the classroom door. The next words are doom to any recruit: he says, “Get your hat and books and come with me.”


I do not look at my classmates, as we’d discussed my departure during morning inspection. So here I go. I am standing outside the Training Division commanding officer’s office thinking of all it took to get here, just to end it like this, when the door opens and I am motioned in by the squad advisor. Counting him there are 5 training division staffers seating at a very long table, just staring at me.


Oh, and my shooting instructor is there as well giving me that look that says, “You got yours rookie.”

The captain pounds his finger on a folder, my personal package, and the following exchange takes place:

“You are a Vietnam Veteran.”

“Yes, sir,” I answer.

“Came to us from another agency.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Attended their academy?”

“Yes, sir”

“Anything like this occur there?”

“No, sir”

“Did you do that on purpose; load a live round into your weapon?”

So, the questions had been pretty good up until this one. This one just spring loaded me to the pissed off position. 

“Absolutely not, Captain.”

“What happened, recruit?”

“Sir, I do not know what happened and I offer no excuse.”

“Did your squad leader check your ammo bag?”

Oh, crap I thought. No, he hadn’t because I was asking my instructor the infamous question about mixing up the ammo.

“No sir.”

Now the Captain is looking at my shooting instructor.


So, for the next, however long it took, I explained the situation and added that I still did not know how that live round got where it did. I was told to go stand outside of the office. For approximately 10 very long minutes I waited. Do you know what goes through your head at a time like this? What would have gone through yours? Exactly!

I am asked to reenter and the captain states the following;

“You will resume your training, with your class because we think you are worth keeping. You will maintain yourself as professionally as possible and I do not want to hear about you until your graduation day or you break some training division recruit record.”

Well, I still had a job. I left the office, went down to my VW bug, sat down and cried. Yup, I did. Looking at my watch, I knew my class would be at code 7 (lunch) so I proceeded to the picnic area of the academy and found my class. They were so loud with their shouts of approval that I just knew I’d be getting called back to the captain’s office. It was good to be back with my classmates and it was good to have been given a rare second chance.

That was 1973. In 1979, I was a training officer at Northeast Division and discovered that my new rookie was the son of my academy shooting instructor. It all turned out good.

You see, my instructor was instrumental in saving my job.

Roll Call

Roll Call: Larry and the Short-cut

By Mikey, retired LAPD


rain in LA ktlaIt was the winter of 1978 and as I recall the rain was relentless, not unlike what we have just experienced this year (2016). I was working Morning Watch with my partner Larry A. who liked to drive. At about 0100 hours on a weekday morning we were responding to a radio call in one of the many hillside communities of Northeast Division. It had been raining earlier so we were driving on slick roads. Larry decided we would take a short cut to the call and drove off the paved road and onto a very narrow dirt, and now very muddy road.

We did not get far when the cruiser got stuck in the mud and it started to rain again. As Larry tried to get the unit out of the rut, the front end started to slide left, the downhill part of the “wannabe road.” It appeared that we were heading for Eagle Rock Boulevard below which was now rising, like the sun through Eagle Rock los angelesLarry’s window. Larry and I were in a left banking turn/slide and the movement was not stopping.

Peering over Larry’s shoulder, I knew were going to take days (on the beach) for wrecking the car after it nosed-dived onto the street. Or we were going to get seriously killed. Just then the movement stopped and I gently opened my door. I got of the car and managed to low crawl back onto the level part of the road.

Looking back, I see Larry attempting to crawl across the seat toward my door, his eyes as big as silver dollars. In those days, there was nothing to obstruct his movement. Try that today. He managed to pull himself out and did the same low crawl to where I was standing. There were no ROVER (handhelds) and no cell phones. Nope, didn’t have them in those days. We look at each other then back into the car and stare at the radio. I say, “you got us here, you make the call.”  Back at the driver’s side, Larry has the radio in his hand, but I can’t hear a word—remember  it’s raining.

He low crawls back and tells me he got a hold of another unit and they are responding to our location.


Now we have four coppers trying to think this through. Mike and Robert, (no last names) said they remember seeing a jeep, in a driveway WITH A WINCH!!!

IMG_0556Just as they leave to investigate, our cruiser starts making more slipping noises, damn, so close. After what seemed like the entire watch, the guys came back with a very tired looking guy and his JEEP! The guy hooks up the unit, crawls back to his machine and starts cranking away. He re-hooks the car in another location and does this a couple more times until he can winch it up to the pavement. With flash lights in hand the four of us inspect the cruiser and find it muddy, but without any damage! We asked the Jeep owner what he drank and preceded to obtain the case of beer from a supermarket which will remain nameless. After telling the night manager what had happened he provided us with the Jeep owners reward.

Larry did not ask for, nor was given, permission by me to drive until we were out of the rainy season, it was a long rainy season.




Roll Call

Roll Call: The Kitchen Knife and the 5150

By Mikey, Retired LAPD 

Dispatcher Charleston PDRampart Division, 1992, shortly after the riots things were settling down, different, but settling down. Just as this 19-year veteran of the LAPD thinks he has all figured out, reality back-hands you, square on the face. It was a PM patrol watch, business as usual, when a 5150 WIC (5150 Welfare and Institutional Code describing a mentally ill individual), is broadcast on a street in the south end of the division, boarding South West Division. The information we received was that the teenage son had torn the inside of his house apart, threatened his family with a 15” butcher knife and had fled the home with the knife. 

I responded along with several units and the inside of the house looked exactly as dispatch described. The mother and sister of the suspect were there. They were very afraid and the mother warned us that her son was out of control and they feared for their lives. Several minutes after we had arrived, a South West unit reported that it was following a stolen vehicle, armed and dangerous with four occupants, north bound toward Rampart and they needed back-up. The procession was headed in our direction and would be passing us in a matter of a few minutes. I told my officers that I would stay with the family and they should back the South West unit. 

Things were going well for about ten minutes when at the far end of the street, just east of the house I heard a gut-curdling scream. At the corner standing illuminated by a street light, was the teenage son, knife over his head clutched in his right and pointing in our direction. Mom and sister were standing behind me screaming at the teenager to put the knife down.

silhouette-of-hand-with-knifeWell, I joined the chant as well, as I unholstered my 9mm and told him to drop the knife. I broadcasted a “Help” call, “man with a knife.” The standoff lasted 30 seconds before the teen charged us, knife raised, in a full sprint. I yelled to him that I would shoot if he did not stop. From behind, me I heard the women yell, “don’t shoot him.”

Then it happened. One of the bravest, selfless acts of love I have ever seen. Both women ran toward the man, wrapped their arms around him put their heads down and waited to be brutally knifed or for me to take the shot. I’ll never forget that scene as they held him back from moving any closer to me. At that moment officers arrived and surrounded the trio, but I still had the shot. This is where it all came together for me, 19-years on the department, a tactics, self-defense instructor, Vietnam vet and now this reality.

I heard an officer yell, “Don’t shoot Sarge. He’s holding a twig.” The 15” knife went from a blade to a twig just as fast as the words came out of the officer’s mouth.

The women were pulled away from the man and he was taken into custody. What would the headlines have read and the evening television news described? In my mind’s eye, he WAS holding a 15” knife but in reality, it was a 9” twig. Even with the experience I possessed, the “power of suggestion” had me spring-loaded to the deadly force position.

I included the incident in subsequent tactics classes along with a 15” butcher knife and a 9” twig, the same one the teen used that night. 

cops talkingAnother sergeant was there as the man was taken into custody. The sergeant was a Vietnam veteran as well. He came up behind me and whispered into my ear, “Heard the pounding of the elephant, didn’t you, Mikey?” 

“Did I sound like it?” 

“Yes, you did Mikey. Yes, you did.”

Back on August 10, 2016, Ed Meckle wrote a post about the origin and meaning of this significant phrase. It’s worth your time to click on the link.

Roll Call

Roll Call: The Norton Avenue Incident

A new column, “Roll Call,” appears  on alternate Sundays starting today. The author is called “Mikey.” In the ongoing mission to bring the real stories to literature, television, movies, the internet, Mikey has joined Hal Collier and Ed Meckle from LAPD to share his tales.

His creds: Served in the USAF as a military police officer, 1 year in Vietnam.  Joined the Ontario PD in 1971 and remained until 1973 when he joined the LAPD. He worked Juvenile, Narcotics, Vice, Training and Patrol.  Mikey made sergeant in 1990 and retired in 2008, from Hollywood Division.

Here’s his first story: The Norton Avenue Incident by Mikey

Norton Avenue, Wilshire Area 1991

In my eighteen years of being a field sergeant, I was fortunate to have learned early what it meant to appreciate the field officers—both seasoned and the “wrinkle-frees,” as I referred to them. This is a story of bravery and selfless devotion to the communities we serve.

Occasionally, being in the right place at the right time can be a very healthy thing—if not for you then for someone else. I had been a sergeant six months when the Rodney King incident occurred. I was assigned to Wilshire Patrol and usually worked the morning watch. However, because I had been a PT/ Self Defense instructor at the academy I was asked to attend several community meetings throughout the city to explain the department’s use of force policy following the Rodney King incident.


This temporary assignment required me to adjust my work schedule. It was about 1:30 P.M. when I was picking up coffee at the Winchell’s on La Cienega at Washington in preparation to attend a community meeting in the valley. So, I wasn’t supposed to be in that division. The call that we all dread, “Officer needs help, shots fired, officer down,” came out over the air. The call was on Norton Avenue near 9th Street.

I responded and saw a black and white in the middle of the street facing north with a probationary officer taking cover on the right front fender of the cruiser. His partner was lying down behind him. I asked the officer to go to a tactical frequency and to my astonishment, I was talking to the senior officer! He told me that the person lying down on the street was a female shooting victim. The senior officer had taken a position of advantage in the home directly north of the house where the victim had been shot. A neighbor had called communications, mistakenly saying the female victim was an officer. According to the rookie officer, the woman was still alive.

Just then the senior officer reported a shot being fired from within the house where the female victim has escaped. The officer reported a young man, bound and gagged, had been pushed out of the back door. He fell motionless onto the driveway. It was later discovered the young man was the son of the female victim.  Both had been shot by the woman’s estranged boyfriend.

night time shooting policeAdditional units began to arrive and we formulated a rescue plan. As I was instructing the officers what to do I noticed that a lieutenant and a senior sergeant were observing the preparations. I motioned for them to join the group. The lieutenant said, “You’ve got it.”

I had the officers who were not on the rescue team spread their bullet proof vests on the rescue vehicle that would afford the rescue team some protection. The vests were affixed to the cruiser with duct tape. After all, this was 1991 before armored doors.

Five officers were to deploy in the rescue vehicle, one was to exit prior to the vehicle entering the drive way. His job was to assist the probationary officer placing the female victim into the cruiser and proceeding north on Norton and out of harm’s way. The four remaining officers were to proceed into the driveway, two were to rescue the male victim and the other two would cover the officers rescuing the male victim.

LAPD_helo.jpgI asked the pilot in the overhead air unit that when she observed the unit enter the driveway, to flatten the pitch of her rotor. Being a helicopter pilot, I know that this creates a sound similar to a machine gun going off—a great distraction.

Everything went as planned and the officers were able to secure the male victim in the cruiser and safely leave the house. The senior officer, still in his position of advantage, heard a single shot shortly after the officers left.

Now at the scene, SWAT made entry and found the suspect dead from a self-inflicted wound. Both victims survived their wounds.

Now came the hard part. Not only reports, a law enforcement necessity, but those brave officers needed to be awarded for their bravery. I met with the divisional and patrol captains and we discussed the writing of the awards document. I made it perfectly clear that all officers involved were to receive the awards and citations commensurate to their involvement. I told both captains that my involvement was as the scene supervisor and nothing else. I told them that anything higher than a commendation for my involvement would have diminished the bravery of those five young officers. I sent them into harm’s way and they never hesitated. They never questioned my decisions, they were flawless, and they were the best the department had to offer.

All five received their well-deserved medals.