By Hal Collier
The following stories are true. These observations are mine and definitely don’t reflect the opinions of the LAPD or some of the female officers I worked with. I’m treading on some thin ice with this subject, but what the hell. Any comments will be considered for my next installment.
For years, the LAPD was a good old boys club. Patrol was only staffed with men, some had served in WW ll, or Korea, most in Viet Nam and upon discharge joined the police department.
Female officers, they were always on the LAPD but they were assigned to the desk or Juvenile Division. My badge said Policeman across the top, the females’ badges said Policewomen, duh. The females could not rise above the rank of sergeant.
Anyone who came on the Department some time in 73-74 received a badge that said Police officer! A “Policeman” badge became a badge of honor, no pun intended.
The first integrated academy class graduated three female police officers. Guess who got the first one in Hollywood? Yep, I’m working morning watch and I’m going to be working with a female all night. My wife was not pleased.
A lot of officers were not happy about females being patrol cops, including Chief Edward M. Davis. Me, I always liked women. Hell, I married one, my mom and sisters are female. I know that those first female patrol officers faced a lot of resentment and yes, harassment. Working with a female partner required a lot of adjustment on the man’s part. I’ll described some of the changes.
You work with someone for eight hours you get to know them pretty well. Being in a police car for that long is similar to being trapped in an elevator. If you’re both married, you know each other’s spouse, children and pets by name. You hear about their problems, successes and maybe even her menstrual cycle. If she’s single, you hear about her last date, or a detailed description of her pets.
Let’s start with bodily functions. Yea, I know, how can you write about something like that? A little history. When two male officers work together and one says, “I got to pee,” it’s no problem. We hit an alley and the officer with the smaller bladder got out and took care of business. Done in two minutes, no problem. It’s not as if all the homeless people or drunks in Hollywood haven’t already peed in that alley.
I once got out to pee in an alley and as I’m taking care of business, I look up and there’s an old lady looking at me from her apartment window. I forgot that old people get up a lot in the middle of the night. I now understand. I zipped up and waved hello, she waved back. I logged it as a neighborhood watch meeting, attendance three.
The other bodily function is the one that no one will admit ever happens. That’s right—the sudden release or escape of gas. For my less literate friends, a fart. I’m going to paint a picture that you’ll never see in Readers Digest.
You started out your shift with a “Pink’s Hot Dog,” extra chili and onions, a couple of Jalapenos and a root beer. An hour later your stomach is making noises that will register on the Richter Scale.
Some men feel that a fart is a sign of masculinity, something to be proud of, the louder the better. I was brought up different, my mom didn’t approve of public displays of flatulence. I don’t think I released gas in my wife’s presence until we had been married 10 years, at least that’s the way I remember it. Some women have different views, but what are you going to do sitting in a police car for hours at a time?
So I’m working with a female partner and the Pink’s hot dog is settling in my lower stomach. I pull into a nearby alley and tell my partner I have to check for something in the trunk. I fumble around in the trunk, making a lot of noise, then happily return to regular patrol. My female partner would also have to check the trunk once in a while. Patrol was different working with a women, at least most of them. We once had a female probationer who was nick-named the “Blue Flame.” No kidding. She didn’t know my mother.
[No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t find a photo to illustrate the above. I think it is for the best.-Thonie]
Next Females as patrol cops.