The following are a reprise of Hal’s favorite posts–Foot Beat Stories. Today’s is 3 of 4 first posted in 2013. Next week will feature the wind up of his foot beat stories and the week after, readers will enjoy new material from Hal Collier. –Thonie
I’m re-posting this as it didn’t go out over social media on Sunday as it’s supposed to. –Thonie
By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
The following stories are true to best of my fading memory. I only worked a foot beat for 3 1/2 years but boy, did I pack a lot of fun into those 42 months. I just spent a month learning how to walk in the daylight. Now, I’m off to mid PM’s which is a little different. I’m going to work with “Dan”—another long time foot beat officer.
At the time, Hollywood Division had two officers name Dan. One was referred to as the “crazy” Dan. Lucky for me I worked with the other one, but there was some debate on that. Ok, I’m going to be working in the dark. I’ve got the walk down, I can do bar and porno theater checks, but I’m going to miss London Britches and the Artisan’s Patio.
Dan was a lot different than J.J. Brown. Dan was younger, had less patience and was quicker to anger. This should be fun and a challenge. Dan was working his way up to the Gene Fogerty style of a foot beat cop: my Boulevard, my rules and no questions.
Dan carried a straight baton just like the rest of us, but he attached a leather thong which allowed him to spin it as he walked along. It was right out of the 50’s.
My first night walking with Dan, he suggested we eat at Ernesto’s, an Italian restaurant next to the Egyptian Theater. You know, working nights might be nice. On Morning Watch we only had few places to eat, Copper Penny, Copper Skillet and Pinks if you ate before 1 A.M.
We sat in a booth at Ernesto’s and the waiter greeted Dan like a brother. He brought us each a cup of coffee, but no cream. I’ll suffer. I took a sip, it’s not coffee–it was red wine. I don’t want to spoil the mood but I don’t drink wine and switch for a cup of coffee.
A few weeks later we finish a meal at Ernesto’s, lasagna and garlic bread. I’m going to need an hour to walk off dinner. It’s Saturday night and Hollywood Boulevard is packed. Traffic is bumper to bumper in both directions. We see this jerk in a pick-up truck let the car ahead of him move up 30 feet. He then pops the clutch, spinning the tires then slams on the brakes.
Dan says, “I’ll show you how we handle these type of guys.” We walk between cars and up to the truck that’s stopped. We both approach the driver’s window. Dan reached in and removed a 40 ounce bottle of beer. Dan then grabbed the driver’s hands while I reached in to shut off the ignition. Traffic in front of us cleared and the driver popped the clutch. The truck lurched forward spilling Dan and me into the middle of Hollywood Boulevard.
The truck made a quick right turn on Mc Cadden and almost hit a guy on a motorcycle. The guy on the motorcycle is pissed and he says to Dan, “hop on” and well go get him. Dan declines—see, he’s not the crazy one. The guy in the truck sped up and slammed into a light pole. Guess he couldn’t drive without a 40 ounce of beer between his legs.
This is where it really got fun. The guy in the truck staggered out of his now wrecked truck and was planning his escape. This stranger on a motorcycle tells the truck driver hop on, the cops are coming. The truck driver jumps on the back of the motorcycle and the motorcycle guy turns around and dumps the felon at our feet. Bet you never saw that on Adam 12. No one would have believed it.
A week later Dan and I were standing in front of our Captain. Apparently our foot beat tactics and Boulevard Rules were not the same as department rules. We both got a notice to correct.
I learned many more lessons on walking a foot beat and now I’m ready to fly on my own, on Morning watch.
Dan and his partner Tim’s police careers were cut short a few months later when their police car was rear ended by a drunk driver. They both suffered back injuries and had to be pensioned off. We lost two good cops and a wealth Hollywood Boulevard foot beat experience.
Next chapter, it’s my foot beat and I’ll have to prove I’m worthy. Hal