More Off Duty Jobs
by Hal Collins
Another Ramblings that deals with off duty jobs.
A lot of non-police think that cops make a good salary, and we do, but it’s mostly in benefits. You can’t spend a benefit.
I’ll tell you how poor cops are. We got paid every two weeks on a Wednesday. This is before direct deposit, so you had to actually hand a check to a bank teller to deposit your pay. After they deposited your check you asked for cash back so you and your kids could eat that night.
Think I’m kidding? Listen to this: on payday, the checks were delivered to the station around noon. Payday was like attending a reunion in the Watch Commanders office. Lots of us rich cops were waiting to grab our paycheck before the ink was dry. There were times when the checks were late and I had to push my way past detectives to get my check and race to the bank before they closed. This is the reason we worked off duty jobs. We wanted to buy new cars before ours was impounded as abandoned. A lot of the wives didn’t work so we had a lot of one income families. The others were known as “DINKs” for Double Income No Kids.
After 14 years, I moved up to the big time. I became a Senior Lead Officer and worked Day Watch. I soon was asked to work movie premieres at the Chinese Theater as well as a few special events. Movie premieres were a choice assignment. You get paid right away, the crowd is usually packed with tourists and the atmosphere was festive. You got to see movie stars if that’s your thing—it wasn’t mine. I often had to ask the tourists who was getting out of the limo. It was a double treat if you also got to work the after-party. See last weeks post for more on that.
I got on the fast track for good off duty jobs. Mercedes had a car dealership on Sunset Boulevard just west of Vine. Once a year they invited past customers to an open house to show off the new cars. They had great caterers and let face it, people who drive Mercedes don’t usually cause a lot of problems. Of course, I had to wear my best suit. Okay, it was my only suit, but that’s why I was working off duty. I was saving up for a newer Warehouse for Men’s suit. I had one lady come up to me. She thought I was a salesmen and asked if she could buy a Mercedes station wagon.She had her check book in her hand. The sales commission would have been a lot more than I earned that night. I opened my coat a little and the look on her face when she saw my gun was priceless. I never was a good salesmen.
Another lady who drew my attention. She was dressed in her only go-to-church dress but didn’t fit in with the other Mercedes owners. She had her invitation but spent more time at the caterers tables than looking at new cars. I even saw her loading up her purse with shrimp. I’m guessing that she won some money on a lottery ticket and bought a Mercedes. She now attends every open house.
I worked the Jewish Women’s Club auction every year and I’m not even Jewish. They hire the best caterers. I also worked a Leeza Gibbons wedding. I was close enough at the church to watch an aide slam her limo car door on the hand of another aide. For three years, I watched some of the wealthiest young females graduate from the Marlborough Private High School. Names like, Dodger owner O’Malley, Rockefeller, Doheny—well, you get the picture. I was glad I had my only suit dry cleaned.
I once worked a private party at a large house in the Mt. Olympus area of Hollywood. I got an uneasy feeling and refused to work it the following year. It turns out the resident was suspected of being in the Russian Mafia and was being investigated by Organized Crime Officers. See–I’m not a whore–I won’t work every job. I had enough off duty job opportunities that I could pick and choose. I avoided any job at the Palladium. I spent the first 5 years of my career, on duty, dodging rock and bottles from the rock group crowds that played there.
I once worked a short stint at the Shrine Auditorium guarding the box office. I remember one day I was on suspension and worked without a gun or badge. I did have a very sharp #2 Ticonderoga pencil.
Next I’ll discuss some of the better off duty jobs I worked and some that I regretted. If you know me, you’ll know that I didn’t get rich but my daughter has straight teeth and I still only have one suit.