By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
About a week before Christmas I sent out a Ramblings survey question to 40 former members of the LAPD. I received 24 responses. The responses were from cops that joined in 1956 to 1996. Many had different reasons they listed for taking the test, some economic others, on a dare. This survey is not recognized by any survey groups or any survey standards. The responses were submitted by both women and men some of which are still working.
Here’s the question: I’m doing a little research for a new Ramblings and I’d like some input from you. “Why did you become a LAPD cop? What or who influenced you to take the test?”
Many of the responses were similar and others surprising. I’ll use first names only, to save the embarrassment of a few. Remember, responses were from decades apart and different economic situations. Who’s hiring and what’s the pay?
I’ll start out with my own situation. One of my dad’s hunting partners was an LAPD officer. We use to go to Rams football games together. In my neighborhood, there was a cop who used to come and referee our sandlot football games, on duty. In high school I had a job at a hamburger stand, who didn’t, and it was owned by a LAPD cop, Ivan Pitney. He used to tell me cop stories and I was like a little kid being read a fairy tale book. I decided then that I would be a cop, and only at LAPD. Being only sixteen at the time I had to wait 4 1/2 long years to take the test. He encouraged me to go to college and take some police courses. Two days after my 21st birthday I took the written test for LAPD. I passed the many tests that followed and six months later I was in the LAPD academy. My timing was very good—LAPD was hiring. Others were not so lucky, they had to wait years during a hiring freeze!
Not everyone had it as quick or as easy. Many had no intention of being a cop! Next week, the responses for the other 24 former members of the finest police department in the world. Sorry, that’s the way it is in my mind!